As the year comes to an end, I’ll be looking back over the games I played and picking my top ten.
These will specifically be games released in the year of 2020. That will include re-releases, or remakes, or whatever. There might actually be a couple of new games in there, too. As long as it was released sometime in 2020, then it is up for consideration.
I won’t be ranking them in any particular order; this is just a post where I share my top ten games of year and wax lyrical about them I suppose. I’ll simply present the games in alphabetical order.
I’ll also note the games I talk about here will all be games available for the Nintendo Switch. Some will be multiplatform, but I’ll be talking about my experiences based on the Switch versions of the games where applicable.
Animal Crossing: New HorizonsThe timing of the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons might have just been perfect considering how this year went. It was the ideal game to distract us from impending doom, especially with its laid back tone.
This new entry in the series brought crafting with it, as well as the ability to shape your island however you see fit. Regular updates bring new content to the game, including various holiday events.
This also happens to be one of the four games I played most this year. Three out the four games are on this list. For those curious, the fourth is Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate.
An island getaway was what we all needed during 2020, and Nintendo happily provided that for us in the comfort of our homes with Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega MixI love rhythm games, so I was thrilled to learn that the Switch would be getting Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix. It’s the first Project DIVA game on the Switch, and a very welcome addition to my library of games.
It may not have the same level of interaction with Miku and friends as the 3DS’ Project Mirai DX, but it has an excellent selection of songs. It’s pretty much purely about the rhythm game here, as well as plenty of different outfits.
Hyrule Warriors: Age of CalamityHyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity takes us 100 years into the past, before the events of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. There, we experience how the Calamity that sunk Hyrule into ruin came to be with battles against hundreds of foes.
Besides the obvious characters like Link, Zelda and Impa, Age of Calamity also allows you to play as the four Champions of Hyrule: Daruk, Mipha, Revali and Urbosa. There’s more characters besides those, too, should you want to change things up a bit.
If the glimpses of Hyrule’s past in Breath of the Wild piqued your interest, you’d do well to try out Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity.
Megadimension Neptunia VIIMegadimension Neptunia VII was one of my most played games this year, so I guess it is only fitting that I include it here.
Originally released in 2016, it got a Switch version this year. The story here spans across multiple dimensions, with Gamindustri’s Goddesses gaining new allies to respond to the threat.
As a side note, I just want to mention that I really like C-Sha. She’s a pretty good match for Blanc.
Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy CollectionA collection of six games, Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection is made up of the four Mega Man Zero games, plus Mega Man ZX and Mega Man ZX Advent. All six are excellent, challenging games. I have to give a specific shout out to Mega Man ZX, though, as that is my favourite Mega Man game.
The collection also adds Z Chaser mode for a challenge. For those who want an easier time with the games, there is the Casual Scenario Mode and a Save-Assist feature.
Out of the many game collections available for the Nintendo Switch (and other consoles), Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection is definitely up there as one of my favourites.
Puyo Puyo Tetris 2The worlds of Puyo Puyo and Tetris collide once again in Puyo Puyo Tetris 2. A colourful cast of characters pop Puyo and line up Tetriminoes in this game. Sometimes you’ll be switching between both on the fly, too.
Both games are addictive puzzlers in their own right, and combining them together does not change that one iota. The game offers a single player Adventure, and multiplayer both off- and online. There’s also the new Skill Battle mode where characters can use skills to turn the tides of a match.
Sakuna: Of Rice and RuinSakuna: Of Rice and Ruin is serious about rice farming. Playing this game will give you a pretty good insight on how rice is grown. There’s plenty to keep track of, especially if you want your rice to flourish.
Farming is only half the game, though, as you’ll also go exploring and fight monsters. The combat in Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin is absolutely superb. As you grow accustomed to it, you’ll be comboing your foes all over the place, and it always feels satisfying to pull off.
Your strength is based on how well you grow rice, so it is key to ensure you regularly tend to the rice field. So whilst rice farming and combat may be two entirely different aspects of the game, they are wrapped into a really enjoyable experience.
Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral TownMuch like Animal Crossing, Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town is another game that is perfect if you just want to relax. It is a remake of the GBA’s Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town. One key feature that it offers is same sex marriage – something technically not in the Japanese version. So if you want to play as a cute girl and marry a cute girl, you can! You can also start a family, no matter who you choose to be your partner.
I really enjoy the Story of Seasons games, and I’m hoping the stuff that was included here becomes a main stay for future entries in the series. Even if it is only for the English language versions…
Trials of ManaA 3D remake of… well, Trials of Mana, or Seiken Densetsu 3 as it was known before it got an official English language release. As is usually the case in RPGs, the world faces destruction. You choose a main character from six heroes, and then two more as companions, and go on a quest to save the world. I mean, what else would you expect?
Besides being brought into the third dimension, Trials of Mana also gets character voiceovers, a remastered soundtrack and a new episode after the ending.
This is such a great game, and definitely my favourite in the Mana series.
Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive EditionOne of the best games on the Wii gets a HD makeover for the Switch, and reminds us that Xenoblade Chronicles is still one of the best JRPGs out there. Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition is one of my four most played games of 2020.
A story about changing destiny unfolds in this game, as humans set out to put an end to the machine invasion. Well, something like that, anyway; the plot is more complicated. It is a JRPG, after all.
The updated visuals look great, and we actually get animated facial expressions now! This version of the game also includes Xenoblade Chronicles: Future Connected, an epilogue story that stars Shulk, Melia and other new characters.
For Switch owners – especially RPG fans – I consider Xenoblade Chronicles and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 games that you must own. They are fantastic.
That’s my top ten games of 2020. Half of them can be considered RPGs of varying types, but that is pretty much my preferred genre when it comes to games. Out of the games I played this year, these were the ones that stood most for me.
Lots of great games released this year, providing some much needed distractions. I look forward to seeing what games we’ll get in 2021.