Since 2016, I have put out my favorite games of the previous year about a week into the new year on my own personal website. With the launch of Yeti Arcade, I decided to move this yearly article from my once a year personal blog post to something a little bit better. This year, I took some of our team members thoughts in as well, so not all of these are games that are ranked are games that I have played–but I have played most of them.
The criteria I selected for the top 10 is fairly simple. To put things in context, I am a late 30s male with a wife and a full time job. On top of that, I also run a couple different websites and write about games and stuff.
So with all of that said, my game time is fairly limited and my top 10 games are going to center around the games that provided the most fun for me in the following year. If there’s a game not on this list that you think should have been, well, it’s likely because I (or my team) didn’t play it.
My rankings from there are then basically how much fun I had with the game.
#10 Diablo 3 (Nintendo Switch)
This one probably surprises a lot of people since this is more of a port released this year for what is now a nearly 7 year old game. It shouldn’t be too surprising considering this site was created by a bunch of Blizzard fans.
The thing is, I’m not really a big fan of the Diablo series. I enjoy playing through the game, but I don’t enjoy the end game grind. However, being able to play Diablo 3 while sitting in my living room and to pick it up on the go is the best way to play this game.
I would say maybe Blizzard was on to something with their announcement of Diablo Immortal and making a mobile game for their franchise. But I would say just making Diablo portable isn’t all of it. It’s also the fact that this is simply a great couch co-op game as well, something I have found that the Nintendo Switch really excels at.
The reason why this is what I feel is the definitive Diablo 3 experience for someone on the go like me, is the reason why I have it in the top 10.
#9 A Way Out (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
This is another game that honestly didn’t get a lot of great reviews, but after I played it, I knew immediately it was going to make the top 10 list for my year.
A Way Out was the most unique co-op experience I have ever played. In fact, you have to play this game with a friend as you each control one of the two characters that the story is based around. You can play it on the couch with a friend or play it online. What’s fun is in both instances you get the unique split screen to see what the other player is doing.
Another cool thing, is buying this game, your friend can play with you without having bought it themselves. I was able to play this game a couple times with friends and they all really enjoyed the game.
The game only takes about 5-6 hours to beat. The story is kind of fun and you can find yourself joking with your friend while you’re playing it (and also cussing your friend in other spots).
I hope to see more games like this in the future–and because of that, it’s in my top 10.
#8 Astro Bot Rescue Mission (Playstation VR)
I have owned a PSVR for over two years now. Two years ago, I had Job Simulator in my top 10 games of 2016. The whole reason I put it there is it was the game I would use to introduce people to VR for their first time.
Then there was nothing.
Honestly, it felt like VR was nothing more than an interesting gimmick and that there wasn’t a unique gaming experience that could start defining what VR gaming would be.
And then Astro Bot Rescue Mission changed that. It’s the Super Mario Bros. of PlayStation and it’s the best platformer game of the year. This is a game that is fun without being a VR game and that is what VR gaming needed.
If you needed the definitive game of VR, this is it. If you wanted a great platform game to play, this is also it.
#7 Just Shapes and Beats (Nintendo Switch, PC)
This game wasn’t even on my radar on December 29th. A friend and I heard about it on the 30th, took the shot and bought it. It’s basically all we played through the end of the year. Originally I had Overcooked 2 in this slot, but this ended up being the superior co-op couch game on the Switch.
Don’t get me wrong, Overcooked 2 is a great game and I have it in my honorable mentions, but it didn’t do too much over the original (which was my #4 game in 2016).
But Just Shapes and Beats is so simplistic and fun that we couldn’t put it down when playing it on the Switch. Add a pretty legit sound track and the game is just fun to keep playing.
I can’t even fully explain the gameplay, so here’s a video to show you what to expect:
Expect to die a lot. Expect to cuss a lot. Also, expect to continue on with the level because now you think you found the pattern you need to follow. Playing through the story mode with two other friends was some of the most fun I had to end 2018 with.
As of this writing, the game is on sale on the Nintendo eShop for $14.99. I already feel like I have way more value than that from playing it.
#6 Monster Hunter World (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
The sense of adventure is heavy on the air as you sail towards a “New World.” Monster Hunter World puts you in the role of a Hunter newly arriving to a new hostile frontier.
You will start out with just basic gear. Then, you’ll have to make your way through a land where everything tries to kill you.
You will have the choice of 14 varied weapons. There is no right weapon, just the pursuit to make not only your gear better, but also yourself. Gear can only take you so far. You need to learn to anticipate the monsters moves, how you can best use your environment, not to say the latest greatest gadgets won’t hurt.
Monster Hunter World will pit of you of against varied small and large monsters. By the time you can handle the small monsters, they will throw an Anjanath in your path. This t-rex-like, fire-breathing monster will be the terror you run from. Learn your weapon, upgrade your gear, and make this monster a stepping stone to greater, more powerful creatures.
Monster Hunter World has an amazing story full of mystery that will take you deeper and deeper into this New World.
