2020 sucked. Yet, video games provided people with joy when they needed it most. The industry continues to experience explosive growth and shows no sign of slowing down. More people played games than ever before for the first time too. Another bright spot included the launch of four new systems: the Xbox Series X, the Xbox Series S, the PlayStation 5, and the retro console Turbografx-16 Mini. Like past lists, I’ve highlighted games I’ve finished and not completed below. Enjoy and consider trying some of these games out for fun later.
GAMES I BEAT
Spider-Man: Miles Morales
I chose to get Spider-Man: Miles Morales with my shiny new PS5. Right off the bat, I’m impressed with the instant load times and beautiful ray tracing. Swinging around New York feels terrific too. I also enjoyed the venom powers and Mile’s camouflage ability since I like to play stealthily. The story moves quickly, and Miles rocks as a lead superhero. The game doesn’t feel bloated, and despite some over-reliance on combat, I found the game more consistently fun to play than 2018’s Spider-Man.
Astro’s Playrooms astounds as a fantastic showcase of the PS5’s DualSense’s innovative controller capabilities. The four worlds each contain unique gameplay, and the music in the lobby makes you smile. AP’s also a fantastic nostalgic trip through PlayStation’s history. It’s worth a second play-through to collect all the PlayStation memorabilia. Highly recommended as the first game you play on PS5, and I hope Sony greenlights a full-fledged sequel similar to Portal 2.
Shovel Knight: King of Cards
Shovel Knight: King of Cards offers the most extensive campaign since the original and contains the most depth. The King of Cards plays differently than Shovel Knight, and you must master his spinning moves to succeed in SKKOC. In addition to the main adventure, each world map contains lots of content and tons of side levels. Seriously, don’t skip the medallions, or you’ll miss more gameplay!
I enjoy the world map too, which mimics Super Mario World with hidden shortcuts in the levels. In comparison, the airship where you upgrade abilities calls back to Mass Effect’s Normandy. All these extra touches extended my game length considerably. My only complaint involves the card game. Which I found boring. I’m glad you’re not required to engage with it though. I am excited to see what’s next for Yacht Club Games, and I hope Shovel Knight gets included in Super Smash Brothers someday.
Cadence of Hyrule
This game arrived in 2019 but received a physical release with all the DLC in 2020. So, I’m okay with adding it to my favorite video games of 2020. Cadence of Hyrule excels as a great Zelda spinoff with an excellent remix of classic Zelda tracks. I’m not a fan of the original Crypt of the Necromancer or most roguelikes since it means redoing levels over and over again. So I felt worried that I’d end up hating this game.
Luckily, COF includes save points and plays like Zelda, so my roguelike fears went away. Fixed Mode’s a godsend and not having to match attacks to the beats helps a lot. This game gets hard, like The Legend of Zelda II: Adventures of Link, but the Zelda atmosphere kept me playing. Just like that game, I found collecting heart containers before doing dungeons made the game way more enjoyable.
Enough with the bad, though. What I love about COF the most involves the callbacks to Link to the Past. Like LTTP, COF packs tons of secrets in a dense game world. The bosses offer a novel twist on traditional Zelda boss battles. Plus, you must use strategy to time your attacks and movement on the map, even in fixed mode. It’s almost like playing chess or Fire Emblem sometimes.
COF includes a meaty campaign that took me around 10 hours to find all the items/hearts and complete the game. Similar to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, it does a great job of letting you explore independently. But if you get lost, visiting a fortune teller points you in the right direction. I recommend this one if you enjoy Zelda games, even if you’re not a fan of most roguelikes. The Zelda touch and incredible remixed music make it worth the early frustration.
What the Golf? Post-game and DLC
My favorite Apple Arcade game that keeps giving and giving. What the Golf ? features an astounding amount of content! While I don’t think I’ll 100% it, I almost did everything.
I immensely enjoyed the Olympic DLC, which themes the golf holes around Olympic events. Such as pole vaulting, hurdles, curling and more. While the Christmas DLC adds a lot with the dynamic of snow and the winter physics. I can’t wait for a sequel that improves upon the formula.
Super Mario Bro. 35
An exciting take on the battle royale genre with a clever Mario theme. I only played a little, but I enjoyed the concept. A shame that Nintendo put an expiration date on it, though. However, glad I played it, and definitely a fun way to celebrate Mario’s 35th anniversary.
There you have it, a sampling of my favorite games from 2020! Despite game delays, 2021 I’m most excited for Neo: The World Ends With You and hoping for an update on the sequel to Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Thanks for reading, and I hope you consider trying some of these games.