End of the Year 2021: Favorite Presentation

Sometimes a game comes along and you just lose yourself in it. Hours go by without notice; suddenly it’s way past your bedtime. And let’s face it, the real world is an awful place. Losing yourself in the worlds of video games can be a welcome, if brief, respite.

This category is for the games that stimulated our senses like no other. Truly great presentation can actively transform an experience. It could be spectacular sound design that totally immersed you in the world, or it could be beautiful art and environments that took your breath away. Or perhaps it was a game that instantly transported you into a time and place. What games captivated you with their sights and sounds?

My pick for this is… obviously just Cruelty Squad again. Nothing I could write says it better than any single, random screenshot could. So here’s a single, random screenshot.

Also, shout-out to co-open, which just has a nice world to live in for a couple of hours. Cute characters in a cozy community co-op, the most enjoyable grocery shopping experience I’ve had in years.


I feel like there are so many games from this year I could choose for this one. The dark, Giger-inspired living jungles (and other areas) of Atropos in Returnal were oppressive and haunting in the perfect, immersive way. Meanwhile Solar Ash’s playground of ruined planets was both beautiful, mystifying and fun to explore…

…but it’s gotta be New Pokemon Snap.
Look, it has been done before but having a safari game where you see Pokemon in their “natural” habitat just hanging out doing Pokemon things and then you take pictures of them and go on your way? I love that shit. And the Pokemon have never looked or animated better than this. They’re the cutest they’ve ever been and I could just live in that world taking photos forever.


Gotta go Sable again. The way the lines move on the mesas while you fly past them, there’s just nothing like it.


Minute Of Islands has an incredible hand-drawn look to it. Reminded me a bit of Adventure Time’s style in a point n click format.


I think my affinity for Returnal comes in part from how much I enjoy what some might call ruin porn. The landscapes of Atropos and its different biomes are beautifully mournful and desolate, but oriented in ways that are both unsettling and enthralling. It creates one of the most palpable atmospheres I’ve ever experienced in a game, and I honestly don’t think I’ve ever managed to lose myself this much into a virtual landscape.


oh hey that’s my screenshot from our review!


Mundaun would be it for me. I really appreciated (and was surprised with) the variety of brightness present throughout; there are these dark dark places and scenes I think of the game as colorful. The texturing let me see shapes out the corner of my eye that weren’t there like convincing yourself the chair is a person in a dark room as a kid.


The official nomination form is live for the next few days! You can nominate your favorites here: [Official Nomination Form]
Please continue discussion. :slight_smile:

I’m really loving the cosmic-psychedelic vibes of Solar Ash.