For many gamers, 2020 has not been a stellar year for new releases. There have only been a few big launches that have been successful and critically acclaimed. That’s because the vast majority of the most anticipated titles are not due to launch until later in the year. The COVID-19 pandemic also means that some releases have been pushed back as developers have had to work from home.
Of course, all of that does not mean that there haven’t been plenty of great games so far. You just have to look a little bit harder to find the hidden gems of 2020. These include some games that just slipped under the radar along with a series of great indies that didn’t get the attention they deserved. Whatever the case, these are definitely some releases that you should check out when looking for something new to play.
While it is part of the huge Gears of War franchise, Gears Tactics has not received that much attention. That might be because it is so different from the mainline games in the series. This is a turn-based tactics game in the same style of X-COM. But it is far more accessible than many other similar games in the same genre. Combined with excellent graphics and a solid narrative, players will want to check it out. It was released for PC on April 28 and will come to Xbox One in the future.
Not For Broadcast
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be in charge of an ’80s newsroom? If so, Not For Broadcast might be the perfect game for you. In it, players are given control of a mixing station and get to decide what is sent out to the public. Everything from censoring graphic content to concentrating the cameras on certain guests is left up to you. As you progress, the election story develops and you get more access to more colorful and erratic characters. If nothing else, it is certainly a memorable experience. Not For Broadcast was released on January 30 for PC.
Dreams is a PlayStation 4 game that has been in development for a number of years. Despite grabbing attention in earlier reveals, it released in February to little fanfare. Yet, it is the perfect experience for those who like to get creative. That’s because Dreams is more of a tool to create games than a game itself. Users can use Dreams to create their very own titles, ranging from shooters to more experimental releases. There’s also a great community hub to share and download other people’s creations.
Journey to the Savage Planet
Journey to the Savage Planet was released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in January, and became available on the Switch in May. It is a hybrid of a few different genres, giving players the chance to explore a brand new world they have crashed on. To have any hope of surviving, you need to research creatures and locations on the planet. There’s also a sturdy combat system and a nice amount of engaging platforming along the way. But best of all is the humor sprinkled throughout that is sure to make you chortle at least a few times.
Although Coffee Talk is more visual novel than a game, it does contain plenty of interactive elements to keep you engaged. Chief among them is the wide array of fun mini-games that intercede the dialogue to keep things from getting stale. You play as a barista operating a late-night coffee shop. Every evening brings a mix of new and returning characters, each with their own unique stories. It is a perfect way to spend a few hours relaxing without having to worry about needing quick reflexes. Coffee Talk released in January on PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
The first game in this platforming series proved to be a big success for Microsoft’s new indie division. This sequel arrived in March on Xbox One and PC, and brought with it improvements in practically every area. There’s better combat, beautiful visuals, and a more sophisticated save system. These elements combine to create one of the best platformers of recent times. It is certainly an experience that more people should give a go, especially when it is freely available through Xbox Game Pass. You can read our full review here.
Kentucky Route Zero
While Kentucky Route Zero is far from a new game, it has seen new acts released since its launch in 2013. The fifth and final of these acts finally became available in January. It brought a satisfying and compelling conclusion to the story that started seven years ago.
For those unfamiliar with the game, Kentucky Route Zero is a point-and-click adventure game that shuns puzzles. Instead, the focus is put on the narrative and player choice. With a superb art style and deep character development, it is a title not to be missed. It’s available on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch.
Streets of Rage 4
In the early ’90s, the Streets of Rage trilogy comprised some of the best side-scrolling fighting games in the industry. Unfortunately, the series went AWOL for a long time and many people had given up hope of ever seeing a modern sequel. That is until Streets of Rage 4 dropped this year in April. It is a direct continuation of the Sega series and follows largely the same concept in terms of gameplay. Fast-paced and thrilling gameplay is still very much par for the course. Yet, the best thing about this game is the pulsating soundtrack that is a refreshing throwback to the ’90s. Streets of Rage 4 is available on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch.
What are your favorite video game hidden gems of 2020? Tell us in the comments below!