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The Aggie Awards – The Best Adventure Games of 2019 page 15

Aggies: Complete Results
Aggies: Complete Results
Continued from the previous page...


Best Non-Traditional Adventure: Outer Wilds


Outer Wilds is only 22 minutes long, but it will likely take you 20 hours to complete it. Yes, if you know what you’re doing, you can complete the game in less time than it takes to heat up soup on the stove – in fact, the entire goal is to learn how to do so. Set in the small solar system of the folksy race of purple humanoids to which you belong, you’re tasked with setting off in your homemade spaceship to explore and map out your stellar neighbours. There’s just one pesky issue: 22 minutes after you wake, your sun goes supernova and destroys everything you’ve ever known. Luckily for you (and everyone else), you are resurrected back at the beginning of this severely limited time cycle with the memories of your previous journeys intact – again and again and again.

Thus your mission: to unearth as much of the mystery behind the star’s explosion as you can in your allotted time, exploring bizarre anomalies and accruing knowledge that will a) uncover whatever the heck is going on and b) clue you in as to how to fix it. Fortunately, this galaxy is filled with some of the most inventive and fascinating environments and mechanics ever seen in a game: a planet that crumbles, piece by piece, into a black hole at its core; another that siphons sand from its orbiting twin, radically altering the landscape over time; rocks that operate via quantum mechanics; and ancient alien ruins full of messages to translate. Outer Wilds is a tour de force of open world, non-linear design, packed with clever mechanics, awe-inspiring discoveries, and roasting marshmallows over campfires. You’ve never played anything like it, but now that the gaming world is paying attention, let’s hope this Aggie Award for Best Non-Traditional Adventure helps serve as inspiration to other developers going forward.

Runners-Up:

Disco Elysium

Hypnospace Outlaw

Moons of Madness

Mage’s Initiation: Reign of the Elements
 



Readers’ Choice: Disco Elysium


With the two traditional reader-award-hogging titans sitting this one out, it was left to Disco Elysium to capably fill the void. And for so many good reasons. This is a choice-laden open world game that encourages you to be a little weird with your amnesiac policeman's persona. Using your upgradeable skills to solve a sprawling murder mystery, no method of approach is off limits. Expect your fragmented subconscious to chime in with advice, sometimes arguing with itself over your next course of action. With genuine role-playing front and center, you can mold yourself into a boastful Superstar Cop, or perhaps a Sorry Cop who apologizes for everything (even if it's not your fault), or maybe even an Apocalypse Cop who prattles unhinged about the impending end of all things. This dense isometric world is positively bursting with memorable characters and exquisite writing so you’ll need to love reading, but for those who do, Disco Elysium is an eccentric, stimulating experience that stands as a new benchmark for player-directed storytelling in video games.

Runners-Up:

Hypnospace Outlaw

Heaven’s Vault

Outer Wilds

Mage’s Initiation: Reign of the Elements
 



Next up: Best Traditional Adventure... the envelope, please!

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