May 2022 definitely seems like it will be the quietest month of the year in terms of significant AAA releases. The biggest games were the middling Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong and the surprisingly satisfying Sniper Elite 5. Despite the lack of AAA titles, there were still plenty of excellent indie games that made May 2022 a month to remember for some.
Next month, we’ll get a flurry of new releases from the likes of Nintendo, Blizzard, and 2K, as well as enjoy new announcements from almost every company in the video game industry. Until then, you can have a good time with any of these seven games that launched this month.
Sniper Elite 5
Sniper Elite 5 was this month’s big-ticket game by default. Thankfully, it’s a very enjoyable stealth sniping game that brings in elements from Metal Gear Solid V and Hitman to create a tense but satisfying experience. The series’ trademark gory killcams return too, so you can see every organ and bone you hit with a bullet get eviscerated. If you enjoy sniping in games specifically, then Sniper Elite 5 is a must-play title.
“Sniper Elite 5’s limited toolset and generic set dressing don’t quite elevate it to Hitman levels of creativity, but its open-ended approach to stealth action makes for a devilishly satisfying war game,” Giovanni Colantonio wrote in Digital Trends’ three-and-a-half star review of Sniper Elite 5.
Until some more high-profile AAA shooters like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II release later this year, Sniper Elite 5 is certainly the best new shooter game that you can find on the market. It’s on Xbox Game Pass too, so even the mildly curious can enjoy it. It’s also on PC, PS4, and PS5 for those who’d like to purchase Sniper Elite 5 outright.
Evil Dead: The Game
Evil Dead: The Game is the latest example of a horror franchise licensed and turned into a 4v1 asymmetrical multiplayer game. While this was done to mixed results in the past with series like Friday the 13th and Predator, Evil Dead: The Game actually gives Dead by Daylight a run for its money. Fans of the Sam Raimi-created movie franchise will enjoy being able to play as almost every character from the films, including multiple versions of Bruce Campbell’s iconic Ash Williams. Players can also control various demons from the Evil Dead series, scaring and attacking the survivors with unique abilities.
“Both the human and killer experiences are very different and rewarding in their own right,” Digital Trends’ Giovanni Colantonio said about the game’s take on the 4v1 multiplayer experience. “I don’t feel like I have to do my time as a human just to get to the fun stuff when it’s my turn as a demon. No matter who I’m playing as, I get to raise hell.”
If you and your buddies like horror movies and are looking for a new multiplayer game to try, Evil Dead: The Game would be an excellent choice. Even if it doesn’t fully dethrone Dead by Daylight, it’s good that this Evil Dead multiplayer game is fun and not a total dud like Predator: Hunting Grounds. Evil Dead: The Game is available now for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.
Do you enjoy games like PowerWash Simulator that turn menial labor into a really enjoyable and satisfying game? Hardspace: Shipbreaker does that with a sci-fi twist as you control a contract worker who’s trying to salvage materials from abandoned spacecraft for a megacorporation. You’ll scan for materials and hazards, slice through ships with a laser cutter, and use a tether to move and collect objects. As the game progresses though, you’ll slowly uncover that this game is really about the benefits of unionization, a very relevant message for the video game industry at this time.
“Like its spaceships, Hardspace: Shipbreaker is an intricately crafted project that’s worth dissecting,” Giovanni Colantonio wrote in his four-star review of the game. “Its satisfying reverse-engineering gameplay is relaxing and tense in the same breath. Though what’s more impressive is the way that core gameplay is used to reinforce big-picture ideas about worker’s rights that feel timeless, even in its sci-fi setting.”
This game manages to scratch the simulation, sandbox, and compelling narrative itches, so it’s an all-around excellent package. Currently, Hardspace: Shipbreaker is only available on PC. That said, it is actually on Xbox Game Pass for PC and will eventually come to consoles, so it should be on your radar if you like these types of simulation games and have that subscription.
One of the biggest indie darlings of the month has turned out to be Citizen Sleeper, a sci-fi RPG where players control a person trying to survive after their human consciousness has been digitized and put into a robot body. Like Hardspace: Shipbreaker, Citizen Sleeper has a lot to say about late-stage capitalism and the problems with megacorporations, concepts that are only becoming more relevant to our real lives.
