These are trying times for any and everyone on the planet right now. Regardless of if you’re on the front-lines in an essential role, working from home or trying to find work… I think it’s safe to say that we could all use a boost of the happy chemical. These are some great budget titles to check out for those who simply want to kick back and relax without having their skills or patience tested (the real world is doing enough of that).
New Super Lucky’s Tale (Nintendo Switch)
You probably should’ve expected me to include a platformer or two on this list- but it’s for a good reason. New Super Lucky’s Tale almost feels as if it was designed with the sole purpose of making anyone who plays it grin from ear to ear. It features an adorable protagonist (which you can dress up), bright and colorful environments as well as a silly cast of NPCs. It’s not a game that is going to test your platforming chops (save for some of the side content) and, thanks to its aesthetics and forgiving level design, is one of the best games on the market if you’re a parent looking to introduce your little one(s) to the genre. I’ve also written a full review on my blog for those who need a little more information before heading to the Eshop.
A Hat in Time (PC, PS4, XB1, Switch)
If you grew up in the early ’00s with the sixth generation of video game consoles- this one’s likely to pull at your heartstrings. Featuring a Wind Waker-Esque aesthetic, over the top characters and story writing mirroring that of a Saturday morning cartoon, A Hat in Time is guaranteed to make you smile throughout its 10-12 hour run time.
de Blob (PS4, Nintendo Switch, XB1, PC)
de Blob has an interesting story behind it. Originally released on the Nintendo Wii in the summer of 2008, THQ Nordic decided to quietly re-release this quirky sandbox title and its sequel on all major platforms. As the titular blob character, you’re tasked with (literally) bringing color back to a world while taking down an invading force of color-hating aliens in the process. Accompanied by a dynamic soundtrack that becomes more involved as you roll along and spruce up trees, buildings and structures…de Blob is a therapeutic experience through and through.
Venture Kid (Nintendo Switch, PC, Mobile)
If you’re looking for Megaman styled run-and-gun action that won’t have you swearing at the screen after being flung backward into a pit, Venture Kid is definitely for you. It features an authentic 8-bit aesthetic, some lovely chiptunes and is quite forgiving in comparison to its contemporaries. At its $9.99 asking price, it’s the perfect game for those who want a retro fix without the retro difficulty curve. As with New Super Lucky’s Tale, I also wrote an in-depth review when this title launched.
Blaster Master Zero (Switch, PC)
Blaster Master on the NES was an incredibly ambitious title for its time…and it was also incredibly difficult. It’s one of the few NES games I owned as a child that I still haven’t gotten around to finishing. Blaster Master Zero is a proper follow-up and scales the difficulty back quite a bit. Featuring an 8-bit aesthetic with some anime influences in both the art direction and storytelling, Zero is great for those in need of a breezy Metroidvania experience or fans of Sunsoft’s 1989 cult classic.