When gaming is life but money is tight, what’s a fan to do? 2019 has been another blockbuster year for the video games industry, with multiple triple-A titles making their way to PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and Xbox One.
But with so many great releases so far in this calendar year, which ones deserve a spot on your end-of-year wish-list? From sci-fi shootouts to haunted mansions, here are the best games to pick up this holiday season.
Platforms: PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PC
From the developers of PS3-era cult classic Fallout: New Vegas, The Outer Worlds is an epic space opera that casts you as a colonist who has been frozen in cryosleep for the past 70-odd years. Awakened by a kooky scientist who enlists your help to free your fellow (still-frozen) passengers, your decisions in the game will change how the plot proceeds. With a nifty skills and perks system, and beautifully-written dialogue, you’ll need to play through The Outer Worlds at least twice to get the full experience.
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Escape from the maze-like Raccoon City police station as the entire city struggles in the midst of a full-blown zombie apocalypse. Play through two intertwining story lines as Leon S Kennedy, a rookie cop with a heart of gold; and Claire Redfield, a feisty college student looking for her brother. Wield a variety of weapons to fight your way through a myriad of undead enemies, and try not to give in to your fear in this fast-paced action game full of brilliant level design ideas and terrifying jump-scares.
Platform: Nintendo Switch
The latest instalment in the celebrated strategic RPG series is a masterpiece of story-telling coupled with deep tactical gameplay. As an instructor of one of three houses at a military academy, you will teach and develop a bond with your students. When war breaks out on the continent, how will you guide your pupils-turned-troops through the ensuing chaos? The story has three branching storylines and because the grid-based combat is so addictive, you’ll want to come back and play through all the others after you beat it for the first time.
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Mario’s loyal younger sibling is back as the star of another ghost busting adventure. Armed with his trusty Poltergust G-00 (a vacuum-cleaner that can suck up ghosts), Luigi must navigate a haunted hotel to free his captured friends. With clever level design backed up with solid gameplay and Nintendo’s trademark humour, Luigi’s third solo adventure sees him gaining new abilities, such as summoning a gooey copy of himself (appropriately named “Gooigi”), in order to defeat the spooky King Boo.
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC
As a horrible goose out to ruin the lives of ordinary citizens, being annoying is the best gameplay mechanic in charming indie title Untitled Goose Game. Although controls are limited (you can only move, honk, and interact with objects), good level design shines through as you hilariously distract humans and then try to steal and hide their precious objects. Graphics are simple, but give off a colourful and playful vibe, and when you pull off the perfect “heist”, you’ll be howling with joy along with your avatar.