I’m back with another video game post! Shana has released me from the video editing room for a short time to gush about all the games I love, the ones I want to play, and some I’m reallllly curious about. These aren’t in any particular order of favoritism, but I will add notes with what platforms they’re available on!
Our Top 10 Video Games for 2021
There’s a pretty big range of video games here, from adventure cooperative games to battle royales. I figured a good mix of everything would give folks lots of options to explore.
I’m also deep into virtual reality games right now, and if that’s all you’re looking for head to the bottom for my top five VR games!
Quite a few of these games are also multiplayer, and, if you’ve read any of my previous posts on games, you’ll know co-op games are my jam. Currently, my focus has been online co-op games, but there are a few here that can be played as couch co-ops as well.
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Playstation 4, Mac, Linux
I have been wanting to play PsychoNauts 2 for a while now (mostly because my friends have told me tons of cool things). It has a quirky and beautiful art style, tons of colorful worlds and characters, and a young psychic acrobat as the lead. You become part of the Psychonauts, an international psychic espionage organization whose leader has been acting strangely since his rescue from a kidnapping. This game is a 3D platforming adventure with wild psychic powers, danger, excitement, and plenty of comedic moments.
Platforms: Playstation 4, Playstation 5, PC (Epic Games Store)
KENA, Bridge of Spirits is a game I hadn’t heard about before digging into writing this post, but it immediately caught my eye. The game is made by Ember Lab, initially created as an animation and digital content studio. That’s right, not a game company. After scouring reviews and watching a few trailers and gameplay videos, I have decided I need to get my hands on a Playstation to play this game.
You play as Kena, a Spirit Guide seeking out a sacred mountain shrine, accompanied by little adorable spirits called Rot. Your mission is to help spirits that have become trapped and corrupted move on, restoring the world around you. This game is reminiscent of older Legend of Zelda titles with its adventure-style gameplay and so, so worth playing.
Platforms: Playstation 5
If you were a fan of the OG Ratchet & Clank games, then you probably rejoiced when this game was first announced. A few of my friends were lucky enough to get their hands on a PS5, which means they got access to this Playstation-exclusive game. Play as both Ratchet and a new face, Rivet, accompanied by Clank, to end the reign of an evil robotic emperor who is intent on conquering multiple dimensions. Mess with physics-defying gadgets and jump between dimensions, all while blasting baddies with new weapons and solving puzzles that span dimensions.
Platforms: Playstation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC, Nintendo Switch
Love the original Overcooked? Well, great news, there’s a second game with even more kitchen chaos. They kept the classic couch co-op or online play for up to four players to be in the kitchen at once. A new enemy has risen in the Onion Kingdom…The Unbread (yes, that means zombie bread). You might be in a familiar kingdom, but the map and challenges are all new with teleporters, moving platforms, and the ability to throw ingredients across the kitchen.
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, WiiU
Jump into another Mario adventure, this time with an adorable catlike ability set. You and up to three other friends traverse the super-colorful and interactive world of Mario to save Sprixie princesses from the clutches of Bowser. The game lasts even longer with the added Bowser’s Fury adventure in which Mario teams up with Bowser Jr. to save his dad and turn him back to normal. Just watching the trailer I can already see there is a TON of stuff to do in this game, and I looove a good co-op adventure.
Platforms: PC, Xbox (eventually)
Grounded is a Honey I Shrunk the Kids moment in games. You and up to three friends have shrunken down to the size of ants and now have to survive the dangers of the backyard. Bugs kinda freak me out when they’re tiny and in my house, but now they’re the main enemy, and much, much larger. Work together or separately to build a base, protect yourself from insects and the weather, and explore the secrets lurking in the shadows of the yard. Who knows what you’ll find.
Platforms: Playstation 4, PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One
In Risk of Rain 2, tackle some dangerous locales with up to three friends in online co-op or take on the Prismatic Trials to prove your mettle. Choose from a few different survivors, then jump into wild alien planets packed densely with monsters and bosses that would much rather you not exist at all. Fight your way through using all kinds of weapons, combining their effects for some powerful combos. This game has a ton of replay-ability (as you’re kind of expected to die) and that means more chances to try new survivors and weapon combos as you learn more about the strange worlds around you.
Platforms: PC, Playstation 4, Xbox One, Playstation 5, Xbox Series X|S
Okay, so this It Takes Two probably isn’t for younger kiddos, no matter how cute it looks at first glance. This game is a co-op adventure where two players step into the shoes of May and Cody, a couple going through a divorce. By some sort of unknown means, they are turned into two dolls that their daughter made to represent them. They are challenged with saving their relationship amidst fantasy chaos in an unpredictable world while trying to turn back to humans. I love a good couch co-op game and this one has been championed as a master of its class.
