RPGamer 2021 Awards – Biggest Surprise

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Chicory: A Colorful Tale

First Place

Second Place

Third Place

Chicory: A Colorful Tale is one of those unexpected gems that leaves a lasting impression. Developer Finji wanted to create a game with a focus on mental health that plays with the concept of color. In Chicory, the world has lost all of its color because the Wielder has fallen into a dark depression. Our protagonist is a sweet dog who steals the Wielder’s magical paintbrush and begins to color the world anew.

The world of Chicory is in full black and white, with tons of darkness both figuratively and literally spanning it. As the dog, players are able to color every inch of the world, while also using the paintbrush to solve puzzles and manipulate the environments. Chicory is an emotional experience, but it’s also full of creativity and wonder. Chicory has caused many tears because the story has so many resonating moments, especially in terms of the game’s discussions of anxiety, grief, and imposter syndrome. It’s no surprise that asking players to go on an emotional journey to color the world and banish darkness earned Chicory top spot in this category.



Many watched Square Enix’s E3 2021 presentation wondering exactly what it was thinking when it announced Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Then the game came out, and it gained high praise for its humor, action, and amazing soundtrack. Eidos-Montréal truly did an excellent job of making this adaptation distinct from its movie counterpart, while keeping the personalities of each character consistent with the comic and movie versions that people are familiar with. The game is packed to the brim with Easter eggs from the Marvel universe as well as ’80s pop culture. But one of its selling points for many was its soundtrack. It not only includes dozens of familiar ’80s staples, but an entire original heavy metal album was recorded and made part of Star-Lord’s origin story. Guardians of the Galaxy defies those initial expectations of it being just another bog-standard licensed game.

At first glance, it’s easy to be cynical about Fuga: Melodies of Steel’s core emotional dilemma: manage your resources effectively or sacrifice an adorable kitten to an earth-shaking super weapon. Why would anyone play such a blatantly emotionally manipulative game? Cyberconnect2 makes a solid case with well-balanced battles, meaningful tactical choices, and Nazi-adjacent enemies that are just asking to be punched. There are so many ways this could’ve gone wrong, but instead it’s a tense, charming story of a found family of orphans and strays clinging together while sticking it to the fascists.


by Sam Wachter, Kelley Ryan, and Zach Welhouse