The 50 best games of the year 2019

2019 was a very strange year for games, and this sense of adventure is reflected in our list of the 50 best games of the last 12 months.

While new consoles and probably many new additions to giant Tentpole franchises are expected next year, this was a year of experimentation and unexpected surprises. Outer Wilds blends the expected influence of recent years into something completely new, while The Outer Worlds brought familiar design into a brand new galaxy that served as a targeted critique of capitalism.

There was a Star Wars game that could be confused with a Tomb Raider game. There were friendly words that were always there for you when the news got a bit overwhelming. And who could forget what the hell untitled goose game is? This was a year when strange, exciting new ideas were possible, if not quite easy, to leave an overblown bump in the zeitgeist.

Do not worry about the ranking. It’s a fun and easy exercise. Finally, we recommend all these games. That’s why we’ve done a little bit of what makes each game so special: Find the best games of the year 2019 for you.

Here is our list of the 50 best games of the year 2019. To get a closer look at our top 5, visit our dedicated GOTY 2019 hub, If you are looking for something more platform-specific, have a look Polygon Basics, a collection of constantly updated lists of the best of the best games for every platform – from the start of hardware to the end of production. If you want to see a collection of other songs that may not be in the Essentials lists, read the information Polygon recommends,

Image: Cloudhead games

50. Pistol whip

Pistol Whip is a rhythm / action VR game in which you murder your enemies in the pulsating rhythm of an amazing soundtrack. It’s a killer workout and an effective way to let off steam when stressed out. There are plenty of options that change the rating and, in some cases, even the feel of the game to make sure it pays to play through each song several times. An instant VR classic from a studio that clearly understands the medium.

– Ben Kuchera

Available on Oculus Rift, Oculus Quest and Steam VR.
Get it here: Steam | Oculus Quest Store | Oculus Rift Store

Image: Tendershoot, Michael Lasch, ThatWhichIs Media / No More Robots

49. Hypnospace Outlaw

Playing in a late 90s GeoCities-like online hub, Hypnospace Outlaw is a pristine piece of historical fiction, a wild work of contemporary satire, and a really tricky puzzle game. It’s a funny work that nostalgically deals with the past without having too misty eyes.

The game has commissioned me to work as a community enforcer and manage a code of conduct on its ugly, bizarre, user-generated pages. These sites are still populated by a variety of Internet archetypes that exist in the 1990s. Copyright infringers, virus manufacturers, hackers, fraudsters and trolls must be eliminated through derivation, investigation and lateral thinking.

Experimentation is the key, and there are times when solutions are incredibly elusive. But Hypnospace Outlaw keeps us thinking about our digital life, now and in the past.

-Colin Campbell

Available for Windows PC, Mac and Linux.
Get it here: Steam

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48. Islanders

Islanders is a vacation hidden in a video game. The cute low-poly style is eye-friendly, the sound effects and music are hell-eager, and you can play the turn-based game at a leisurely pace. You do not have to worry about catastrophic weather events or have enough food for your villagers. Take time to plan and build a thriving island village.

When playing the islanders, someone took the genre of urban construction stone by stone and rebuilt it with only 10% of the parts. It’s minimalistic, but not easy. A plus / minus points system gives you points each time you place a building. A jeweler earns bonus points when he is near gold mines and mansions, while farms receive bonus points when they are near mills. Islanders is not exactly where you can place your buildings, but this system keeps things in check and encourages you to create patterns and groups. It’s an elegant setup that balances the freedom of the player without compromising the chill vibes of the game.

– Clayton Ashley

Available for Mac and Windows PC.
Get it here: Steam

Image: Massive Entertainment / Ubisoft

47. Division 2 by Tom Clancy

Division 2 was a breath of fresh air at the beginning of the year, though it was another extremely online third-person shooter. The game looked fantastic on high-end gaming PCs, had a solid start without many technical issues, and was designed to hear the players’ complaints about the first game. It felt like ordering an old favorite in a restaurant and finding that it was cooked almost perfectly.

– Ben Kuchera

Available for PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.
Get here: Walmart | Amazon | Microsoft Store | PlayStation Store | Epic Games Store | Ubisoft Store

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Image: Nintendo EAD / Nintendo

46. ​​New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe

The new Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe might have a ridiculous name, with its booked superlatives and the missing U, but releasing the game on Nintendo Switch offers a much larger audience the opportunity to play what some consider the biggest Mario Game of all times. Even if you disagree, you must appreciate the value of this package: Deluxe includes two complete Wii U games – New Super Mario Bros. U and New Super Luigi U. Both side scrolling platformers were great on the under-average Wii U and you are even better here.

As mentioned in our full review of the game, New Super Mario Bros. U deluxe lives from the iteration. There are more than 30 years of experience in producing Mario platforms that both long-time Nintendo fans and novices appreciate. It’s a masterfully designed Mario game that has been slightly improved by the ability to play anywhere on the Nintendo Switch.

Michael McWhertor

Available for Nintendo Switch.
Get here: Walmart | Amazon | GameStop | Nintendo eShop

Image: ArtPlay / 505 games over polygon

45. Bloodstained: ritual of the night

The man who has kept 2D Castlevania games alive – and is partially responsible for the “Vania” half of a beloved genre – has summoned fans to help him bring Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night to life.

As the spiritual successor to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Koji Igarashi’s crowdfunding project faced significant delays and disruptive relocation of developers, with some technical issues at the start. But the end result was a solid, playable tribute to the Metroid-inspired Castlevania games of yore. It’s pure comfort food, and Bloodstained not only meets expectations, but surpasses them in many ways. It offers depth, a huge list of discovery possibilities, and above all, a return to the form of a master of the Metroidvania design.

Michael McWhertor

Available for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.
Get here: Walmart | Amazon | Nintendo eShop | PlayStation Store | Microsoft Store | steam

Image: Respawn Entertainment / Electronic Arts

44. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen order

Two years ago, it felt like Star Wars was a video game franchise in crisis. Do you remember all that stuff about the end of narrative single player games? That Star Wars was a lumbering dinosaur in the era of licensed games and that the best developers would not touch the franchise with a 10-foot electric baton?

But here’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, a game many people said could not be done anymore. Telling? For sure. Only for single players? Not even a hint of coop. From the best developers? Well, that’s another argument, but Respawn Entertainment has already delivered some amazing games in its relatively short history.