Platforms: Playstation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, PC
If there is one game I keep going back to over and over again on this list, it’s Apex Legends. Battle royales are still wildly popular and this one is probably my favorite of all the ones available right now. With a colorful cast of champions to choose from, new styles, voice lines and weapon skins, Apex Legends lets you show off your style, as well as your skills. Each champion has their own special abilities, and teams of two or three can pull off some devastating combos to become legends. All you have to do is queue up alone, or with some friends, drop from the ship, and survive.
Platforms: Playstation 4, PC, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Welcome to the Intergalactic Age of Discovery! Astroneers are galactic explorers, risking their lives on distant planets to explore the frontiers of outer space. You and your team work together to thrive on new planets, build custom bases and vehicles, and make rare discoveries. Not only can you craft buildings, you can reshape the actual ground of the planet you are exploring, crafting land bridges or digging massive holes. Not to mention how adorable and vibrant the world of Astroneer is. If you want something chill and explorative, give this game a shot!
5 Virtual Reality Games We Love
Platforms: Playstation VR, SteamVR, Oculus Rift, Oculus Quest
This is probably my favorite game to play in VR. Pair great music with two swords to swing through the beat and you got yourself an immersive workout. There are a few different modes to play in, including a challenging campaign that gives you specific objectives to hit while playing through songs. Beat Saber is also multiplayer and you can challenge friends and random people from around the world to battle it up on your favorite songs. The base game itself is a must-have in my opinion and shines all on its own, but the modding community really makes this game sing. If you get bored of the core songs and the multiple add-ons available in the store, the Beat Saber modding community has you covered with custom levels!
Platforms: Oculus Rift, Oculus Quest, Playstation VR, SteamVR, Vive
Take on the role of one secret agent with telekinetic powers, a member of the Enhanced Operative Division. With all your training and professionalism as an agent, take on mission after mission to thwart the evil plans of Dr. Zor. Use your environment to the fullest and get creative in thinking how items could interact. You never know what you’ll find in each new puzzle room so be prepared for a bit of mayhem. I love this game and can’t wait to try its sequel I Expect You To Die 2 once I make it through the first one. The comedic mood set around the trailer and the game itself is so fun, and of course, I’m a huge fan of escape room puzzles!
Platforms: Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift, SteamVR
Ever had the desire to feel like John Wick for a bit? Love pulse-pounding music and neon aesthetic? Then how have you not tried Pistol Whip?! Pair dubstep with a gun and a ton of baddies coming at you for an incredible workout (trust me, I have never done more squats in my life). But seriously, I have very quickly put Pistol Whip at the top of my list, especially on the Oculus Quest 2. Being un-tethered from my computer, free to duck and lean as bullets whiz past me (and of course, also do a little victory dance) is so freakin nice! You basically move along a straight path, but are free to look in any direction you can turn, and shoot to the beat of the song as baddies materialize and rush you. There are a few different modes, including a dual-wielding mode and a story mode. And just like Beat Saber, this game is super-fun to play and watch with a group.
Platforms: Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift, SteamVR
I don’t know how I have never heard of this game before today! As a longtime lover of Overcooked, this game seems right up my now VR-obsessed alley. This is a multiplayer VR game where you and up to three other players work amidst the chaos of the kitchen to serve up delicious meals to creatures from the enchanted forest surrounding your restaurant. There are more than 50 levels in 18 different towns that you and your friends can tackle, along with character customization and an endless mode (if you’re into the whole “the chaos will never end” deal).
Platforms: Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift
If you’re looking for a break from things like Beat Saber and the mayhem of Cook-Out, then maybe Shadow Point is right up your alley. This is a gorgeous story-driven puzzle game set on a mountaintop observatory. Your task is to find Lorna McCabe, a missing schoolgirl who disappeared from Shadow Point years ago. As you explore the observatory you will drift between reality and a shifting fantasy world. And you’re not alone while traveling. The journal of Edgar Mansfield is there to guide you, his entries voiced by Sir Patrick Stewart. If you pick up this game, I think you’re in for a treat.
Aaaaand that’s it! This is a pretty broad spread of games, some multiplayer, some solo adventures, so I hope there’s something in here for the gamer in your life. If you have a favorite that isn’t on the list I’d love to hear about it! I’m always on the hunt for something new to try out.
Your Resident Dungeon Master,
Oh, hey Pinners…