GameNTrain’s Best Games of 2012: Racing to 2013

Yesterday, we got the body working with your favorite sports and fitness games of 2012. This was all in an effort to get rid of some of the extra food you’ve been munching on over the holiday break.

Today, we will be working your mind by looking at this year’s hottest racing games and puzzle games. Let’s try and get rid of the turkey brain and get ourselves thinking clearly again!

Now, I know what you are thinking, how does a racing game work the mind? Think back to the last time you played a racing game, maybe a Gran Turismo, a Forza or a Need For Speed. As you watch all of the objects going by you in a blur, notice how quickly your mind has to work to process all of the obstacles and sudden turns that come up on any given course. A racing game is an exercise in hand-eye coordination and mental stimulus, a perfect way to wake up coming back from the holidays.

2012 was a great year for racing games, with the latest installments in some hot franchises coming out. Forza Horizon graced the XBox 360, the latest Need for Speed was released and the downloadable Trials: Evolution was available this year. Not only that, but we saw a bevy of kart racing games hit store shelves, including Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing: Transformed and LittleBigPlanet Karting. We also saw the latest installment in Codemasters F1 series, F1 2012.

2012 definitely provided gamers with a number of options in the puzzle game category as well, with gaming projects by independant developers and major gaming companies. Angry Birds made its debut on consoles (surprising many gamers with what’s being considered a ridiculous price tag) and European gamers got their first taste of Atlus’s Catherine. Gamers also saw some hot puzzle games released from smaller developers and independents, like Fez and Pid, each bringing their own unique take on puzzles that will make you scratch your head.

So, if you are ready to wake up your mind after the holidays, we will look at the top games in 2012 for the racing and puzzle genres, as voted on by GameNTrain’s staff and by the GNT fan base.

Going off road in Forza HorizonBEST RACING GAME OF 2012 – Forza Horizon

Forza Horizon has it all. Check out our review by GameNTrain contributor Rachel James if you don’t believe me. The latest installment in the Forza Motorsport franchise takes everything that the series does so well and throws into an open-world setting with a rotating night and day cycle. The graphics are the best the series has offered to date, the variety of cars just keeps on growing and there are plenty of different terrains for you to race your vehicle on, 65 DIFFERENT TERRAINS in total. There are also many different kinds of races, including drift, rally and point-to-point races. In addition, AI Traffic is present on the roads, which is entirely new to the Forza franchise.  With plenty of ways for gamers to put the pedal to the medal, Forza Horizon is an excellent choice for GameNTrain’s Best Racing Game of 2012

Honourable Mention - Racing Game

Trials: Evolution
Need For Speed: Most Wanted


Independent gaming developer Polytron made a name for itself with Fez. The game was featured in  Indie Game: The Movie many years back, but faced a quagmire of delays caused by many reasons. This game finally released for the XBox Live Arcade in 2012 and was well worth the wait. Fez is presented as a 2D platform game, but the player is capable of rotating the game world to tackle the level from a different perspective. This type of manipulation of the game world allows the player to find secret passageways and realign platforms throughout the stage. This unique gameplay element on its own is enough reason to play this game. Fez showed its strength as a platformer and a puzzle game and has been named GameNTrain’s Best Puzzle Game of 2012.

Honourable Mention – Puzzle Game

Bad Piggies
Professor Layton Vs. Ace Attorney

We’ve worked the mind, we’ve worked the body and hopefully, the games we’ve listed for you this past week will give you a taste of the best in each genre of game.

But what games walked away with the title of GameNTrain’s Top Ten Games of 2012?

We’ve got three more days until our countdown ends and we reveal the games you chose for this honor. Tomorrow, we’ll look at GameNTrain’s Best Downloadable Games of 2012!

the author

Jeff Johnson is a Canadian journalist and the host of GameOn here at GameNTrain. He was born in Ontario, but moved to British Columbia to learn what it's like to be attacked by deer on a regular basis. If you've got an idea for a feature story on GameOn or would like to be featured as a contibutor, simply e-mail You can also find Jeff on Google+ at