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Video Game Of The Month December 2022

video game of the month mario battle league football

Well well gamers, it is the last month of the year. Well, it isn’t, as I have been dreadfully ill in December and this will likely go live for you mid-January. BUT let us just forget about that and pretend it is still the magical month of December for a short time longer.

I hope all the millions of unwavering fans of this blog series had a fantastic holiday season, no matter what traditions and beliefs you follow. What? You don’t think there are millions of people reading this series? This Video Game of the Month feature was voted the best written, most loved video game series at the Game Awards. Although, that could have been a fever dream I had whilst I was dreadfully ill. Either way, lets get to the reason you are here…

Mario Strikers: Battle League Football - Paul Blyth

Ole! Ole, ole, ole! Football - the nation’s favourite sport. Low scoring, ego’s, corrupt officials, overpaid grown men falling over pretending to be hurt, and idiotic fans who get into fights if their team loses - football has it all. And with the World Cup on, football fever has gripped the planet, much like Covid did not so long ago.

So, yes, I’m not a huge football fan. I watch England games when they’re on. I saw the Women’s England team take home the trophy, and I used to watch my mates play on a Sunday while I nursed a hangover. But that’s about it. The last time I played a football game was FIFA on the Megadrive when you could outrun the referee to avoid getting carded.

That is, until Mario Strikers: Battle League Football arrived on the Nintendo Switch. This game is great fun regardless of your thoughts on the actual sport. Matches last four minutes, there are no referee’s, no offside rule and players don’t cry when they get tackled. It’s fast-paced with easy controls so is perfect for all ages. My four-year-old loves it and together we’ve won three of the six available trophies.

The character roster is full of Nintendo favourites to make up your team. Each one has various strengths and weaknesses, which are split into different stats. Some are faster, others are better at passing or shooting from distance, while some, like my personal favourite - Bowser - have strength. Which means they are good at tackling and their shots have a chance to knockout the goalkeeper. There’s also gear that can be purchased with match winnings to alter character stats to further enhance their strengths. It’s not that in-depth, but it adds a fun layer of strategy to proceedings. It also made my son sit for ages choosing gear, which gave me time to sneak off and eat some biscuits in peace.

It features online and offline play. With offline allowing for up to 8 players on one console - it doesn’t get much better than that! It’ll definitely be making an appearance on Christmas day, along with Nintendo Switch Sports for a spot of bowling and potential controller throwing.

cult of the lamb

Cult Of The Lamb – Dan Hilton

There isn’t a gamer alive who hasn’t seen the hit sensation sweeping across the lands that is Cult of the Lamb. Such an interesting and cute prospect for a game setting. You take the role of an unnamed lamb who is tasked with building a cult and taking out the old gods of the world. You do this in order to rid the world of, well, cults? I think. I don’t know, but nobody is playing this game for the story let’s be honest.

The game is split into three distinct parts. The first is the rogue-like aspect of the game that will see you traversing the different biomes in the world to kill heretics, free cultists to convert to your cause, collect resources and battle the old gods to free the lands of their evil. The second is building your cult from the ground up with the help of the followers you convert into your cult. You will build buildings, give followers simple jobs, grow some food, and of course shape your cult through sermons and rituals. The third is visiting your acquired friends to partake in some side activities such as fishing, gambling and mushroom collecting to net you some artefacts that unlock more stuff for you.

Is it the best rogue-like game? No. Is it the best city builder game? No. Does the game even have the best fishing mini-game? No. Do I still recommend you give the game a try? Yes. It is a light and breezy game with a whimsical art style and entertaining setting. It has definitely brought me smiles.

Pokémon VioletLauren Skinner

An elderly gym leader challenging you to a rap battle? A shiny snake that lets you ride it around as a bike? A group of ragtag kids battling intruders on living Mad Max-esque vehicles?! Sounds just crazy enough to be a Pokémon game. I’m in.

Pokémon Violet provides an update to the familiar “go out into the world alone with only an electric rat as your companion” format. You are a new student at Uva Academy, where you are sent on a Treasure Hunt, a field assignment encouraging students to go out into the region and find whatever their “treasure” is. This could involve catching ’em all or defeating the Elite Four and becoming Champion, as usual—and it does, if you want to complete the main story. But, this time, two new major story paths have been introduced: taking down the region’s resident edge lord squad, Team Star, and finding Titan Pokémon. Excitingly, you can do them in any order you want in the truly open world of Paldea.