This could be the biggest surprise and lesson for Jedi: The Appeal of Fallen Order: Nobody but Respawn thought that, hey, run around and explore things in the world of Star Wars, instead of shattering everything and playing it as one. A high adventure instead A cosplay convention could also be an amazing experience. It’s a surprising twist, though it makes sense in hindsight, but the important thing is that we have another very entertaining, story-based game in the Star Wars world now.

– Owen S. Good

Available for PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.
Get here: Walmart | Amazon | Best Buy | Steam | origin

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Picture: Ziba Scott

43. Kind words

2019 was a tough year – politically, as you call it. Tech exacerbates this problem by promoting engagement. The more angry we are, the better the numbers for services like Twitter. The mere act of talking to someone else on social media is so exhausting that I almost never try it again, which makes communication almost impossible. Sometimes I fear that I will become a coarser person only to somehow come out intact on the other end.

But to play child words, you have to be vulnerable. You have to trust that when you write a letter and send it to the void, the players who receive it at the other end will treat you gently. And then you must feel obliged to share that tenderness by responding to people you will never meet. Choosing the kindness in a world where we constantly have to keep our teeth open is the most subversive thing I can think of.

– Patricia Hernandez

Available for Mac and Windows PC.
Get it here: Steam

Image: Image & Form / Thunderful Publishing

42. SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech

The indie outfit Image & Form has made a name for itself by building a vibrant steampunk universe spanning multiple genres. With SteamWorld Quest, the Swedish developer shoots fantasy RPGs, a genre of weary tropes. It turns out that adding some nuts and bolts works wonders when it comes to reinventing worn-out concepts like knights and magicians.

However, the biggest attraction of SteamWorld Quest is not the aesthetics or the charming robots. Like other SteamWorld games, Quest takes a core mechanic and builds an elegant machine on it. In this case, the base game is a turn-based deck-building RPG, where each move has to be weighed against the total cost. From then on, Quest adds wrinkles such as status effects, combos, and cooperative attacks. All this together makes for a complex game in which every battle feels like a new, satisfying puzzle.

– Patricia Hernandez

Available now for Nintendo Switch, Windows PC, Mac and Linux.

Get it here: Steam | Nintendo eShop

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Picture: House House

41. Untitled goose game

It’s almost as much fun to experience Untitled Goose Game as a meme – or rather as a great mood – as a game. Who does not want to step out of his earthly existence to become an agent of chaos whose only goal is to be a bit of an asshole?

Which does not mean that Untitled Goose Game is a bad game – it’s the rare single-player party game that’s as much fun as control – but we needed a bit of benevolent madness and sacred this year. To hell, did Untitled Goose Game do just that ,

– Ben Kuchera

Available for Nintendo Switch, Mac, PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.
Get Here: Epic Games Store | Nintendo eShop

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Picture: Square Enix, Omega Force / Square Enix

40. Dragon Quest Builder 2

Dragon Quest Builders 2 is a mashup from The Sims, Minecraft and, as expected, Dragon Quest. There’s a funny RPG story about the adventure with your buddy Malroth, who has lost his memory. To help all the people you meet in the game, you have to use your expert skills, which is definitely the fun part.

The game picks up on the creative aspects of Minecraft and enhances them by adding up-to-date pieces of furniture that can be adapted without having to play around with blocks and plates. I liked setting up the NPCs to farm for me or work in a bar to feed their roommates. I could easily do anything I wanted, and I had a great time with it.

There are also Dragon Quest Slimes in this game and I’m not sure what else you could ask for.

– Julia Lee

Available for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Windows PC.
Get here: Walmart | Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | PlayStation Store | Steam | Nintendo eShop

Picture: Grezzo / Nintendo

39. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

As a kid, I’ve never had a Game Boy, so I missed the original Link’s Awakening. Art has evolved from the flat style of the Game Boy to a ravishing, plastic-looking toyland look with depth and a tilted perspective. It can be controversial to completely change the art style of a game – often changing the remastering of something to make it look “better”, the core feel of the game – but the facelifting of Links Awakening works. Just the sight makes me happy.

It is still a gradual ascent through a well-thought-out world where complicated on-demand quests determine the day. In our review, Russ Frushtick called it “a perfect introduction to the youngest budding Zelda fans.” Nevertheless, it presented my stupid ass with some challenges. There are random difficulty spikes that, though rare, are frustrating. Overall, however, Link’s Awakening is an appealing and attractive staging of a classic.

– Simone de Rochefort

Available for Nintendo Switch.
Get here: Walmart | Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | Nintendo eShop

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38. Eastshade

Eastshade takes you on a journey to a medieval fantasy island with puzzles to solve, enduring humans and ancient civilizations. The beautifully designed open world is full of vibrant forests, massive stone towns and icy caves that you can explore. You’ll encounter a number of fascinating characters, from the retired architect to the suspected pharmacist, and you may need to find or craft items to complete their quests. But the special thing about Eastshade is that you can do it all without a fight.

Instead of fighting through Eastshade, your character is armed only with a brush and a canvas. Their ultimate goal is simply to paint some beautiful landscapes and take a break from the fantastic city life.

This means that you can explore at your own pace, without fear that a giant spider or a group of dark elves will ruin your trip to paint a mountaintop. No task is ever solved by simply killing someone or skinning 10 boars. Instead, investigate the ecology of the island, solve a thriller, or simply look for the next place to set up your easel.

– Clayton Ashley

Available for Mac OS, PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.
Get it here: PlayStation Store | Xbox Store | steam

Image: PlatinumGames / Nintendo

37. Astral necklace

Have you always wanted to try an action game like Bayonetta or Nier: Automata, but found the difficulty intimidating? Astral necklace is the answer. The default difficulty mode prefers the story to the challenge. The harder “Pt Standard” option, also available from the beginning, offers many items to maximize my character’s health and improve her powers.

Although it feels intuitive, it looks like a flashy science fiction anime in motion. Animations transform simple movements into choreography. My cop does not jump. they cartwheels. My legion does not dodge. it freaks back and pirouettes. The plot is decadent, lush. That does not mean that long-time action fans do not have enough to do. The game has depth – but not at the expense of accessibility.

