There are a lot of games out there. And we have definitely not tried them all.
That being said, there are quite a few video game lovers on the AE team. And, over the years, quite a few video game reviews have been included in our monthly Pop Culture Picks.
Which is why we created this list of our Top 10 Video Games – specifically for gaming consoles like PS4, Nintendo Switch, and Wii.
Keep scrolling to discover our favourite video games – and why we loved them!
TL;DR: If you are looking for a quick game, that is easy on the eyes, relatively relaxing, and fun to explore, check this out!
Gris is a side-scrolling platformer that is short and not overly difficult but is still quite engaging due to its story and aesthetic.
You play as a young woman, who must work to restore color to the world after a cataclysmic event leaves it grey and shadowy. The art style is amazing and makes it feel as if you are playing a beautiful illustration. There is no dialogue, but the story is easy to follow due to the quality of the animation.
GRIS is available now on Steam and Nintendo Switch eShop in all regions! Thank you so much for supporting it, we hope you enjoy it!
— Nomada Studio – G R I S (@nomadastudiobcn) December 13, 2018
All of the above made this the perfect game to play with my 6-year-old daughter Ada and that made the experience even more enjoyable for me. She was very engaged in the story and loved the music. She would watch me play and often give me advice on where to go or how to reach a goal.
The game mechanics were simple enough that my daughter was able to pick up the controls herself and move around the landscape. I loved watching her celebrate as she made a difficult jump or helped to bring a colour back into the world.
As you progress through, restoring more colors, the game becomes more and more vibrant which reinforces the sense of making an impact.
If you are looking for a quick game, that is easy on the eyes, relatively relaxing, and fun to explore, check this out. It’s also a great game to play as a family or with younger children.
Pokemon Sword & Pokemon Shield
TL;DR: Best entry to the Pokemon game franchise to date, but perhaps not the complete overhaul that many (myself included) were hoping for.
The latest entries in the much-loved Pokemon game franchise, Pokemon Sword & Pokemon Shield are the first mainline games released on a Nintendo home console. Until this point the games have always appeared on Nintendo’s handheld consoles. Now, as both a handheld and “proper” console on the Nintendo Switch, it is a perfect fit for this generation.
Both games have been upgraded and slightly modernized, thanks to higher processing power producers, GameFreak. The main new addition is a free-roaming “wild zone” for the player to catch wild Pokemon – previously gamers had been limited to linear paths between cities to catch Pokemon, although these are still here as well. The other main addition is the ability to set up camp: a largely superfluous but fun feature that lets you cook meals and play with your Pokemon to create bonds and level them up.
Despite these changes, Sword & Shield still feel like an extremely familiar addition to the series. This is both a good and a bad thing. Fans of the series will have no trouble picking up and playing immediately, but it would’ve been nice to see the new hardware push the series into a completely new chapter. Last year’s Pokemon Let’s Go Evee and Pikachu games (remakes of the original Gameboy Red / Blue / Yellow entries) play remarkably similarly despite their base material dating way back to 1998.
Despite the lack of a total makeover, Sword & Shield are still a huge amount of fun and are undoubtedly the best entries in the series to date. Suitable for both newbies and long-time fans, there’s nothing quite as much fun as a good Pokemon game.
The Outer Worlds
This is the Fallout game that fans have been asking for for years, but in a new galaxy with a variety of beautiful environments to explore. The idea is that this galaxy has been taken over by a number of mega-corporations, all of whom have established their own branded colonies on each planet. You play as a character who is awoken from cryo by a total stranger after your ship has a mysterious accident, only to be thrown down onto a foreign planet to fend for yourself.
Greetings employees of Halcyon. The Board would like to take a minute to thank you for showing up to your first weekend of work. We are pleasantly surprised with your performance and hope that your new position in #TheOuterWorlds is everything you hoped it would be. pic.twitter.com/ATGnyRYRgC
— The Outer Worlds (@OuterWorlds) October 27, 2019
What I love about this game is that it gives you a chance to be whoever you want in a weird, backwards world. I’m personally a low-level ex-bureaucrat who is highly skilled in persuasion, charm, and one-handed weapons. But you could also be a janitor who excels at melee, lying, and sneaking around!
