Game Complaint Department’s Game of the Year 2020

2020 sucked for a lot of people, and I’m of no exception. I don’t want to make a competition out of it or throw some pity party, but it was an incredibly trying period for me. The tribulations have followed into this year, but I continue to make an effort to just keep moving on.

As such, the Game Complaint Department didn’t get the love it deserves. In the dying days of summer, I made an effort to push my writing further, but I found it somewhat unfulfilling, frustrating, and disheartening, so I let myself slacken and moved on to other projects that would occupy my mind.

Financial complications greatly limited the new releases I could play this year, and when I did treat myself to something new, I found myself unable to become captivated by anything. I played Ghost of Tsushima, Mafia: Definitive Edition, and even Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1+2 and finished none of them. It’s not that I didn’t feel they deserved my attention, my mind was just in other places for most of the year.

Only two 2020 reviews landed on GCD, and that was Animal Crossing and KukkoroDays. Neither of them bad, but maybe not Game of the Year material.

So, I’m going to bend the rules a bit this year. During those late Summer months, I did a number of reviews on Destructoid for smaller games — games that would otherwise be overlooked by the main staff. They’re getting included here because I think at least one of them deserves high praise. And that game is:


I wasn’t sure what to expect going into Paradise Killer. The trailers don’t really convey what the game is about, just that you’re in for a really, really weird time. It’s an investigation simulator where you explore an island to find clues and put together a grand conspiracy that threatens to destroy paradise. Along the way you meet the game’s awesomely stylish cast and start piecing together what happened.

Yeah, it’s a bit bizarre, but by the time everything is said and done, a clear picture can be painted of what happened. It really appealed to my imagination and left me extremely impressed.

Then a bunch of Suda51 fans complained about me on Twitter for some reason. True story.


I actually had practically forgotten about Phoenotopia Awakening until I went back and looked at the games I reviewed. I attribute this mostly to the fact that it’s a long game and I had to complete it before a deadline. I’m not complaining, but 50 hours is a lot to cram into a couple of weeks while still leaving time to play dating sims.

I did enjoy it, though. My main complaints involved its difficulty, but I believe they’ve added some options to soften it. Otherwise, it’s a nice little Zelda II-like retro throwback title. I think the closing line to my review states my feelings on it best: “It’s an aesthetically pleasing, unforgivingly mean, but an altogether lovingly assembled experience.”


You can forget about the whole World Tour part of the name, my love here goes entirely towards the original Duke Nukem 3D. It released on switch at perhaps my lowest point in the entire year, and I played through it solid. In a year where I found my attention difficult to control, this game from my childhood was something that really sucked me in.

If you’ve never played it, Duke Nukem 3D is just a joyous pre-3D FPS. A lot of people seem to make the mistake that the allure here is the titular character and his arsenal of movie references, but really, the main draw is the excellently executed, classic key-hunt level design. There probably will never be a game quite like Duke Nukem 3D again. We’re just so far removed from its design philosophy.


The next year, like any year, certainly has the opportunity to be something better. It’s hard to fathom it getting much worse. I’ve got some reviews already in the oven, and I’m ready to start serving content again, hot and fresh. Or, more likely, I’ll be digging around expired cereal boxes looking for the prize. Either way, I’m not making any promises for a delivery schedule, but I’ll try to keep something new on the front page for when you visit.

2021 isn’t going to be any better if we don’t put in the effort, so let’s start now. Let’s do our best and make sure another year like 2020 never happens again.

Picks are based only on what the staff played this year, and we can’t play everything. There has been no contact between staff and publishers.

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About Zoey Handley 239 Articles
Zoey made up for her mundane childhood by playing video games. Now she won't shut up about them. Her eclectic tastes have led them across a vast assortment of consoles and both the best and worst games they have to offer. A lover of discovery, she can often be found scouring through retro and indie games. She currently works as a Staff Writer at Destructoid.


  1. Hey, you’re back! Glad you made it through 2020 with the rest of us.

    Paradise Killer is That Good Shit, 100%.

    • Wow, I thought if I snuck back in through the side door, no one would notice. Hopefully this year will be more productive!

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