DDNet Awards 2020! Best short game

4 mins read

Awards by DDNet Team

It’s that time of year again, where we roll out the red carpet and celebrate the best that 2020 has offered us. In a year that has otherwise been so terrible, the fact that we’ve had a steady stream of such excellent games to play has been nothing but a relief.

It really has been a great year for games, from the big blockbusters right down to the most humble of projects. We’ve had surprises that have come out of nowhere, and long-anticipated games that have managed to meet and exceed our expectations when we’ve finally got our hands on them.

This year, for the DDNet awards, we have 16 different categories to recognise, and as we always do. Today’s award is focused on short games. In an industry that is obsessed with “time played” as though it’s a marker of quality, it’s worth remembering that some of the greatest narratives and art works have been brief experiences, and this applies to video games too. A developer that has the confidence to take a “short” idea and not try and pad it out with content for the sake of content is a rare breed indeed these days… but when you see the quality of some of these games you can’t help but wish that more of them did it.

BRONZE: Giraffe and Annika (Read our review here)

Part non-violent dungeon crawler, part puzzle game, part rhythm game, Giraffe and Annika is a short, brief, and yet heartfelt little game with personality and charm from the opening moments right through to the end. It’s not perfect, but it does have an eye for detail and an understanding of the emotional power of video games far beyond what most achieve, and the richly realised, bright, charming world is one that won’t be soon forgotten.


HAL Laboratory has always had a way of making pure playfulness the core of the experience. Part Time UFO is less a game as it is a delightful little toy that encourages players to noodle around and simply have fun with what they’re doing. The game itself is a riff on a popular and common enough concept – you need to stack objects into a tower and then make sure that the tower doesn’t topple over. What sets this game apart is the objects that you’re stacking (cheerleaders, anyone?), the joyful multiplayer, and the utter charm that this game carries itself with at every moment.
GOLD: A Short Hike 
A Short Hike landed on console for the first time this year, introducing a whole new audience to its wonder. And wonderful it is indeed. Your goal is simple – get to the peak of a mountain. How you get there, though, and the speed with which you do, it largely left to you. You’ll meet other hikers, have the opportunity to go looking for treasures, and even go for a soaring flight or two. The games industry is renowned for misinterpreting “large scale” and “open worlds” for “adventure.” A Short Hike highlights that adventure can be both small in scale and focused. And we’d rather play this than any open world blockbuster for just that reason.

Of course, we very much welcome your own picks for each category, so be sure to let us know your thoughts, and we’ll see you tomorrow for the next category!

This is the bio under which all legacy DigitallyDownloaded.net articles are published (as in the 12,000-odd, before we moved to the new Website and platform). This is not a member of the DDNet Team. Please see the article's text for byline attribution.

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