-Chris Plante

Available for Nintendo Switch
Get it here: Amazon | Walmart | GameStop | Best Buy | Nintendo eShop

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Image: Capybara Games

36. Grindstone

As Chelsea Stark said in her review, Grindstone is a game of dealing with greed. In Capy Games’ complicated game of color matching in Apple Arcade, players need to accomplish some goals to reach a level. But it does not stop here. The player is free to continue playing this level until he leaves the game. If you stay, you may be able to collect more valuable grindstones, the in-world currency. However, the longer you try to maximize your payout, the higher the risk.

Without microtransactions, Grindstone is a perfect balance between risk and reward. When you run out of the grindstones needed to buy more heart for your health, you’re forced to earn more. There is no way to spend only real money to replenish your stock. This is unfortunately a rarity for mobile games.

The good news is that the levels in Grindstone are slow to progress. Capy Games takes the time to teach the player what he needs to know to get through each level successfully. I was often too self-confident in my ability to overestimate a level just to lose everything in the game to get more. Even after I beat the game and achieved all the level goals, I still come back to Grindstone. I certainly do not need any more grindstones – I have thousands – but it never feels enough.

– Nicole Carpenter

Available for iOS.
Get it on Apple Arcade

Picture: Mega Crit Games

35. Kill the tower

Slay the Spire is a collectible card game that somehow fits into a single player adventure. The genres fit together perfectly, with each battle acting as a puzzle and each new card offers an additional tactical option.

Purchase too many cards and never draw what you need. Do not collect enough and you may not have the tools you need to move forward. It is a constant balancing act that demands almost a round more after your last failure.

A successful run means only that it is time to start again with a new character while learning new strategies. Do not be surprised if the hours melt away. Slay the Spire is a relatively easy-to-explain game, but it requires concentration and dedication if you want to achieve your goal.

– Ryan Gilliam

Available for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Mac and Windows PC.
Get it here: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | Nintendo eShop | PlayStation Store | steam

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34. Heaven: children of light

Part social space, part vessel for positive online interactions, part micro-transaction experiment, Sky: Children of the Light at the core gave us what we wanted most: more travel. At least for the moment, though, this is a social space available only to mobile devices and not to game consoles on iOS devices.

The game company’s follow-up to 2012 looks, moves and feels remarkably close to its predecessor, with just enough additions – like flying – to feel fresh. The ability to revisit familiar mechanics brought us into the door, while the lavish life-world held us.

– Matt Leone

Available for iOS.
Get it here: Apple Store

Image: Game Freak, The Pokémon Company / Nintendo

33. Pokémon sword and shield

Do you know what’s wild?

Pokémon became a cultural phenomenon, though it was largely banished to handheld devices. With the release of Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield on the Nintendo Switch – a console that makes sharing screenshots and videos easier – it’s clear that Pokémon has done this feat with one hand behind his back.

Now that Pokémon has joined the 21st century, everyone seems eager to express their affection for their digital pets, which has made Sword and Shield a social media phenomenon. It helps that the squads of new monsters joining the existing crew are so well-designed that they immediately feel iconic.

I could sit here and talk about how much I enjoyed new features like the Wild Area, or talk about the best new characters. But honestly, I spent most of my time with a sword and a shield, just to hang around in the camp and watch my babies play and run around. I catch monsters that are garbage in the fight so I can see them walking and interacting with each other. I’ve built love for my friends for 20 years and yet it feels like a revelation to see them come alive in Sword and Shield. If only I could get everyone on my team to get along …

– Patricia Hernandez

Available for Nintendo Switch.
Get it here: Amazon | Walmart | Best Buy | GameStop | Nintendo eShop

Image: The Coalition / Xbox Game Studios

32nd courses 5

Did we really need a new game of Gears of War in 2019?

I would have thought the answer is “no”, but The Coalition has updated the uncompromising stop-and-pop design of previous games with an open world, a robot full of personality and some of the most comprehensive graphics and accessibility options I’ve ever had Seen a game, how exciting it is visually.

It might have felt like the world of playing had left Gears of War behind. But Gears 5 has proven that the creative team responsible for the property keeps the world of COG and Locust up to date. And in many ways, the studio has surpassed expectations of continuing in such a well-known franchise. Gears 5 is characterized by the attention to detail and the degree of genuine care that sometimes feels rare even when playing AAA franchise companies.

It was a bright spot in 2019 for those who like loud explosions in games that provide both heart and training for their sound systems, and it’s likely to be a prime example of high-end gaming PCs in the years to come.

– Ben Kuchera

Available on Windows PC and Xbox One.
Get it here: Amazon | Walmart | GameStop | Best Buy | Xbox Store | steam

Image: Nintendo EPD / Nintendo

31. Super Mario Maker 2

We all saw the Masocore levels, the Rube Goldberg equipment, the tributes and the re-creations of other video games. You were with Super Mario Maker four years ago, and the sequel would not be on that list if that’s all they brought to the table.

The Super Mario Maker 2 story mode not only gives the user the basics of his level-design approach, but also gives the player a reason to do all these things and hopefully inspires a new generation of level designers, at least to do a try. Sure, Super Mario Maker 2 has many tutorials, but they’re boring because they’re educational. They are what. The story mode is the why. “While I play these levels, my boring brain is full of ideas for levels that I could create,” reviewer Russ Frushtick said. “What would happen if I removed Koopa’s clown car, filled the stage with water and added a fire-breathing Yoshi?”

– Owen S. Good

Available for Nintendo Switch.
Get here: Walmart | Amazon | Best Buy | Nintendo eShop

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30. Lonely Mountains: Departure

Please do not joke, if I say this with painful sincerity: Lonely Mountains: Downhill is the video game equivalent of a haiku. While game publishers create elaborate 3D worlds the size of small states and overlay them with side tasks, collectibles, and text protocols, finding a game that is so idiosyncratic is a relief. It does what it promises.

I’m alone on a mountain and my goal is simply to go downhill on a 4×4. I have the opportunity to achieve other goals, eg. For example, reaching time limits or limiting the number of crashes. Or I could just work down, find alternative ways and set my own pace. It does not look realistic – the chunky, polygon-poor aesthetics are cute enough – but it feels right. That’s why I visit the game every few weeks. Despite all the eye-catching graphics and scope of the AAA games in 2019, no game like this little trip has brought me down a hill.

