2019 might not have been a stellar year in terms of blockbuster video game releases. With a whole new generation of consoles set to arrive next year, most of the heavy hitters are holding fire. After all, publishers are likely to hold off on what they expect to be the most successful games until the launch of new hardware.
Yet, there have still been plenty of great titles released over the last 12 months. Instead of AAA releases, smaller budget experiences and indie games reigned supreme in 2019. As publishing to digital storefronts becomes easier and easier, more gems are rising to the surface.
But what are the best games of the year? This list should give you a definitive top 10 video games of 2019 that you won’t want to miss out on playing.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Developer FromSoftware has risen to prominence over the last couple of years. Games like Dark Souls and Bloodborne have set a new trend when it comes to fiendishly difficult RPGs. The studio’s latest game was always likely to attract plenty of interest.
However, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice switches up the formula significantly. This is an action-adventure game rather than a traditional RPG, with a focus on stealth and the story. Receiving praise for its depth of combat and level design, it is the perfect choice for those wanting a real challenge.
Who would have thought that Tetris would make such an incredible resurgence? The puzzle game has remained consistently popular throughout the decades since its initial release. Yet, Tetris 99 switched up the action with a brand new twist this year.
In this free Nintendo Switch release, you face off against 98 other players in a battle royale-inspired mode. Every time you clear blocks, junk is sent to your opponents. Eventually, one person emerges victorious in what is an excellent take on such a classic game.
Void Bastards is a first-person shooter with a twist. The indie darling takes inspiration from the likes of BioShock and Spelunky to create an atmospheric shooter.
At the heart of the game is choice. Players have to carefully decide how to manage their resources and whether every action is worth the risk. As a prisoner on board the Void Ark, you have to journey into derelict ships nearby to scavenge parts.
Each death introduces a new randomly-generated character for you to take control of. Every one of them has their own range of abilities and perks that make each run a brand new adventure. Check out our full review here.
Not to be confused with the similarly titled The Outer Worlds, this action-adventure game was released in May. Players take control of an astronaut trapped on a planet that is about to explode. After 22 minutes of in-game time, a nearby star goes supernova and destroys you and everything else. This also resets you back to where you originally started.
Ultimately, the aim is to explore your surroundings and use the knowledge you learn before each reset to try and change the course of events. Add stunning environments and an emotional story into the mix and Outer Wilds is a real winner.
My Friend Pedro
My Friend Pedro might sound like it has a silly name. Even the concept itself might also sound a bit bizarre. You are a person who is friends with a talking banana and must take out enemies as stylishly as possible.
Using slow-motion to plan out your actions, players have to make sure they never become boring. Killing enemies is not enough by itself, as you have to do everything with some flair. Experimenting to discover interesting ways of wiping out all opponents is satisfying and lots of fun.
No Code and Devolver Digital released Observation in May. The puzzler sees the player take control of an A.I. aboard an abandoned space station. It is an interesting switch-up of the usual sci-fi trope of people trapped with a rampant A.I.
With great design, difficult but engaging puzzles, and a well-paced story, Observation is a standout out for 2019. While it is only a couple of hours long, it is a game everyone should try out.
The Outer Worlds
The Outer Worlds takes the role-playing genre very much back to its roots. It is essentially a Fallout game set in space. However, it avoids many of the trappings of the more recent entries in that franchise. Those who played Fallout: New Vegas, also by Obsidian, will have a good idea of what to expect.
As well as offering plenty of different ways to tackle problems, The Outer Worlds is genuinely funny. And as each playthrough is unique, there’s plenty of replay value in this RPG.
Mortal Kombat 11
The Mortal Kombat series has been around a long time. While many recent releases haven’t attracted the positive reception the developers are used to, Mortal Kombat 11 was a welcome return to form.
The return to a slower, more methodical combat style and an improved story mode saw the fighter become a huge success. Undoubtedly, it is the best entry in the franchise in a long time and a title that any fighting fan will want.
Fortnite might well dominate the battle royale genre but Apex Legends has become a genuine competitor. Developed in secrecy and launched with little fanfare, Respawn Entertainment’s multiplayer shooter has become a huge success.
Apex Legends follows many of the staples from these types of games but also offers some innovations. Chief among them is the ability to revive teammates and choose from a selection of different classes. As a free-to-play title, you really have no excuse for not giving it a go. Read our full review here.
Remedy Entertainment’s action-adventure shooter takes everything the developer has learned from their previous games to create a truly special title. Like the studio’s previous work, Control has a mysterious but compelling story.
More impressive, though, is the fluid combat and intricate abilities that you can use to take out enemies in all manner of ways. Coupled with the excellent environment design and superb lighting, Control is a well-paced and thoughtful journey. See our full review here.
What do you think is the best video game of 2019? Let us know in the comments below!