The game is just ridiculous, over the top, funny, and gorgeous to look at. If you’ve ever enjoyed a Fallout game and want to expand your horizons, go get The Outer Worlds.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
TL;DR: An RPG with a fun strategy and an excellent introduction to the Fire Emblem series.
This game is my first experience with the series – while I love JRPGs in general, Fire Emblem is a tactical RPG – meaning the battles are fought Risk-like on a battlefield with various units etc. – something that never hugely appealed to me.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a little different from previous games in the series in that it introduces a school mechanic. Think Hogwarts meets the Persona series: you’re a teacher at the school whose lessons help to improve your student’s stats in battle.
It’s a fun little twist and much to my surprise I found myself really enjoying the strategy elements as a result. There’s also a whole lot of fun to be had getting to know the characters. Further, choosing one of the three titular school houses to align with gives the game a lot of replayability. It’s also given me the incentive to go back and explore previous games in the franchise as I’m having such an enjoyable time with this one.
TL;DR: Moonlighter is an Action RPG done in a pixel art style reminiscent of early console games (e.g. NES). You play Will, a shopkeeper by day and dungeon crawling hero by night.
There are two sides to playing Moonlighter, both equally engaging. The first is the classic “rogue-lite” gameplay of fighting dungeon denizens as you make your way deeper down, collecting loot, and eventually battling the big boss of the dungeon. Second is running your shop in the village and selling the loot you acquire on your dungeon journeys.
The dungeon crawling is fun as you move from room to room, dodging and weaving and striking as you clear enemies. As loot drops, your bag fills up pretty quickly. You then need to start making some hard decisions.
Do you drop some items you think are of lesser value, replacing them with rarer finds as you continue to push further down where there are even more valuable goodies, or do you use your special trinket (costing some coin) to portal your way out back to the safety of your shop to sell your hard-earned wares? If you are too greedy, push too far and eventually fall at the hands (or tentacles, etc) of the enemies then you lose (almost) everything you just acquired. This “push your luck” element really adds a nice adrenaline boost to your dungeon adventure.
The shopkeeper aspect is also great. It is necessary to fund your adventures, but also a game in itself. In order to maximize profits, you need to use supply and demand to your advantage. The trick is to find that perfect price point by paying close attention to customer reactions!
As customers wander your shop, they bring their items to the counter. As shop keeper, you have to ring up the sale within a certain time- or lose the sale and the item! Furthermore, some shoplifters will prowl around looking to nab something and run, forcing you to tackle them to retrieve your goods.
All this creates a chaotic, vibrant shop scenario where you bustling around handling sales, stocking shelves, and keeping your eyes open for ne’er-do-wells looking to run out with an expensive goody.
Overall, it’s a great game. I love how easy it is to jump back in where you left off. Despite how casual it feels, there is a lot of depth within the game and play time required to advance. Available on a number of platforms, I highly recommend you give it a try!
TLDR; Classic JRPG action with unique graphics and 8 separate characters for you to try on and explore.
The Nintendo Switch is basically the perfect machine for JRPGs – play on the go, level up your characters, plug it in on the big screen, and continue your adventures. Octopath Traveller is a Switch exclusive from the folks that put out the Bravely Default games on the 3Ds (also well worth checking out if you’re a fan of the genre).
The game takes its name from the 8 different characters available for you to control, each with their own separate adventure within the game world. The most striking thing about the game is its unique graphical style – 2 dimensional character sprites on a 3D background – and it looks fantastic. Gameplay is pretty standard for a classic style JRPG, with an excellent battle system. Each of the eight characters has their own unique abilities in both battles and while adventuring, which provides plenty of reasons for exploration.
If I have one criticism, it’s that the story and missions can be a bit generic. But that’s to be expected with the complexity of maintaining 8 separate character arcs. With so much going on there is plenty to keep you entertained in this lovingly crafted retro-JRPG.
TL:DR; Lightweight action JRPG with a difference.