-Chris Plante

Available for Mac OS, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.
Get it here: Steam | PlayStation Store | Xbox Store

Picture: Shooting games

29. Rest: From the ashes

“Dark Souls with Guns” is the field where I was allowed to try Remnant: From the Ashes. And it is certain that – the fight is impressive, with some confidence in precise timing and strategy, along with the challenge Souls games are known for.

But it’s the variety that made me play after trying. There are dozens of enemies who need their own tactics to fight, explore different environments, and find, unlock, or upgrade new weapons.

While it seems that the idea of ​​bosses with ranged attacks is fast becoming obsolete – how many different ways are there to avoid things that bosses shoot at you or throw at you? – Developer Gunfire Games finds ways to make each of the game’s bosses feel unique and entertaining, even on your second run. Or your third in my case.

Oh yes, it’s also a great co-op game. Be sure to bring a friend!

-Out of Goslin

Available for PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.
Get it here: PlayStation Store | Xbox Store | steam

Image: Blue Manchu / modest bunch

28. Empty bastards

Void Bastards is able to turn some of the tropics of well-known indie games into strengths. The cel-shaded comic aesthetics fit with the game’s brisk science-fiction sound, and the procedural generation gives players something to fear and dangle each time they dock at a station where there’s no fuel in their tanks to hope.

However, the true strength of Void Bastards can come from the abilities of your character and their available nature. You are a space prisoner under the command of a rather bureaucratic AI, and when your adventure with them ends in your death, the AI ​​simply rehydrates the body of another prisoner for you, one with a completely different set of advantages and disadvantages ,

Actually, that’s pretty scary, if you think about it.

Players can therefore take risks without (too much) punishment and playing fortress without giving up a backup file or a simple respawn. Do some strenuous crafting, cleanup, and ego shoots, and you have a profitable, fresh view of the staples – not the tired clichés – of solid game designs.

– Owen S. Good

Available on Windows PC and Xbox One.
Get Here: Humble Bundle | Steam | Microsoft Store

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Image: Sam Barlow, Furious Bee Limited / Annapurna Interactive

27. Tell lies

Sam Barlow’s “Her Story” – Polygon’s Game of the Year 2015 – has not revived the genre of full-motion video games (narrative adventures with recorded footage of real actors). After all, it is not that some of them came on the market in the following years. Maybe that’s why Barlow felt he had to compete with Telling Lies.

Barlow’s new game is based on the same basic concept that the player crawls videos through creative queries from a law enforcement database, and extends his previous work in every respect. Instead of a main character, there are four (and they are played by Hollywood talents like Logan Marshall-Green and Kerry Bishé). And the clips themselves are much longer than in Her Story, some even nine minutes long.

More importantly, their story focuses on one single secret, while Telling Lies contains a substantial cast whose interwoven stories have a key element in common: deception. Es ist dieses komplexe, vielschichtige narrative Design, das das Spiel so fesselnd macht und fast erfordert, dass Sie Notizen machen, um den Überblick über die weitläufige Handlung zu behalten, während Sie langsam Dinge zusammenfügen und versuchen, Wahrheit von Fiktion zu unterscheiden.

Sie verbringen Stunden mit diesen Charakteren und haben das Gefühl, sie zu verstehen – bis Sie über eine einzelne Aufnahme stolpern, die Sie auf einen neuen Weg führt und alles, was Sie zu wissen glauben, auf den Kopf zu stellen droht. Auch das Setup ist entscheidend: Die meisten Clips sind Einwegaufnahmen von Videoanrufen, die mit Webcams aufgenommen wurden, was Telling Lies ein voyeuristisches Gefühl verleiht, das auch Fragen der Privatsphäre, der Technologie und der Politik des 21. Jahrhunderts berührt. Es ist eine schillernde, verwirrende und aufregende Arbeit.

– Samit Sarkar

Verfügbar auf iOS-, Linux-, Mac- und Windows-PCs.
Holen Sie es sich hier: Steam | Apple Store | GOG


Bild: Arika / Nintendo über Polygon

26. Tetris 99

Im Jahr 2018 haben die Entwickler Resonair und Monstars Tetris mit Tetris Effect neu erfunden. Es war fast perfekt, besonders wenn es in VR gespielt wurde. Wer hätte gedacht, dass Tetris 2019 wieder so erfolgreich aufgefrischt werden kann?

Tetris 99 wurde von Arika entwickelt und von Nintendo veröffentlicht. Es ist eine neue Version des jahrzehntelangen Spiels und kombiniert das Puzzle-Erlebnis mit einem modernen Genre, Battle Royale.

Ein Tetris Battle Royale klang mehr wie ein Witz als alles andere, als es in diesem Jahr auf Nintendo Switch veröffentlicht wurde. Es folgte nahezu jedem anderen großen Franchise-Unternehmen, indem es einen Battle Royale-Modus für existierendes Design entwickelte, aber der 99-Spieler-Modus war für alle kostenlos gut. Wirklich gut.

Tetris 99 ist immer noch Tetris; Sie fügen Ihre Blöcke zusammen, um Linien zu löschen. Der entscheidende Unterschied ist jedoch, dass Sie auch gegen andere Spieler antreten und Ihre Müllsteine ​​in die Luft werfen, um sie über die Kante zu schieben, während Sie versuchen, höher auf den Anzeigetafeln zu klettern und länger als Ihr Gegner zu überleben. Um zu gewinnen, musst du der letzte Spieler sein, der steht. Das ist eine härtere Leistung, als es sich anhört.

– Nicole Carpenter

Verfügbar für Nintendo Switch.
Holen Sie sich hier: Walmart | Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | Nintendo eShop

Bild: Triband / FoxNext Games

25. Was zum Golf?

Auch wenn Sie keine Lust mehr auf Physik haben, What the Golf? wird dich zum Lachen bringen. Es ist Golf … bis zu einem gewissen Punkt. Golfbälle sind alles andere als das Letzte, was ich in diesem Spiel putte, und jedes Level endet mit einem Wortspiel.

“Jedes Mal, wenn ich das Gefühl habe, als wüsste ich, was als nächstes kommt, erlebe ich einen überraschenden Wendepunkt auf unerwartetem Gebiet, wo die Regeln für Raum, Zeit und Erzählung in ein schwarzes Loch gesogen und als etwas Unkenntliches ausgespuckt wurden.” Colin Campbell schrieb in seiner Kritik. Es ist schwierig, mehr zu sagen, ohne die Witze zu ruinieren, was ich wirklich nicht tun möchte!

