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The winners have it all

From dropout cats and evil sorcerers to murder mystery magic, these are the five games that took this year to a new level.

Night In The Woods

Night In The Woods

Night In The Woods

Jumps, somersaults, power boosts and good old-fashioned two-dimensional fun is what you would normally expect from a platform game. Especially one featuring anthropomorphic animals. And yet, Night In The Woods is, well, a different animal.

The game follows 20-something cat Mae who drops out of college and returns to the town she left behind. There, she meets old friends, tackles fear and depression, and investigates a mystery.

The strongest point of the game is the dialogue – it’s as riveting as a Netflix production.

Resident Evil 7Resident Evil 7

Resident Evil 7

You might think that a game which has arrived in its seventh instalment might be suffering a bit of fatigue. And yet, think of it in reverse – a game which has managed to clock up seven instalments must have plenty of fuel.

The seventh Resident Evil adventure packs everything that has made this series so successful: gore, derelict and atmospheric locations, and ghoulish chills, courtesy of the scarily dysfunctional Baker family. Ethan Winters is in full slasher form.

What Remains of Edit FinchWhat Remains of Edit Finch

What Remains of Edit Finch

If you’re a fan of Angela Carter’s magical realism creations, then this game is for you. What Remains of Edit Finch is a collection of short stories that are brought to life and allow you to explore family and death. As the title character, you return to your ancestral home to explore every room – with every discovery, you uncover a new secret about your unlucky family. The sense of place that this game creates is utterly captivating.

Horizon Zero DawnHorizon Zero Dawn

Horizon Zero Dawn

Battling robot dinosaurs on a post-apocalyptic planet sounds like the most run-of-the-mill narrative that you would expect from a sci-fi game. And yet, what Horizon Zero Dawn has, which other similar games don’t, is an engaging lead character. Aloy – set against the backdrop of a beautifully drawn and lit landscape – pushes along the narrative with plenty of personality.

Super Mario OdysseySuper Mario Odyssey

Super Mario Odyssey

The more jaded of you will think that they have seen all the Super Mario they need. And yet, with the latest 3D adventure for Nintendo’s most successful hero, you will rediscover the utter joy of playing video games. In his latest adventure, Super Mario travels fantastical lands to rescue Peach from old enemy Bowser. The game’s universe is stuffed with brilliant inventions and you will spend hour mastering new platform moves. A definite winner.

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