This one’s been out for a while on various systems (PS4, PS Vita, Steam) but it’s reasonably new to the Switch, my preferred console for Japanese role-playing games (JRPG). The Ys series (pronounced ‘ees’) has been around since the NES days, but admittedly this is the first of the series I’ve ever played and I’m enjoying it a lot.
In many ways Ys VIII is a pretty standard action JRPG. Heroes with big swords, magic, talking animals- you know the drill. But there are a few points of difference as well. Unlike most JRPG series that see a new world and characters with each sequel, the Ys series has followed hero Adol Christen since the very first game. The combat is also seamless and takes place in the overworld – no switching back and forth between exploration and battle mode. This works so well you wonder why it isn’t used in more games!
The scenario and game world are great, with the protagonists shipwrecked on a mysterious island, and Adol searching for any remaining survivors to return to the ever-evolving Castaway Village. It’s also refreshingly fast moving for a JRPG with just a short prelude episode before dumping you into the game proper. Highly recommended.
TL;DR: Fight monsters whilst attending Japanese high school. A completely unique gaming experience and very highly recommended.
The Persona series is part traditional JRPG and part Japanese high school simulator. Sounds weird, but anyone who has played one of the previous games in the series will know how unique and fun this combination is — and this most recent installment is the best yet.
In the game, your character’s Persona (their alter ego) battles monsters in an alternate dimension featuring a variety of dungeon settings (a bank and an Egyptian pyramid are my two favourites so far). Meanwhile, back in the game’s “real world,” your test scores and relationships with your schoolmates help improve your powers in the virtual world.
Everything about Persona 5 is beautifully designed, right down to the menus. Even the post-fight and loading screens offer more visual flair than most entire games. It’s a unique and stylish gaming experience that comes highly recommended.
TL;DR: RUINER is a stylish and fast-paced top-down cyberpunk shooter, with a kick-ass soundtrack to boot. Go get ‘em, puppy!
This game was released in September 2017 by the Polish indie studio Reikon, but has been regularly updated, including the recent “Annihilation Update.”
I have a soft spot for the old-school-style isometric shooters and platformers that only seem to be released by indie studios nowadays. RUINER is a cyberpunk-inspired isometric shooter with a slick art style and a great soundtrack that really enhances the futuristic setting. The overall look pays homage to Blade Runner and Ghost in the Shell.
Your character is a cybernetically enhanced individual who can only communicate via nods or shrugs, as well as through a helmet that displays feedback across its faceplate. You are assisted by a seemingly friendly hacker who offers encouragement and direction as the story unfolds. However, nothing is as straightforward as it seems, and unraveling the mystery plays a large part in encouraging the player to progress.
— RUINER (@ruinergame) February 8, 2020
Gameplay utilizes dual stick controls (moving/aiming) which keeps the action fast-paced and fluid. A dash option allows your character to move quickly across the screen, avoiding damage and moving in for the kill. Weapons include guns (lots of them) and melee (bats, swords, pipes, etc.)
Layered over those basic controls is the ability to customize your play style via skill tree. For example: unlocking an ability to trigger a “slow-mo” mode that makes dodging bullets easier or “hacking” your enemies to get them to fight for you.
The game is challenging (on normal or hard), but offers enough checkpoints for you to stop and start when you like without losing progress. RUINER is a great game to fire up and enjoy without having to worry about investing huge chunks of time.
My pick gives you: classic JRPG, great graphics and excellent British voice acting
This game is a few years old now (it came out in 2010 — positively ancient in gaming terms) and its sequel has just been released on the Nintendo Switch to mixed reviews, but it’s the original that’s really got me hooked at the moment. Released on a platform not known for its “serious” RPGs, Xenoblade received a limited release in the West and as such, has become a cult classic amongst JRPG nuts like me.
With great graphics (for the Wii), excellent (and very British) voice acting, and expansive, lovingly created environments (the entire game world is set on the back of two giant robots), Xenoblade Chronicles has everything and more for fans of the genre. It’s a classic JRPG that I’d rate in my top 5 of all time — right up there with Final Fantasy 7.
2020 is going to be a huge year for the Games Industry. So expect many more game reviews on our blog over the coming months!