Finding the Titan Pokémon swiftly became my main goal. Not only did liberating each Herba Mystica from the Titans unlock greater exploration through swimming and climbing, but it meant that I could help our friend’s beloved Pokémon slowly recover too. How could I leave Mabosstiff, with his huge sad eyes, to suffer any longer than necessary? I applaud Game Freak for managing to tug on my heartstrings with such a simple narrative.

The main issue is one echoed throughout the internet: the graphics are shocking. The game can’t handle multiple entities moving around on the screen at once, often resulting in horrific lag. Pokémon pop into existence whilst you’re speeding across fields and dunes, meaning that

more than once I had to turn back if I saw a new pocket monster that I needed to add to my collection. Buildings look like playdough in the background. Until a patch is released, it’s just not acceptable for a “finished” game.

The combat is great, as usual. Catching Pokémon is much more rewarding and magical than ever before due to the overworld mechanic. The story is pretty exciting. There’s just so many areas that had potential—why not scale the gym leaders and areas? Why not have Pokémon interact each other in the wild instead of sitting around waiting to be caught? Despite the gripes, it’s a fun game, and hopefully this is a steppingstone to a Pokémon game that will blow our minds next time around.

HadesSophie Jones

It's safe to say the Nintendo Switch has opened me up to more gaming genres. If you told me a few years back, I was enjoying a rogue style game I would have said you’re mad! But here I am, loving it. Roguelikes aren’t usually my cup of tea as they lack story and can feel monotonous. Hades manages to overcome these problems with dynamic themes and gameplay.

Hades takes you on a journey through the Greek underworld as you try to escape. Zagreus, the son of Hades, has had enough of Tartarus life and sets his sites on Mount Olympus. However, getting there won’t be easy. Players must battle their way through each stage of the Underworld. This involves hack and slash gameplay where you chop your way through waves of enemies.

Its sounds tedious but it is far from it. The idea of this game is to die a lot. Each time you do you unlock story dialogue, journal entries and new abilities. This gives you a sense of progression even if you find yourself battling your way through Elysium for the zillionth time. To keep things fresh, Olympic Gods visit you during dungeon crawls and grant abilities. The combination of these seems endless and keep combat entertaining.

On top of all that, there are boss fights which change as you play and plenty of weapons to choose from! For a game which is all about fighting, dying and repeating all that, it doesn’t feel repetitive at all. Instead, I am spurred on to go again to see if anything changes during my next attempt.

If you love Greek mythology and want to try a rogue style game, you can’t go wrong with Hades. Its story is captivating, and its sense of progression keeps you looking forward rather than stagnating. The level design is nice to look at as well!

The Witcher 3: The Wild HuntDan Hilton

The Witcher is becoming a world-wide, multi-media phenomenon as of late. With the recent next-gen update that has been released for the game, it has brought many people back to the game. I sank hundreds of hours into the original release for the game and I hold it in such high regard that it is in my top 5 games of all time. Along with Elden Ring, Asura’s Wrath, Tomba and the original God of War. Shout out to all the oldies like me who actually know Tomba.

The next-gen update brings with it some modern features and what not but it is by no means necessary. I would recommend this game even if it got a last-gen degrade. I purchased the game on initial release and purchased the expansions as soon as they became available. However, I never actually got around to playing the DLC. I took the release of the next-gen update as a sign that it was finally time to jump back in and enjoy the world of the expansions. And by god was I treated to an amazing time.

Even the base game is filled to the brim with stories, loveable characters, worthwhile side quests, monster hunts, treasure to find, gwent and just absolutely bursting with content to get lost in. From monstrosities to battle, curses to break, vile people to take out, people to save and new lands to discover, there is always something new to do in The Witcher. This game will keep you entertained for hundreds of hours.

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And there we go. Another 5 games that we think are well worth your time and attention. With the new year here, let’s all hope for another year packed with amazing games to dive into.

Whatever you are playing at the moment, enjoy yourself, and happy gaming!