The best games were created for masochists.

The boom times for wholesome stories and colorful worlds were over after several years.

Dark Souls is a series from FromSoftware that leads that charge. It rose to its own challenge as players picked apart Elden Ring, a game that was difficult and cruel. The game was made harder by speed-runners racing against the clock. Not to be reduced to one punishing game, but a handful of roguelikes pushed the genre while teaching players about patience and perseverance.

Is it all so dark? It's not quite right. There were bright spots in this year's releases. They showed us how to find meaning in silence. They allowed us to be very cute. There are a lot of games in this year.

If you buy something using links in our stories, we may earn a commission. This helps support our journalism. Learn more.

The cult of the lamb.

The content can be seen on the site it came from.

The platforms are Nintendo Switch, PS4 and XBOX X.

Cult of the Lamb is the sweetest cult simulation you can play right now. The players are a resurrected lamb who is tasked with building a following in his honor.

The game is a solid roguelike, where players venture into randomly generated levels to uncover the game's story of revenge. It is the mechanics that make it stand out. Enemies can be given different tasks in order to fit their roles in the cult. The social aspects of keeping a cult in check add a welcome depth to your adventure. As devotees leave, the stakes increase. Do you sacrifice followers on your altar or coddle them? Being a cult leader is not easy.

$25 on Switch$25 on Steam$20 on Xbox$25 on PlayStation

The ring is called Elden.

The content can be seen on the site it came from.

The platforms are the PS3/Xbox Series X and PC.

Elden Ring was one of the funniest comedies of the year. George R. R. Martin wrote it that way, but it's not because. People are not very good at cracking jokes. The game has a biting sense of humor, with hidden bears that will kill you with a smack, off-kilter in-game messages from other players, or a deadly boss waiting for you at the top of a very long ladder.

A notoriously difficult game was created by FromSoftware. Each step you take will kill you in the world. Every boss fight is a dance of skill and patience. Even if it is avoiding falling off the same cliff you have done before, every victory is worth it. It is a game that is close to your heart. You don't need to know anything about Elden Ring to enjoy it. You can find pleasure in creating your own adventures. Be careful when enemies fall from the sky.

$50 on Amazon$42 on Xbox$60 on Steam$60 on PlayStation

The God of War is called Ragnark.

The content can be seen on the site it came from.

The platforms are the PS3 and PS4.

God of War: Ragnark has been a crowd pleaser and award winner for a long time. Kratos and Atreus are getting ready for the end of everything when God of War returns.

The stakes are higher and the world is bigger in Ragnark. The conflict between Atreus and Kratos is a reflection of his own identity and freedom.

A refreshing decision that led to more than 60 options for players to tailor their experience to their needs was made with accessibility in mind.

There is a forbidden west.

The content can be seen on the site it came from.

The platforms are the PS3 and PS4.

Aloy is back in the sequel to the cranky- animal-robots-who-kill-people action adventure game. After solving the game's previous mystery of why the world is overrun with robot animals, Aloy, charming as ever, set off to explore unexplored territory in the western US.

If you want a richer experience, you should check out the world of Forbidden West. The thrill of being a hunter can't be beat, but there's a simple pleasure in exploring the wilderness. Aloy is more skilled with her skills. The satisfaction of throwing a bomb at a snake robot is hard to beat.

There is immortality.

The content can be seen on the site it came from.

There are platforms for Windows, PC, and XBOX X.

Sam Barlow is an old hand at making narrative driven stories that straddle the line between video games and broader entertainment. Like his previous projects, Her Story and telling lies, Immortality uses full-motion video to tell a story one clip at a time as players try to solve the mystery of actresses disappearance

What players pick up on is up to them. The game requires the player to be curious and discover. There is no one right way to make a puzzle like this.

What is that mystery? The less you say, the merrier.

The white is neon.

The content can be seen on the site it came from.

The Nintendo Switch, PS4 and PC are available.

Neon White is a love letter to the animation industry. Every year, sinners from Hell called Neons are given the chance to compete in a demon killing contest for the chance to stay on top.

Neon White has a satisfying learning curve where missions are timed and you have to solve puzzles. Each level has a specific number of demons you need to kill within specific time limits, but you can only do so by playing limited cards you pick up in that level. It is easy to be clumsy. Your entire run can be ruined by one mistake. It's easy to start over with each mission because it's so short. Neons can be used when you need a break. Each is holding a piece of the puzzle.

Neon White has a mix of speed, style, and horniness. Thank god that it is an odd entry in the best games of the year.

$25 on Switch$25 on PlayStation$25 on Steam

Arceus is a Pokemon character.

The content can be seen on the site it came from.

There are platforms for the Nintendo switch.

The world-expanding adventure players have been requesting for a long time.

The early era of the beloved series was set before Ash Ketchum ever picked up a poke ball.

The franchise has a formula for challenging gym leaders to be the best. It's the first time that pokémon encounters can be frightening. Powerful creatures with quick tempers roam its open fields, and you are a dork in a silly little hat whose best defense is to flee. It reminds us of how rich the Pokémon universe could be.

There is a person who Strays.

The content can be seen on the site it came from.

The platforms are PS3/PC.

In Blue Twelve Studios, humans are gone and cats are left to wander the ruins. You can be annoying and be cute at the same time. It's difficult to not have thumbs. It's a surprisingly emotional story, touching on themes like inequity and existentialism. Stray is different due to its loneliness and silence.

Being a cute cat is quite enjoyable. I need to stress that.

$30 on PlayStation$30 on Steam

There is a tunic.

The content can be seen on the site it came from.

The platforms are Nintendo Switch, PS5 and PC.

The tunic is heavy and old school. The ethereal world makes it difficult for players to sort their journey with few clues. As a cute fox, players will venture into the woods, dungeons, and more to solve puzzles and battle foes.

The game is a lot of fun to play. One of the objectives is to retrieve a sword hidden away, and it can be accomplished in under an hour. The purpose isn't speed. Tunic is a clever game that has a lot of hidden secrets. It's calm. Try to figure out how you missed that road when you first looked at it.

Vampires are survivors.

The content can be seen on the site it came from.

There are different platforms for the Xbox Series X.

The hit of the year is Luca Galente's Vampire survivors. The game's initial early access period caused little fanfare, but it found its footing early this year and will be released in the fall.

The game is low-rent and easy to play. There are a lot of monsters to kill with your weapon. The premise quickly gives way to chaos as the pace gets crazy. You can upgrade as you level up to make runs a little easier but still busy.

It can be difficult to put down a game like Vampire Survivors. It was available for mobile devices this month.

$5 on Xbox$5 on SteamFree on iOSFree on Android