Every Game Of The Year list is like telling the world what your favourite colour is. You’re bound to get some idiots who say that red is clearly better than blue, but it’s all relative.
In other words, don’t get bent out of shape if my list doesn’t include your favourite game, or you disagree with my GOTY 2020 and think I’m full of shit. I love you all, and most games too. There doesn’t have to be a winner, but it’s what the punters expect, init?
It wouldn’t be a Vulgar Knight post if there weren’t a disclaimer. I don’t care if you don’t like the list (I do, I’m trying to be cool), but maybe there’s something you’ve missed, you’re on the fence, and ol’ Vulgs is giving you the push to add another game to your backlog.
When I started this site, I was anti scores as it’s just opinion, and if nobody knows who you are, what’s the point? Well, I’ve conceded in time and now give a rating, but that’s doesn’t mean that a game scoring 7 or 8 won’t be in the list.
Enough with the waffle, let’s begin with a countdown. This isn’t in order, but the number one title will be my GOTY.
The Countdown For The GOTY 2020
24 Cyberpunk 2077
No, it’s not the GOTY 2020. It’s not that I’m bothered about this ‘controversial’ entry being my number one. Still, as indicated in the review, I haven’t, to this day, encountered any game-breaking scenarios to make me think that this wasn’t a superb title.
When the dust settles, and these horrible issues other users have experienced are resolved, this may surpass The Witcher 3 as the CD Projeckt RED flagship. Or it’ll be in limbo, and the majority will hold a grudge. Give them a chance; it’ll be worth it.
23 Astro’s Playroom
Just the fact that this brought the whole family together to enjoy a game that doesn’t involve any sort of blood and guts (other than beating fellow bots), and showcases the potential for the DualSense controller.
Short and sweet, but sometimes a lot of us don’t have the 90 hours to finish a game, despite our best intentions. I blame the kids, not the parents. Why can’t you let dad have another couple of hours on the PS5? You know where the kitchen is.
22 Worms Rumble
This is an example of a game making the GOTY 2020 list but not scoring 9 or above. Despite my Team17 fanboy mentality and loving the Worms franchise, Worms Rumble changed my perspective on playing online multiplayers.
Sure, I’m not going to be diving into Fortnite daily or installing Apex Legends, but I may be tempted to loiter a little longer in the lobbies. Who knows, it might even be fun.
Dreadlands has had a few knocks since being in Early Access, and while it’s understandable that some people get frustrated with the mechanics, it’s yet another case of tastes, and I’ve clocked in just under 30 hours in what I thought was a casual experience.
It’s a turn-based game, not my favourite genre, but this coupled with Partisans 1941 has been a bit of a powerhouse strategy fest this year and highly recommend both titles. That is, if you have similar tastes.
20 Chicken Police
As a film noir fan and someone who studied film (who hasn’t!?), Chicken Police ticks so many boxes without being overly formulaic. Chinatown, Body Heat – they’re all present in this Chandler-esque adventure.
Sonny has to be one of this year’s best protagonists, if not one of the best in the business. It would be quite thoughtful of The Wild Gentlemen to consider a prequel of sorts, what do you think?
19 Gibbous A Cthulu Adventure
If I don’t include a point and click adventure now, I’ll have my guild membership revoked. There’s a ton of adventures that came out this year that were an absolute joy. It’d be treading thin ice if every other title was one from the same genre.
Gibbous A Cthulu Adventure is arguably one of the best looking point and clicks of all time. While flawed in places, the characters make up for it and let’s hope this is one of many adventures. Long live the point and click!
18 Kingdom Rush Vengence
A no-brainer here, seeing as I gave it a 10/10 and not regretting that for one second. If there were a Kingdom Rush incarnation every year, I would be one happy gamer. How can they make so many and be so consistently great?
With a host of new buildings, characters, heroes and perks, Kingdom Rush Vengence feels as fresh as its peers and is wholeheartedly recommended to fellow tower defence geeks.
17 Partisans 1941
Like Dreadlands before it, Partisans 1941 is a turn-based tactics game that was a revelation. It many ways it reminds me of this generation’s Commandos – coincidentally, this is now out as a remaster.
If WWII environments appeal to you, as does the underdog story – especially those that aren’t always well represented, this strategy title is a must. Go look it up.
