Growing up, my brother and I constantly fought over the shared gameboy we had (spoiler: he somehow always got 90% to my 10% share) with the 100-loaded fake game cartridges where about three of the games would actually work. I never really got into games until the past few years, because I was convinced I suck at them.
Turns out, I just suck at first-person shooter!
Oh, I still smash my fair share of buttons and am far from some cool *gamer gurl*…mostly because I get so mad BB will periodically tell me that maybe I need to take a break and calm down so that I don’t go on a murderous rampage while I’m cursing and ranting and throwing controllers…but I recently realised I had hit a milestone: I was at level 30 on Horizon: Zero Dawn (albeit on easy mode). Somehow, my hunched over, white-knuckle style of playing has paid off and I can hit moving robot dinosaurs with a bow and arrow that requires several fingers to work different buttons at the same time – and interspersed between expletive-laden explosions, I’m exclaiming how much I love it. So here we go!
1. MarioKart 8 (or any, really) (Nintendo Switch)
You can’t really go wrong here; apart from the friendship-destroying possibilities, it’s all a bit of fun, and it’s made better by being pushed off course by shells and cliff falls. Pretty sure everyone knows this one, but on Nintendo Switch, there’s a whole new way of playing and you can play with people online.
2. Child of Light (PS4)
This beautiful fairytale game is one of my favourites, for its compelling, bittersweet story as well as its art and soundtrack. I actually still listen to it while I’m studying. It’s turn based, so you rely on strategy; picking members of your team and levelling them up with potions, points and gems, and matching them to your enemy’s weakness. It does get a bit repetitive towards the end, but it’s a good introduction, and you can do two-player with someone who doesn’t care if they’re not the main character.
3. Never Alone (PS4)
I found this one similar to Child of Light in some respects, a cute, melancholy tale based on Inuit folklore, with clips to explain the stories. You’re a child who has to navigate the arctic wilderness with a spirit fox who you can switch to or play with another person. You’ll have to run from predators and figure out how to get out of some situations – I don’t mind saying I had to look up several walkthroughs to get to the next stage sometimes – but not difficult in terms of dexterity or gameplay. A bit creepy sometimes, but overall lovely, I just wish it wasn’t so short.
4. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle (Nintendo Switch)
I’m currently playing this, and it’s much better than I expected: another turn-based one with the familiar Mario characters and quests as well as battles. You can do two-player, but only in the battle arena, unfortunately, which is limited to how far you’ve progressed in the game. Of course, this means there’s potential to re-play these areas after you’ve completed the main quest, so it’s good value. Also, it gets pretty difficult in terms of strategy and enemies, so it’s not so repetitive.
5. Diablo III: Reaper of Souls (PS4/PC)
I played this with BB, and although it did get repetitive and we felt over-powered too soon, with a bit of an anti-climactic end, it was still worth it to get used to playing in general, particularly as a newbie. It’s very simple: just move around killing stuff and collecting loot.
6. Knack (PS4)
This one may be a little childish, but it’s great for two players and can be quite challenging! It’s an interesting concept, somewhat like Transformers. It’s a little hard to describe but it’s like playing as an elemental golem…that sounds pretty weird but I definitely recommend it! Another one that I wish was longer, because I wanted to keep exploring the world and see what else I could do. There’s a sequel out now that I can’t wait to try. Hopefully it lives up to the potential you feel in this one!
7. Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo Switch)
I loved this game. I’d always wanted to play Zelda as a child and this was the first for me. Beautiful scenery, challenging but rewarding gameplay, a story that you have to put together and use your judgment on how best to complete challenges or even the order you explore places. The game starts out as a tutorial, although not a frustratingly simple one. I’ve recommended it to everyone, and I’m going to play it again, actually. Also, it reminded me a bit of…
8. Dragon Age: Inquisition (PS4)
This was the first proper Playstation game I ever played, and it’s so good. Especially for someone who thinks they can’t play video games. You’re given endless choices in how to react, respond and take action with your player, you can customise the character (spent a good hour or so on this lol) and you can play it again and again through other ‘races’ of characters. The only thing that wears a little on me is that there is so. much. talking. Like, I just want to smash stuff sometimes! I probably agonised a bit too much over the choices to make, but in the end it doesn’t matter because you can always choose differently next time. Cool storyline that sets up for a sequel, and cool enemies that are challenging and satisfying to beat, it can be turn-based in some parts but you can also play with the settings if you just want to focus on slashing and the rest of your team can follow suit or heal or whatnot.
9. Guild Wars 2 (PC)
This was one of the first games I tried playing on my old laptop, before a three year old I was nannying somersaulted into his water and it spilled all over it. It took a bit of getting used to, but it was compelling story details that kept me trying, and I miss playing this, although my keyboard got smashed quite a bit (prior to the water incident). Similar to Dragon Age, but you play online with others in real time.
10. Horizon: Zero Dawn (PS4)
I started playing this while house-sitting and never got to finish it. It’s fantastic! Awesome storyline, amazing graphics, you’re a wild warrior girl in a dystopian world filled with robot animals and dinosaurs where you seek the truth. I don’t want to give too much away, because half the fun is discovering bits and pieces along the way. It’s intense, but you’ll want to sit there for eight hours straight until your eyes start crying and your fingers get stiff. It’s tense, exciting, compelling, and impressive, and basically trains you to become a better gamer. I want to buy a PS4 now just so I can play this again – even if I have to start from scratch.
Games I’m Waiting For:
The Witcher: Wild Hunt – ok, so obviously this is already out, but it’s another one I never got to finish
Skyrim – see above
Zelda: Hyrule Warriors – as above…
Crash Bandicoot – I only have Nintendo Switch right now, ok!?
Super Mario Odyssey