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What are your favourite guilty pleasure games?

Ronzilla Asks RPS

An image of the words Ask RPS on an off-white background
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun

Cor, has it really been almost half a year since we've done one of these? Apologies, readers. I honestly don't know where the time goes. It's probably because we're spending too much time with our favourite guilty pleasure games, which is the subject of this latest Ask RPS column.

The question comes courtesy of ronzilla, who asked: What were your favourite guilty pleasure games of 2022? As in, I play this all the time and I'm semi-embarrassed to admit it?

A good question! In canvassing the wider RPS Treehouse for their responses, it quickly became clear that most of our guilty pleasure games extend way beyond the bounds of just the year 2022, so we've answered a bit more broadly than the original question perhaps intended. Still, hopefully there are still some entertaining answers in here nonetheless.

Katharine recently played four hours of Assassin's Creed Mirage and, yep, it's certainly a classic Assassin's Creed game.Watch on YouTube

Liam: Christ, how long do you have? I played about a 100 hours of Fortnite last year alone. I logged into Mario Kart Tour every single day. I bought currency for Overwatch 2. Multiple times! Why did I do that? Sonic Frontiers would have been a fun answer to this question, as I think I’m the only person in the team (the network? The country? The world??) that liked it, but I’d be lying if I said I’d even booted it up once in 2023. Vampire Survivors is probably a better answer, as although it’s a fantastic game, my mission to unlock every single one of its achievements has resulted in a playtime over 85 hours which is a bit gross really.

Ollie: Oh, come on. You expect me to remember 2022? I suppose I did play through Marvel’s Spider-Man, but the only thing I’m embarrassed about with that is that it took me so long to play it. “Oh, the web-swinging is quite good, isn’t it?” I said, five years too late. Besides that, I believe I played a fair bit of Tower Of Fantasy, and while I didn’t exactly enjoy it, it proved to be a good enough onboarding experience for the genre that I could finally go back into Genshin Impact and not bounce off it like the first couple of times I’d tried it out. Yeah, I guess probably Genshin Impact is the correct answer here. But I’m not exactly embarrassed. I’m more just proud that I got so much out of the game without ever giving in and spending so much as a penny on the “give me all the pretty characters” slot machine.

Using the Mass Telekinesis glove power on a group of plant monsters in Atomic Heart.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Focus Entertainment/4Divinity

James: Yeah, tough one. I feel guilty about how excessively competitive I became playing Apex Legends, but not for playing the game per se. I think the closest I’ve come to this was maybe Atomic Heart, earlier this year? Its frequent lapses into terribleness (hateful characters, baffling world design, questionable politics) definitely made me quieten down to others about how fun I was having with the moment-to-moment robot blasting.

Kassandra speaks to a woman in Assassin's Creed Odyssey
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Ubisoft

Katharine: I think the best answer I have for this is: any Assassin's Creed game. I have logged stupid numbers of hours playing both Odyssey and Valhalla over the last five years, and I honestly don't know why I kept playing them for so long. They are entirely hollow video games, with rinse-repeat tasks, the same kind of nothing castle raiding and auto-climbing parkour, and yet. Even though I know they're trash, they're also the best kind of trash. I don't care one jot for the wider AC lore hole. I don't really even consider myself a "fan" of the series. But will I keep playing the heck out of them with every subsequent release? Hoo boy, absolutely yes I will.

Alice Bee: I don't consider any of my pleasures that guilty to be honest! At least not in the sense that I'm embarrassed to admit I play it. I mean I don't play any anime girl sex games, I suppose, and if I did maybe my feelings re: shame would be different. But in general I think if something makes you happy and it's not hurting your or others then why feel guilty? I do have a Picross game on my phone that I log hours in, almost every day. It's called CrossMe and every so often it updates with new puzzles, and a lot of the images are of dubious origin. I did one puzzle the other day that was the Skyrim logo and it was called 'Dragon Picture' or something. So I get guilty about that in the sense that I use it like a fidget spinner, essentially, but the cumulative time spent playing it could be more profitably spent on e.g. reading a book. Genuinely my most played game of basically any year.

A heavily armed potato beats up aliens in a Brotato demo screenshot.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Blobfish

Alice0: Like Alice, I don't believe in having "guilty pleasures". I will openly and joyously admit to everything I play, read, watch, and listen to - especially the trash. To act like some games are beneath you is to intentionally ignore the full and sometimes terrible power of video games. There's huge power in something which can satisfy a need or scratch an itch deep in you yet provoke a reaction of guilt or shame, and that's worth giving real thought. So to go along with the spirit of the question, I will say that I recently needed to uninstall Brotato because it was becoming a genuine problem for my life.

Edwin: Dream Cycle is the work of a team led by Toby Gard, aka one of the original creators of Lara Croft, back in the 90s. It casts you as a comparably agile and well-armed lady, investigating ruined maps and purging them of noxious wildlife. Here the comparisons end, however. Tomb Raider gave you surgically arranged environments that were navigated by means of moderately hand-wrecking button combos. Dream Cycle gives you procedurally generated worlds of breathtaking incoherence, with Gothic castles rammed through each other and underground dungeons that are actually situated miles above the surface. Or at least, that was the case at launch. As a dabbling procgen spelunker, I couldn’t get enough of all this in 2022, using the game’s glide, wall-kick and teleport abilities to force my way into knots of impossible geometry, with cheerful disregard for my actual objectives. I haven’t played Dream Cycle lately, but I assume they’ve patched a lot of that Good Stuff out. Shame, because this was almost Yedoma Globula-worthy in places.

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