– Simone de Rochefort

Verfügbar auf iOS-, Mac- und Windows-PCs.
Holen Sie sich hier: Epic Games Store | Apple Arcade

Bild: ZA / UM

24. Disco Elysium

Disco Elysium hat das Gefühl, eine Tabletop-Rollenspiel-Kampagne mit einem DM zu spielen, der über Tabletop-Podcasts der fünften Auflage ins Spiel gekommen ist und dem es nichts ausmacht, mit Dingen sehr albern zu werden. Es besteht keine Abhängigkeit von etablierten Überlieferungen und Einstellungen, aber es liegt ein viel größerer Schwerpunkt darauf, durch eine interessante Geschichte einen konsistenten Charakter in einer Rolle zu spielen.

Der Kampf wird so weit wie möglich minimiert und auf narrative Entscheidungen über die Wahl eines Kampfes reduziert. In der Kernschleife des Spiels geht es mehr darum, zu verstehen, wer dein Charakter ist, und sie wahrheitsgemäß zu spielen, anstatt sie zu bauen, um mathematisch zu gewinnen.

– Laura Dale

Verfügbar auf Windows PC.
Holen Sie es sich hier: Steam | GOG

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23. Cadence of Hyrule: Krypta des Nekrotänzers mit der Legende von Zelda

Cadence of Hyrule ist ein Legend of Zelda-Titel, der mit den Knochen von Crypt of the NecroDancer erstellt wurde, einem Spiel, in dem Spieler zum Klang der Musik durch Dungeons krabbelten – oder vielmehr hüpften. Aber Cadence of Hyrule ist nicht nur ein Rhythmusspiel. Hier gibt es so ziemlich alles, was Sie von einer Legend of Zelda-Erfahrung erwarten. Es bewegt sich einfach alles in seinem eigenen Rhythmus.

Cadence of Hyrule seems like a bizarre mashup at first. And yet, from the moment I start playing, it all makes perfect sense. The game blends its elements together so gracefully that it never feels like a spinoff or a cheap imitation of the two games from which it sprung.

—Ryan Gilliam

Available on Nintendo Switch.
Get it here: Nintendo eShop


Square Enix

22. Final Fantasy 14: Shadowbringers

Final Fantasy 14’s Shadowbringers expansion gave longtime players of the MMO a fulfilling and emotional experience. Scenario writer Natsuko Ishikawa managed to create an intense story where the tables have been turned in interesting ways.

Too much light has flooded the new world you explore, forcing you to carry the title of Warrior of Darkness, a contrast to the Warrior of Light title your character has been carrying since the beginning of the game.

Ishikawa’s excellent portrayal of vulnerability and fighting for what you love shows through in both of the expansion’s characters, Emet-Selch and The Crystal Exarch, and the experience remains one of the few things that has ever made me cry in a video game. The colorful new areas, delightful music, and new bosses complement the story while making the expansion exciting, even for players who opt to skip all the cutscenes.

—Julia Lee

Available on Mac, PlayStation 4, and Windows PC.
Get it here: Amazon | Square Enix | Steam | PlayStation Store

21. Card of Darkness

Much has been written about Apple Arcade and how the all-you-can-eat-for-$5-a-month pricing model is an excellent value. But perhaps more interesting is how that model has impacted game design.

Most puzzle games on mobile, like Candy Crush and Two Dots, have been designed around their free-to-play pricing structure. To that end, some levels are made intentionally harder, requiring a bit of luck (or a bit of real-world money) to complete them.

Removing that free-to-play model and in-app purchases means that a puzzle game must stand on its own merits, not in terms of how much money it can suck up from frustrated players.

Such is the case with Card of Darkness, which offers a bizarre blend of RPG mechanics with the basic design of solitaire. And yet, while it feels quite hard at times, it never feels unfair. Victory is always within reach, usually requiring a new strategy or character build to get the job done.

And if you keep failing? Sorry, but your wallet can’t save you this time.

—Russ Frushtick

Available on iOS and Mac.
Get it on Apple Arcade

Image: Supermassive Games/Bandai Namco Entertainment

20. The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan

Until Dawn was one of my favorite games of the decade, so I was on board — pun most definitely intended — when developer Supermassive Games announced that it was bringing the same formula to a mysterious ghost boat.

The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan — the first game in what’s supposed to be an ongoing horror franchise — takes the same decision-driven, character-based horror experience that made Until Dawn special and successfully transposes it onto a new and extremely creepy setting. Man of Medan is a spooky, and sometimes hilarious, experience, especially if you’re playing one of the two fantastic co-op modes.

—Austen Goslin

Available on PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One.
Get it here: Amazon | Walmart | PlayStation Store | Steam | Microsoft Store


19. Wilmot’s Warehouse

The final boss of Wilmot’s Warehouse is actually my own brain.

It’s a game about organizational systems, which is fun for a very specific type of person. I play as Wilmot, and I accept deliveries of tons of colorful and intentionally vague items. My job is to arrange them in a huge, empty warehouse, and then retrieve them for co-workers who have specific orders. When I tell people this, they either think it sounds amazing, or like the most stressful thing imaginable.

Wilmot makes me glad. He’s a tiny white block with a smile on his face, unlike me when I am organizing things. I drown in camels, and teeth. I howl with rage when I remember I moved the yellow and purple moons from the “yellow and purple items” section to the newly formed “science” section (along with white and red moons, microscopes, and the spray paint can that I thought was a lunar lander).

But underneath my yowling is an undercurrent of delight. I love this game — I love organizing things, I love figuring out what makes sense to my diseased brain. I love the art, which cleverly obscures the identity of objects without feeling like it’s playing a cruel trick on me.

The only cruel tricks, it turns out, are the ones I play on myself.

—Simone de Rochefort

Available on Mac, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PC .
Get it here: Steam | Nintendo eShop

Image: Capcom via Polygon

18. Devil May Cry 5

Devil May Cry 5 is a toy box of violent, ridiculous, incredibly satisfying juggle combos. Sure, Capcom wrapped a story and thick sense of style around that (and it clearly put in a lot of effort on the narrative and characters this time out). But it’s the playful combat that makes it work — to the point that the game would probably work just fine if it all took place in one big room, which is more or less what the DLC does.

