Nick: Fairy Tail
I really didn’t have much of a history with Fairy Tail before this game, having seen bits and pieces of it in the past and enjoying what I encountered, but that was about it. Despite a rather confusing start to the game (likely due to my relative lack of familiarity with the material), what I did find was a thoroughly enjoyable JRPG that had me wanting to uncover every little nook, cranny and secret along the way. I spent way more time with this one than I had expected to, and enjoyed every minute of it.
Pierre-Yves: Mortal Shell
Mortal Shell is one of two Soulslikes or Soulsbornes on my lists for this year. Having replayed Dark Souls and Dark Souls 3 while finally getting around to almost Platinuming Bloodborne (FINALLY almost there), I didn’t have super high expectations but this was something that blew me away this year. Mortal Shell, instead of relying on RPG mechanics allowing you to just power your way through if you’re having a hard time instead forces you to make due with what you have as each Shell that can be occupied can only be slightly upgraded leaving the rest in your hands. It’s not the hardest once you get the hand of everything but it was damned fun and with the new types of challenges that it brought to the table there’s no way it couldn’t have been on this list.
Susan N: Minecraft Dungeons
Okay. I’ll be the first to say it. I’m not a Minecraft fan by any extension. Anyone that knows me knows that I generally don’t play games that have no end goal. This year, Minecraft Dungeons released and I was over the moon about it. Here is a game with all the same graphics and creatures loved by millions of people in all age categories, but now it is packaged in an RPG format. I’m totally here for this specific version of Minecraft because it harkens back to the old Diablo games. (You know, when Diablo was still good…) Players can get gear, battle monsters, and follow an actual story line. Minecraft Dungeons even has a couple of DLCs available for greater challenges and new mobs! This is a Minecraft game I can get behind and I didn’t even see it coming! Thus, it is my biggest surprise of 2020. I didn’t expect there to be a Minecraft that I would like and yet, here we are.
Richard: Keen: One Girl Army
I’ll admit, when I saw Keen: One Girl Army I was like “meh, I like puzzle games, this looks a little lower end, but I guess I’ll give it a go”. I was pleasantly surprised. The gameplay is smooth, level designs are both intuitive yet challenging, and the bonus objectives were both reasonably yet difficult enough to really add that extra level of challenge for those who want it. Heck, I even got my dad playing it, and he was having fun.