2020’s best games gave me the quiet magic I was seeking

December 30, 2020
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Editor’s note: Take a breath. We’re almost there. 2020’s been quite the year, and it’s very nearly over. Across the festive break, members of the Eurogamer team and our contributors will be running down their personal top five games of 2020, before we announce our game of the year – and before, of course, we hand over to you for the annual Reader’s Top 50. Thanks for being with us this year, and see you on the other side.

In this unnaturally long year, I found myself seeking out games whose worlds were filled with quiet, relaxing, magic. It’s the kind of magic that, rather than bombarding you with rules and consequences, slowly envelopes you until the barrier between it and what might be considered normal has dissolved entirely. These games helped me forget what was happening around the world for a while, transporting me instead to places where the wonderfully bizarre is commonplace.

In Spiritfarer I found the magic of discovery; nearly every island has something you need hidden away somewhere on its shores and I started keeping notes on which lands I hadn’t been able to fully explore, so that I wouldn’t forget to revisit them. Even the sea has its own secrets – I love sailing through the patches of endless night, because the music and change in atmosphere create the idea that, for a short while, you’re gazing upon the true nature of this world. My favourite part of Spiritfarer, however, was, in a year where I’ve spent six months in the same room, it made me feel helpful. You’re not just ferrying the dead, you’re healing their wounds, soothing their demons and finding the perfect way to help their souls finally rest.

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