15 The Girl Of Glass A Summer Bird’s Tale
Why mess with a very robust genre, the point and click, with a turn-based combat system? Are you mad? Quite possibly, but madness can be closely linked to genius, and while The Girl Of Glass A Summer Bird’s Tale isn’t a masterpiece, it deserves your attention.
The artwork is stunning, the innocence and allegories in the game the kind of thing that will make Studio Ghibli fans say naughty words: check it out, and be open-minded to the combat system, even if flawed as this is a story that needs to be lived.
15 Alwa’s Legacy
Not thrown in solely for the variety, but this retro platform game is a must. If you grew up in the 16-bit era or are one of those cool people that feel they were born in the wrong period, this is what those top titles would look like.
But it’s 2020 and Alwa’s Legacy is just as relevant as today, without jumping on that retro bandwagon. Have a sneaky at this as it’s a quality platform game that won’t disappoint.
14 Welcome To Elk
Storytelling is one of my favourite things – not ice cream, not whiskey, nor that credit card left on the side that begs to be used on an unnamed porn site. Triple Topping are master storytellers in the making.
Using real-life scenarios and adding a hint of Rashomon in delivery, this adventure that feels dream-like, almost as if in limbo, is jam-packed with quirky mini-games, even quirkier characters and an enchanting art style that makes me want to go back to Elk, like right now.
13 Art Of Rally
Looking back at the 10/10 score that was awarded after a few drinks, I’ve overthought it for a while – is that too high? Nope. Art Of Rally is a valid love letter to the golden age of rallying and is one of the best presented games out there.
Sure, you have that RTX graphics card that you sold the dog to get, and you can see your arse on the side panels, but the minimalism in Art Of Rally is the definition of a coffee table book. A very very good one. Fantastic handling when you get it, beautiful environments and a roster to froth about.
12 Hotshot Racing
There’s no sitting on the fence with this one. An instant classic, I warmed to Hotshot Racing within the very first races, getting a whiff of Daytona USA and Virtua Racing along the way. Unfortunately, the collisions put me off, and they felt unfair.
However, since writing the review, this is one of the games I play the most and strive towards those elusive trophies. Man, it was satisfying to get some of those expert wins.
11 Inertial Drift
Almost an instant contender for GOTY 2020, after playing the prologue, I was hooked. The handling, while not to everyone’s tastes, hit the mark with me almost instantly – a twin-stick racer that actually works.
This is the closest to Initial D that the arcade game never quite got to and the visuals were brilliant. Yes, graphics to make a difference when you’re staring at the booty of a drift king for that long.
Gorgeous. Since I wrote the review, I’ve seen a few slate this as monotonous and predictable. They’re entitled to their opinion and joking aside and all, they aren’t wrong – it’s their tastes.
For me, however, this experience was so uplifting, heartwarming and dare I say, bliss. The presentation was fantastic, and that doesn’t mean the graphics, but the general vibe that radiates forth. A game that promotes positivity without being sickly.
9 The Bonfire 2 Uncharted Shores
Yet another title I keep coming back to. I almost feel like the original score was wrong and it should have got a 9. At the time there were a few glitches that hindered my progress, but this is precisely why I don’t knock a game for glitches as they can be fixed – the issues that bothered me here have since been corrected.
A supposedly quick go would shift to hours as I’d send my ships off to locate more artefacts to have my watch donned in solar armour. This is a brilliant game, and I can’t get enough of it.
8 WRC 9
From real-life to the console experience, driving games are some of my favourites. One such genre that is often underrepresented is rally driving. Sure, you can mention the Dirt series, but I haven’t played that for years, but ever since playing WRC 8 (a long time fan of the series), I was hooked.
It doesn’t get much better than this as the phases feel realistic, watching raindrops hitting my windscreen alarms me into thinking I’m getting a fetish over these visuals, but then as I go full speed and expertly brake in time, but lose one-tenth of a second, propels me into trying hard on the next stage. Ruddy marvellous.
7 Teenage Blob
I didn’t rate this at the time due to the length and it feeling very much like the split album it represents, but this title from Team Lazerbeam exudes an enormous wave of endorphins, at least for me.
The soundtrack is superb, and it’s complemented by some immensely satisfying mini-games and cute visuals. Any game that compliments you on your butthole deserves to go in a hall of fame, and I implore you to seek other Team Lazerbeam projects.
6 Willy Morgan And The Curse Of Bone Town
If took me some getting used to the protagonist as he’s a bit of a dweeb, but it soon rubbed off. The duration was borderline scandalous from a selfish perspective as I wanted to keep playing.