These are the kinds of mechanics that could only come by building upon decades of iteration, and we’re lucky that Capcom’s been putting in that work for so many years.

—Matt Leone

Available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PC.
Get it here: Amazon | Walmart | Best Buy | GameStop | Steam | PlayStation Store | Microsoft Store

Image: Triternion

17. Mordhau

My favorite gaming memories of 2019 didn’t come from Mordhau’s large-scale sword, mace, shield, or arrow battles to control swaths of the countryside, but from the low-key dueling server a friend of mine ran for a month or two after the game’s release.

Mordhau forces players to learn precise timing; memorize the effectiveness of each attack against each defense, adjusting for the weapons being used by both parties; and seems to punish anyone whose focus wanders for even a second. The skill ceiling is high for a game that spills this much blood onto the dirt.

And those skills are put to the test when players take turns brawling to the death in the middle of a server filled with those waiting on their turn to fight, or just interested in watching. You either win or you learn something that would make you a little better the next time you fight.

As with all the best competitive games, the most effective way to learn Mordhau is to throw yourself into it and study your opponent’s moves. But winning a victory in single combat is easily the sweetest reward in gaming this year.

—Ben Kuchera

Available on Windows PC.
Get it here: Steam


Image: William Chyr Studio

16. Manifold Garden

It’s not easy to describe Manifold Garden, but I’m going to give it my best shot. Manifold Garden is an architectural puzzle game with physics-based geometry. If we try to defuse the jargon, that means the player must unlock areas of the game by moving blocklike keys to their specific receptacles — a blue block, dangling from a geometric tree, will need to be plugged into the correct receptacle to open up a gate. It’s not as simple as plucking a block from the tree and walking it over to the gate, though; Manifold Garden’s M.C. Escher-inspired world is itself a puzzle, one that’s only solved by switching between different dimensional planes.

The sheer scope of this project and what developer William Chyr calls its “impossible geometry” is stunning. And that makes sense: Chyr worked on Manifold Garden for seven years before its surprise launch on Apple Arcade and Windows PC.

It’s often hard to even comprehend the complexity of the different levels as they loop into infinity, much less figure out how to solve them. It’s a complexity that often gives me anxiety — the idea of chasing something through a looping world, the destination always just out of reach. But like I wrote in my review, Manifold Garden doesn’t go on forever. The loops are designed to be tools, and to escape, you must embrace them, not run from their implications.

— Nicole Carpenter

Available on iOS, Mac, and Windows PC.
Get it here: Epic Games Store | Apple Arcade

Image: Creative Assembly/Sega

15. Total War: Three Kingdoms

For those of us who’ve ever fantasized about being an ancient or medieval warlord, Total War: Three Kingdoms is one of the best games yet released. It’s complicated, intricate, and difficult, yet it manages to hold together convincing simulations of human dominance and the struggle for power.

The Total War series’ trademark, large-scale real-time warfare, is at its best here, balancing rock-paper-scissors units with heroic generals, smart tactical options, and interesting RPG-like upgrade trees. There’s also a solid economic sim that underpins resource management.

But the game’s biggest boon is its cast of characters and the way it deals with human interactions though diplomatic activities, and the delicate handling of underlings, family members, and mercenaries.

—Colin Campbell

Available on Linux, Mac, and Windows PC.
Get it here: Steam


Image: Riot Games

14. Teamfight Tactics

Auto battlers have spread across the strategy game landscape over the last year. But while Dota 2’s Auto Chess mod may have been the first to really catch on, Teamfight Tactics is the one that feels like it’s here to stay. Technically, this isn’t a new game, but a mode for League of Legends — at least for now.

The game challenges players to build teams from a large pool of potential units, with special emphasis on making teams where all the units work well together and give each other specific bonuses if they work well together. It offers dozens of units that change every few months, and it’s complicated to learn, but there may not be a better strategy game this year once you get the hang of everything that’s going on.

—Austen Goslin

Available on iOS, Mac, and Windows PC.
Get it here: Riot Games

Image: Intelligent Systems, Koei Tecmo Games/Nintendo via Polygon

13. Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Technically, Fire Emblem is a hardcore tactics franchise where your choices have a reckoning — death can be permanent. And sure, Fire Emblem’s strategy element is pretty good, but that’s not why I play. Hell, some fans turn permadeath off. The people making these games have caught on: In Three Houses, you spend way more time managing the day-to-day lives of your students, from what they study to who they socialize with, than you do in battle.

The game does this purposefully, so it can twist the knife later by making you choose a side. Dear friends become enemies. Even the most idealistic characters get worn down by the harsh realities of war. Three Houses is a vicious game. No wonder the internet memes for it are incredible — fans are trying to nurse each other through the hurt.

—Patricia Hernandez

Available on Nintendo Switch.
Get it here: Amazon | Walmart | GameStop | Best Buy | Nintendo eShop

Image: Respawn Entertainment/Electronic Arts

12. Apex Legends

The best surprise of the year came from one of the biggest publishers in the world. Apex Legends, the first project from Titanfall developer Respawn Entertainment since its acquisition by Electronic Arts in 2017, is technically part of the studio’s space-marines-and-mechs universe. Yet in a move that’s unusual for a risk-averse corporation like EA, Respawn not only sprung the game on the world without any promotional cycle, but also downplayed its Titanfall origins.

That made sense from a truth-in-advertising standpoint — there was bound to be skepticism about a new battle royale title considering how saturated the genre was getting, especially since there are no actual titans in the game — and it also allowed Apex Legends to stand on its own as the terrific product that it instantly was.

The action in Apex Legends evinces Respawn’s decade of expertise making fast-paced first-person shooters featuring a sublime fluidity of movement. Moreover, the studio distinguished itself with innovations that emphasize and encourage teamwork in a genre that, to that point, had mostly been focused on solo play.

Chief among them is an ingenious ping system for quick communication with teammates. And the revival and respawn mechanics of the game’s three-person squads create opportunities for last-ditch gambits and thrilling long-shot comebacks. The only major knock against Apex Legends is that Respawn and EA are still figuring out the right way to balance the microtransactions and level grind, but then, that’s an issue with all kinds of ongoing games.

Respawn made a bigger splash nine months later with Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. But Apex Legends remains the better game.

