It was another challenging year for everybody, but through it all 2021 delivered many games to give us a break from reality and immerse ourselves in other worlds, be it shooting in space, hooning in Mexico or taking down an evil dictator.

With 2021 now becoming a distant dot in our rear-view mirrors, once again STACK’s games team entered into some spirited discussion before voting for our top game releases of the year. Here comes our top ten, presented in alphabetical order.

Deathloop
Deathloop
What we said: “There are puzzles that properly challenge, and the characters and world are hilariously charming. If you’re a fan of Dishonored, or time loop screen experiences such as Groundhog Day and 1967 TV series The Prisoner, then take a look at Deathloop. Take a look at Deathloop…”

Buy now at JB Hi-Fi

 

Far Cry 6
Far Cry 6
What we said: “Far Cry 6 manages to shrug off the problems and pitfalls of “sequel-itis” to deliver an open-world shooty adventure that’s immaculately designed, visually stunning, sprawling and complex enough to satisfy RPG and MMO fans… and it comes with your own personal killer croc!”

Buy now at JB Hi-Fi

 

Forza Horizon 5
Forza Horizon 5
What we said: “Whether you pick it up for ten minutes of fleeting fun or pull an all-nighter, Forza Horizon 5 delivers on everything a car nut could want in an open world racer by honing what was learned from the third and fourth games in the series. It’s hard to improve on perfection, but those cluey types at Playground have pulled it off.”

Buy now at JB Hi-Fi

 

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy
What we said: “A movie-like experience that’s truly fun to play, the campaign is lengthy enough to make you feel like you’ve really earned something at the completion. If you have even a passing interest in Guardians of the Galaxy or the MCU in general, then you’re going to love this experience.”

Buy now at JB Hi-Fi

 

Hot Wheels Unleashed
Hot Wheels Unleashed
What we said: “Ultimately, anybody who could while away several hours admiring and racing their shiny toy Hot Wheels collection in younger days could easily find themselves getting lost in lapping up the nostalgia and clocking up the hours with this beautifully-presented trip down memory lane.”

Buy now at JB Hi-Fi

 

Life is Strange: True Colors
Life Is Strange: True Colors
What we said: “If you’re already a fan of the original Life Is Strange and its sort-of-prequel, you’re in for a treat with True Colors. With great writing, terrific acting, plenty of well-tuned emotional punch and an engaging new ‘special ability’ letting the other characters speak their innermost thoughts as you make your way through the story’s mysteries, it’s a welcome return to form for the series.”

Buy now at JB Hi-Fi

 

Metroid Dread
Metroid Dread
What we said: “For fans of MetroidVania games, Metroid Dread feels like the return of the queen in many ways. It’s the series that invented a genre that produces must-play games to this day, and while it’s clearly playing with a few old tricks, there are no cobwebs on this spacesuit.”

Buy now at JB Hi-Fi

 

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
What we said: “Right at the magnificently meta-oozing outset, questioning why they’re receiving a parade after so many years away, Ratchet quips, ‘What if everybody thinks we’re washed up? What if we ARE washed up?’ They’re SO not, for Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is a triumph of super-fun gameplay, and the PS5’s new killer app for all comers to aspire to.”

Buy now at JB Hi-Fi

 

Returnal
Returnal
What we said: “In a jam-packed action game that teeters on the fine line between masterpiece and madness, Housemarque have captured the essence of what we want from a true new-gen title – something new. Not only does Returnal look great, and provide a real challenge, it does so by showing off exactly what the new-gen platforms and peripherals are capable of.”

Buy now at JB Hi-Fi

 

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury
Super Mario World + Bowser’s Fury
What we said: “Super Mario 3D World has lost none of its magic since debuting on the Wii U, and also gains online multiplayer and a top-notch bonus game. Significant history is plundered masterfully, along with wild creativity, ace music, all of the colours and – joy of joys – we’re treated to a non-helpless Peach. This should tide us over nicely until Super Mario Odyssey 2…”

Buy now at JB Hi-Fi

 

Honourable mentions

Age of Empires IV, Biomutant, Disco Elysium: The Final Cut, F1 2021, Jurassic World Evolution 2, Lost Judgment, Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, Resident Evil Village, Scarlet Nexus, The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes