If 2020 has been a good year for anything, it’s video games. Specifically online games, as they’ve become one of the few ways to spend quality time with friends. Because of this, we’d like to look back at the best multiplayer games of the year.
The best multiplayer games of 2020
Though the year isn’t quite over yet, here are our favorite multiplayer games of 2020.
Call of Duty: Warzone
Call of Duty: Warzone got a surprise release in the early months of 2020. Going on to become one of the most played and watched games of the year, Warzone stands as one of the best games in the battle royale genre, a bit of redemption for 2018's Blackout, the CoD franchise's first swing at the genre. With constant updates, new weapons, and events, Warzone doesn't look like it's going anywhere anytime soon.
Warzone takes the staple Call of Duty gameplay and expertly integrates it into the battle royale format. Being a separate download from Modern Warfare (2019) and free-to-play, it’s no surprise how Warzone exploded in popularity.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
While Animal Crossing: New Horizons might not have the most robust multiple features, or a ton of mini games to get lost in, the multiplayer itself has done a lot to bring people together, especially during these trying times. Giving users the ability to travel to one another’s island and just relax and hang out with their friends has been one of the most relieving things about 2020, and honestly, the world is probably a better place because of people having that outlet to meet up and interact with their friends. Sure, it’s still stuck behind those dated features of Nintendo’s online system, but that doesn’t change that Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ multiplayer is all about the heart, and its community has plenty of that to go around.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 is more than just a stellar solo experience in which players can skate their way through tours and earn their way into Skate Heaven. You can also engage in multiplayer to show off your trick combo skills in a number of ways. With a wide array of local and online multiplayer and various modes catering to both, you can get multiple players together to engage in some traditional scoring competitions, outlandish stuff in the form of Graffiti modes and H.O.R.S.E., and more laid back fun with free skate in both public and private lobbies. It's a shame that not all options are available across local multiplayer, online multiplayer, public, or private play, but Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 still offers arguably the best multiplayer options we've seen in the franchise yet.
Actually moving between homes would be a lot easier if everybody could just give a collective shrug and start breaking things willy-nilly. Moving Out challenges players to fill a moving truck with boxes, furniture, and whatever else needs to be taken out of a house, office, or other location by any means necessary. That means breaking windows, barreling through doors, knocking things over and generally engaging in wanton destruction. The cooperative element required to make this work is what makes this so much fun, especially when it comes time to start tossing items to each other, like a game of hot potato.
Moving Out is pure chaos in a fun way and only gets more fun with more players. It's a fun game for couples, but it's total madness with four people.
Pikmin 3 Deluxe
While it's fun to explore with a band of merry Pikmin, it's even better (and slightly easier) with a second person. Pikmin 3 Deluxe opens the door to co-op play and it quickly proves to be the ideal way to experience the game. Two players each take their own Pikmin and work together to complete the game's various tasks.
Switching around between captains can prove to be a bit difficult when flying solo, but having more than one person working together and splitting up makes the Pikmin experience a little bit easier and more fun. If you're looking for a good game for couples, Pikmin 3 Deluxe is a great choice.
For those that aren’t familiar with Ninjala, you’re doing yourself a disservice. This multiplayer game, which finds itself on the infinitely impressive Nintendo Switch, deserves a spot right alongside some of Nintendo’s other pinnacle multiplayer games like Arms and Splatoon. In Ninjala, players take on the role of bubble gum-chewing brawlers. The bigger the bubble you blow, the bigger the weapon you receive. It all comes down to strategy. Do you want something smaller or something bigger? Unlike some of the other great multiplayer games on this list, Ninjala is free to play, meaning there’s no entry barrier.
Rocket League (now free-to-play)
Psyonix's multiplayer rocket car sports simulator continues to dominate five years after its initial launch. After being acquired by Epic Games, the title has now become free to play across all platforms. The next-generation consoles are also getting an upgraded version of the game that will support 120Hz and HDR output. As home to one of the biggest and most active esports communities in the world, we expect Rocket League to have a realistic shot at being considered for the 2025 version of this list as well.
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
Fall Guys took the gaming world by absolute storm last summer with it bubble gum-pop world of obstacle courses arranged in a TV show-like gauntlet. It's even better that you can invite some friends along for the ride and cheer each other on (or sabotage them) as you try to push, climb, and jump your way to finish lines. Mediatonic is continuing to add more and more content to the game that makes it even more of a delight as well. We do have to point out that there are a couple big things missing. This game needs to either get rid of the cap on parties or allow private rooms, because we'd absolutely love to get large-scale Fall Guys groups and competitions together. Even still, Fall Guys is cutting its way through season updates full of new content constantly and hope springs eternal.
