We’re entering the final months of the year, and you know what that means? Sales. Lots of sales. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve missed my fair share of releases this past year. That’s my own fault, but now I have the opportunity to scoop up a bunch of titles on discount. Woo! As I sit here organizing my holiday wishlist, I decided to do a repeat of last year, and share some of the games I’m looking forward to playing in future. So, once again, here are (probably) the best games I didn’t play this year.

The Case of the Golden Idol

I first heard about The Case of the Golden Idol while reading a post by Kim over on Later Levels. I then found out that Lucas Pope, creator of the fantastic Return of the Obra Dinn, had endorsed the game. Colour me intrigued. Surely these two were onto something.

Shortly thereafter, I got a chance to play the game’s demo. Mir joined me partway through, and we had a great time completing it together. The clue collection wasn’t particularly involved, but piecing everything together hit all the right notes. What’s really clever is how the framework of exploring the different vignettes is used to tell an overarching story. It was very Return of the Obra Dinn in that sense. I’m not certain The Case of the Golden Idol brings anything new to the table, but offering a similar experience to a title that can’t be replayed has its merits.

Dome Keeper

Back when I was 10, or 11 there was this Flash game called Motherload. I think that’s what it was called at least. Regardless, the gameplay loop it had was really compelling. You’d dig into a planet, collect recources, and bring them back to the surface to sell. Then players purchase upgrades to increase their digging proficiency before heading back down to repeat the process. It was as satisfying as it was simple.

Dome Keeper looks to carry on Motherload’s legacy. I know Steamworld Dig exists, I played and enjoyed both, but the addition of metroidvania exploration created a fundamentally different experience. By comparison, Dome Keeper is much closer to Motherload. Players engage in the same core loop, but must defend a planet side base. This adds some much needed tension where players try to extract minerals as efficiently as possible between waves of enemies. I enjoyed what I played in a demo earlier this year, and look forward to sinking some more time into it in future.

Vault of the Void

An indie roguelike deck-builder. What a surprise.

Yeah, yeah. I know. But listen. I’ve been looking for my next fix ever since Monster Train. None of the different card games I’ve played have managed to hit quite the same, except for my brief return to Slay the Spire while playing the Downfall mod. Until I find another game that captures my attention in the same way, I must continue to search for a new deck-builder to satisfy my unending hunger.

Vault of the Void might finally be the title I’ve been searching for. Its key differentiating factor is how players go about building their deck. You collect a pool of cards, which are used to draft a deck before each combat encounter. This eliminates one of the core sources of complexity that comes from most deck-builders: choosing when to add, and remove cards. I’m not sure if this is actually a net positive change, but I guess time will tell. I’m sure you’ll read about Vault of the Void again if it hits a chord with me.

SuchArt: Genius Artist Simulator

I believe I first heard about SuchArt when Mir sent me a gif, or a video of it. She figured I’d like the game. It was in Early Access at the time, but the premise really spoke to me. I’m not always the best at it, but I enjoy making art. It’s always been a big part of my life for as far back as I can remember. As such, the idea of having a digital space to make artwork sounds too perfect.

This simulated space also comes with several advantages, the main one being cost. Art is expensive to make, especially if you’re learning. The cost of all the tools, and materials can be daunting when you want to learn to work with a new medium. Having simulated tools, and materials doesn’t exactly provide a 1 to 1 experience to the real thing, but it’s certainly the most cost effective way to remove one of the largest barriers to entry. You also don’t have to worry about making a mess. As someone that is chronically lazy that’s also a huge plus.

SuchArt might be the least “game” of the titles I’ve listed here, but it is the one I’m most looking forward to. I’m hopeful that I’ll find it as fun as I find illustrating on my tablet with Krita. Even if that doesn’t end up being the case, I’m sure I’ll get a lot out of being able to paint for the first time in over a decade.


The final title here might seem like a bit of an odd ball. I don’t play many horror games, and I write about even fewer. However, I’m a big fan of horror that sneaks up on you. I like the feeling of existential dread that follows you around, and causes you to stare up at your ceiling when you can’t stop thinking about it while you’re supposed to be sleeping. That’s my horror happy place.

From what I’ve read, Signalis is what I’ve been looking for. That’s good because I feel like it’s been far too long since the last time I played a horror title that I really enjoyed. Most rely too heavily on gross-out body horror, or jump scares. If nothing else, I’m sure the low-poly art style will do wonders for scaring the shit out of me. Monsters are always scarier when you can’t quite get a clear look at them.

Well there you have it. The best games that I didn’t play this year. As ever, I’m hoping at least one of them will leave me with a spark. It’s always nice when you can find a title that leaves you with such positive feelings that you can’t help, but shout at anyone who will listen about the title. That’s enough from me though – are there games from 2022 that you haven’t picked up, but are looking forward to? Let me know in the comments, or heck – write your own blog post. I’m curious what games other folks are scoping out ahead of sale season.