Some games stay with us well past their release year. These 2018 games are special, and they remain fun and fresh even years after their release date. Some of these are hallmark titles, something beyond and above their peers. Others are near endless in what they offer up, with easy-to-grasp mechanics and a massive skill ceiling.
Whether it is their multiplayer action, story, or engaging mechanics these games are still in constant rotation with us. 2018 was a stellar year for gamers, and the ten titles today were tough to select with so much stiff competition.
10. Dead Cells
- Incredible 2D souls-lite action with more than 90 weapons and spells with nonlinear gameplay.
- Explore secret room, hidden passages, and charming landscapes. Stroll down towers and breath in that fresh sea mist infused air.
- Build your unique play style as you combat the adrenaline pumping threat of perm death in this unique game of the year!
Dead Cells is a rogue-lite where death isn’t just expected, but part of the fun. This 2018 game was developed by Motion Twin and is still supported. Dead Cells is reminiscent of Dark Souls with limited healing and mistakes being heavily punished.
Where it splits off is that a mistake in combat isn’t just a death, it’s the end of a run. It shares a lot of design elements with Rogue Legacy but excels in making gameplay satisfying and responsive.
Motion Twin has added new DLC and collaborations with other indie developers. The base game itself has a ton of content, however, and will keep even a casual fan entertained for quite some time.
The 2D graphics are fluid and the game is easy to pick up but extremely difficult to master. Most recently, Motion Twin has announced a collaboration with Konami’s Castlevania, so new things are coming for the foreseeable future.
9. Among Us
- Crewmate Edition Includes: See description below for complete details
- Life as a Crewmate: Complete all your tasks on the ship to win but watch out for Impostors. Report dead bodies and call emergency meetings to vote the Impostors out. Hope you chose correctly
- Play as an Impostor: Cause chaos, sneak around, and frame innocent bystanders. Winning involves killing off every Crewmate - think you’re a master of sabotage
- Customization: Choose how you want to play. Add more impostors, tasks, decrease visibility and more. All in style as you get to choose your favorite color, outfit, and hat
- Cross-platform: Play with your friends between PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PC, Android, and iOS
Among Us needs no introduction, but this multiplayer title only hit its stride during the start of the pandemic. Players are tasked with finding the impostor in Among Us and avoiding their lethal strikes. What makes the game so special isn’t a scripted affair but the way it’s dependent on player interaction.
Among Us has been a legitimate pop culture phenomenon for quite some time. This 2018 game is more than just a set of memes, however, and provides an engaging and hilarious time to players who invest some time into it. Innersloth has provided non-stop support for their surprise hit, and even launched a VR version in November 2022.
On the surface, Hades is an isometric rogue-lite, but Supergiant has created something with real heart and depth to it. Hades, which had an early access release in 2018, tasks players as Zagreus, son of Hades, and his many attempts to escape his father’s domain.
Mechanically, the game is a joy with the tight and responsive feel Supergiant made themselves known for on Bastion and Transistor. The story and characters shine as well, with each voiced NPC oozing charisma and charm.
Hades made a massive splash at its launch. Its accessible gameplay, gradual difficulty climb, and open-ended nature make it a great candidate for pick-up-and-go game sessions. Hades 2 is just around the corner, but players should take the time to go through literal hell in this sterling title.
7. Dragon Ball FighterZ
- Nintendo Switch Exclusive Features:
- Simplified controls for single Joy Con play.
- More features to be revealed soon.
- Spectacular Fights: Experience aerial combos, destructible stages and famous scenes from the Dragon Ball anime reproduced in 60fps..3vs3 Tag/Support: Allows players to train and master more than one...
Dragon Ball has been a massively popular anime franchise since its debut in the 1980s, and this 2018 game takes its characters into a proper fighting game. Developed by Arc System Works, Dragon Ball FighterZ is a 3v3 tag higher similar to Marvel vs. Capcom.
The gameplay is swift and easy to pick up; players can take advantage of auto combos and easier inputs to execute moves. FighterZ is a love letter to the franchise, with stunning graphics that bring the anime to life and the original voice cast for the Japanese and English language versions.
FighterZ has also seen constant DLC, adding new characters to the fight. The action isn’t just restricted to local play either, with FighterZ having online play for those wanting to prove their mettle.
6. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate isn’t a true sequel to SSB4 for the Wii U, but it’s a refinement of a winning formula. This 2018 game features the full roster from the previous game and the DLC but brings the action to Nintendo Switch.
Players can choose from characters from many of Nintendo’s most popular franchises, along with some guest characters from Final Fantasy, Bayonetta, Dragon Quest, and more. The gameplay is tight and responsive, and the game is equally at home in casual or hardcore play.
Graphically, it has Nintendo’s trademark polished charm. Players can play in handheld or docked mode as well, giving some flexibility to how they choose to match up against foes. A diehard competitive scene exists around the game as well, for those looking to take their skills to the next level.
