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The 5 Best Video Games You Should Be Playing Now

The top thumb-bruisers of the moment.
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The weather's warm, and that can only mean one thing: the season of glorious post-work pubbery is just on the horizon.

Which means less time to play videogames. But until the light nights become too tempting, settle down with these stand-outs gone...

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

(Nintendo Switch)

Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U was as close to perfection as a multiplayer game could possibly get, and a zenith for a series that has blown away all challengers and copycats since 1992. It just seemed un-improvable, so we were pretty skeptical about Nintendo's ability to deliver on the 'Deluxe' aspect of its Switch re-release.

But they've gone and bloody managed it, haven't they? With a selection of new characters, items, and a brand new multiplayer mode that'll transport you back to the balloon-popping days of N64 yore.

Two tiny qualms: Nintendo have included a 'smart steering' mode to help newcomers to the series, a cowardly option for weak men that we simple can't countenance. There also seems to be an increased frequency of blue shells this time around, which is doing a number on our blood pressure. Apart from that, 10/10 stuff.

Little Nightmares

(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC)

Ever played LittleBigPlanet? It's good fun, but a grown man can't leave the cutesy-wootsy experience with any sort of dignity intact.

Luckily, Swedish developers Tarsier Studios have gone much darker with their new puzzle-stealth-platformer, Little Nightmares. You play Six, a raincoated kid trapped in The Maw – a surreal, nightmarish resort from which you must escape by solving loads of brain-scratching obstacles.

As you've probably noticed, it's aesthetically and thematically similar to the groundbreaking Limbo, but it features richer level design and a stronger emphasis on story. Creepy music, too.

Starblood Arena

(PlayStation VR)

EVE: Valkyrie was the stand-out game from PlayStation's VR launch catalogue — but considering the space shooter was available on the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive too, it didn't provide Sony with the exclusive they needed to set their hardware apart.

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So when Starblood Arena was announced, it was easy to spot the glaring similarities between the titles. But while EVE provided a relatively calm and dazzling fight'n'flight experience, Starblood ramps up the action and shrinks the maps to provide a very different game.

Sat in zipping space-ships, Starblood engages you in high-octane, gravity-defying grudge matches. It's not a game of great depth, but it doesn't need to be – in terms of pure fun, it's up there with Rocket League.

Yooka-Laylee

(Wii U, PlayStation 4, Xbox One)

Scottish developers Rare produced a number of era-defining titles for the N64 back in the nineties – including GoldenEye, Perfect Dark and Conker's Bad Fur Day – before being brought out by Microsoft in 2002.

What followed was a sharp decline in quality, and several key members of the team left Rare to form their own companies—one of which being Polytonic Games, who released their first title, Yooka-Laylee, earlier this month thanks to a crowd funding campaign.

Seen as the spiritual successor to Rare's Banjo-Kazooie series, you play a ukulele-strumming chameleon named Yooka and a female bat named Laylee as they get up to the kind of stupid nonsense you'd expect of zany anthropomorphic musicians. Jumping. Collecting. A puzzle here and there. All that good shit.

Yooka-Laylee stands as a simple, nostalgia-tinged tribute to platformers past – and that includes the dodgy camera work.

Outlast 2

(PlayStation 4, Xbox One)

You play Blake Langermann, an investigative journalist searching for his wife after a crash-landing in the Supai region of North Arizona.

As you explore your surroundings, you come to find that—uh-oh, classic you—you're knee deep in death cult county, with no way out and a target on your head. You can't swing a cat for ritual sacrifices in this joint. It's really, really not very nice.

What follows is an ever-moving, panic-stricken search for safety as all manner of evildoers set their terrifying sights on you. One of the scariest horror games you'll ever play - and a big improvement on the original.

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This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk.

* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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