The next category in Hooked Gamers’ Game of the Year awards is for Best Platformer or Puzzle Game.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
In the follow up to 2015’s Ori and the Blind Forest, players take on the role of Ori, a guardian spirit immediately following the events of the original. Guided by a wisp, Ori journeys through a series of wonderfully designed settings, solving intricate puzzles and taking on a plethora of dangers within the locations. The controls are tight, allowing for fluid movement and improved combat, whilst the musical backdrop sets the tone of the game marvellously.
A puzzle game that has players altering the dimensions of the game world, Manifold Garden would resemble a video game version of an MS Escher artwork. The game features a stunning awe-inspiring world with an environment that doesn’t conform to reality as we might expect. The game makes use of visual cues such as the use of colour in order to help the gamer solve the puzzles in the lovingly designed setting. And the wonderful score and sound effects heighten the mood within the highly polished indie game.
A charming little puzzle game that centres around our titular character, Carto. A skilled cartographer, Carto can alter her surroundings by manipulating her map in the hope of reuniting with her grandma. Discovering new pieces of the map and then rearranging them to create a new map allows Carto to meet new characters and learn about their unique cultures. Carto is a relaxing experience with its combination of exploration and puzzle aspects.
Projection: First Light
Shadow puppets have been a form of entertainment for centuries, and Projection: First Light follows in their pedigree. Playing as young Greta, gamers use a light source in this puzzle platformer to alter the terrain so that she can journey through each of the distinctive locations. The light source produces shadows that enable Greta to evade dangerous obstacles and move objects. The game has well designed puzzles that enable multiple ways of completing levels. And although there is no dialogue, the story is wonderfully told with the use of iconised thought bubbles and character actions.
And the Winner is…
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
It’s hard enough for sequels to live up to the expectations set by successful forbearers, but it’s even more challenging when that forbearer is as charming, beautiful, and affecting as 2015’s Ori and the Blind Forest. Yet, developer Moon Studios has proven that their freshman effort wasn’t a fluke. Ori and the Will of the Wisps is what all platformers aspire to be. Sporting absolutely gorgeous visuals and a moving score, the game’s children’s-book-come-to-life story is packed with memorable locations and charming animal friends. It’s not just pretty to look at, either. A satisfying plethora of abilities makes the landscape a pleasure to navigate - which you’ll want to do with plenty of secrets scattered around to uncover. Add in tight, responsive controls and improved combat options, and you’re left with a game that’s incredibly hard to find fault in. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll love every minute of it.
Game of the Year 2020 Award categories
Best Strategy Game
Best Role Playing Game
Best Sports or Racing
Best Action Game
Best Multiplayer Game
Best Indie Game
Best Sequel, Remake or Expansion
Game of the Year
(Note. Cut-off for nominations was 1st December)