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Top 10 BEST Indie Games of the Year 2020


Hi everybody and Welcome to Get Indie Gaming and to our annual countdown where we showcaseand rank the best indie games having launched over the year.2020 has been another vintage one with it full of breath-taking achievements and wonderousvariety so please, make yourself comfortable and settle in for our top 10 most compelling,thought-provoking and most entertaining new indie games of 2020.At number 10, Creaks came out in July and comes from the studio behind recent point-and-clickadventure game classics Machinarium and Samorost.As we’ve aged, our gaming tastes have evolved in such a way we take colossal enjoyment fromgames and developers able to play with and tease our imaginations.While the puzzle platforming elements of Creaks will be familiar to many and in some ways,the explore, examine trial and error approach beholden to such games feels in places, justthat little bit safe, staid even although on reflection, this doesn’t alter the overallsum of the experience Creaks can offer.One of the greatest joys in playing Creaks is the empathy distilling from your characteras they make their way through a series of rooms within a Mansion that’s dripping witha narrative design that uses no vocal cues calls or dialogue to make sense of the overallgameplay or what you’re tasked with doing.Creaks uses no hint system by anything that’s recognisable as such rather careful considerationof the score hints when you might be getting warm or cooling off.Creaks is visually sublime, and while doesn’t upend the point and click genre like anothergame still to come, for fans of Amanita and the genre as a whole, Creaks should be unmissable.At number 9 and from the BAFTA award winning State of Play Studio, in a year where we haveplayed dozens of pure story driven games, South of the Circle which came out late Octoberpipped all of them right at the tail end of the year.Screaming for a screenplay adaptation, South of the Border is set in the Cold War Periodand follows the story of a Cambridge educator called Peter who on route to a research assignmentin Antarctica survives a plane crash and must head out into the frozen wasteland to seekhelp.What follows is one of the most enthralling stories of recent years.There are choices to be made along the way which are for the most part driven in termsof where you might want to take a conversation or how you might direct a course of action.In saying too much of what goes on within South of the Circle, well that would be sovery spoilery although it feels safe to call it a good old fashioned tale that in placestwangs the heart strings, fills you with hope and then later, offers some truly spine tinglingsections where things could go either way.Come the end, South of the Circle left us wondering and feeling what we might have donegiven similar circumstances and as an interactive cinematic story driven experience, its nothingshort of a triumph.At number 8, and another game from late in the year, Tenderfoot Tactics grabbed us firstand foremost with it’s trailer that had has kind of looking back and for the at eachother with one of those, what was that kind of faces.Well what it is, is a splendidly looking art style featuring an overworld that’s so veryvivid, despite the omnipresent and terrible fog.The combat system and ability to manipulate the terrain around you feel really solid asdoes overarching lore which enables you to either power on though ther game in a fewhours or take up to around 30 or so plus if you want to get out and about to discoverthe games hidden depths.Tenderfoot Tactics is really special for what it does and how it plays and feels woefullyignored.From one game just on the cusp of the indie gaming landscape in terms of eyeballs on itto quite the other end of the spectrum with it being one of the biggest indie games of2020 with it having launched in mid March.This really is one of those games where all of the screen shots and trailers and all ofthe footage pre launch or since doesn’t capture how mesmerizingly cinematic Ori andthe Will of the Wisps really is.Particularly on the recently update for the Xbox Series X where it runs at a buttery smooth60 to 120 rames per second at a 4k resolution.We’ve not seen anything quite like it with it coming across more like a Hollywood Blockbusteranimation than dare we say it a plain old video game.Some might be wondering why this comes relatively high up in this rundown, others will of coursebe tutting this isn’t an indie at all and we’re sure we’ll address that down inthe comments.In any case, while we adore the game, how it looks, how it plays, the sequel’s focuson combat, rather than the delicate and deft platforming of the original is what’s pushedthis one down our GOTY list in comparison to what follows.Of course, that’s just our subjective opinion, we know from discourse with viewers sincethis first launched this greater focus on the scrapping side of things has others inrapture although most of us seem to agree the insta kill chase sections are somewhatsub-optimal, even for the die hard fans of such gameplay.So yes, Ori and the Will of the Wisps is stunning achievement, a simply wonderous game and yetfor us if given a forced choice, all things considered from a gameplay perspective, pickthe original over this sequel.6: Spiritfarer.Next up and at number 6, Spiritfarer sees you play as Stella, or here rather delightfullittle cat called Daffodil if played in local co-op, the mode in which we spent most ofour time playing in.You take on the role of a new Spiritfarer, a ferry master of sorts as you sail acrossan ocean full of little islands as you search for spirits to look after and put up in yourboat before sending them off to their final resting place.All of this is really a rather mesmerising action platformer game that’s stuffed fullwith character driven stories with a little hint of a Metriodvania put in there for goodmeasure.And goodness me does it all come together so very cleanly with it being supremely animatedthroughout and while the subject at play here is inextricably linked with death and movingonwards to a, well perhaps a better existence, the subject matter is for the most part handledwith care with just the odd misfire here and there.What’s really so clever with the writing here in Spiritfarer is how all of the spiritsyou meet are so very different with their differing wants, asks and demands and muchof the fun from playing comes from finding out about their past and what drove them whilein the living world.The other aspect that makes Spiritfarer so, so wonderful is how it all looks and sounds– the orchestration sits perhaps just behind Ori and the Will of the Wisps in terms ofhow exquisitely charming it is throughout, punctuating the highs and lows of what inplaces are supremely dark topics.And on that, while it doesn’t hold back in what it’s shinging a light onto, Spiritfareris a well judged joy of a game and while we don’t think we’ll come back to it toooften, we’re so very glad to have spent so many hours with Stella, Daffodil and herespirit charges.Moving onwards and at the halfway point in our indie game of the year rundown, In OtherWaters plays like nothing else we had a chance to experience over the whole of the year.It’s supposition and what it does is completely