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Five of the best, kaleidoscopic LGBT+ games from 2020 to play while stuck in lockdown

Ed Nightingale February 9, 2021
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LGBT Games: 5 of the best queer games to play while stuck in lockdown

Ikenfell. (Happy Ray Games)

The year 2020 was a struggle for many reasons, but gaming wasn’t one of them. The industry has continued to grow over the past year, which means not just more games but more LGBT+ games specifically.

Yet with so much choice, perhaps there’s a few you might have missed. Below are five queer games from 2020 that may have slipped under your radar, but they’re definitely deserving of your time.

If Found

If Found 2020
If Found. (Dreamfeel)

Like so many queer games, If Found explores themes of identity, family and coming out. It follows a young trans woman who returns to her small town in Ireland to a critical reception from her family. The twist is the story is told through reading and erasing hand-drawn entries in a notebook, as if erasing old identity and creating a new one. This is a brave and raw depiction of trans identity that’s wrapped up in just a few hours, but leaves a long-lasting impression.

Available on PC and Nintendo Switch

Ikenfell

Ikenfell 2020
Ikenfell. (Happy Ray Games)

Taking inspiration from a certain magical school, Ikenfell is a retro-inspired RPG set in a school for witches and wizards.

Throughout the adventure you’ll team up with students and teachers to battle against magical creatures and uncover the secrets of the school of Ikenfell. Almost all the characters you meet are queer, but what’s so refreshing is that never forms part of the story: for all their cutesy appeal, these are relatable characters for whom being queer is just one aspect of their personalities.

With a turn-based battle system that’s Fire Emblem meets Paper Mario, an infectious soundtrack and charming sprites, this is a contemporary take on old school gameplay.

Available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PC and Xbox 

Murder By Numbers

Murder By Numbers 2020
Murder By Numbers. (Mediatonic)

Who knews maths and murder would go so well together? From the studio behind Fall Guys, Murder By Numbers is part visual novel and part Picross game that follows a young actress thrust into detective work as she solves mysteries with her robot companion SCOUT.

Observing clues means solving sudoku-esque pixel puzzles, which, while tricky, truly make you feel like a genius when it all slots into place. Throw in a cheesy 90s setting, a script liberally laced with innuendo, and an entire case set in a drag bar, and Murder By Numbers is a vibrantly queer game to keep your brain stimulated.

Available on Nintendo Switch and PC

Tell Me Why

Tell Me Why 2020
Tell Me Why. (Dontnod Entertainment)

From the developers of the renowned Life is Strange series, Tell Me Why was the first game from a major developer to feature a playable lead trans character. The team worked with GLAAD to ensure the game features authentic representation of the trans experience that’s sensitive and nuanced.

It’s wrapped up in a psychological thriller that sees a pair of twins with telepathic abilities uncovering the truth behind their mysterious family past. Fantastical puzzles add to the narrative gameplay of choice and consequences, but it’s the smaller moments that enrich the game’s LGBT+ representation.

Available on PC and Xbox

Later Daters

LGBT Games: 5 of the best queer games to play while stuck in lockdown
Later Daters. (Bloom Digital)

There are plenty of visual novel games that focus on the LGBT+ community, but let’s not forget about the elderly! Later Daters is set in a retirement home and features a diverse cast of potential dates, whose stories are partially inspired by real life seniors interviewed by the developers. For all the game’s humour, it touches on sensitive topics delicately and is a key reminder that, no matter who we are, life doesn’t end once we hit old age.

Available on Nintendo Switch and PC

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Related topics: gaming, LGBT, LGBT gaming, Nintendo Switch, playstation, Xbox

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