Welcome to our Gameluster Top 10 of 2021! After our deliberations on the Game Busters Podcast, we’ve settled on an unranked list of the top 10 best games of the year. Each of these will be a short write-up on why our team is so passionate about these games, so stay tuned!

Itt 3

Earlier this year, I hit up a good friend of mine who lives several states away and asked if she'd be interested in playing a co-op game with me for free. If I bought one copy of the game we'd get two copies, courtesy of the unbelievably consumer friendly Friend's Pass that comes with Hazelight's games. She eagerly agreed, and just 30 minutes after we began playing together I knew we had struck gold. We continued playing It Takes Two in short two hour bursts once a week while catching up, and frankly I don't think I've ever had such a special and intense bonding session with a friend. I remember so many moments from our playthrough; working together, sabotaging each other, fighting in the mini games, absolutely getting our butts kicked during the bosses - and it was all unbelievably fun.

As a child of divorce (a particularly horrible divorce), I still found this story to be super endearing. Some people need to be apart, others need a push from a certain Spanish long-armed twerking book to find their way back together. You bring different skill sets to the table, but ultimately the only way to get anything done is to learn to work together both through the narrative and the gameplay. This is a pinnacle of thematic consistency, which you know I love. Absolutely outstanding. And they nail the ending. It's not too heavy-handed is very realistic, they don't lean on a facade of "this shared trauma fixed our marriage."

It takes two 2

I'm comfortable saying now this is the most innovative co op game i've ever played. It takes two is made to be played with a close friend or significant other, and that makes it all the more powerful when you and your partner truly synergize. The game does a phenomenal job of teaching you to work together and use your individual skills for the common good to progress, and it's just focused on fun 100% of the time. I have never seen a game push the theme of collaboration so well and so thoroughly. Every action must be supported by your partner's actions, and vice versa. Hazelight's masterpiece is the pinnacle of thematic consistency, and that theme is simply this: it takes two. We have a new bar set for co-op games, and I'm eager to see more games of this type spring up after its win at The Game Awards.

-Nirav