outstanding.In Other Waters is set within a mysterious alien ocean world and features a strandedxenobiologist called Ellery where the game beings with the basic premise of you lookingto find your missing research partner.Now the twist from the start comes from the notion you are not playing as the centralprotagonist, rather you are a semi-sentient guide or AI installed within Ellory’s divingsuit with you helping her navigate and make here way around the Ocean.What works so well is the completely paired back visuals and the focus on the play backand forth between Ellory and the AI.The conversations flow so very naturally and realistically with it being so very touchingin places.What also works exceptionally well with the minimal visual displays comes from the descriptionsof the specimens plants and other creatures you come across.In Other Waters forces you to mentally create an image of the underwater ecology and geographicfeatures from the text alone – it’s a terrifically brave thing to have done andquite the achievement for how well all of this works with the story unfolding more inyour minds eye than it does on the screen in front of you.Next up and just of the podium, Signs of the Sojourner is one of those games we thoughtwould have been seen and showcased everywhere across all of the major gaming news outletsand yet so far, well that hasn’t been the case.This is the most fun we’ve had with a deck builder of sorts within 2020 with it beinga card game focussing on compassion relationship building where your deck is best thought ofin terms of your character and personality.The deck echo’s the experiences you have while playing with it changing and evolvinghow you are able to communicate with others.With that in mind you need to think about playing this game in terms of the person youreally want to be and how you’re seen by others.For us, this is a game that remains full of hopefulness with a message driven by compassionwhere the end game is the sum of the journey you’ve taken along the way.Coupled with the hand drawn visuals and the suitably designed soundtrack, Signs of theSojouner is there’s no doubt, the finest indie game hidden gem of the whole of 2020.At number three, Paradise Killer came out this past September and with it comes a freeform detective game like all of the greats within this genre, seems to work best whenplayed with others with copious amounts of discussion and plenty of scribbled notes laidbare about the living room floor.For the most part, you are tasked with looking to solve the riddle of the crime of mass murderwhere you are free to interrogate people at will and generally pull together a case thatyou must defend towards the end game as you pull together the relevant evidence you’vediscovered along the way.For us, it’s the freeform nature of the game that works so well.You’re not on rails and are not tied to do things in a set order or find things outas other games in this fashion want you to find them.Paradise Killer is also so supremely written, something that’s running right though allof the games in this years countdown, the characters are a mix of the strange and theodd and the darn right wonderful with the game constantly layering doubt upon doubtupon doubt so everyone at times could easily have been accountable for the big old centralcrime you’re here to solve, or any of the smaller side quests you can potter aroundwhile you go about your main business.While the subject matter by its nature is dark, it’s mass murder after all, there’sso much in the way of charm and intrigue in how all of this has been put together.It rewards patience and a methodical approach and will we think become a yardstick for futuredetective video game experiences.At number two, and taking the runners up slot, Lair of the Clockwork God came out in Februaryand from beginning to end, it was a clear game of the year candidate, even so earlyin the year when it first launched.What makes Lair so very good is not only the writing and the at times comical levels ofnear genius on display throughout, I mean really, humour in video games so often fallsso very flat and yet here, this one with it’s very adult humour had us laughing out loudin more places than we can remember a video game doing before or since.It’s also so very good in what it does with it’s main hookline.Here’s a game with two central characters with one you play as a classical point andclicker affair and with the other, well you’re needing what at times are some fairly deftplatforming skills.Now these two characters work so well and play off each other with you in places needingto do some point and click stuff and then a bit of platforming to move from A to B.It is, brilliant and at times revels in the idiosyncratic nature of certain points ofthese genres, particularly within the point and click side of things and we just lovedit for it.The story line is also first rate, sure it’s smutty as heck in places, crass and grossbut it’s never unpleasant or dare we say cruel.If we boil all of this down, it’s a game about change, the passing of time, of notbeing able to do the things you might have once been able to all the while growing thatlittle bit older with a slight begrudging acceptance.It is brilliant and only the best indie game to our mind ever made could have kept it frombeing our 2020 game of the year.At the number one slot we have Hades, and as we said back in late September in our reviewof this one across PC and the Nintendo Switch, Hades is to our mind the greatest, most funand most entertaining indie game we’ve ever played with knocking Dead Cells back intothe number two position.Coming from Super Giant Games, Hades puts everything they do so well across their previousgames such as Pyre, Bastion and Transistor and mashed alla of this together within asuper tight story driven combat focused package.The combat is utterly amazing particularly as you level up and get stronger with eachand every run.The story is also just so first class with it having a permanence as you play with charactersreacting to things you have gotten up to during past playthroughs when you meet them oncemore within the underworld.The voice acting as also as the phrase goes pitch perfect particularly the main protagonistand Hades with them having that perfect father son passive aggressive play off that deliversline after line of jaw to the floor one liners.We’re also huge fans of how at the start unlike say in Dead Cells, you are not theweak and feeble cannon fooder, you can make a decent stab at things although you reallydo need to die many times over to get good enough to make a really decent progression.What’s also first rate is the inclusion of a mode whereby players are able to takeless damage each time they die which in tern, makes Hades super accessible for people whomay not have God like reaction skills.So yea, Hades is easily our game of the year and as we said earlier, our indie game ofall time.If you want to see more on what makes Hades so great, be sure to follow the link in thecard some viwers might see on screen now, or the link you can find down in the videodescription.So that’s it for our Game of the Year 2020 edition.If you’re liked this video please click like and also drop us a comment telling uswhich games you most enjoyed playing over the course of the year.

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