The 5 Best Video Games You Should Be Playing Now
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
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.
(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.
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.
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.
(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.
(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.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.