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!

Deaths door

I’m not normally the guy who feels the need to master a game, or even to be good at one. I frequently play on easy mode, I skip optional bosses every time, I never do challenge modes, and I always play unranked in online games. There is not a competitive bone in my body. There’s this “gamer’s high” that people talk about when playing these ultra-hard games that I have rarely experienced. I’ve played several hours of Dark Souls I & III, Bloodborne, Hollow Knight, and others games known for difficulty without ever enjoying them, even when defeating a boss after hours of work. Death’s Door changed everything for me. 

Just an hour into this game, which I found exceedingly difficult (I know others did not), I was absolutely vibing. Coupled with the amazing music, the gorgeous art, the whimsical characters, the Ghibli-inspired monsters - everything came together for me. But even more, something about this combat gripped me the way Hades did last year. The need to get better and better, the need to win. And that was the thing, I didn’t just want to win; I wanted to excel

When I accidentally found myself in a room with an optional fire boss that shredded me in seconds, I kept going. I didn’t even realize what I was doing was unusual for about half an hour - me, choosing to fight an optional boss that had beaten me a dozen times already? It was unheard of. But I felt that high, and I needed to win. 

DeathsDoor 2

Every round I got a little bit better, and after almost two hours (which is much longer than most people would need) I finally stood victorious. And I felt great. I ended up collecting every gem and item, essentially 100% completing Death’s Door; it has joined the elite ranks of three games I’ve ever 100%ed, alongside Super Mario 64 and Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage

In the most cheesy way possible, Death’s Door brought out the gamer spirit in a way no other game has ever managed. Those hours I spent crouched over my PC, sweat filtering through the rubberized grip on my controller, eyes wide, thumbs aching - those were some of the best hours of gaming I had this year. I don’t know what it is about Death’s Door, but developers Acid Nerve achieved the impossible this year - they made me want to unironically git gud. And git gud I did.