Best of Indie: The ten best games of 2020 (with video)

Best of Indie: The ten best games of 2020 (with video)
No question about it, the year 2020 will be remembered from a player's point of view, especially due to various triple A pearls such as Ghost of Tsushima or The Last of Us Part 2. But apart from the huge productions, there were once again a lot of wonderful indie hits to marvel at, which provided countless hours of play with fantastic ideas and creative approaches. Slip into the role of death himself in one of the cutest games of the year? The crazy principle of the TV show Takeshis Castle with beans and slapstick? Comebacks of famous game series from the 90s that were a whopping 26 years away? Clear the stage for the ten best and most important indie titles of 2020.

Do you belong to the category of lazy readers or do you just enjoy watching bombastic game scenes in combination with the wonderful angelic voice of our dear David? Then take a look at our special video on the topic, which we have packed for you through this paragraph.


Studio: Kinetic Games I Publisher: Kinetic Games

Platforms: PC I Release: September 18, 2020 Source: Kinetic Games There is actually only one person behind the development studio Kinetic Games, which is responsible for the indie hit Phasmophobia. A hobby developer known under the pseudonym Dknighter created the game completely on his own and without any relevant training. Despite these supposed limitations, the survival horror title developed into a surprise hit on Steam. The concept of the game is very simple: As part of a team of up to four ghost detectives, you have the know-how and the necessary tools to determine exactly what type of ghost you are dealing with in any given situation. In a van full of camera equipment and ghost research equipment, you travel to various haunted locations and use evidence to determine the nature of the horror in question. You can even use your headset to communicate with the beings using voice control. Monitors in your vehicle show how much the mind feels disturbed by your presence. Constant consultation with your team members is therefore essential. Anyone who operates on the border between life and death is in constant danger of crossing it.

Mortal Shell

Studio: Cold Symmetry I Publisher: Playstack

Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO I Release: August 18, 2020 Source: Cold Symmetry Soulslikes will again be one of the tastiest dishes on the current game buffet in 2020. The rock-hard genre, a mixture of action, RPG and Metroidvania elements, began in 2009 with Demon's Souls developed by From Software. In addition to the big PS5 remake of the classic, there was another important Soulslike representative in 2020: Mortal Shell. The gloomy indie title convinces with a compact and high quality gaming experience, which sets itself apart from the constant industrial pressure of the huge open world games. In addition to the tiny size of the four-person core team, the prestigious portfolio of employees is particularly impressive: Halo, Call of Duty, Ghost of Tsushima or Diablo are just a few of the works on which members of the team have worked in the past. With a playing time of around 20 hours, the little indie pearl is perfect to catch up on over the holidays. You're welcome!

Streets of Rage 4

Studio: DotEmu, LizardCube, Guard Crush I Publisher: DotEmu

Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO, Switch, macOS, Linux I Release: April 30, 2020 Source: PC Games We all agree: The very best comebacks are usually those that hardly anyone believes in anymore. The year 2020 offered two veterans in gaming history, which found their way back to the virtual stage after a full 26 years: The adventure sequel Beyond a Steel Sky developed by Revolution Software (our detailed test of the successful adventure) and SEGA's Streets of Rage 4 - both of which are unquestionably fantastic games, but the retro flogger was able to knock us off our feet again. The sidescroll brawler on Sega's 16-bit console, the Mega Drive, came to an early end as early as 1994. Despite a long absence, the responsible indie studios DotEmu, LizardCube and Guard Crush Games managed to bring the popular arcade feel of the 90s into the modern age in 2020. The five playable characters are joined by series veterans such as Axel Stone and Blaze Fielding, but equally well implemented newcomers such as Cherry Hunter and Floyd Iraia. The perfect conditions to free Wood Oak City from the criminal syndicate of the nasty Mr. X.

A Short Hike

Studio: Adamgryu I Publisher: Adamgryu

Platforms: PC, Switch, Linux, Macintosh I Release: April 05, 2019 Source: Adamgryu Time for a quiz question: What makes the indie title sector so popular, exciting and important for the game industry? Right, the many original and unusual concepts that you rarely find in the success-oriented blockbuster cosmos. A very special representative of this type is the wonderfully heartwarming A Short Hike. The almost one-hour adventure sends us in the form of the bird lady Claire on a virtual hike to the top of a central mountain. Translated, this means that we stumble, wander and glide through a nicely designed game world full of warm summer colors in a reduced low-fi pixel look. In addition, there is a pleasant progression curve, charmingly written dialogues with various NPCs and lots of loving moments to pause - oh, it's so nice to sit at home. If you want to warm up a little over the cold and calm winter days, the pretty mix of Breath of the Wild and Animal Crossing is the perfect choice. A Short Hike was released in mid-2019, but with its release on the Nintendo Switch, the title only gained the media attention it deserves.

Spelunky 2

Studio: Mossmouth, BlitWorks I Publisher: Mossmouth

Platforms: PC, PS4 I Release: September 15, 2020 Source: Sony One of the most influential indie games of the past generation of consoles is without question the sophisticated 2D roguelike Spelunky. In 2012, developer Derek Yu and designer Andy Hull impressed with a platform full of procedurally generated levels, a surprisingly high level of difficulty and a spiral of addiction in a class of its own. Following the giant footsteps with a sequel was considered a very tricky mission for the Mossmouth development team.

