2022 Update – What We’ve Been Playing

Hey there! It’s been a while. We here at Couch Bandits have been busy most of this year with more major life changes (we all turned 30 this year!) and with the constant grind of surviving as grown adults. While that sadly has kept us from posting as frequently as we’d like, it hasn’t stopped us from gaming. In fact, 2022 has been such a busy year for us in terms of playing games that we can’t possibly write full feature reviews for everything we’ve played. Since that would be a daunting task I’ve instead decided to provide a brief recap of every new game I’ve played this year. This won’t account for all of the new games Nick and Jake have played as well (there are many), but I figure it will at least provide brief miniature reviews on the games I’ve enjoyed most throughout this incredible year of gaming. Now that my personal life has become a lot more stable than it was previously, I’m hoping to remain active on the blog for the remainder of this year. I’ll be posting as regularly as possible leading up to this year’s Game-A-Thon celebration. So, without further ado, here’s my shortlist of the game’s we’ve been playing throughout 2022.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus

The year got off to an amazing start with Pokémon Legends: Arceus. This entry saw the franchise enter uncharted territory as it expanded on Sword/Shield’s open world concept and evolved the typical gameplay into something entirely new. Featuring diverse, densely-populated landscapes and riveting new boss battles, Arceus is the first Pokémon game in a long time that truly feels like an original gameplay experience. Setting the game in a bygone era of the Sinnoh region only further sets this entry apart from all games that have come before it. Challenging, fresh, and unique—Pokémon Legends: Arceus is a bold new direction for the franchise. We loved it, and can’t recommend it enough!

Elden Ring

This one was so good we actually managed to find the time to do a full write-up on it. You can find that here, and we encourage you to check it out! Elden Ring continues the epic legacy of FromSoftware, combining gameplay elements from their previous series to create a larger-than-life open world RPG—rich with color, life, and endless challenge. It’s easily our Game of the Year, and you can find out why by reading our full review linked above!

Kirby and the Forgotten Land

If you’re into classic Nintendo action-adventure games you’ll love this one. This undeniably adorable game sees Kirby rescuing kidnapped Waddle Dees throughout a seemingly post-apocalyptic realm called the New World. It’s an interesting setting for a Kirby game, but still packs in plenty of character and charm. There’s a lot of unique abilities for you to master and upgrade, and each level cleverly works in mechanics based around Kirby’s powers. I played the entire game using the couch co-op option, which allows another local player to join in on the fun. Couch co-op feels like a rare feature these days, and I was thrilled to see this game allow it. If you’re looking for a light and enjoyable time, this is a good one for you.

LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga

If you’ve played a LEGO Star Wars game before then you know more or less what to expect here. As the name suggests, this game covers all three trilogies in the film universe’s Skywalker Saga. Rather than simply rehash the old levels from LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga, this new entry remakes those levels entirely, while also providing completely fresh levels drawn from the most iconic scenes in the films. The classic top-down perspective of older LEGO games is upgraded to a nice, third person view—which is possibly the biggest noticeable difference with the Skywalker Saga. Improved graphics, cutscenes, and gameplay mechanics make this a welcomed addition to the LEGO game library, and possibly the quintessential LEGO Star Wars experience. If you’re a fan of LEGO games, Star Wars, or both, you’ll love this game. It’s packed to the brim with secrets and collectibles that will keep you busy for hours. Nick and I have had a blast with it. 

Nintendo Switch Sports

If you ever owned a Wii, you most certainly owned Wii Sports as well. We all have such great memories of playing Wii Sports for hours. When Nintendo Switch Sports was first announced, we here at Couch Bandits were immediately excited, as it seemed like a natural progression of the motion-based sports experience. I’m happy to report that the game is exactly that. With improved motion control gameplay, online compatibility, and a bevy of new sports to try, this game is an absolute must if you’re particularly nostalgic for the heyday of the Wii. You can play as your classic Mii character, or create a hip new avatar which you can customize with unlockable clothing and accessories. While the game sees the return of popular sports such as bowling and tennis, it also includes fresh options like soccer and volleyball. Online play allows for a new element of competition, and with enough wins in each sport you can eventually work your way up to ranked matches. The game can be as competitive or casual as you’d like, making it all around a good choice if you’re into this sort of thing. Jake and I have been loving this one!

Mario Strikers: Battle League

The Switch has seen many great Mario sports games released on it, and Mario Strikers: Battle League is no exception. A welcomed new entry in the Mario Strikers series, Battle League updates the core gameplay elements for modern times, and features a highly competitive online community. If you’ve played any of the previous Strikers games then you’ll know roughly what to expect—but the game does introduce a special new feature, which allows you to choose a unique theme for your team’s half of the soccer pitch. This allows for a variety of crazy combinations, making the literal playing field wild and unpredictable from match-to-match. While there isn’t a huge amount of content in the game’s “story” campaign, the online play gives you plenty of bang for your buck long after you’ve beaten all of the single player tournaments. If you like a bit of mayhem in your sports games, this is a good pick for you!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge

Another game I have fond memories of playing from my childhood is the Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles arcade game from 1989. I have such vivid memories of spending endless quarters on that old school beat-’em-up. My brothers and I would also spend plenty of hours trying to see the entire game through to the end. It was always such a blast, and an experience I’ve been wishing I could replicate. Finally, I’ve been able to relive those times through the new, retro-inspired entry, Shredder’s Revenge. Mixing the classic beat-’em-up gameplay mechanics with the style and look of the original NES title, Shredder’s Revenge is dripping with nostalgia; and is extremely fun to play! Local couch multiplayer is supported for up to four players, which perfectly mimics the same vibe as the original arcade classic. Considering the even more-recently released Cowabunga Collection (which compiles 13 classic TMNT titles in one package), now is a great time to be a TMNT fan! If you’re craving a radical blast from the past, pick up Shredder’s Revenge

Xenoblade Chronicles 3

Where to even begin with this one? Surely a game of this scale deserves a full feature review of its own (and hopefully we’ll get around to doing that), but for now, I’ll do my best to sum this one up. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is the epic continuation of the beloved JRPG franchise that has soared to meteoric success since its introduction. Taking place after the events of the first two games, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 follows a unified collective of youths from rival warring nations who come together in order to survive the eternal conflict between their homelands. The game features some of the most impressive, larger-than-life map design of any Nintendo game, alongside some of the most polished turn-based combat in existence. While both previous titles in the franchise also contain these elements, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 feels like the most well-rounded version of this particular gameplay experience yet. If you’re into highly-detailed RPGs with compelling stories/characters, this game is for you!

Kirby’s Dream Buffet

This one feels more like a minigame than it does a fully-fledged title, but we wanted to include it anyway as we’ve been having a blast with it so far. Nintendo’s answer to Fall Guys, Kirby’s Dream Buffet matches you up against friends or strangers as you compete in a marathon of challenges. The core game boils down to a race in which players compete across a massive food-based track, gobbling up as many berries as possible along the way. Whoever eats the most berries by the end of the competition wins, and berries are gathered or lost in a variety of minigames within the overall contest. It’s fast-paced, cute, and extremely addicting. Online play offers a vast amount of replayability, and local multiplayer cements this title as a fantastic new party game from the masters of the genre. 

Pac-Man World: Re-Pac

In 1999 the beloved dot-chomping hero Pac-Man made the jump to 3D platforming in Pac-Man World. This foray into 3D gaming proved to be a hit, and the success spawned two sequels. Now gamers young and old have the chance to revisit this timeless classic in an updated remake called Pac-Man World: Re-Pac. The original platforming epic is lovingly upgraded with enhanced graphics, controls, and all the Pac-Man charm you can handle. Join Pac-Man on his quest to save his kidnapped family members from the infamous Toc-Man and his ghost cronies. Instead of the traditional mazes, you’ll navigate unique themed worlds full of life and color. Challenging platforming and special boss battles help set this apart from any game that has ever featured the Pac. For those of you pining for a simpler time in gaming, when 3D platformers dominated consoles and wholesome characters reigned supreme; this is one not to miss. Jake and I had an absolute blast playing through this amazing remake/remaster, and felt immediately transported back to our childhoods in the best possible sense. Better still, the game is concise and fairly short, making it easy to pick up without feeling the constant pressure of how much time it takes to complete. Pac-Man World: Re-Pac is a nostalgic light in these dark times, and I only hope the other two entries in this fantastic series get the same treatment. 

Splatoon 3

The most recent entry on this list, Splatoon 3 splashed down early last month to rave reviews from critics and fans alike. This is one all of the Couch Bandits have been playing heavily since launch, and we can’t get enough of this tentacled multiplayer mayhem. If you’ve played any Splatoon game before, you know more or less what to expect here. In classic Turf Wars, players play online as a team to cover as much of each map with their team’s ink as possible. The more space you douse in your colorful ink, the more points you gain. The team with the most turf inked wins the match. Splatoon 3 also sees the return of the popular Salmon Run game mode, which sees teams pitted against hordes of AI enemies in a chaotic PVE marathon. New ranked game modes offer even more gameplay diversity, and if that weren’t enough there’s an added single player campaign to be experienced by those looking for an offline adventure. Splatoon 3 doesn’t necessarily redefine the franchise’s classic gameplay mechanics, but it does brush up and polish some elements to make it the smoothest Splatoon yet. If you’re looking for competitive, fun, online gameplay for your Nintendo Switch, Splatoon 3 is not to be missed.

So there you have it! That’s most of what we’ve been playing this year! Our hope is that this post marks the return of somewhat occasional posting again (as long as our busy lives allow for it). We’ve missed doing the blog, and we hope some of you out there may have missed us. As we gear up for the holidays, and for Game-A-Thon 2022, we intend to keep the blog more active for the remainder of the year. Stay tuned for another new post coming very soon, and as always, thanks for reading!

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