A brilliant point and click that should encourage imaginaryLab to create even more titles – they’ll undoubtedly have a legion of follows along the way. Where’s my pitchfork?
5 Double Kick Heroes
Rhythm games aren’t my thing, mostly because I have zero rhythm, though I adore my music (while typing this I must have covered every single genre – at the time or writing, 22:30, I’m listening to Reuben. Why is this still going?).
Anyways, the theme is metal and boy does it deliver. But one of the greatest things about Double Kick Heroes? Customisation. Yes, I’ve ripped my Master Of Puppets CD and played along to Hammett. Albeit, entirely out of time.
4 Rigid Force Redux
Practically everything I seek in a shoot ’em up. No surplus story or complicated controls, but addictive button mashing that also requires skill, all to the tune to some gorgeous visuals.
Yes, it’s a ‘redux’, but it’s new to the Switch, and I’ve had a lot of fun with this and continue to. On par with R-Type as far as I’m concerned, which is like comparing a band to Soundgarden. Go figure my bias.
3 Pixel Ripped 1995
Superb. That’s the skinny for this PSVR title that I could happily live in if there were enough levels to replay, it truly is an amazing title that taps into everything from my youth as I’m sure it does for other crusties.
VR titles don’t get enough coverage, but if this were the standard, then everyone should own a VR device to some degree. At the very least, sign a petition to bring back Blockbuster Video and CRT’s.
2 Streets Of Rage 4
Beat ’em ups have been one of my go-to genres since Double Dragon in the arcades, and I never tire of side-scrolling. Streets Of Rage 4 comes across as a fan-made title as it knows the source material like it was a sibling, yet remains so fresh that I can go back to this at any time and never feel bored with it.
What raised the bar was the variety of characters and ease of play as I comfortably finished this with my daughter, and that means a lot to me, having played the originals with my dad in a former life. A solid beat ’em up that is essential for any beat ’em up fan.
1 Lonely Mountains Downhill
Perhaps this is a surprise to you that my GOTY 2020 is Lonely Mountains Downhill, but I adore this game. As an amateur mountain biker in my ‘prime’, this game replicates what I’ve always endeavoured to be but lack in the cojones department.
I’ve said it before that single track is my thing and downhill scares the crap out of me – I’ve done it and ended up faceplanting at a ridiculous speed without a helmet. What have you learned, kids?
Contradictions are my forte and this high octane biking juxtaposed with the tranquillity of nature and simplicity of low polys is just sublime. The nuances of the rider circling before they make their descent, the multiple paths you can take, should you have the guts or simply just too reckless is timeless.
Yes, it’s not Cyberpunk 2077 or Call Of Duty 2077 and it some respects, it’s a niche. But guess what? This is my GOTY 2020, and as I declared at the start, this is no more a list of my favourite colours and both you, dear reader, and myself are not wrong.
Please Exit The Building To The Rear
I’ve seen a handful of GOTY start to crop up, so thought I’d chuck mine in before I’m influenced by everyone else’s, but realise that mine omits a lot of what I’ve read already. There’s no Hades – I’ve wishlisted it, and it’ll be played at some point, but I’ve just bought a dozen games on GOG including Blade Runner that I aim to relive over the holidays, plus I’m debating whether to get Demon Souls or Assasin’s Creed Valhalla for the PS4. I know it’ll end up being both.
But what else is missing? The Outer Worlds was a fantastic title, and I rated it highly, but to give some of the other games a chance, I’ve omitted it. Besides, it’s had enough accolades – another glowing testimonial won’t have much of an impact, and console games will be rolling their eyes saying it’s so 2019.
Paratopic is another oldie that was re-released on Switch this year, and I absolutely loved it. It’s an acquired taste for those Lynch weirdos which I take pride in being associated with, so not for everyone. If you’re a bit quirky, have a look into that one too.
The list goes on, and perhaps I’ll regret not including [insert title] and perhaps [insert other title]. There will probably be a few people that will point out that one of the above was released in 2019, or maybe it’s not out yet, and a future version of myself is writing this.
The bottom line is it’s a Monday night, I’m being ‘organised’ by writing this now, and the beers I’ve consumed are starting to affect my motor skills. On that basis, I hope it’s been a good read, or at the very least, you liked the pictures.
Toodle pip x