2020 TechRaptor Awards - Indie Game of the Year

While the definition of "indie" becomes ever harder to pin down, the Indie Game of the Year continues to be our favorite award. Whether it be a labor of love or the next great thing from an established developer, there's a lot to love from the indie scene in 2020. 

Here's all the nominees for our Indie Game of the Year (and check this link for all of our awards):

So here's the winner of TechRaptor's Indie Game of the Year 2020 for outstanding creative and technical design from outside a large studio.

Readers' Choice - Hades

Developer: Supergiant Games | Release Date: September 17th, 2020

At this point, Supergiant Games has to have entered the same category as something like Naughty Dog for an expectation of excellence. Any announced game from them is likely, going forward, to be highly anticipated and assumed to be at least great. Hades is that and more, with amazing writing, gameplay, art—basically everything. It's their best effort yet, and it's no surprise our readers picked it.

 
 

Fifth Place - Spelunky 2

Developer: Mossmouth | Release Date: September 15th, 2020

spleunky 2

By George Foster

It seems almost impossible to improve on a game as unanimously beloved as the original Spelunky, yet Spelunky 2 is an improvement in almost every way. It's got the same hard-as-nails approach to gameplay but with more complexity in its levels, more secrets to find throughout and much better presentation all around. Its brutal approach won't be for everyone, but for those who manage to stick it out over and over again to reach the end, along the way you'll find one of the best indie games ever made—and one that is worthy of its spot on this list.

Fourth Place - Streets of Rage 4

Developer: Dotemu, Lizardcube, Guard Crush Games | April 30th, 2020

streets of rage 4

By Catherine Dellosa

The thing about mindless beat-‘em-ups is that they will always guarantee one heck of a ride no matter what genre you’re into. Streets of Rage 4, in particular, brilliantly and seamlessly weaves together retro nostalgia with updated game elements that cater to both old and new fans alike. The 2D side-scroller boasts of stunning hand-drawn visuals coupled with an electrifying soundtrack, effectively making the faithful revival of the classic franchise an absolutely thrilling experience. Despite the fact that all you really have to do is punch everything that gets in your way, the simplicity of the game mechanics doesn’t stop you from having a damn good time, because beating up bad guys with random pipes and knives just never goes out of style.

Yes, the sequel is 26 years in the making, but suffice it to say that Streets of Rage 4 is definitely worth the wait.

Third Place - Spiritfarer

Developer: Thunder Lotus Games | Release Date: August 18th, 2020

spiritfarer

 

By Andrew Stretch

Spiritfarer is a game that immediately turned the charm up to 11. While you might not think you'd be able to make such a cute game about ferrying the recently departed into the great beyond, Thunder Lotus Games have managed to pull it off. Playing as Stella, it's your job to build your boat, ferry the departed, and explore the vast ocean of the beyond. The management simulation aspects of the game aren't too hard to wrap your head around and are introduced in an extremely manageable rate. Where Spiritfarer truly shines is with the stories that are told by those you ferry including members of Stella's family. It's truly a heartwarming and emotionally charged game.

Second Place - Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout

Developer: Mediatonic | Release Date: August 4th, 2020

fall guys ultimate knockout

By Tyler Chancey

Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is an inherently silly experience. It is an online battle royale game inspired by physical game shows—Takeshi's Castle, Wipeout, etc—where you control an adorable walking jellybean person. It's colorful, dopey, and doesn't really have much depth to its core gameplay aside from basic teamwork and general impishness.

But Fall Guys was a game that arrived at the right moment. The year 2020 will go down as one of the most stressful and uncertain times in human history filled with radicalization, misinformation, and a population just burnt out by constantly draining current events. Enter Fall Guys, a game that is perfectly content with being the best kind of goofy online slapstick.

 

Except the Slime Climb event. That is where controllers are broken in half.

Winner - Hades

Developer: Supergiant Games | Release Date: September 17th, 2020

hades indie game of the year

By Austin Suther

Supergiant Games might be the most consistent game studio in existence. Every single game is a masterpiece, each one different and unique from one another. Further, what persists throughout each of Supergiant’s individualized games is a stylized, colorful art style, engrossing story, and a killer soundtrack.

Hades certainly has just that. But really, what’s most astounding is that Supergiant made Hades into an incredibly accessible roguelite. Roguelites are notorious for their difficulty, but it’s a game that makes compromises with its God Mode in order for the player to have fun. So really, you have no excuse to not play Hades

But if that doesn’t convince you, consider the gameplay loop. There’s six different weapons, but each one also has additional variants. There’s dozens upon dozens of powers from the different gods within Olympus’ pantheon. Hades also has what seems to be an infinite number of new dialogue between Hades and the other Olympians. 

Let’s not forget the story, which is fantastic. The premise seems simple enough: escape from the Underworld. Yet, as you progress, complete runs, and continue to evolve your friendship between Gods and Underworld denizens alike, you’ll unravel a much deeper narrative. If you’re familiar with Greek mythology, you’ll be able to identify plenty of characters and see how the team at Supergiant faithfully recreated said characters in video game form with their own twist. 

Addicting and accessible gameplay, incredible characters, stellar art and sound design, and more. What else could you ask for? Hades is truly deserving of our Indie Game of the Year. 


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Editor in Chief at TechRaptor. Has long believed Dynasty Warriors 4 to be the pinnacle of gaming.