Shacknews Top 10 Indie Games of the Year 2020

Shacknews is counting down the ten best indie games released this year. Behold, the Top 10 Indie Games of 2020!


As 2020 finally comes to its sweet, merciful end, The Shacknews Awards intensify with video games being honored left and right. Today, for the third year in a row, we are counting down the Shacknews Top 10 Indie Games of the Year 2020. Please take a look.

10. Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout

The battle royale realm has become a crowded place. There are now many games where dozens of players enter and only one leaves. However, few have embraced what it means to be pure fun than Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout.

Fall Guys takes the battle royale idea and makes it more wholesome, challenging players to take on all sorts of Mario Party-style mini-games. That often includes races, team games, or obstacle courses. The result is wild fun with beanbag people in a mad dash to the finish. Mediatonic continuing to iterate on the game by adding new games and themes makes it that much better and ensures that Fall Guys will be around for the long haul. -Ozzie Mejia, Senior Editor

Check out Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout on Steam and PlayStation Store.

9. Amnesia: Rebirth

It is absolutely wild to think that Amnesia: Rebirth is an indie game, because it can easily stand toe to toe with all of the production values of AAA horror titles created within the past five years. But it's true. Frictional Games is an indie studio, and that makes Amnesia: Rebirth all the more amazing. This visceral and gut-twisting journey of love into the depths of madness and the supernatural got horror right in a way that most games in this genre only dream of reaching. It draws you in. It invites you to its mystery. And it will make your breath hitch when it locks its claws in and keeps you from looking away. Pretty dang good for an indie crew. -TJ Denzer, News Editor

Check out our Shacknews Best Horror Game of 2020 - Amnesia: Rebirth article, in case you missed it. Amnesia: Rebirth is available on Steam and PlayStation Store.

8. Streets of Rage 4

Streets of Rage 4 is, in every single way, shape, and form possible, a love letter to fans of the old school Sega beat'em-up franchise. A book could be filled on how many easter eggs are in this game, but it's also just a dang good modern representation of what a new co-op side-scrolling brawler ought to be. SoR4 doesn't mess with gimmicks. Everything is thought out fully. The art is striking and contains reasonable to the environments, characters, bosses, and even thugs for how long this franchise has been dormant. The characters' movesets contain basic elements anyone can use, but also have a depth that rivals actual fighting games. The music is a fantastic electronica blend of the old school riffs with new school sensibilities. And then new things like the combo system just make this game a fun challenge to approach over and over. Streets of Rage 4 has no right being so damn good for a love letter, and yet on every front, it is. -TJ Denzer, News Editor

Check out Streets of Rage 4 on Steam, Nintendo eShop, Microsoft Store, and PlayStation Store. It's also available via Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for PC.

7. Risk of Rain 2

Risk of Rain 2 takes everything that made the first game so amazing, and multiplies it. A roguelike that represents everything that makes the genre great. It's challenging, rewarding, and keeps you on your toes at every second. With a wide variety of items and power ups, Risk of Rain 2 has a high degree of replayability. What's more, you can team up with 3 friends as run the gauntlet. -Donovan Erksine, Contributing Editor

Check out Risk of Rain 2 on Steam, Nintendo eShop, Microsoft Store, and PlayStation Store.

6. Deep Rock Galactic

After spending what seems like an eternity in Steam’s Early Access program, Deep Rock Galactic officially launched as a complete game this year. Developer Ghost Ship Games has managed to polish the experience into a smooth, glistening co-op gem that stands above all other contenders in a year where many of us spent our days quarantined at home in need of escape. Featuring the best bug shooting this side of Starship Troopers and the best beard customization of 2020, you'd be a space fool to miss out on this one. -Chris Jarrard, Tech Editor

Check out Deep Rock Galactic on Steam, and Microsoft Store. It's also available via Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for PC.

5. Spelunky 2

Give me roguelike mechanics mixed with spot-on platforming controls and level design. Spelunky, in other words. Better yet, give me Spelunky 2. More than just an iterative effort, the Derek Yu-directed sequel does more with narrative this time around, casting you as the daughter of the first game's explorer, and in search of her missing parents. (Think Donkey Kong Country 2 with procedural elements, and with Dixie in the starring role.)

The stages are layered, giving you ample reason to delve for secrets and loot. Throw new monsters, systems like liquid physics and mounts (ridable mounts!), and Spelunky 2 delivers everything fans loved about the venerated first game, only more. -David L. Craddock, Long Reads Editor

Check out Spelunky 2 on Steam and PlayStation Store. It is coming soon to other platforms.

4. Bugsnax

Kinda bug and kinda snack and kinda one of the best indie games to come out this year. From the moment we were introduced to the colorful and adorable world of Bugsnax we were enthralled by it. The game sports a colorful cast of Sid and Marty Kroft-inspired Muppet-style characters with quirky names like Wiggle Wigglebottom and Snorpy Fizzlebean along with a large variety of adorable anthropomorphic snacks for you to collect. It’s one part Pokemon and one part puzzle game mixed with some great storytelling that just might have a few dark twists and turns that you don’t see coming. Bugsnax is definitely a unique and rare breed of creature and we just can’t get enough of it. -Blake Morse, Reviews Editor

'Bite into some Bugsnax on Epic Games Store and PlayStation Store. PS Plus subscribers can download Bugsnax for free on PS5 until January 4, 2021.

3. Factorio

Many Shackers have been playing Factorio since its Early Access release. We got to see the game's final form in 2020 when 1.0 dropped. The game really stands out from the city builder world with its amazingly detailed focus on automation. Factorio challenges players with many problem-solving tasks, but really amplifies the fun as things scale up. The game's systems are brilliantly balanced, and it is a delightul industrial city builder made even better with multiplayer functionality and bouts with enemies trying to destory your factory. Some people slept on Factorio in 2020, but the game is shaping up to be a Shacknews favorite for years to come. Eight years after development began, Wube Software has shipped a truly great game. -Asif Khan, CEO

Check out Factorio on Steam.

2. Diabotical

As much as I enjoy retro and retro-themed shooters, I didn't play much online multiplayer back in the '90s. Dial-up Internet wasn't conducive to wicked rail shots and… precision shots in general, really. Give me a couple dozen single-player maps with lots of nooks and crannies to explore. Then I played Diabotical, and it scratched that Quake 3: Arena itch I didn't realize I was feeling.
Everything about Diabotical pops: the primary colors that delineate room and corridors, the aural and visual feedback of the weapons (except for the grenade launcher, which really should be colored differently than the rocket launcher), the snappy movement--these elements and more combine to present the spiritual successor to Quake 3 and Quake Live fans of arena shooters have been waiting for. -David L. Craddock, Long Reads Editor

Check out Diabotical on Epic Games Store.

Honorable mentions:

The following indie games also received votes:

1. Hades

Congratulations to Supergiant Games! You have won the prestigious title of Shacknews Indie Game of the Year 2020. For more, check out our Shacknews Indie Game of the Year 2020 - Hades article.

Hades is out now on Steam, Nintendo eShop, and Epic Games Store.

What an amazing year for indie video game releases. Congratulations to all of these amazing teams on actually shipping their games during this incredibly trying year of 2020. All of you folks know how to do it for Shacknews, and we appreciate you. 

Check out the other winners from The Shacknews Awards 2020 in our Year of the Games: 2020 article.

Shack Staff stories are a collective effort with multiple staff members contributing. Many of our lists often involve entires from several editors, and our weekly Shack Chat is something we all contribute to as a group. 

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