At first glance, Spelunky 2 looks pleasantly familiar and thus gives the impression that there are few fresh mechanics and ideas - absolute humbug! The innovations and secrets that can be found on every corner are impressive even after a season in the double-digit range. The level of difficulty has been increased noticeably and the almost perfect gameplay construct makes the will to explore every corner and master every trick even greater. There is also the opportunity to enjoy the roguelike masterpiece with friends. Our conclusion? Good, better, Spelunky 2.

Deep Rock Galactic

Studio: Ghost Ship Games I Publisher: Coffee Stain

Platforms: PC, XBO I Release: May 13th 2020 Source: Coffee Stain Publishing Team shooters in the style of Left 4 Dead (the new game from the makers!), Vermintide or Overwatch have been enjoying great popularity for some time, but there are also some genre representatives who are miserable despite huge budgets the expectations of the players have failed (Crucible, * cough *). It is all the more impressive how well the young indie team Ghost Ship managed to convince with a round game experience in the early early access phase of 2018. The final version was released in May 2020 and has been providing grinning faces and lots of fun since then with a wild mix of team shooters and Minecraft. We are particularly impressed by the funny combination of procedurally generated levels and completely destructible terrain! In addition, Deep Rock Galactic adorns itself with pretty comic graphics, a motivating level and upgrade system and four different and well-balanced classes. Top!

Among Us

Studio: Innersloth I Publisher: Innersloth

Platforms: PC, Android, iOS I Release: June 15, 2018 Source: Innersloth Admittedly: That The multiplayer game Among Us developed by Innersloth was released in 2018, but the big breakthrough was another two years away. Among Us, like its genre neighbor Fall Guys, managed to use the restrictions on social life caused by the ongoing global corona pandemic to its advantage and to become a major streaming phenomenon on Twitch. But what exactly is the premise of the multiplayer title? Easily and simply explained: Cluedo in space. Explained a little more precisely: A maximum of ten colleagues are on a space station and take care of everyday tasks, but there are also one or two aliens in the group. Their goal is to wipe out the entire crew step by step without arousing suspicion. Who is exposed, loses! The game principle is simple, but the addictive factor is extremely high.

Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout

Studio: Mediatonic I Publisher: Devolver Digital

Platforms: PC, PS4 I Release: August 4th, 2020 Source: Devolver Digital In addition to the two new game consoles (Maci's test for Xbox, Chris' test for PS5), Cyberpunk 2077 and The Last of Us: Part 2, one of the biggest video game hype of the year was crazy multiplayer -Fireworks Fall Guys. The principle is simple and ingenious at the same time: In Fall Guys, the infamous TV show Takeshis Castle meets absurd characters and chaotic battle royale action in a colorful video game format. Up to 60 players compete against each other in several stages of crazy course races and team games, with the aim of winning the coveted crown at the end and thus leaving the field as the sole winner ... and going straight into the next game fall! Chaos, luck and skill determine the course of the game. Due to a lot of slapstick, the humorous animations and the characters known as beans, there is never any frustration. Fall Guys is pure fun!


Studio: Thunder Lotus Games I Publisher: Thunder Lotus

Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO, Switch, macOS, Linux, Stadia I Release: May 13, 2020 Source: Thunder Lotus Games The Montréal studio Thunder Lotus Games managed to set a (very) small exclamation mark in the indie scene in 2015 with the pretty Viking epic Jotun. Nevertheless, very few had expected such a heartwarming and fantastically designed insider tip as Spiritfarer in 2020. In the sandbox adventure, we take on the role of young Stella, who takes on Charon's job as the ferryman for the dead at the beginning of the plot. From now on it is our main task to enable lost souls to cross into the hereafter. That sounds like depressing and hard fare at first, but it isn't! Apart from that, our everyday life consists of collecting, expanding our ship and getting to know the many lovable characters. The wonderful story packs letting go and the final farewell impressively in an interactive adventure.


Studio: Supergiant Games I Publisher: Supergiant Games

Platforms: PC, Switch , macOS I Release: September 17, 2020 Source: PC Games Does your heart beat for indie games with an unmistakable style, clever gameplay structures and a game world sprayed on with charm cannulas that easily sets itself apart from the competition? Then you will also be one of those players who have a hard time getting past the San Francisco-based developer studio Supergiant Games. Released in 2011, the first release, the acclaimed action RPG Bastion, not only enjoyed a (deserved) hymn of praise by the press and fans, it is also one of the most popular and important indie titles of the entire decade. The triumphant advance of the young studio began with Transistor and Pyre. Well, with Hades, released in 2020 for PC and Nintendo Switch, the team has reached a completely new league: The rogue-lite Hades kidnaps us as the divine offspring of the eponymous underworld conductor into a brilliant firework of action with a high replay value, great characters and a clever story -Telling. Supergiant Games haven't just been one of the big names in the game industry since yesterday, but after such a milestone we can't wait to see where the virtual journey is headed.

Of course, these are not all indie titles that deserve to appear on this best-of list. So let us know which indie gems have captured your heart in 2020? Let us know in the comments and take a look at our many other special videos about the gaming year 2020 and the upcoming hits of the future. The entire PC Games team also wishes you a Merry Christmas and a quiet yet sociable New Year's Eve.

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