Reviews by Genre
There are a lot of genres out there, and sometimes you really want to play something with a specific feel. That’s why I’ve marked every single one of my reviews with helpful genre tags, to help you sort through the pile to find exactly what you want. Below you’ll find a list of all my genre tags, with links to those titles and a short description of how I interpret the tag.
Be sure to check the bottom of the list for some special tags, too.
Adventure – This one’s pretty wide open, but the focus tends to be on exploring a world or a story rather than fighting or building.
Arcade – Smaller games that are ideal for short sessions and immediate action tend to go here.
Arena – When the main gameplay loop focuses on you staying in one spot and enemies swarming you, it gets this tag.
ARPG – Action role-playing games follow the Diablo mold of battling hordes of enemies for randomized loot.
Battle Royale – The new hotness in multiplayer, these games are all about dropping dozens of people on a big open map and letting them kill each other.
Brawler – The pugilistic sibling of shmups and shooters, brawlers typically pit you against waves of enemies to dispatch with all manner of flashy melee attacks.
Builder – The genre that SimCity built, builders are designed around letting players construct cities, towers, castles, and other creative works.
Card Game – Any title where interaction is primarily handled via cards will be found here, from Solitaire to Magic: The Gathering and beyond.
Farming – If you want to grow crops, tend animals, and sell them for cash to buy more crop and animal stuff, look no further.
First-person – Plenty of 3D games have the camera situated right in your character’s head and this tag is for those, whether they be shooters or walking sims.
Flight Sim – Games where your primary interaction is flying something around from a realistic interface land here.
Golf – I’m not big on sports games but I make an exception for golf, of both the professional and putt-putt varieties.
Hidden Object – There’s a specific set of casual games that have you hunting static scenes for mundane items and solving oddly-contrived puzzles, and you’ll find them here.
Horror – Any game meant to frighten or disturb will find a place on this list. Be sure to come back in October when I review a whole month of them!
Isometric – Games which are viewed from a diagonal, 45-degree-ish angle earn this label. Most commonly found in strategy or turn-based games.
Management – These games aim to give you control over a company or organization and help it flourish, whether it be a mercantile group or mercenary group.
Metroidvania – This covers games in the style of the classic Metroids or GBA Castlevanias, which feature open, non-linear maps accessed by earning new powers.
Multiplayer – I don’t cover many of these, but this tag is for games with a major multiplayer component, one that needs to be experienced to appreciate the game.
Open-world – This isn’t terribly well-defined anymore, but any game that lets you go wherever you want and choose your activities tend to fall under this umbrella.
Pinball – C’mon, you know pinball! No? Okay, you whack a ball around a table full of bumpers and targets for points and it’s super fun.
Platformer – From Mario to Sonic, these are the titles where running and jumping are the core gameplay. Includes 2D, 2.5D, and 3D games.
Point-and-click – This genre is a specific subset of the broad adventure header where movement and interaction is all primarily mouse-driven.
Puzzle – Covering a mind-boggling array of activities, this one describes any game where the main challenges are solving puzzles.
Racing – Games where the main activity is getting a vehicle somewhere as fast as possible can be found here.
Real-time Strategy – The stressful sibling of turn-based strategy, RTSes challenge you to command squads or armies on the fly.
Roguelike – Roguelikes are broadly defined by having permadeath and randomly-generated content. I don’t use the term rogue-lite, so you’ll find them all here.
RPG – This one has gotten fuzzy over the years but I use it to mark games with character stats and equipment, as well as strong story-based content.
Runner – Popularized in the mobile market, these games have you controlling some endlessly-running entity and challenge you to avoid obstacles.
Shmup – Short for shoot-em-up, these are the side-scrolling or vertical-scrolling shooter games where you pilot some kind of craft against waves of enemies.
Shooter – Any game where shooting is the main form of interaction gets this tag. I separated it out since there are first-person, third-person, platforming, and other shooters.
Simulation – Another broad tag that includes builders, this one describes games focused on simulating real-world activities like driving, constructing, or managing.
Stealth – Reserved for titles where sneaking around unseen is a wiser strategy than duking it out.
Survival – This one covers games where you build shelters and scavenge food, and includes a little overlap with games where you hold out against enemy waves.
Third-person – Any 3D title where the camera is over the shoulder or behind your character will get this tag.
Top-down – Games where you play from a fixed overhead view are described as top-down titles.
Tower Defense – Another genre I don’t often explore, this one is where you defend against waves of enemies using towers and other structures.
Trading – One of my favorite genres and regrettably rare, these games are all about buying low and selling high to grow whatever business you’re in.
Turn-based Strategy – If the gameplay calls for crafting cunning plans, and is kind enough to let you pause to ponder, you’ll find it here.
Visual Novel – While this can cover a wide range of themes, visual novels are all primarily about reading along with a story and making choices at key points.
Walking Sim – Some people use this as a pejorative, but not me. These games have you wander around places to see the sights and explore, not to fight or even puzzle.
In addition to the different tags I use for my review series entries, there are a few tags I use to mark certain games of interest.
Delisted – Some games have been lost to Steam because of legal reasons or the publisher folding. If you’re interested in these buried gems, here’s where you’ll want to look.
DLC – I’ve started reviewing downloadable content for games, and you’ll find them all listed here. Each DLC review links to the review of the game it’s attached to.
Free – Games that’ll cost you nothing to experience. Note that I don’t review free-to-play games, so these are exclusively little indie experiments.
Reader’s Choice – Every month I invite readers to nominate and vote on games for me to review, and I cover the top two from that process.