Speaking to others and using skills to overcome obstacles and befriend people is a key part of this game. Citizen Sleeper definitely takes a lot of cues from 2020 indie darling Disco Elysium, but manages to feel like more than a simple clone thanks to its sci-fi setting, compelling narrative, and a structure that focuses more on your character’s daily routine.
Citizen Sleeper is shaping up to be one of the better indie games of the year and proves that there is room still room to explore the RPG formula and presentation featured in Disco Elysium. Citizen Sleeper is currently available through Xbox Game Pass on PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X, as well as on PS4, PS5, and Nintendo Switch.
Announcing HAYAI, an arena game where you literally draw your attacks! 👺
Featuring multiple playable characters! Achievements! Online leaderboards!
— Brandon Yu (@Chaoclypse) May 15, 2022
Chaoclypse’s Hayai is a small indie game made in just two weeks during the development of a larger project. Despite that, is one of my favorite games from May 2022. Players can choose from one of five characters and try to get a high score by killing as many enemies as possible. The only way to kill enemies is to use draw a line through them with your mouse. Because you can hit multiple enemies at once and time slows down with all but one character when you do this, Hayai lets players execute some particularly satisfying combos.
It combines bullet hell enemy spawns and placement with a drawing system reminiscent of Okami to create a simple but uniquely satisfying action game. Thanks to its mouse-based gameplay, it feels like something that belongs in an arcade or on phones, like Fruit Ninja, or a stylus-driven game on the 3DS’s eShop in 2012. Still, Hayai is quite fun with a mouse on modern-day PCs, so I’m glad I happened to randomly see this game in passing on Twitter.
You can get every achievement within an hour or two of play if you’re good at the game, but Hayai‘s selling point isn’t its content depth. It’s pure visceral and satisfying fun that you can only get from indie games that are willing to execute bold ideas that sometimes feel like they could fit in another era. Currently, Hayai is only available on Steam, but at $2, it’s worth checking out if the premise intrigues you. Overall, Hayai is impressive for a game made in two weeks!
The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story
Full-motion video (FMV) games are a rarity nowadays, and when they do pop up, they usually feel like cheap and amateurishly shot movies. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised by The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story from Final Fantasy publisher Square Enix and Neo: The World Ends With You developer h.a.n.d. It’s a century-spanning murder-mystery game about a novelist trying to solve a series of murder cases surrounding the Shijima family and the Fruit of Youth that they supposedly guard. Players look for clues in FMV cutscenes, connect those clues in a mindscape, and then call out the culprit in a choice-driven final cutscene.
When the game was first revealed, I wrote that The Centennial Case was “one of the boldest games to come out of any of the Nintendo Directs,” and described it as “Last Night in Soho meets Sherlock.” While it isn’t quite as good as the film and show I compared it to, The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story is a step above most other FMV games and worth checking out for those who like a good detective book, show, or podcast.
The cinematography is competent, if not overly ambitious, and fits the confined yet timeline-spanning nature of this game’s narrative well. The reasoning phase itself is also pretty easy as the game guides players to the right answers more often than not. Still, there’s enough choice and player agency to really make you feel smart when you call out the correct culprit. While gameplay-focused video games like Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong failed to give players a satisfying detective gameplay loop, this FMV game managed to surpass it in quality. The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story is available now for PC, PS4, PS5, and Nintendo Switch.
Nintendo has indefinitely delayed its remake of the first two Advance Wars games, so fans of the turn-based strategy game genre as a whole have been left out in the cold. Thankfully, Floppy Knights is here to fill that void. Mixing traditional strategy gameplay akin to Fire Emblem or Advance Wars with a card-based battle system reminiscent of Slay the Spire, Floppy Knights offers an easy to understand but surprisingly deep strategy game experience that fans of the genre will enjoy.
To top it all off, the game features a delightfully colorful art style crafted by Dicey Dungeons artist Marlowe Dobbe that’ll put a smile on your face when you look at it. Its story is also a pretty lighthearted but poignant coming-of-age tale that anyone who’s ever worried about impressing their parent or choosing a career can relate to. Floppy Knights is currently available for PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. It’s on Xbox Game Pass too, so subscribers to that service don’t even have to go out of their way to try it.