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10 Great Games from 2020 That (Almost) No One Played

10 Great Games from 2020 That (Almost) No One Played - Article

by Craig Snow , posted on 13 February 2021 / 5,476 Views

Even if you ignore mobile releases, each year hundreds of video games release. Most are probably fairly average and nondescript; a decent chunk are awful and rightly consigned to the metaphorical dustbin of history; a select few are hotly anticipated, highly acclaimed, and hugely successful commercially; some are widely anticipated but either critical or commercial duds, not so much confined to the dustbin of history as hung up in cages, to be gawped at and occasionally pelted with rotten fruit or vegetables. 

But let us turn to the deserving poor; the games treasured by a small number critics and gamers alike, but which for whatever reason simply haven't received the audience they deserve. The games (almost) no one played. Here are 10 such titles from 2020.

Note that I've tried to find games from a variety of different genres, and limited myself to just one VR-only title.

   

Until You Fall

Until You Fall, a very bright, colourful roguelite that is both critically lauded and has very good user feedback, with an 'Overwhelmingly Positive' rating of 95% on Steam. So what's the problem? Well, it's a VR game for starters, which automatically limits its reach, and unlike 2020's big VR hit Half-Life: Alyx it probably won't have shifted any new VR devices. But if you do have a VR device, this looks like a must-play game.

  

There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension

Contrary to popular belief There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension does actually exist. A point 'n click adventure game that's full of comedy, genre-bending twists & turns, and challenging puzzles. It defies expectations, which is perhaps why it was so warmly received by critics when it launched back in August.

   

Wingspan

A wonderfully niche, feel good entry this one. Based on an incredibly well-received board game about real world birds, Wingspan is a relaxing strategy card game featuring beautiful bird illustrations. The goal is to discover and attract the best birds to your wildlife preserves and this video game version has almost been as highly praised as the original board game.

  

Black Mesa

Now this is a fairly unique entry, so before you yell at me in the comments first let me explain why I've included it. You've probably heard about Black Mesa - years ago in fact. It's the official unofficial remake of Half-Life. You may even have bought it, back when it was being promoted in a Steam sale in 2016 or 2017; I know I did, back in the 2015-2016 Steam Winter Sale.

Well, Black Mesa was finally completed last year when the so-called Xen chapters were added and the game came out of Early Access, almost 5 years after entering it. So while you may have heard of and even played some of Black Mesa over the years, you probably didn't realise it officially launched last year and that you can now play it through to completion. Well, I say that - you might have known about all of this, but I didn't until someone pointed it out to me on our forums late last year.

  

Mission: It's Complicated

Even I hadn't heard of this one, and I spend a lot of time (far too much really) each year looking through release lists, hunting for games that might be worthy of Game of the Year nominations in one category or another. 

Mission: It's Complicated is a visual novel about dating super heroes, which doesn't sound particularly appealing to me. However, it has a 'Mighty' OpenCritic rating of 88, putting it in the top 20 games released in 2020. That's quite some feat, although a key reason for the high rating is the fact that only three outlets have actually reviewed the game... which rather neatly exemplifies its status as a great game that you almost certainly didn't play.

  

Levelhead

A genre-bending indie platformer, Levelhead is another of those games with incredible critical and user feedback... from those who've actually played it. The problem is not nearly enough people have. Check it out if you haven't heard of it before, you might just find your next favourite platformer.

   

Spelunky 2

Did you know Spelunky 2 released in 2020? Most people don't seem to have noticed. Or they did kind of notice but haven't played it. You can bet that the nod from The Game Awards in the Indie category helped a lot towards the end of the year, but Spelunky 2's release felt very low-key.

Sequel to the million-selling indie hit Spelunky, Spelunky 2 is a roguelike platformer with great feedback from critics and gamers alike.

  

Littlewood

At first glance Littlewood looks decidedly similar to the phenomenal indie hit Stardew Valley. But while the latter has sold over 10 million copies and has hundreds of thousands of reviews (almost all positive), the former is off to a much slower start.

It's described as a wholesome, laid-back blend of farming and life simulator, mixed with RPG elements and city-building. That even sounds like Stardew Valley, which of course was heavily inspired by Animal Crossing, and in a year when the latest Animal Crossing sold almost as much as all the previous entries in the series combined, you can't help but think there's a market out there for it - if only more people knew about it.

  

art of rally

art of rally (yes, all lower case) is the second game from Funselektor, who made 2015's Absolute Drift. The concept is similar too - an indie racing game with a unique art style and an unusual third person camera perspective that's reminiscent of the old Micro Machines games. It's much more ambitious than Absolute Drift though, and that ambition seems to have paid off, at least for those who've played it.

   

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim

I was on the fence about including this strange mix of side-scrolling adventure and RTS battling. It's not a complete unknown, especially here on VGChartz, where we've given it plenty of publicity - from a glowing official review that gave it 8/10, to the title winning our award for Best Adventure Game of 2020. But I'd wager most of you haven't actually played it, even if you have heard of it, so I've snuck it on the list at the end. Writer's prerogative.

 

And that's the end of the list. How many of the above games have you played? And which games did I miss that you would have included on the list? Let me know in the comments.


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7 Comments
Xeon (on 13 February 2021)

Great stuff. There are now more games being released than ever but so many get lost in the shuffle. I'll have to check some of these out.

  • +6
GoOnKid (on 13 February 2021)

I like this list. Games like these go unnoticed nowadays, so a little spotlight is very helpful.

  • +6
Jaicee (on 13 February 2021)

Thanks for posting this! After reading this, I think I'm gonna have to check out There Is No Game and Mission: It's Complicated, both of which sound vaguely familiar like maybe I saw them once on a list of the week's new games, but had completely forgotten about and never played.. Wasn't familiar with most games on this list either, but those two stood out to me.

  • +6
Azzanation (on 13 February 2021)

Black Mesa is indeed a great game not many have played.

  • +5
UnderwaterFunktown (on 13 February 2021)

Glad to see you included Black Mesa, was my game of the year after all! At least among the ones I've had a chance to play so far.

  • +4
Cerebralbore101 (on 14 February 2021)

I switched from Metacritic to Opencritic several years ago, just to have a website that highlighted games like this. But now Opencritic is making it harder to find these games in their system.

  • +1
Ka-pi96 (on 13 February 2021)

Nice list, hopefully something that continues each year too!

I've heard of some of these, but yeah haven't played any of them. Black Mesa is definitely one that I want to play at some point. There just isn't that much incentive knowing that the Half-Life series is effectively dead though. If Half-Life 3 were to be announced... I'd wake up and realise it was just a dream. But seriously, if it were to happen that would definitely give me more incentive to play Black Mesa and replay Half-Life 2. Until then though...

  • 0