Eight video games to enjoy this summer from home
As the summer rolls around, we’re all excited to take a little break. This can take on many definitions — some may take long-distance vacations across the world, and others may prefer to stay in, bundle up and enjoy some easy-going home entertainment.
Regardless of your plans for the summer, here are eight fantastic games to try out and broaden your horizons. From carefree tranquility to hot new releases, story and narrative-driven games to games to play with friends and family, there’s something in store for everyone to try this summer without breaking the bank.
Are you waiting for the next Animal Crossing update but still crave your fix of micromanaging? “Stardew Valley” is a fantastic indie game with boundless hours of relaxing and rewarding entertainment. After inheriting a farm by your late grandfather in Stardew Valley, your character is tasked with cleaning, building and managing a house and farm. You’ll get to know the residents of Stardew Valley, form relationships and even find a partner to marry. There’s lots of fun activities to participate in, from holiday celebrations, to fishing and mining, to playing minigames at the town fair. “Stardew Valley” is a wonderful, tranquil game to spend hours upon hours playing and, for those looking to unwind this summer, is certainly worth its price.
$15 — PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Mobile.
Chicory: A Colorful Tale
Released just this month, “Chicory: A Colorful Tale” is a colorful, artistic game that’s been met with rave reviews. Playing as a dog wielding a magical paintbrush, the player embarks on an adventure to restore color to the world of Picnic Province, solving puzzles with the power of paint. Everything on the screen can be drawn on with the paintbrush, allowing the player to progress through the game while creating artistic masterpieces on top of it. “Chicory: A Colorful Tale” grants the player lots of artistic freedom and is great for those looking for some brain-bending puzzles with creative solutions.
$20 — PC, PS4.
A Short Hike
“A Short Hike” is a beautiful little 3D platformer that lets you explore around the beautiful Hawk Peak Provincial Park. What makes this game so special is its lack of required tasks or structure, which lets the player explore and discover hidden little secrets at their own pace. While the main task is to climb to Hawk Peak, the mountain in the center of the park, there’s many other fun activities to explore in the world, such as riding a motorboat and footracing to different places around the park. Accompanied by unique, low poly visuals and a calm, easygoing soundtrack, “A Short Hike” is great to pick up and return to at your leisure.
$8 — PC, Nintendo Switch.
“GRIS” is an intimately emotional 2D game that follows a young woman named Gris, a voiceless girl who’s sent tumbling into a barren, colorless world. Without the ability to sing, it becomes her mission to regain it in order to restore the dilapidated world back to its original state. Throughout her journey, Gris experiences a slew of different emotions and self-reflects while experiencing the five stages of grief. “GRIS” focuses a lot less on its gameplay and more on the breathtaking visuals and heart-wrenching narrative. Those who are interested in a heartfelt, interactive story will fall in love with what “GRIS” has to offer.
$17 — PC, PS4, Mobile, Nintendo Switch.
Another recent release from EA, “Knockout City” is an action-packed, competitive game that turns the game of dodgeball on its head. With the objective to knock out opponents with dodgeballs while moving around the game’s arena, it’s a high-octane game with both solo and team-based game modes. You can play it online with your friends as well, making it a great way to band together with friends or to climb your way up to the top of the totem pole with the game’s online ranking system.
$20 — PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch.
“OMORI” is another emotional and narrative-heavy RPG game that follows the story of Omori, a young boy, as he and his best friends set out on a search for their missing friend Basil. The story quickly takes a turn as the player learns that the world Omori resides in is not what it seems, as the game begins to take a nightmarish and surrealistic turn. The game’s beautifully crafted and whimsical world contrasts with its serious story that masterfully brings attention to depression, self-harm, escapism and other mental health struggles that have become major talking points in the past decade. “OMORI” is a great game for those looking for a serious, yet lighthearted story with emotional highs and lows that will leave you in tears.
$20 — PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch.
The Jackbox Party Packs
If you’ve ever played them before, some of the greatest co-op games out there are the Jackbox Party Packs. With a total of seven packs in the series so far, the Jackbox Party Packs offer a multitude of games to play with your friends, both on and offline. While the whole collection of games may be expensive, the best part about the Jackbox Party Pack series is its accessibility. Only one person needs to purchase the base game, and the rest of the players can use any device that can access the internet such as a phone or computer to participate. From wordplay to art to hidden identity games, the Jackbox Party Packs have something in store for every kind of gamer. Most games require as few as three players, but with an audience system, more than 100 people can be participating in the game. If you’re looking for a summer full of laughter and competition with your friends, the Jackbox Party Packs are a great way to have fun.
$25 to $30 each — PC, PS4, Xbox One, Mobile, Nintendo Switch.