—Samit Sarkar

Available on PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One.
Get it here: Walmart | Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | PlayStation Store | Xbox Store | EA



11. Sayonara Wild Hearts

Sayonara Wild Hearts is less of a rhythm game and more of a rhythm experience. There’s an edge of disappointment in that; I had looked forward to a little more game originally. Naja! Sayonara Wild Hearts is a gorgeous, neon trancescape where the main character zips and zooms through cities and deserts and dreams. The primary vehicle is a motorcycle, but sometimes it’s a springing deer, and other times it’s a speeding, drifting car.

But the music is the highlight, and yes, you can stream it on Spotify. In our review, Jenna Stoeber noted that “the bubbly indie-pop tracks heighten the overall feeling of playing through an animated music video.” She’s spot-on: Sayonara Wild Hearts goes out of its way not to disrupt your psychedelic music journey too much. It may not really be a rhythm game, but it’s a worthwhile journey.

—Simone de Rochefort

Available on iOS, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Windows PC.
Get it here: PlayStation Store | Nintendo eShop | Steam | Apple Arcade

Image: Adam Robinson-Yu

10. A Short Hike

There is a surprising amount to do in Adam Robinson-Yu’s indie exploration game, A Short Hike, and yet I never feel pressured to do much of anything. Playing as Claire, an anthropomorphic bird, I can hike, climb, and fly around Hawk Peak Provincial Park’s trails … or not. There are marked trails to follow, where I’ll encounter other animals enjoying their day ⁠— some are trail running, others are fishing or painting or playing A Short Hike’s version of volleyball.

I can choose to interact with these characters or I can not do so, while exploring and gathering feathers that are needed to reach the peak’s summit. Nothing is especially hard, and that’s part of the draw. It is exactly how it’s described — a short hike, though one that’s sparked by a need for cell service and spun off into a detailed, surprising world.

My first instinct when playing the game was to rush up the mountain to get cell service, then find my way back down and explore. I could play that way, but A Short Hike eased me into the slower pace, encouraging me to talk to other characters and seek out the game’s many spaces. Because of the unwieldy controls — perhaps by design, to slow me down — I found myself wandering off of cliffs and gliding back to where I began. It never felt tedious, though, which is a feat; often, the ground I thought I had already covered revealed something new.

—Nicole Carpenter

Available on Linux, Mac, and Windows PC.
Get it here: Steam |

Image: Capcom

9. Resident Evil 2

We’ve been playing re-releases and remakes of the original Resident Evil for two decades, but the game’s vastly superior sequel didn’t get a proper top-to-bottom overhaul until 2019, when Capcom put what seems like every resource it had into Resident Evil 2’s remake.

The reimagined Resident Evil 2 is survival horror game that manages to feel both modern and dutifully faithful to a video game released in 1998 — a game that was both a near disaster and a nascent polygonal action-adventure, when developers were still figuring out how to navigate and explore three-dimensional spaces. But gone are the tank-style controls and fixed camera angles of the PlayStation original; what remains is a game that still terrifies, controls wonderfully, and looks both gruesome and glorious.

The good news is that a sequel is already on the way.

—Michael McWhertor

Available on PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One.
Get it here: Walmart | Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | PlayStation Store | Xbox Store | Dampf

Image: Kojima Productions/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

8. Death Stranding

Despite all of Hideo Kojima’s overly complicated plotting, ridiculous character names, Monster Energy advertisements, and a digital poster for Ride with Norman Reedus on AMC, there’s something both unique and relaxing about Death Stranding. Highbrow concepts like one’s Ha and Ka — the ideas of spirit and body — bump up against grenades made from Reedus’ poop.

The challenge of Death Stranding itself comes from carrying packages between different points on a large map, which makes the game a little like the ultimate fetch quest. But you’re also impacting the world around you with contraptions to help yourself and others accomplish that job, while taking advantage of the invisible work done by players you’ll never meet as you come across their ladders and paths. Kojima wants to help the world stay connected, and helped create a game in which that’s both part of the story, and part of the actions of the players.

Kojima said he was out to create a new genre of video game and, somewhat surprisingly, he might have done exactly that.

—Ryan Gilliam

Available on PlayStation 4.
Get it here: Walmart | Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | PlayStation Store


Image: Obsidian Entertainment/Private Division

7. The Outer Worlds

Only the Obsidian of Fallout: New Vegas, Pillars of Eternity, and even South Park: The Stick of Truth could make the 20 hours or so of The Outer Worlds seem to fly by so quickly. The biggest risk this studio took might have been with the comparatively brief time it would give its fans with all the things they enjoyed.

Our view is that it’s “just right” in length, however. The Outer Worlds packs the best of modern role-playing games into a world and a story that respects the player’s time. For a game presenting such a strong point of view — particularly relevant in present times — anything going long might feel preachy and tiresome, even to players who already agree with the basic premise that capitalism has some pretty significant downsides.

The Outer Worlds offers an experience that’s familiar to fans who wanted more of the formula that Obsidian has all but perfected, without the baggage of a licensed property or the pressure of creating a sequel. The result is something that feels familiar, but takes place in a new world, with new characters. It feels like slipping into a coat that fits perfectly, but that you don’t seem to remember picking out.

—Owen S. Good

Available on PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One.
Get it here: Walmart | Amazon | Best Buy | Epic Games Store | Microsoft Store | PlayStation Store


Image: Next Level Games/Nintendo

6. Luigi’s Mansion 3

Luigi’s latest adventure has a lot going for it, from great puzzles and boss fights to inventive environmental design. But where it really soars is in its basic, run-of-the-mill vacuuming.

As with all of the Luigi’s Mansion games, the vacuum is the primary way to interact with the world. But in Luigi’s Mansion 3, the developers have really leaned into the idea that an old haunted building (a hotel, in this case) would be filled to the brim with trash to suck up.

And goddamn does it feel great to suck up that trash. Walking into a room filled with books and billiard balls, with trophies lining every wall, means you have all the opportunity for play that you could ever want. And thanks to the rumble on Nintendo Switch, you really feel every piece of detritus as it makes its way through Luigi’s backpack. It’s weird to think of sucking up random items in a haunted mansion as a joyful act, but here we are.

The simple 30-second loop of clearing rooms never gets old, and turns an otherwise well-made puzzle game into a cathartic cup of warm cocoa at the end of a long day.

