Though I tend to be the type to ride from one hot new release to the next, 2020’s lineup was…subpar for me as a whole. Sure, there were a couple of games that made an impact on me, with one in particular that is likely to be crowned my personal Game of the Year. But for the most part, my year was defined by catching up on older games that slipped by me during their hey day. Here are some of the more notable titles I caught up on in 2020!
Heralded by many as one of the best games of 2018, I finally got around to this brilliant roguelite at the start of 2020. Combat is fluid and gives players a lot of room for mastery. It also provides a ton of progression paths even after you’ve beaten the game. This game has some serious competition these days, but Dead Cells is still a must play.
Though the game is only 30 minutes long, Florence made a lasting impact on me when I first played it earlier this year. This interactive story told a beautiful and relatable tale of love and love lost in a medium that’s woefully short on romance as a subject matter. Even just hearing the game’s soundtrack (which I still listen to on Spotify periodically) warms my heart and breaks it every time. Really hope that more games explore this space, as there are so many more stories to tell and emotions that video games can make us feel when we’re not busy saving the world from evildoers.
Under Night In-Birth EXE:Late[cl-r]
Technically a 2020 release, Under Night In-Birth EXE:Late[cl-r] is the 2020 update to a fighting game originally released in 2012. At the time, I really enjoyed it for finding a more grounded approach to anime fighting game subgenre. Unfortunately, its delay-based netcode is arguably the worst I’ve experienced in over a decade, making it virtually unplayable for me online. If this somehow got GGPO netcode patched in someday, I’d be in heaven!
What I thought would make a one-week cameo on my stream turned into a 20-plus week love affair on my stream. Sure, getting dunked on by Haley and the love triangle that developed out of that made for fascinating internet, but I genuinely enjoyed having the freedom to build my farm however I wanted.
River City Girls
Based off the 80s cult classic River City Ransom, River City Girls does a pretty good job of modernizing its source material. You still beat up waves of thugs, constantly expand your move set, and traverse through different areas that all feel like they’re part of the same city. I most appreciated the game’s combo system, as it actually let you string together some really elaborate sequences that were tough to perform but amazing to see when executed correctly.
Slay the Spire
Despite my interest in deck-building games and Roguelikes, I avoided Slay the Spire for far too long because I thought it looked ugly. After getting a nudge from Frostilyte, I picked it up and poured way too much time into it. The game mixes its genres brilliantly, pushing players to make interesting decisions at every turn, from figuring out which cards to play, to which cards to draft, to which route one should take through the randomly-generated map. I had to pry myself away from this one and I’m still itching to go back!
Super Mario Sunshine
I bounced off of Super Mario Sunshine back when it was first released on the GameCube. Many years later, I decided to finally complete it as part of Super Mario 3D All-Stars. Though the passage of time has allowed me to see some of the really cool things it did, I actually dislike the game more now than I did back then due to its frustrating level design and awful camera that sabotage the experience. Did I get ultimately anything out of hate-playing Super Mario Sunshine? Other than being able to cross it off my bucket list, I don’t know…
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