My top ten favorite games of the year, presented in ascending order each day leading into the holidays. Look for my full Top Ten list with categories and awards on December 24!
#10 Dead Cells
#9 Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden
#8 Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu/Eevee!
#6 Jurassic World Evolution
#5 Into the Breach
Developer: Subset Games
Publisher: Subset Games
Platforms: PC, Switch
Chess is one of my favorite games growing up, and still is to this day. It’s also a big reason why I frequently fall in love with tactical, turn-based RPGs and strategy games.
Into the Breach is basically Chess but with time-traveling mechs battling Godzilla-sized insects in a pixelated art style. Every battle is a tiny square made up of grids, and you’re given all the information immediately, including enemy movement, turn order, and attack abilities.
Each turn is filled with agonizing yet wonderful decisions about saving the people versus minimizing the damage to your mechs. Every round is a critical choreography of damage as I have to carefully anticipate which squares will be hit, and how best to eliminate or move enemies around. Nothing is more satisfying than moving an enemy so it attacks its own allies.
Each campaign cleverly lets you choose the length by letting me decide when I want to tackle the final assault, and the action scales accordingly. Individual missions and tasks vary from saving a train to avoiding acid baths, while much of the replayability comes from unlocking and using new mech teams with fun themes and synergy.
Out of all the games on this list Into the Breach is the one I plan on returning to the most. Its delicate tactical balance splashed with just the right amount of RPG elements make it more than a worthy follow-up to Subset Games’ previous hit, FTL.