As usual, the bulk of the attention focused on major releases like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, The Last of Us Part II, and Cyberpunk 2077. But also as usual, the year was marked by some powerful indie game releases as well.
We covered a fair number even. There was Carrion, a game of creeping murder where you commandeer a bloodthirsty entity escaping from a research lab. Through the Darkest of Times, a journey through World War II-era Europe as the leader of a resistance cell. And of course, the forever lovable (but shockingly dark??) Bugsnax, which is like Pokémon crossed with food.
But our games-loving team here at Mashable can only do so much. Lots of games drop every year and we always miss a few that we’d love to have talked to you about in some way. That’s why I’m here now. Before we kick 2020 to the curb once and for all, consider checking out these absolute gems that, for one reason or another, we were never able to highlight here on Mashable.
1. Raji: An Ancient Epic
This gorgeous action-role-playing game from first-time developer Nodding Heads Games, based in Pune, India, is a keeper. It started life in 2017 as a Kickstarter effort that never got off the ground, but it finally landed in 2020 as a beautiful adventure steeped in Hindu mythology and featuring an ear-catching soundtrack. While it launched initially as a Nintendo Switch exclusive, it has since been released pretty much everywhere.
2. Umurangi Generation
Amateur and professional photographers, take note: Umurangi Generation is right up your alley. It’s a photography game that plays like a first-person shooter, except your “weapon” is a fairly full-featured camera — with multiple lenses and image-tweaking options — and your “targets” are varied objects and individuals scattered throughout each level’s freely explorable environment. You’re awarded cash for each shot taken, with bonuses applied for artful composition. It’s dumbed down photography to be sure, but in a way that’s immediately satisfying and fun.
Umurangi Generation is available for PC via Steam, and a Nintendo Switch version is incoming at some point.
3. The Solitaire Conspiracy
Thomas Was Alone and John Wick Hex developer Bithell Games dropped this unique twist on the classic card game in October. Fundamentally, it’s a game of Solitaire but there’s a spyworld twist that makes it easy to love. The premise casts you as a nameless secret agent who’s trying to regain control of a spy organization known as Protego. You do this by playing out a series of games that amount to a variation on traditional Solitaire, while things are further spiced up by the special abilities of the different crews you’re working to bring in. It’s a game where heavy doses of style and story go a long way.
If you’re looking for a game that draws on the cyberpunk genre to deposit you in a massive, freely explorable and vibrantly colored world… but it actually works, then Cloudpunk should be on your radar. This so-called “neon-noir” sets you up as a delivery driver named Rania in a city that’s alive with heavy airborne vehicle traffic and questionably legal activity. It’s a mission-based game that hinges heavily on story, but the vast, multi-level world is a joy to explore on its own.
Of all the games on this list, Phasmophobia may have made the biggest splash thanks to its cooperative gameplay and streaming-friendly vibe. It’s essentially a video game-ified take on every ghost hunter TV show you’ve ever encountered. The game is technically still in Early Access, and it’s incredibly janky as a result. But that only adds to the fun. There’s not a whole lot to mastering it, but Phasmophobia is a spooky good time and a perfect excuse to get together with friends remotely during these socially distant times.
Phasmophobia is available for PC via Steam.