—Russ Frushtick

Available on Nintendo Switch.
Get it here: Walmart | Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | Nintendo eShop


Graphic: James Bareham/Polygon | Source image: FromSoftware/Activision

5. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Developer FromSoftware spent the last decade making games so absurdly difficult that its popularity is a bit difficult to explain. Demon’s Souls begat the Dark Souls trilogy, which spawned Bloodborne. Every game was a riff on a formula that brought the quirky Japanese developer closer to mainstream success.

In 2019, with Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, FromSoftware took a hard turn, replacing medieval European fantasy and Gothic horror with feudal Japanese fantasy.

It’s a riff on the formula that the studio created and popularized, but it’s also something new — a fast-paced, action-focused departure from its more deliberate and esoteric forebears. It eschews role-playing classes, so everyone plays as the same titular character. Skills for your constant blade replace the bloated menagerie of weapons and armor in previous titles. The story is straightforward, not something that requires reading vague item descriptions and then watching YouTube videos just to almost kind of understand it.

Sekiro is FromSoftware’s sensibilities refined and focused. It’s as beautiful as it is brutal, and the sweetness of victory is still strong enough to make the frustration of frequent failure worthwhile. It is also unambiguous proof that FromSoftware isn’t a one-trick pony.

—Dave Tach

Available on PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One.
Get it here: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | PlayStation Store | Walmart


Graphic: James Bareham/Polygon | Source image: Hempuli Oy

4. Baba Is You

Baba Is You is a two-part puzzle game. Its second half is straightforward: Players need to touch a goal to finish each level. But it’s everything that happens before that which makes up the real puzzle to be solved.

That’s because solving puzzles is not only about understanding the rules, but breaking and rewriting them in order to make your quest possible. Baba Is You is a delight because you have so much power in each challenge, but that power doesn’t mean anything until you learn to use it skillfully, and with purpose.

—Jeff Ramos

Available on Linux, Mac, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PC.
Get it here: Steam | | Humble | Nintendo eShop

Graphic: James Bareham/Polygon | Source image: Red Candle Games

3. Devotion

Devotion is not just one of the best horror games of the year, it’s among the best overall games of the year. Its quality makes it noteworthy, but the fact that it can’t be purchased or played now, despite how poignant it is, also makes it a tragedy.

Set in 1980s Taiwan, Devotion’s story is centered on a family of three: a father, Du Feng Yu; a mother, Gong Li Fang; and a daughter, you Mei Shin. The game’s horror is not paranormal, not in the traditional sense. Instead, dread accumulates in the family apartment over the years, settling like dust into quiet corners of domesticity, only to be kicked up by Mei Shin contracting a mysterious illness, and Feng Yu’s growing paranoia, fueled by his blind faith in a folk deity called Cigu Guanyin. He learns to both fear and revere the god, encouraged by a cult leader disguised as a mentor.

The player experiences Devotion’s world — which is an apartment building, though most of the game takes place in a single apartment — in blocks of time that shift and move from year to year. Devotion, like P.T. before it, is built on loops; you’ll sometimes walk down from one hallway to another, only to find yourself still in the same place, but in a different time. While the apartment only has five rooms, the game brings you to those rooms at different times in the family’s history, creating a nonlinear swirl of decay. The apartment lobby operates as a sort of hub world, but for time, allowing you to choose the year in which you’re visiting the apartment. Devotion’s puzzles require you to bring items from one time frame to another, which sometimes means taking part in the banal act of unpacking boxes but could also mean going through the steps of making a ceremonial wine bath for Feng Yu’s troubled daughter ⁠— something he believes is the only way to cure her.

Devotion’s apartments become stranger, and more otherworldly, as the years progress ⁠— a demonstration of Feng Yu’s blind faith influencing the world around him. Where there was once a pot of tofu stew cooking on the stovetop, a pot of ceremonial wine now brews. The photos that once hung undisturbed in the bedroom have since been desecrated, with crosses scratched over the eyes of each family member.

What might have been a slow descent into madness is instead thrown into stark contrast as you jump from year to year. This is how the fear spreads across the game: Repetition sets our expectations in place. You think you know what each room should look like, and then right as your guard is lowered, you notice a change. And then another. And the horror ascends from there.

—Nicole Carpenter

Not available.

Graphic: James Bareham/Polygon | Source image: Remedy Entertainment/505 Games

2. Control

Control offers a world that is seductive, powerful, and internally consistent, but developer Remedy Entertainment is able to stretch the tension of entering that world without any kind of instruction or illumination to its breaking point.

By the end of Control, you will be an expert on this strange existence. There is no “strange for the sake of weirdness” here. It all makes sense, once you learn the language of the world. This is a real rarity in storytelling in video games, where complex actions are often burdened by excessive exposure and so many complications that, in the end, everything turns into a meaningless soup. Instead, the control feels like a carefully prepared meal that is methodically fed to you until you develop a taste for it.

And occasionally the cooks are puppets.

—Russ Frushtick

Available on PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One.
Holen Sie es sich hier: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | PlayStation Store | Xbox Store | Epic Games Store | Walmart


Graphic: James Bareham/Polygon | Source image: Mobius Digital/Annapurna Interactive

1. Outer Wilds

Outer Wilds’ narrative is delivered in drips across each planet I visit, and I’m careful to choose one goal for each of my 22-minute time loops.

As I learn more about, well, everything around me, I’m exposed to some of the greatest wonders of science fiction. My stomach damn near left my body the first time I fell, feet kicking, through a black hole. Or when my ship was catapulted through the atmosphere by a terrifying waterspout. Or when I accidentally tinkered with ancient alien technology long enough to unexpectedly warp to another planet’s surface, not knowing where I was, or why someone would want to travel to that location instantly. So many discoveries and surprises answer my old questions, while unfolding an additional layer of hidden secrets beneath.

Outer Wilds delivers so many moments that are beautiful and perfect, even though I only want to hint at most of them. Even when I thought I’d pieced together the Nomai’s fate, or understood why I was stuck in this interstellar Groundhog Day, Outer Wilds still hadn’t showed me all its secrets. My jaw didn’t just drop while playing Outer Wilds — in some sections, it felt like it may have just stayed on the floor permanently.

—Chelsea Stark

Available on PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One.
Get it here: PlayStation Store | Xbox Store | Epic Games Store

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