Social Distancing Guide: 20 Video Games to Check Out
Stuck at home with a game console and don’t know what to play? Here’s a quick guide with some options for each major platform
Strange as it is, we currently live in a world without sports.
We also live in a world where it’s the best thing for most people* to stay inside at the moment, so it’s understandable that many would turn to an alternate form of entertainment — and for us, video games make a lot of sense!
So, whatever your preferred platform is, we decided to list some options for you to play while stuck indoors over the next few weeks.
*Huge shout out to the essential workers that are working through tough times right now. Thank you.
PlayStation 4 — Option #1: Kingdom Hearts: All in One Package
Have you been in a Disney mood? This classic series mixes Disney worlds and characters with Square Enix’s Final Fantasy universe, and the end result has brought in fans for several generations. Whether you’re up for another visit to the game, or you’re brand new to the series, this is a serious value.
Xbox One — Option #1: Forza Horizon 4
If it doesn’t make sense to plan a big road trip in real life, why not do it virtually in a sports car? As the name suggests, Forza Horizon 4 is the fourth in the series that’s featured open worlds in Colorado, Australia, and now Great Britain. There’s also a LEGO expansion, which brings LEGO racing to the screen — that gets the seal of approval from us. The game’s also available on PC, so you can race with cars (or LEGO cars) on your computer too, as long as your machine is powerful enough.
Nintendo Switch — Option #1: Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Are you curious to why the entire internet seems to be talking about Animal Crossing? Well, it’s a bit of a difficult one to describe, but the charm and relaxing atmosphere in Animal Crossing should suit just about everyone who needs to unwind from a stressful day or moment. Just one word of advice — don’t delay in paying Tom Nook his bells.
PC — Option #1: Rocket League
If you’ve ever wondered how soccer and Mario Kart could mix, Rocket League is for you. It’s a seriously fun (and seriously addictive) game that’s become both a casual mainstay and an esports headliner. There’s plenty here, from a season mode to a popular online scene. There’s also local multiplayer, and this one’s available on every modern console in addition to the PC platform.*
*That’s why the embedded announcement trailer has a PlayStation logo in the thumbnail — don’t worry, it’s available on PC as well!
PlayStation 4 — Option #2: MLB the Show 20
It’s disappointing that the current situation has forced us to wait for real baseball, but at least we have virtual baseball to fill that hole in our heart. MLB the Show 20 features their newest “Diamond Dynasty” offerings for online play, as well as a revamped “March to October” mode. If you’re okay with last year’s rosters, MLB the Show 19 is also available.
Xbox One — Option #2: Rare Replay
This one’s a serious value for the retro-minded in the audience. If you grew up with N64 classics, Rare Replay is the game for you; it features almost all of the classics that Rare developed for the platform. Banjo-Kazooie is the headliner here, with the game receiving tons of attention even in the modern day.
Nintendo Switch — Option #2: Fire Emblem: Three Houses
This ranks near (or arguably, at) the top of Nintendo’s strategy offerings over the last few years. With deep, satisfying puzzle-like strategy gameplay and a story that offers heartfelt connections and emotional turns, this isn’t a game you’ll soon be forgetting. It also features several different story paths, so you can keep coming back for more.
PC — Option #2: Out of the Park Baseball 21
If you’ve always wanted to be a Major League Baseball GM, or if you simply want to see how the current season would be playing out in a realistic simulator, this is the experience for you. There’s some questionable trade logic at times, but the customization and depth of the main mode is unparalleled and should please almost any baseball fan.
PlayStation 4 — Option #3: Persona 5: Royal
This is the recently revamped version of a modern classic. The distinct style, engaging combat, stunning music, and lengthy story has brought a brand new generation to the Persona series, and this “Royal” edition has even more to enjoy among other improvements to the base game. Alternatively, the base game is also still available and listed under the “PlayStation Hits” value label.
Xbox One — Option #3: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Whether the newest Star Wars movie left you wanting more or it failed to fly in your mind, this game has been a breath of fresh air for many fans. This third-person action/adventure title was developed by Respawn Entertainment, the developers of the widely praised Apex Legends.
Nintendo Switch — Option #3: Mario Kart 8: Deluxe
We mentioned Rocket League as a potential twist in the kart racer genre, but the original brand is still a ton of fun. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe features a set of tracks that are arguably the best the series has ever seen, and the online works tremendously.
PC — Option #3: Minecraft
It was a classic before, and it’s a classic now. Minecraft’s brand of exploration, satisfying crafting, and imagination is one of gaming’s purest joys — and it’s a great option for multiplayer play as well. If you’re playing with friends, you do have to be careful and take note of which version you buy — the version advertised on the Windows Store is different than the “Java” edition many longtime fans prefer, and the two don’t have cross-play compatibility.
PlayStation 4 — Option #4: Horizon: Zero Dawn
Cinematic games are sure to be popular in a time where many of the cinemas are closed, and Horizon: Zero Dawn is one of the best in the modern library. The visuals are absolutely gorgeous, and many consider the story to be fantastic as well.
Xbox One — Option #4: NHL 20
The NHL playoffs might be in danger, but like with MLB: The Show, you can simulate it at home with NHL 20 — or you can just play online with friends or random players. Hockey’s still hockey, even in a virtual world. (This is also available on PS4, so don’t worry about having backed the wrong console)
Nintendo Switch — Option #4: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is absolutely tremendous. It’s the gold standard for open-world games, and the amount of things to do make this the perfect game to play for a long period of time. If you can only have one Switch game to play, and you have even a passing interest in open-world games, pick up Link’s newest adventure and enjoy the gorgeous land of Hyrule.
PC — Option #4: F1 2019
This game is two things — it’s great for at-home casual play, and it’s also the same platform used by the top virtual drivers for the F1 Esports Pro Series. The tight controls with both a controller and a wheel are matched with excellent graphics for each of the tracks on the 2019 F1 calendar, and if you’re not interested in the active online scene, there’s a satisfying season mode as well.
BONUS Option #1 — Tetris 99 (Switch)
This is more of a bonus than a full game, but if you’ve got a Nintendo Switch Online Membership, you can download Tetris 99 free-of-charge. It’s a fun little experience, but it’s also really intense and can get quite difficult in your quest to win against 98 other players. Tetris masters, this one’s for you.
BONUS Option #2 — Pokemon: Sword and Pokemon: Shield (Switch)
We reviewed this one shortly after it launched, and we were pleased to say that it was the next-gen Pokemon experience that we were hoping for.
BONUS Option #3— Spider-Man (PS4)
If you’ve somehow not played this yet and you’re a PS4 owner, we highly recommend that you fix that. We called it “visually stunning” in our review last year.
BONUS Option #4— Chess.com (PC)
This isn’t really a video game in the modern sense, but playing chess online is a ton of fun, with friends or strangers. It’s free to sign-up, so if you’re looking for a great Chess sim, or are interested in learning something new, Chess.com is a great way to do it!
Hopefully we could help you find something to play while you’re staying indoors and staying safe. For more, head on over to Save State.
We’ll also have more on Persona 5 Royal, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and MLB the Show 20 on the Save State Podcast, coming soon.
*Nothing in this article was sponsored*