Nintendo Life Alternative Awards 2022
Image: Nintendo Life

It's Christmas time once more, which for many of us means time off work and a glut of food. But for us in the video game journalism career path, it also means doling out awards to all the games we loved this year.

But a lot of games don't quite make it into our GOTY list, and many more games don't even come close to being lauded. Don't those games deserve to be highlighted for what they've achieved this year, too?

So, it's time for some lighthearted awards that don't quite fit in anywhere else. Here we'll highlight games that might not get a shout in other fancy-pants categories but that we feel are deserving of praise nonetheless, as well as games that did... something notable this year. Yes, it's time to get whimsical with the Nintendo Life Alternative Game Awards 2022!

We've done this for the last few years, and this year is no different, so grab your hot chocolate/eggnog, get comfy, and enjoy our list...

Nintendo Life Staff Alternative Game Awards 2022

Best 'End-Of-Year Arrival That Dropped Too Late To Make Our GOTY List'

Winner: Floppy Knights

Floppy Knights is a brilliant little tactics-meets-cards game that has only just made it to Nintendo Switch in a shadow drop that no one was expecting. We don't want it to get overshadowed by GOTY lists, so we're putting it in this list, right at the top! Go play it — it's beautiful, goofy, and reminds us of the equally lovely Dicey Dungeons, which is no big surprise, because it's the same artist!

Runners Up: Lil Gator Game, Dragon Quest Treasures

Best Use Of $5

Winner: Lunistice

If you've got Christmas money burning a hole in your pocket, you can't do much better than the gorgeous Lunistice, a 3D platformer with a PS1/Sega Saturn-inspired art style. What could be more Christmassy than the crunchy pixels of a high-speed platforming adventure?

Read our review below to find out why it's one of our highest-ranking 2022 games!

Runner Up: Super Kiwi 64

Best 3DS Game

Winner: Fragrant Story

Winning purely because it's the only 3DS game released this year that we reviewed, Fragrant Story deserves a look all the same. It's a strange micro-strategy RPG that made waves by being the last ever 3DS game released in North America, and although it's not the best strategy RPG we've ever played, it's worth a punt as a curiosity more than anything else.

Runner Up: Erm... hmm. Why not head to the 3DS eShop and download some non-2022 winners before they become unpurchasable in March?

Best Soundtrack

Winner: tie

This one's a toss-up between Xenoblade Chronicles 3, Neon White, Splatoon 3, TMNT: Shredder's Revenge, Pokémon Scarlet & Violet, Signalis, Kirby, Sonic Frontiers, Cult of the Lamb, Bayonetta 3, and oh goodness, about 50 other games.

It's been a good year for vidgame music. Let's just share a few highlights:

Xenoblade Chronicles 3

Pokémon Scarlet & Violet

Neon White


Kirby and the Forgotten Land

Sonic Frontiers

The Frog Fractions Award For 'Best Bait-And-Switch Game'

Winner: tie

Oooooh, don't you just love it when a game pretends to be one thing, and then pulls the rug out from under you? We do, and that's why we created this award.

This year, the award is split into three pieces, with each third going equally to Inscryption, Tunic, and Omori. Unfortunately, we can't tell you why these games are winners, just that they are. WINK.

Best 'No Thoughts Head Empty' Game

Winner: Dorfromantik

The Switch has always been a great place for games that let you zone out, and 2022 was a great year for it, too.

Our ultimate winner is Dorfromantik, a gorgeously chill game about building pretty little countryside vignettes. Can't you just feel the stress seeping out of your bones?

Runners Up: A Little to the Left, Disney Dreamlight Valley, Railbound, Dragon Quest Treasures

Aaand breathe. Turn the page to find our picks for the Best Doom Clone, Most Long-Winded Switch Game Title, and the hotly-fought 'It's About Bloody Time' Award...