10 Phenomenal Video Games That Went Totally Viral in 2020
Say what you will about 2020, but it's been a pretty spectacular year for gaming.
Not only did this year see some stellar video game releases, but with stay-at-home orders and social distancing measures in place, we've had more time to play, and social games have brought many of us closer together than ever.
So which super-viral games reigned supreme in 2020? Keep reading to discover our top 10.
Everyone and their mother have been playing Among Us in 2020, and for good reason. Though the game released in 2018, it's been a sensation this year thanks to its addictive, ever-changing gameplay and the way it's allowed people to stay close, in spite of being apart. In the game, players take on the role of colorful crew members vying to complete their mission at a space station. The catch? There are impostors among them who aim to take out the crew one by one, and cast suspicion on innocents when the time comes to eject the evildoers. Though the game can be played with just in-game chatting, voice chat elevates it to the next level, making it the ultimate party game. And with all types of celebrities playing it on Twitch, from rapper T-Pain to Taran Killam to politicians such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar, it is spreading fast.
(Among Us via InnerSloth)
Dreams for the PlayStation 4 was designed to be more than a game. At its heart, it was always about building a community. This incredible game creation tool gives users pretty much everything they need to generate whatever type of video games their heart desires, as long as they have the patience to learn the system and put together their visions. And even if you're not the creative type, it's full of games lovingly crafted by other members of the community to get lost in and inspired by. Though Dreams hasn't persisted into later 2020 in the way we'd hoped, it's seriously never too late for this gem of a game to make a comeback.
(Dreams via Sony Interactive Entertainment)
Hades is one of the best roguelikes we've played, with a ridiculously satisfying upgrade and progression system that makes you feel stronger (and cooler) with every single run, and the ability to constantly experiment with new builds until you discover exactly how you want to play the game. Honestly, that would be enough to keep us hooked, but somehow, Hades also manages to have a deeply captivating story you'll demand to see through to the end. Plus, it's packed with complex—and absurdly good-looking—characters we simply can't get enough of.
(Hades via Supergiant Games)
Free-to-play games can definitely be hit-or-miss, but we think Genshin Impact is one of the hits. This open-world fantasy game allows players to control a party of four characters to complete quests and explore unique terrains to their hearts' content. However, we're not too proud to admit that it's the gache game inherent in Genshin that keeps us coming back. Using in-game currency (or real-world money, if you're a risk-taker) allows players to basically gamble for loot boxes that might contain mighty characters and weapons. Just be careful not to spend all your cash rolling for that favorite character!
(Genshin Impact via miHoYo)
Phasmophobia is another game that has definitely benefited from people being stuck at home. In the game, up to four players team up to explore houses, cabins, schools, asylums and prisons to go on a ghost hunt. During each visit, the location is plagued by a killer ghost, and it's up to the players to use various tools to identify the type of specter haunting the place, and to escape with their lives intact. Not only does the game have a haunting atmosphere, but when the ghosts go on the prowl, no one is safe, resulting in tense gameplay. You can also play the game in virtual reality, with varyingly terrifying and hilarious results.
(Phasmophobia via Kinetic Games)
The Last of Us Part II
After the success and critical acclaim of 2013's The Last of Us on the PlayStation 3, The Last of Us Part II on the PlayStation 4 had a lot to live up to. Despite a lot of very vocal fans rallying against the narrative direction of the game for various reasons, we find the challenging story, with its themes of love, violence, redemption and revenge, to be utterly compelling. This is by far the most mature game on this list, and though the choices made in this game aren't the choices we would have made, we respect them, and the result is one of the most powerful video game experiences of the year.
(The Last of Us Part II via Sony Interactive Entertainment)
Super Mario 3D All-Stars
You can never go wrong with a bit of nostalgia, and few games have done nostalgia better than Super Mario 3D All-Stars on the Nintendo Switch. Containing 1996's Super Mario 64, 2002's Super Mario Sunshine and 2010's Super Mario Galaxy in one package, the game brings together all of Mario's most beloved 3D adventures and reveals that (despite some janky camera controls) these games are as iconic as they ever were. Even if you've never played them before, this is the perfect way to experience some of the greatest platforming games of all time.
(Super Mario 3D All-Stars via Nintendo)
Final Fantasy VII Remake
Final Fantasy VII Remake doesn't just take an iconic game and recreate it with flashy new graphics. This title painstakingly brings every tiny detail from the 1997 original and turns them into a full experience, creating a wholly new combat system from the ground up while reintroducing beloved characters and locations—as well as tampering with some of the details of the story to offer something that complements the classic game, rather than erasing it. With fun and fresh fighting, beautifully rendered scenes and characters and full voice acting, it's sure to reel in new fans, as well. Even more, this game is only a portion of the original Final Fantasy VII, managing to transform the first six to eight hours of that game into an epic 40-hour experience here. FFVII Remake might be five or more games when all is said and done, and we couldn't be more excited.
(Final Fantasy VII Remake via Square Enix)
When we first played Fall Guys at E3 last year, we knew people we going to love it, but we never anticipated how much it would blow up. This battle royale title pits 60 players against each other in a gauntlet of minigames, with players eliminated every round until just one winner takes the crown at the end of the game. Not only are the games super addictive, but the competitive edge keeps us coming back again and again, and the vast array of colorful costumes makes it worth earning every one. You can also build a squad with up to four friends, collaborating to assert your dominance against other players, while also staying in touch when you can't be together in person.
(Fall Guys via Devolver Digital)
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
You can't talk about gaming in 2020 without mentioning Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Released in March, just weeks after most of us went into lockdown, this game about transforming a deserted island into a personal cozy getaway of your own design was the perfect balm for the soul. The incredible customization available, plus the cast of literally hundreds of beloved animal characters, provides the perfect escape from the daily stresses of life. Though fervor for the game has quieted a bit, it's constantly being updating with new seasonal features, and we're still playing it more than any other game on this list!
(Animal Crossing: New Horizons via Nintendo)
Need a break from your stress? Click HERE to check out a list of the best distracting games getting us through 2020.