The next category in Hooked Gamers’ Game of the Year awards is for Best Indie Game
Previously nominated in the Best Action Game category Hades is a wonderful example of deep gameplay. Playing as Zagreus, the misbehaving son of Hades, players shoot, slash, and crush enemies as they traverse four levels of the underworld, each more destructive than the last. Death comes often, but each death is part of the narrative, rewarding players with interesting story pieces about Zagreus. Each character you interact with has a backstory, providing Hades with well fleshed out world that is a joy to explore.
Also nominated in the Best Action category, Ghostrunner is another game that will have you dying repeatedly. Part combat, part platformer…but full of action. Ghostrunner has players running along walls and grappling to connection points and then using a sword to take down gun-toting enemies. One ability does help though…the ability to pause time, but this feature is evened out by the single hit deaths. Dying heaps of time is imminent, but not through the fault of the flawless controls. Being a cyber ninja in a cyberpunk world has never been so much fun.
Nominated in the Best Strategy game category, Monster Train has players building their deck, and journeying through the underworld in an effort to stop hell from freezing over. Broken up into distinct sections, each area tasks the gamer with summoning units and slinging spells to stop waves of heavenly fighters from extinguishing a pyre. The strategy comes in the form of selecting and then improving your deck as you work your way through the underworld. Simple gameplay mechanics, but an incredible amount of depth as you experiment with different card combinations, each leading to differing styles of play.
Already nominated in the Best Multiplayer Game category, Phasmophobia is a four-player co-op that has gamers taking the role of ghost busters. The horror themed gameplay and co-op atmosphere offers up moments of hilarity as well as absolute fear. There aren’t many co-op experiences where the fear remains intact, but it’s here in Phasmophobia. Players have a range of gear at their disposal and must work together in order to deal with the apparitions before moving on to the next, varied ghostly scenario.
And the Winner is…
All four titles have been nominated in other categories, and it is not hard to see why with the quality on show. But Hades takes the crown on this occasion. Full of depth, and with an amazing storyline, Hades is a rogue-like game that doesn’t feel like one. Although it is always a pain to die, each time death occurs, it allows for a new experience and new conversations with those around you. The range of weapons available to Zagreus also allow for differing play styles, increasing the replay factor that is already present by the seemingly unlimited upgrade paths. A fantastic story melded with superb gameplay and a wonderful ambiance give Hades production values that you would expect from a AAA title from one of the larger development organisations.
Game of the Year 2020 Award categories
Best Strategy Game
Best Role Playing Game
Best Sports or Racing Game
Best Action Game
Best Multiplayer Game
Best Platformer or Puzzle Game
Best Sequel, Remake or Expansion
Game of the Year
(Note. Cut-off for nominations was 1st December)