Star Wars Squadrons
For 2020, EA decided to launch a smaller scale Star Wars game with a tight focus and the results are generally positive. Star Wars Squadrons lets players live out their fantasies of piloting craft for either the Galactic Empire or The Rebellion. Rounds are quick and easy to drop into, making the game a great choice for a short bit of fun. The experience is even better for those able to partake in the VR version of the game.
One of the most highly-anticipated FPS releases of 2020, Valorant delivered on the tactical and strategic gameplay promised by Riot Games. Combining the gun play elements of CS:GO with individual agent abilities, Valorant is a fresh entry in the competitive FPS genre that I'll be playing for years to come.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold war is a great return to form for one of gaming's most beloved franchises. Multiplayer mode brings back the exciting arcade feel of Black Ops 2, while Zombies is a welcome return of the classic survival mode. With Warzone integration not coming until December, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War's current multiplayer modes are enough to stand on their own as some of the best online experiences of 2020.
There’s something so tantalizing about getting scared with friends and Phasmophobia delivers on this. For those not in the know, Phasmophobia tasks you and a few friends to track down and work out what type of ghost is haunting the location. This is accomplished by using different tools and devices. As you’re scrounging around in the dark for clues, the ghost will be slinking through the halls, ready to scare the pants off of you at any moment. For those with brown pants to spare, Phasmophobia also supports VR, just in case you weren’t getting terrified enough. Now, the question remains, which of your friends are brave enough to help you hunt ghosts?
Tetris Effect: Connected
The original Tetris Effect was such a sublime experience for solo players. Tetris Effect: Connected is still very much that, but now adds a multiplayer component. Players can put their Tetris skills to the test over the beautiful visuals and engaging soundtrack and go head-to-head. They can also take on the unique co-op mode that has three players take on a powerful boss character, combining their Tetris grids to make lines bigger than anything ever seen.
And if you like old-school Tetris, that's here, too! Enhance has gone the extra mile to include a competitive multiplayer mode that simulates the classic NES Tetris experience, forgoing all of the modern advancements and challenging players to win on pure puzzle gaming skill. Tetris Effect was a marvelous achievement, but Connected is the ideal way to experience this game.
Ghost of Tsushima
Ghost of Tsushima made a major impact on the games world earlier this year when it came out, and that was just with a single player mode. Now, Ghost of Tsushima gives players a chance to team up with their friends or random people online and attempt to infiltrate a feudal-era Japanese castle. Not only does the multiplayer introduce new character archetypes to help balance the team between offensive and defensive skills, it still maintains the core gameplay mechanics that made combat so enjoyable to begin with. This is one of the hottest games of the year, and while it might not have been there at launch, it has definitely more than made it well worth the wait for fans.
Golf with your friends
There's nothing like a game of miniature golf. The only real downside is having to wait for your friends to take their turn. That's not so much an issue in Golf With Your Friends. This is the game that lets you and your friends all play simultaneously, so sessions are a breeze. But what makes this game really stand out is its simple controls along with its fun course themes. The course gimmicks are so enjoyable, you and your friends will be back putting again in no time.
Bleeding Edge is the kind of game where you can play as a Death Metal cyborg with an electric guitar that shoots fire, a woman that’s half giant robot bird and half human, a Dolphin in its own mecha-tank, and so many more unique, quirky, and awesome characters. Not only are the playable characters and environments tinged with a colorful, anime vibe, the combat is action-packed and highly accessible. The whole game is based around third-person PvP arena combat where players must accomplish tasks like holding down checkpoints or collecting and dropping off items at certain locations. The key to victory is making sure you’ve got a balanced 4-player squad and making sure they all stick together in order to use their special abilities in tandem. Bleeding Edge is a great game for hopping in and out of quick rounds with your homies for some squad antics, be sure to check it out.
Okay, Among Us is nearly a two-year old game, but it’s impossible to look back at multiplayer gaming in 2020 and not talk about its biggest story. Developed by Innersloth, Among Us gained traction over the Summer after some notable streamers and creators got a hold of it. With the simple premise of trying to detect the impostor among a group of doomed crewmates on a spaceship, Among Us is simply one of the best party games in years. The game smashed records, sitting atop Steam’s best selling list for weeks upon weeks. We even took a deep dive into the rise of Among Us with a recently published feature. When we look back at the year of 2020 in gaming, you can’t ignore Among Us.
And that wraps it up for our best multiplayer games of 2020! Please - let us know what you think of our list, and tell us if we missed any games.
Donovan Erskine posted a new article, The best multiplayer games of 2020