WCcftech’s Best Adventure Games of 2020
If we haven’t left the house much this year, video games have still given free rein to our imagination and take flight. Adventure games are often characterized by single players and limited character interaction, this year has seen a much broader take on the genre. From multiplayer experiences to a list of NPCs to meet and communicate with. Which has been a balm for anyone who has spent this year more or less alone. In no particular order, here are the best adventure games to come out of the hellish year that was 2020.
Also in Wccftech’s Best Games of 2020 lists: Action, Horror, Strategy and Simulation
13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim (8.6/10)
It’s not often that a visual novel gets this much recognition, but 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim managed to break that invisible barrier. Maybe it was the giant mechs that got through it or the inhuman kaiju. Perhaps it’s the non-linear narrative that has allowed players to piece together a moving and moving story over its long and sometimes difficult history. Either way, 13 Sentinels brought a niche genre into the mainstream in a year when so many AAA games fought for the same spotlight.
In addition to hours of text, 13 Sentinels also included light strategy and management elements, which ensured players felt connected, as well as side-scrolling. This last aspect. coupled with the ability to analyze and explore documents as you progress, 13 Sentinels has truly cemented 13 Sentinels as an adventure game that lets you explore a rich story and an intriguing world.
The Last Campfire (8/10)
In a break from their ever-evolving space epic No Man’s Sky, which could arguably make it onto this list thanks to the massive Origins update, Hello Games has also had time to craft the delightful puzzle adventure game, The Last Campfire. Staying on One Planet The Last Campfire leads the player to explore a rich and strange world in an effort to complete an ancient ritual.
The puzzles are creative and sometimes challenging, and the world is strange in the sense that the fairy tales feel familiar but otherworldly, serene but dangerous, and rich with opportunities for exploration and discovery. The Last Campfire has slipped under the radar somewhat this year, but it’s a wonderful, wholesome experience worth remembering as you continue into next year.
Tell me why (9/10)
DONTNOD has been extremely busy this year. After the Life is Strange series, they’ve released two new adventure games that explore the same themes of Americana and magical realism in entirely new ways. Tell Me Why sees you exploring the coldest parts of the continent as you try to rekindle a sibling relationship.
While Life is Strange has never hid from difficult narratives and scenes, tackling everything from homelessness to systemic racism, Tell Me Why brings its sometimes uncomfortable narrative under a microscope. You’ll argue with lifelong friends and uncover unwanted secrets as you delve into the lives of the twins and their mother, grappling with anti-trans attitudes and sanity along the way.
Call of the Sea (8.9/10)
The newest entry on the list, Call of the Sea offers a new take on Lovecraftian horror, making it not horrifying at all. You play as a wife searching for her husband on an unnamed island in the Pacific. Quickly, you sense something sinister is at work as you peer through ancient campsites and ruins, but you never feel unsafe.
Instead, you’ll explore this beautiful island, with an art style that makes the whole game look like the cover of a 1920s pulp fiction magazine, and solve a variety of mind-bending and challenging puzzles. Call of the Sea is a beautiful story, told in a refreshingly thoughtful way that could make Lovecraftian’s inspired work more accessible to an audience that has never been successful before.
In other waters (9.5/10)
Earlier this year we had In Other Waters. This is a game about exploring an alien ocean teeming with strange life and lost secrets. But you don’t play as an explorer, you play as the artificial intelligence suit the explorer wears. It’s a new concept, but one that works remarkably well.
In Other Waters sits somewhere between a management game like Papers Please and an old-school text adventure like Zork. You will read and imagine this surreal landscape that the game depicts, and the creatures that inhabit it, but you will rarely see it. But despite that, the game looks gorgeous with its blue and gold color scheme and minimalist menus and screens. Exploring in In Other Waters is a very thoughtful, exciting and personal experience compared to other adventure games. And on top of all that, the story is gripping and well-paced to keep you constantly looking for answers in the next section.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons (9.4/10)
There’s not much to do in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Or more accurately, there’s not much the game tells you to do. Arriving on a new island that you can explore in minutes, Animal Crossing is more about turning your island into something personal. It’s a game that encourages you to play every day, but only for a few minutes, erasing each task and finding a new one.
It’s also a game of showing off, or at least showing off your best side. You can visit and invite other players to your island, interacting in the most adorable way. It is an adventure in itself and in the personality of others. It’s calm, colorful and comforting. It may be the perfect game of 2020 and peacefully counters whatever the year has thrown at you.
As usual, while the aforementioned titles were our picks for the best adventure games of 2020, there are a few games we’d like to briefly mention anyway as they were about to make the list.