Hades is my game of the year. It’s also the game of the year. I don’t mean to say that Hades is objectively the best, because that’s an impossible metric (and also Baldur’s Gate 3 isn’t out yet). Rather, developer Supergiant’s Greek mythology-flavored action roguelike is, improbably, the game that best characterizes the year 2020.
(This review discusses Hades’ story in a fair amount of depth and includes both minor and major spoilers. I’ve denoted the sections where major spoilers occur. If you haven’t finished the game—and I mean really finished it—and wish to avoid spoilers, probably skip those sections.)
As other writers have observed, Hades, which entered early access in 2018 and recently launched its 1.0 version after almost two years of additional development, is about being trapped inside a house—the house of your crappy dad, Hades, specifically—and coming to terms with the fact that you cannot leave. More than that, it is a game whose structure and story are both rooted in repeated, inescapable failure. As Zagreus, the son of Hades, you try to slash, shield bash, spear, bow, punch, and gun your way out of hell, but no matter how many demonic shades fall after (ode to a Grecian) earning your ire, you end up back where you started.