Supergiant Games have already established themselves as premier indie developers, but their work on Hades has ensured they are considered one of the best studios working in the industry today. Hades showcases where the humble developers started and what lessons they’ve learnt from their previous games while also listening to players to create something familiar yet unique. Twisting the rogue-lite genre to not only make the game addictive from a gameplay perspective, but also for the story by rewarding players with new lines of dialogue and new story beats for every single success and death is a remarkable achievement. Everything is polished to a perfect shine, from the voice acting, to the music, the visuals, and the gameplay. There isn’t a thing out of place in Hades. It’s almost hard to imagine that this is a game made by only 20 people, but that’s exactly what Hades is. It’s made with love, experience, and growth and is an utter joy to play.
by Alana Hagues
Runner-Up: Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin
If you told me a year ago that the most charming experience I’d have with a game in 2020 was an in-depth rice farming simulator, I’d have looked at you a bit cross-eyed and then gone back to Stardew Valley.
Yet here we are.
Sakuna is equal parts action-platformer and farming sim, a mixture of genres perhaps best codified by ActRaiser on the SNES and rarely seen since. To be frank: Sakuna is far better than ActRaiser, offering depth and breadth all around that simply wasn’t possible for ye olde god sim. It’s got a great cast of characters to boot, each lending colour to the story with their talents and personalities. They make the farmstead feel not just like a place of work, but where your family gathers and grows with each other. It’s charming, well-rounded, and immensely fun all around.
By Mark Tjan