The PlayStation 4 saw out its final year with some seriously heavy hitters from first-party studios, and then Sony’s PlayStation 5 kickstarted a new generation with another batch of massive titles. Great stuff from the AAA scene, but it’s always worth taking stock of what independent developers are putting out alongside those bigger studios. Because sometimes, they’re even better than any full-priced release. 2020 had some fantastic indie games to boast of on both PS5 and PS4, but these are what we consider the year’s best.
Hotshot Racing is the one indie game select Push Square scribes can’t stop coming back to. The arcade racer owes its existence to the glory days of SEGA as it replicates the likes of Virtua Racing and Daytona USA — doing so in great fashion. While it could do with a little bit more content, vehicle handling is absolutely on point and so too is the soundtrack and lovely low-poly art style. In a generation devoid of many truly fantastic racers, Hotshot Racing quickly rises to the top. Just one more race, please?
For more information, check out our Hotshot Racing PS4 review.
Giant Squid was one of the few independent teams to have a title lined up for the PS5 launch, but boy is it a good one. The Pathless ditches the conventional mechanics of an open-world experience for something more left up to interpretation. Totems can be shot to get about the world faster, there’s no map whatsoever, and various plateaus unlock more of the world for easy navigation. It’s sort of like an open-world game for those who have come to dislike open worlds. Throw in some enjoyable puzzle-solving and you’ve got a masterclass in design. Oh, it also looks rather incredible with some great HDR implementation too. What’s not to love about The Pathless?
For more information, check out our The Pathless PS5 review.
Gold Trophy: Creaks
There’s a fairly good chance you haven’t even heard of Creaks, and that’s a damn shame. Amanita Design’s follow-up to Machinarium is a compelling 2D puzzler with an unsettling mood and soundtrack to match, filled with interesting puzzle design that introduces new mechanics time and time again to keep you on your toes. Matching those perks is a lovely and elegant art style featuring fascinating character designs and artful backdrops that reveal more details about the world of Creaks. There’s a different universe hiding underneath the bedroom of this particular boy, and to skip the opportunity of revealing its true contents would be a major mistake. Creaks is everything an indie game can dream of being.
For more information, check out our Creaks PS4 review.
The comical sensation that is Fall Guys tops our list for 2020 after providing delight after delight during the summer months of this year and beyond. This free PlayStation Plus title made the Battle Royale genre enjoyable for those who would normally skip anything to do with it, ensuring a big player base from day one and fun moments for all. No matter whether it was a mad dash to be the final qualifying player on The Whirlygig or a tense standoff with another Fall Guy on Jump Showdown, Mediatonic delivered with comedic entertainment for all ages. Accommodating for either a full evening of play or just a couple of rounds, Fall Guys is an absolute blast.
For more information, check out our Fall Guys PS4 review.
Do our picks line up with your own thoughts? What PS5 and PS4 indie games do you think were the best of 2020? Place your vote in our poll and share your thoughts in the comments below.