Topping the list of best games released in 2020, at least according to the aggregate of Steam platform users, are Hades, Factorio, and Phasmophobia. Checking in on the last day of the year with the folks at Steam 250, a Steam user review aggregation and evaluation site, gives us a snapshot of what people were into here on December 31st, 2020. A look at their 150 best-rated games of 2020 gives an interesting insight into what people loved enough they bothered to both play and leave a review on it this year. As you go through it all, feel free to compare it to our Game of the Year 2020 awards. Just a suggestion.
If you haven't been paying attention, then Phasmophobia is probably the one there that'll surprise you. The co-op horror game is a big deal right now, as social deduction and interaction make a splash in video games via Among Us. That said, we should all take a second to put some respect on Phasmophobia for making it to 99% positive reviews in Early Access.
If you've been paying attention this year there's really only one big surprise in the top 10:
- Half-Life: Alyx
- The Henry Stickmin Collection
- Risk of Rain 2
- Deep Rock Galactic
- Persona 4 Golden
Henry Stickmin breaks into the top 10 games of the year. It's a remaster of a popular Flash-era pick-your-path web game series. People love it because, choose your reason: 1) Nostalgia is a hell of a drug or 2) The slapstick gags are all still funny years later. Reason 2 is... pretty clearly evident in the user reviews.
Either way, as you move into the top 25 games you'll find more than a few surprises. I'll spare you a full list—you can go to the proper Steam 250 website for the full 150 games (opens in new tab)—but I will talk about some standout exceptions. The year's top visual novels creep in here, as do the retro-shooters and the full releases of beloved Early Access games like Black Mesa and Besiege.
Quirky digital toy Townscaper picks up the #11 slot, probably the broadest exposure anything like it has ever had. Combined with Henry Stickmin, comedy adventure There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension at #14 makes a strong case for making more comedy games. Back to back surprises come late: #23 is profoundly abstract factory game shapez.io, which I'd not realized was so well regarded, and then at #24 the game Little Witch Nobeta, which to my chagrin I'd written off as "Dark Souls, but Cute" and now I guess I have to look at again.
Again, you can find the full list and draw your own conclusions and tell me I'm wrong in the comments on the Steam 250 Top 150 best games released in 2020. (opens in new tab) Please do note that Steam 250's lists are updated over time, so the numbers and games you see when you go there may be different than mine.