- Best Games of 2018: 50 – 41
- Best Games of 2018: 40 – 31
- Best Games of 2018: 30 – 21
- Best Games of 2018: 20 – 11
- Best Games of 2018: 10 – 1
Best Games of 2018: 40 – 31
40. Starlink: Battle for Atlas
Space shooters are far and few between on consoles these days, but Starlink is sophisticated enough to sate those who yearn for a new Star Fox game. With both planetary and space segments, Starlink: Battle for Atlas is more complex than you’d think at first glance. It also has the toys-to-life thing going on with NFC figures, but you don’t need them to play the game. Switch owners can get even more excited as Fox McCloud, and his Arwing are available for purchase as a toy and can be used in-game to unlock exclusive missions.
Mothergunship is a first-person shooter when your gun can have a gun next to its other gun. But it’s also a roguelike where you don’t know what’s around the next corner so you better make sure that your gun’s gun’s gun can pack quite a punch.
Going out on randomized missions lets you collect parts to upgrade your powersuit and outfit it with even more ridiculous weaponry. It’s craft a firearm so large that it makes the framerate crumple with only a few shots. Mothergunship isn’t the most impressive first-person shooter nor is it the best roguelike but it combines both with enough of its own goofy style to be worth playing for anyone who is a fan of either genre.
38. Spyro Reignited Trilogy
Both newcomers and veterans of the franchise can find a lot to love in the Spyro Reignited Trilogy. Though the gameplay remains unchanged in an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” kind of way, the visuals and sound have been completely overhauled. Spyro plays just like he did 20 years ago, only now he’s looking a lot more polished.
The Reignited Trilogy combines the first three (proper) Spyro games into one great-looking package, with Achievement and Trophy support for all three titles. This marks another successful PlayStation 1 remake that piles on the nostalgia and provides gameplay which stands the test of time.
37. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
The ball was back in Treyarch Studios’ court for the Call of Duty 2018 release. While the continuation of the Black Ops series can be seen as a safe play, it doesn’t take away from the fact that Black Ops 4 is one of the best shooters of the year.
Making the bold move to drop the single-player component, Treyarch was able to focus on delivering three compelling multiplayer experiences: Multiplayer, Zombies, and Blackout. Multiplayer offers the classic Call of Duty boots-on-ground gameplay and progression across a generous number of well-designed maps, and Zombies gives players new characters to get to know and love, while also bringing back the legendary cast of old. Blackout is the true standout here, however, with Treyarch managing to create a battle royale experience based on fan-favorite maps, weapons, and characters.
The best platformers move onto new tricks before you get bored of their old ones. Fe does exactly that, with players frequently being introduced to new ideas that aren’t allowed any room to stagnate. The titular Fe forms bonds with other creatures by way of singing with them, granting the player access to a new ability that will allow them to complete the level ahead. Granting access to previously hidden areas by way of connecting with your fellow woodlands critters is an inspired and charming choice, with Fe‘s blissful audio design helping bring its organic world to life.
In one area you’re jumping from tree-to-tree atop the back of a towering creature, the next you’re throwing a pack of excitable lizards between platforms. While it may be short and the villainous Silent Ones don’t provide much in the way of a challenge, there’s a lot to love about this laid-back 3D platformer.
35. The Gardens Between
Games often suffer from bloat. Content is king and almost every game is gunning for that crown. But not The Gardens Between. It’s only a two-hour game that uses its time wisely to convey a lovely, silent story between two young friends while also showcasing a series of clever puzzles.
Levels require that you manipulate time and each character to progress, as each is on a set path that changes as you move things around. It appropriately starts out slow and then begins to layer on more complex scenarios on that simple core mechanic. The Gardens Between uses these clever levels as a means to convey its narrative through interaction and set dressing and this economical use of its gameplay and story are exactly why it’s one of the best games of the year.
34. Laser League
Creating an original multiplayer-dependent game in 2018 is a difficult task, though the concept behind Laser League is pretty ingenious. Teams face off against one another hitting switches that trigger laser walls, with your team’s lasers able to eliminate your opponents if they step into them.
Aside from a few class-based abilities, the contact between rivals in Laser League is minimal, with players instead wandering around each map hitting switches in order to fill it with their team’s color. As each round progresses, the laser walls come in thick and fast, with only the most agile players surviving.
Laser League may not have attracted the same audience as Rocket League, though it’s still a worthy addition to your game library even if its community has dried up. Grab some friends, boot it up, and we promise that you won’t come up for air for a long time.
33. Mario Tennis Aces
The “Mario + Sport” formula has led to some fantastic games across the many Nintendo systems. Mario Tennis Aces is one of those great titles that takes characters we know and love, bends the rules of their world to be focused wholly upon sporting skill, and comes out shining. A just-difficult-enough campaign masterfully teaches players the basics, acting as well-paced preparation for online or local matchups.
As with most good Nintendo Switch games, Mario Tennis Aces suits both at-home and portable console play, with flexible Joy-Con and controller compatibility making it easy to challenge a friend in the wild.
You could shop around all year and still not find a game as half as engaging as Moonlighter. Tasking you with juggling the struggles of being a shopkeeper with the trials of a dungeon adventurer, the Binding of Isaac-esque crawler from Digital Sun is far more stripped back than its forebears, but more than makes up for it with its unique shop mechanic.
You see, you don’t simply pawn off the loot and wares gained from the dark, dusty depths of a dungeon to any old person. You have to set prices, monitor supply and demand for certain items, and ensure your protagonist, Will, doesn’t get ripped off in the process. It’s a compelling gameplay loop that will have you counting coin well into the early hours – that’s if you can stop any thieves in the area from swiping your well-earned stock.
31. Detroit: Become Human
Detroit: Become Human gives PS4 owners another unique storytelling experience from the folks over at Quantic Dream. Impressive visuals sell the world and its characters, forcing players to feel immersed and connected with the three android characters.
The many branching paths mean that decisions really do matter and have an impact on the story. Decision-making in video games is rarely implemented this well. The wildly different endings and hidden paths see Detroit demanding to be replayed. While the metaphors may be a little on the nose, the plot is ultimately a rollercoaster ride of high highs and low lows.