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2021 Recap and the Golden Hippo Awards

On 01/11/2022 at 04:15 PM by daftman

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Another year down! What? You don't want to talk about 2021? Can't say I blame you. How about games? First we'll take a look at the games I beat and bought and then we'll move onto the Golden Hippo Awards!

Games Beaten

January—The Ninja Saviors—Return of the Warriors (Switch); Gunbird (Psikyo Collection Vol. 1, Switch)

Ninja Savoirs, kicking butt

February—SteamWorld Dig (Vita)


April—Samurai Aces (Psikyo Collection Vol. 1, Switch)

May—Shantae: Half-Genie Hero (Switch)

June—Sakura Wars (PS4)

July—Blaster Master Zero 2 (Switch)

August—Metroid: Zero Mission (GBA) [replay]; Picross S2 (Switch)

September—SOL Divide (Psikyo Collection Vol. 1, Switch)

October—The Great Ace Attorney (Switch); Metroid Fusion (GBA) [replay]

November—Metroid Dread (Switch)

December—Cat Quest (Switch); Cat Quest II (Switch)

Total Beaten: 15

2021 didn't feel like a slower gaming year for me but clearly it was. I finished 23 games in 2020, so this was quite the drop. Some of these games—like Sakura Wars, Picross 2, and The Great Ace Attorney—lasted a long time though. But the main thing is that I did enjoy my time playing them.

Games Bought

or somehow acquired

Note: Click on a month to go to that month's recap and see what these games are. The PS+ games in parentheses are part of the total but I wanted to make special note of them since I didn't have to pay for them beyond the subscription fee.

January—9 (PS+: 2)

February—5 (PS+: 2)

March—14 (PS+: 3)



June—0 Surprised



September—1 (PS+: 1)




Total Bought/Acquired: 48 (PS+: 8)

I didn't go back to check all the previous years, but I feel confident that 2021 is the smallest gaming haul I've had in a long time. I don't think this is a bad thing! Quality over quantity, right?

Addendum of Sorrow: Games I spent time with in 2021 but didn't finish:

-Octopath Traveller (Switch)

I loved the first 40 hours of Octopath. The graphics, the music (!!!), the battle system. But it turned into a slog for me after that. I still played for 20 more hours, hoping I'd turn some kind of corner with it but no dice, and I couldn't bear to spend 30 to 40 MORE hours. For me it was the story. I just did not care. The story in that game is such a missed opportunity. A good story would have kept me invested.

-Final Fantasy VII Remake (PS4)

Aside from being an old curmudgeon—what is this action combat??!?—I tried to play this game at a time when, well, I didn't have the time to play it. Since I got it from PS+, I felt no great loss when it fell by the wayside.

-Into the Breach (Switch)

It's so tough for me to come back from a crushing defeat at the end of a long run in these strategy games. I like this game but I lost the will to play it.

The Golden Hippo Awards

Golden Hippo

And now it's time for the Golden Hippo Awards! These awards are based just on the actual games I played in 2021.

Game of the Year: Metroid Dread (Switch)

Metroid Dread GotY

I was very excited that this game existed and expected to have a fun time with it but was not prepared for just how good it is. The action is so fluid and responsive and the melee counter is not overused (thank goodness), and the pacing is so snappy. Even the few times I didn't know what to do next, I didn't lack for power ups to hunt for before figuring out what to do next. Oh, and the game is very pretty. What I wouldn't not give for more ten hour games with triple-A polish! For the first time ever, I am excited to see what MercurySteam does next, and that's not a phrase I ever expected to utter.

Runner Up: Shantae: Half-Genie Hero (Switch)

What can I say? I always enjoy the Shantae games. This one didn't eclipse Pirate's Curse for me but it was a really solid adventure.

Best Characters: Sakura Wars (PS4)

Sakura Wars is a glorified visual novel (I seem to have gotten quite a few of those in the ol' backlog recently) and as such the combat was fine but not the reason to play the game. The characters develop very satisfyingly over the course of the game and getting to spend time with them was a treat.

Best Music: Octopath Traveller (Switch)

Octopath Traveller has one of the best soundtracks in years. Full stop. Bar none. I hope the composer, Yasunori Nishiki, has a long and fruitful career.

Best Gameplay Loop: SteamWorld Dig (Vita)

Dig down. Sell stuff and buy upgrades. Dig deeper. Sell stuff and buy upgrades. Dig deeper...

It's a great loop. I really need to play the sequel.

Best Co-op: Cat Quest II (Switch)

I didn't know this game had co-op to it prompted me to pick solo or co-op when starting the game but it was delightful. Great to play with my seven-year-old. And still challenging!



Cary Woodham

01/13/2022 at 12:08 AM

Pretty good that you were able to already beat The Great Ace Attorney.  I'm still working on the second set of cases.  Just started the third one right now.


01/13/2022 at 01:59 PM

Oh, about that Innocent I'm counting the two Great Ace Attorney games separately. I knew I couldn't finish the second one before the new year, so I held off on it. I hope to start that very soon.

The Last Ninja

01/13/2022 at 09:33 AM

The soundtrack for Octopath Traveler IS amazing! It's basically split into gorgeous town themes and epic battle themes. Also, I think you're still working on the second Great Ace Attorney game, right? You should really focus on beating that ASAP (I know it's super long) because it's so good! 


01/13/2022 at 02:02 PM

Yeah, since I'm counting the two Great Ace Attorney games separately, I didn't start the second one right away. I knew I couldn't finish it before the end of the year, especially with Dread to play. I'll get back to it soon!


01/20/2022 at 10:57 PM

I forgot about Into the Breach. So want to play that soon. 

I wish I could keep track of what I play and have some kind of best-of list by the end of the year. I'm like skipping all over the place, playing new games for rewards points on Xbox. I just played this game Lake where you are a rural route postal carrier. Interesting game with multiple endings. I beat it in a day and did the alternate endings the next day. 


01/21/2022 at 02:22 PM

I first started doing these recaps (back in...oh gosh, what, 2013?? Surprised) because I got to the end of the year and had no idea what games I'd played that year. As for Lake, my wife played through that game last year and quite enjoyed it! Just a relaxing game to unwind with.


02/01/2022 at 12:55 PM

2013 is when I started here. I've kind of given up on keeping track. I can't even remember what I played week to week anymore, thanks to Game Pass. I let the Xbox app tell me the last 8 or so games I've played if I want to write a blog. 

Lake was very chill. Made me want to apply for a rural postal delivery job. I noticed in the credits, however, the devs admitted to making the job seem much easier than it really is in the game. 

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