By: Melanie Arvanitis
Keep in mind, this list is based on what I played this year and my personal opinion. Now with that out of the way, let’s get to the list!
5. Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
The story in Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales is a little reminiscent of Spider-Man: Far From Home – Peter Parker leaves home for a European vacation, but in this game, Miles Morales is left in charge of protecting the city while Parker’s gone. Throughout this time, Miles learns more about his powers, his friends and family, and learns what differentiates himself from Peter Parker’s Spider-Man (also learning more about himself along the way). I am also pretty happy with how this game developed the story – the early twist adds an interesting POV that most superhero media never uses. This game has an extremely similar combat and stealth system as the Arkham series (much to my delight), with very flowy, yet satisfying combat, and there are so many different systems, gadgets, skills, mods, etc., which makes the combat consistently fresh, with so many different ways to beat people up! I honestly like this game a lot more than I thought I would, and I’m pretty excited to finish it!
Where to play: PS5
ESRB Rating: T
4. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Everyone loved this game when it first came out, including me, but I think that there wasn’t enough to keep people checking back everyday. I don’t know what it was about New Leaf, but it always felt like there was so much to do, and I was addicted to it for years (it probably helps that if you didn’t check it on it extremely often that your villagers would move away). I know it sounds like I’m being negative (maybe a little bit), but I did fall off of this game like everyone else. That still doesn’t take away how much this game was my rock for many months – it was the only game I played. I had many hours of fun, like designing my house, decorating my island, finding new visitors, traveling to mystery islands, checking everyday to see the new stock of items in the stores, fishing, cross-breeding flowers, and more! I haven’t played this in quite a while, but I definitely will be checking back in soon (now that drift on my joycons shouldn’t be an issue, with new joycons)!
Side Note: If you are having drift issues with your joycons as well (it is a very common problem!), you can mail in your joycons to get fixed (for free!) by Nintendo!
Here is the direct link: support.nintendo.com/joyconrepair
Where to play: Nintendo Switch
ESRB Rating: E
3. Cook, Serve, Delicious! 3?!
I love the Cook, Serve, Delicious! series so much!!! It has such an amazing soundtrack, a delicious menu of many, many foods that I have never heard of before, a very unique art style, and really interactive gameplay! I was not surprised at all when I fell in love with this one as well! I haven’t played that much of it yet (I finally just started it recently), but it’s already extremely fun in the beginning of the career/story mode, especially in multiplayer! In this installment, it is still set in dystopian America, where war has destroyed your former restaurant from the first game – two robots find you and help you run a restaurant out of a food truck, while on a journey to reach the top of the restaurant world again – one stop at a time! Yeah, so I forgot to mention, that especially in the 2nd game, there’s a lot of different collectibles that you can get, which hint at the dystopian universe around your restaurant, which really seems to come full force into this installment! One of the great things about this series is how they’re able to keep it so fresh with different idea in each game – in the first one, you try to achieve a 5 (and eventually 6!) star restaurant, in the second one you take many different shifts and many different restaurants to try and enhance your knowledge about many different cuisines, and now in the third one you have a food truck! Also, this series is pretty challenging, but it’s still incredibly enjoyable! This is an amazing game – a part of a delicious franchise (full of even more delicious food and graphics!) that I can’t wait to play more of in the near future.
I Played on: PC
Where to Play: PC, Switch, PS4, Xbox One
ESRB Rating: E
In Spiritfarer, you play as Stella who earns the role of Spiritfarer – a guide who caters to spirits’s every need before they move on to the afterlife. There are around 11 spirits to help make it to the afterlife, including Gwen (your best friend who is now a fashionable deer), Atul (your uncle who is now a very cute frog, who loves food, and is an absolute sweetheart!), and Summer (a spiritual vegan snake who loves all natural things). Each spirit has their own distinct personality, which you will get to know and love, until it is time to say goodbye. This game is a charming management sim where there is always something to do – you can fish, make different recipes and dishes, farm, explore, take care of farm animals, run errands for Francis to earn glims (money), and so much more! There are also special events to earn special items, like nebula thread, lightning in a bottle, and bright jelly – where you do certain activities to gain those resources in their respective areas on the map. I also absolutely love the unique animation and art style, it perfectly complements the game’s indie heart!
I Played on: Switch
Where to Play: Switch, PS4, Xbox One,
ESRB Rating: T
I have not finished this game, yet (I am almost done), but man do I love it! Ever since I saw Bugsnax at the Playstation conference this year, I was hooked! I think myself and many others were expecting it to be just a sandbox, experimental type game, but I am SO happy that it’s not! It has a story, with many quests and side-quests – it has that gotta-catch-em’-all type of feel, since you can try to fully fill your Bugapedia, and catch every Bugsnack! I LOVE the Pokemon games so much. It is probably my favorite game franchise along with Cook, Serve, Delicious!, but only in Bugsnax have I ever really wanted to catch em’ all (since it feels more achievable than in Pokemon, but still a bit of a challenge). Anyway, in Bugsnax, you are a journalist looking for a hot new story, and you end up visiting Elizabeth Megafig of SnakTooth Island – once you get there, she’s gone missing. You interview the Grumpus’s (the people in this game, except more like fuzzy monsters) as you try to convince each Grumpus to move back into town (they all have their own reasons as to why they left, which connects to the case) and catch Bugsnax (bugs that are also snacks) along the way! Bugsnax is a relatively simple game that certainly is not for everyone, but it has such heart and charm that I can’t help but love it unconditionally.
Side-Note: I heard the ending gets pretty dark, so if that’s something you are interested in experiencing … maybe buy Bugsnax! 🙂
I Played on: PS5 (free with PS Plus!)
Where to Play: PS4, PS5, & PC
ESRB Rating: E