Puzzle game

The best adventure / puzzle game of 2020

Whether you enjoy classic environmental exploration or think more about twisted timelines and realities, 2020 has been an interesting year for adventure and puzzle games.

It’s our pick for the best adventure / puzzle game of 2020.

Spiritfarer has breathed into our lives like a breath of fresh air. At once meditative, character-driven, melancholy and joyful, the game follows Stella and her cat Daffodil as she takes over from Charon as Spiritfarer and helps souls lead to their final resting place in the -beyond the Everdoor. What you might not imagine in this synopsis is that it’s also a bright and cheerful marine sandbox filled with delicious cartoon animal creatures and adorable spirits that dot the tropical islands.

With a surprising depth of feeling, Stella gets to know the lives and dreams of each and every member of her ship’s crew, while building and maintaining a truly fabulous houseboat. Shooting each of the well-drawn characters through their emotional arc requires patience, dedication, and involvement, which makes those moments when you say goodbye for the last time really touching. It’s a bittersweet experience with an emphasis on sweet, but the dark notes it gives off will have Spiritfarer haunt your thoughts for a while after your trip is over.

For more, check out our full Spiritfarer review here!

Below are our other favorite shooters of the year.

Best Adventure / Puzzle Games of 2020

Click on the gallery above or scroll down for the full list!

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim

It’s weird to describe a game that begins with an alien invasion as a roller coaster ride, but the first few moments are just a prelude to an adventure that goes beyond “kaiju vs. mechs” and into theoretical physics. , alternate timelines, and many other secrets that I can’t begin to describe.

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is hardcore pulp for the old-school sci-fi lover, courtesy of Vanillaware’s famous (in) art design. The adventure builds a bit slowly, but after a certain point 13 Sentinels just bounce around all over the place in a way that leaves you breathless and excited to keep going.

To find out more, check out our full review of the 13 Senitnels here!

Call of the sea

Great puzzle games are not just a lot of little challenges to overcome along the way, but an overall mystery to be uncovered on your journey. The breathtaking setting of Call of the Sea Island does just that as you are guided through each of its distinct areas, gradually revealing the answers to a gripping story full of beauty and darkness. With engaging Myst-style puzzles and an emotionally gripping storyline, this is easily one of the best adventures you’ve been on this year.

For more, check out our full Call of the Sea review here!

Kentucky Highway Zero

Unlike most of the other games on this list, Kentucky Route Zero ended this year, but it started seven years ago. With its fifth and final act tying the story of Conway, his dog, and the friends he met on his last delivery trip together, we also had to step back and take a look at this wonderfully bizarre art project as a whole – and what you will see as a developer slowly dismantles the conventions of adventure gaming and puts them back into a magnificent new order.

Here you don’t solve so many puzzles as you write prose; choose stories, feelings, and even names for multiple characters on your magical-realistic journey on a Southern Cosmic Highway. As you do this, you create your own story to a certain extent, filling the expanses of darkness that make up Cardboard Computer’s stark visuals. There is, frankly, nothing other than Kentucky Route Zero.

For more, check out our full Kentucky Route Zero review here!

Paradise killer

Paradise Killer asks you to solve a murder. And no, you’re not just going from point A to point B, picking up the required number of clues and evidence until a murderer is presented to you. Your job as Lady Love Dies is to solve a murder on your own. As soon as the world opens up, you are able to freely accuse anyone of the central crime that triggers your investigation as long as you have the evidence to prove it.

Of course, you can walk in without proof and point your finger at anyone, but that’s not very professional of you. No, Paradise Killer is a full-throated mystery game that tests your deduction skills. No hand in hand, no slow march to a preordained conclusion. The mystery is yours, and yours alone to solve, and the only thing that stands between you and the killer is your own abilities. If you’re up for the challenge, Paradise Killer is one of the best adventure mysteries of the year.

For more, check out our full Paradise Killer review here!

There are plenty of other rewards beyond the best adventure or puzzle game! Check out all of our Platform, Genre and Design award winners below – and, of course, our picks for this year’s GotY!

IGN’s Game of the Year 2020

Best games by platform

Best games by genre

Game Development and Crafting Awards

Be sure to check out all of our other Game of the Year award winners, as well as our picks for the best movies, TV shows, comics and anime of 2020!

IGN’s Best of 2020 was designed by:
Main design + artistic direction: Justin vachon
Brand image + Artistic direction: Angela Nguyen
Branding + social design: Julia rago
Editorial design: Amanda flagg
Editorial design: Eric Sapp
Animated Graphics: Will Batchelor