5. God of War
- Living as a man outside the shadow of the gods - Kratos, together with his son Atreus, must venture into the brutal Norse wilds and fight to fulfil a deeply personal quest.
- Discover an emotionally gripping tale of father and son.
- Journey to a dark, elemental world of fearsome creatures.
- Conquer your foes in vicious close-quarters combat.
This 2018 game brought back Kratos and transplanted him into Norse myth. God of War is a sequel to the famous Playstation franchise, although it lacks any sort of indication. Stunning graphics and an engrossing story make this worth any gamer’s time.
The change in setting greatly benefits the game as well, with vast forests and snowy vistas making for exciting set pieces as players pit Kratos and his son against beast and god alike. God of War most recently received a PC port that was released on Steam, letting a whole new set of players enjoy the game.
While the sequel Ragnarok just recently launched, this is still very much worth your time. Combat is satisfying, the story is gripping, and Kratos is still one of the best lead characters in a game. The plot is never secondary and Kratos and his son are both complex and believable characters.
4. Sonic Mania Plus
- A true, classic Sonic experience: Gorgeous pixel graphics featuring a variety of new Zones with iconic favorites from Sonic 1, 2, 3, Sonic & Knuckles and Sonic The Hedgehog CD
- Definitive version: Pixel-perfect HD visuals, 60 FPS gameplay and all new content in one package! Join Sonic and his friends as they face off against Dr Eggman and his new robo-henchmen the Hard...
- New playable characters join the fun with Sonic: Seen in past Sonic titles, Mighty the Armadillo and Ray the Flying Squirrel join the Mania each with their own unique abilities!All-new Encore mode: A...
- New and improved features including Competition mode.
Sonic Mania Plus takes the winning formula of Sonic Mania and adds some fresh new characters and modes to change things up. This 2018 game is a love letter to Sonic’s retro roots and features gorgeous sprite work, an amazing soundtrack, and tight gameplay.
Sonic Mania Plus knows not to mess with what made Mania such a stellar title, and the original charm and polish are still present here. This is one of the absolute best 2D platformers of the modern era and feels like a lost Sonic game that bridges the gap between Genesis and Dreamcast.
It is also a game that doesn’t overstay its welcome, being short enough to encourage replayability with the charming cast of characters Sega has created. Sonic Mania Plus is the apex of what a 2D Sonic game can be, and developer Christian Whitehead has given gamers on par with Sonic 2 and Sonic 3 & Knuckles.
- A narrative-driven, single-player adventure like mom used to make, with a charming cast of characters and a touching story of self-discovery
- A massive mountain teeming with 600+ screens of hardcore platforming challenges and devious secrets
- Brutal B-side chapters to unlock, built for only the bravest mountaineers
Celeste is a platformer that isn’t for the faint of heart. Beneath the beautiful and expressive sprite work of this 2018 game is a system that requires patience and a deep understanding of the mechanics. Challenging platforming stages abound in Celeste but, with enough patience, players can appreciate the wonderful soundtrack and charming story.
Celeste is a difficult game at its core, but developer Matt Makes Games allowed for a degree of control in the challenge presented. Players have access to a great many options to make the game more accessible, but those brave enough can face the challenge head-on. The challenge is the appeal in Celeste, and it has endured thanks to the difficulty and diversity of its platforming stages.
2. Tetris Effect
Tetris Effect needs very little introduction, but it’s the best version of the game yet. Developed by Monstars and Resonair and released exclusively for the PlayStation 4 on November 9, 2018, this former PS4 exclusive is an endlessly replayable puzzle game. Stunning visuals and an incredible soundtrack are coupled with Tetris‘s simple but difficult-to-master gameplay to make the ultimate version of the puzzle franchise.
The music is highly reactive to gameplay in Tetris Effect, and it acts almost as a rhythm game when players get into a groove. As players progress through the campaign, they have to rely on their puzzle savvy as well as the new Zone mechanic to clear lines in a quick and efficient manner. The campaign is on the shorter side, but Tetris Effect makes for a relaxing and challenging title to revisit on a regular basis.
1. Red Dead Redemption 2
This 2018 game is Rockstar’s magnum opus. Red Dead Redemption 2 is a masterstroke of a game with stunning visuals and an engrossing story to keep players along for the whole read. Arthur Morgan is one of the best protagonists Rockstar has ever crafted, and throughout the lengthy campaign, players will grow along with Arthur as he embarks upon a journey following a fateful encounter that changes him forever.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is a labor of love, and while it is on the longer side for its campaign, it never overstays its welcome. It is a love letter to Western films, American folklore, and ultimately the player themselves. Any gamer would do well to embrace this masterpiece of a game, and it’s an example that’s sure to be on many greatest games of all times lists for years to come.