-Written by Aaron “Blue”
#5 Celeste (Nintendo Switch, PS4, PC/Mac/Linux)
Celeste is a game that started off 2018 with a bang in the indie game scene, including a beautiful retro art style with a fantastic soundtrack and a challenging difficulty.
We’ve seen a variety of challenging indie platformers over the years, but Celeste sets itself apart by having a truly heartwarming story. You play as Madeline, a hero making her journey up the mountain and overcoming the obstacles along the way, including self doubt, anxiety, depression, and the mountain, itself. I don’t know of another game that really tackled these issues in such a direct way in the narrative, but they work as a complete package here.
The difficulty can seem punishing, but the way that the game lays out the new mechanics to you does so in a way that isn’t condescending or insulting to your intelligence. You play the game screen by screen and a death immediately resets you to the start of that screen, giving you a near instant ability to try again what was challenging you.
For a game high in difficulty I was expecting to be frustrated. But the difficulty curve is so well-crafted that it gives a sense of accomplishment when passing a screen or when getting a particularly difficult strawberry (extra collection items that don’t affect game play). It’s made all the more sweet with the soundtrack swells or calms when finishing a screen.
Similarly to Mario Odyssey, besting the main story is simply the beginning, as there are b-sides with even more challenging screens to beat for the most hardened platformer fan. The main storyline and game challenge culminate in the final mountain climb and is well worth the price of entry. The extra content is just a cherry of the top of a most excellent package.
-Written by Jimmy Blocksom
#4 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Nintendo Switch)
I’ve never been a Smash fan or a fan of fighting games in general. However, I have always loved the idea behind Smash and it bringing all these Nintendo characters together in one game.
I did really enjoy Smash on the Gamecube, but I wasn’t as hardcore into it as some people were (and still are).
I remember getting this game when it came out for the Wii U and I played it all of maybe thirty minutes before I quit. None of my friends were interested in it and the game just felt clunky.
I didn’t initially understand all the hype for the new Switch version, but I underestimated once again why the Switch is the ultimate couch co-op console. When I first sat down with a friend and started playing, we sucked. But the real fun began when we started unlocking characters after every couple fights. We would try out the new characters as we unlocked them and soon found our “mains” (I’m pretty good with Ganondorf right now).
This game just felt so much better and smoother than the Wii U version and is just way more friendly to get into. I found myself wanting to keep playing with my friends, and since the Switch is the console I can take on the go, this game will be a staple for us for many years to come.
#3 Red Dead Redemption 2 (PS4, Xbox One)
Red Dead Redemption 2 is probably the most beautiful game you will have ever played. The open world is fantastic, the graphics are amazing, and you even see horses poop.
The attention to detail in this game is really staggering, sometimes a little too much.
This could have easily been the #1 game this year, but the problem with it is, sometimes the game is really more of a chore than it is fun. Add some clunky mechanics like all Rockstar games have, and you have yourself a top 3 game instead of the top contender.
It may sound like I am telling you to stay away from this game, but at the end of the day it’s a top 3 game that is beautiful to play and you will spend many hours in it. Rockstar games are special, and this one is no different.
#2 God of War (PS4)
Sony took a chance and changed God of War from the game it was, and it’s pretty glorious. Most sites will have this as their #1 game of the year and it would have made this one as well if it wasn’t for the love of a web-slinging hero.
I had never been a fan of the God of War series. I played through the first one and couldn’t get into the others. The gameplay style was just not for me.
However, this game had everything I wanted. Great graphics, deep combat mechanics, and excellent storytelling that made you feel something, all paired with a fantastic musical score that is on par with something you would have found in a Blizzard title.
The thing I loved most about this game was that there were no “collectibles” forcing you to go exploring. Instead, your reward for exploring was getting awesome new story added. Breath of the Wild was my game of the year in 2017 for that exact reason, and God of War is right up there for the same reason.
#1 Marvel’s Spider-Man (PS4)
It seems like every list I see God of War or Red Dead Redemption as #1 and #2. However, neither one of those games I played nearly as much as Marvel’s Spider-Man.
This is the first good Spider-Man game ever made, and they did it perfectly. I couldn’t put the controller down and played through the entire thing in a week. It’s the only game this year that has done that to me.
I found myself loving swinging through the city andfighting the bad guys, and I loved the dialogue between Spider-Man and Yuri (Spider-Cop anyone!?). The game had everything I wanted in a Spider-Man game.
While God of War and Red Dead Redemption were great title that pushed the envelope a bit for AAA games, Spider-Man had the fun factor down at every angle. Maybe I’m a homer when it comes to my favorite superhero, but the enjoyment I received from this game is why I rank it #1 on this list.
These are games I enjoyed in the last year and made my short list as we put together the top 10 list. Out of all of these, Overcooked 2 probably has the most amount of time put into it, and I can’t recommend it enough to friends who are looking for a fun co-op game to play with their significant others.
JR has been writing for gaming sites since 2000. He helped co-found BlizzPro in 2013 and Yeti Arcade in 2019. You can hear JR every week talk about Hearthstone on the Well Met Podcast published on iTunes.