It’s always a great time to play games. Looking for some video games to get you started? Variable‘s got you covered.
It’s a new year for us here at Variable, as we’re happily marking our first year of publication! And what better way for us to share our gratitude for sticking around with us than to share our recommendations to get you started in playing video games.
We’ve listed six games—three from each of us—for you to check out, so you can also find a video game to enjoy!
1. Pokemon Sword and Shield (Switch)
We know what you’re thinking: You’re starting a list of video games for beginners with the lastest in a franchise that’s over 20 years old? But hear us out: Pokémon Sword and Shield is a great starter to your gaming experience, whether you’re just looking to play casually or immerse yourself fully.
Much like the games before it, Pokémon Sword and Shield follow the journey of a young trainer looking to be the Pokémon Champion in the Galar region. But if you’re a returning Pokémon player, you’ll find that Pokémon Sword and Shield are nothing like the black and white sprites you played with growing up.
Even then, it’s still great for beginners: For one, the gameplay is really easy to understand, even with the new features added. It also helps that you’ll be exploring Galar, which is based on the U.K.—in amazing detail. And did we say the starter Pokémon look so darn cute?
2. Genshin Impact (PC, PS4, Mobile)
It’s worth noting that there are many action role-playing games out there, and we’re all fans of them—every single one. But one thing that Genshin Impact has going for it is its pacing: Whether you’re an expert adventurer or a casual newbie, the Adventurer and his rag-tag team are the perfect companions for you, as you explore the magical world of Teyvat.
Of course, it has to be said that Genshin Impact is a gacha game, so it tends to push you to roll for more premium characters. But whether or not you decide to pull for characters or weapons, you can still comfortably play the game, since the in-game characters are pretty decent. [Ed: We also know Amber exists as a free character, but give her a chance!]
It’s also got a great battle system. Each character has a designated elemental affinity, which the game calls Visions. These visions—fire, ice, water, wind, electricity and earth—can be used with other visions to create status effects that range from lowered elemental resistance, burns and even immobility.
3. Hidden Folks (PC)
If you grew up playing Where’s Waldo, then Hidden Folks is its much-needed upgrade. It’s pretty much a straightforward game—you just have to find characters, animals and objects for each picture—but it does it so well.
For one, you get to interact with the items on the screen, a big update from the books of your childhood. The puzzles can start simple, but it won’t be long until you’re engrossed in scenery that’s meticilously hand-drawn and interactive. If there’s anything you can nitpick about this game is that it’s noisy—touching any part of the screen will create different noises.
4. Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Switch)
Most games tend to focus on conflict, having players fight against either computer-controlled opponents or other players. This isn’t the case for Animal Crossing: New Horizons‘. Instead, the social simulation series from Nintendo focuses more on everyday life.
The series’ laid-back gameplay has always made it a hit with players looking to avoid the more typical, action-packed fare of most video games, making it perfect for anyone looking to waste an hour or three.
Playing the role of a new resident in a town full of talking animals, players are then tasked with doing various chores and jobs, albeit in a manner wrapped with Nintendo’s trademark whimsy and charm. The latest iteration, New Horizons, adds the twist of players having to take care of their own island, customizing it with different plants and other objects to make it their own. All this while having the option to share their islands with friends.
5. Stardew Valley (PC)
Have you ever thought of simply moving out of the city to start your own farm? Stardew Valley lets you experience a whimsical version of that life.
Inspired by the classic Harvest Moon series of games, Stardew Valley is more of a whimsical life simulator than a hardcore farming simulator. Yes, you still have to manage your farm, but this is only a part of what you can do in Stardew Valley. The game also lets you interact with and develop relationships with non-player characters that inhabit your town. You can even fall in love and get married.
This is all peppered with other fun activities including fishing (a must for any RPG), crafting and even a bit of exploration and combat for the more adventurous.
6. Tetris Effect (PC, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X)
Tetris has been called by some the purest a video game can get. This classic block puzzler’s simple loop of eliminating lines of blocks can easily pull players into a near trance-like state as they clear line after line, or cause them to fall into a mad panicky dash if they mess up.
It’s that trance-like state, however, that Tetris Effect, helmed by the legendary Tetsuya Mizoguchi, taps into. The game combines Tetris’ already addictive loop with a synesthetic combination of graphics and music to further put you into that zone. Every move you make and every line you clear is now accompanied by visual and sound effects designed to work with the background visuals and music of that specific level, further immersing you in the experience.
The other trick up Tetris Effect’s sleeve is its use of virtual reality (VR). Yes, you can play the game on a regular TV or monitor, but playing it in VR adds an extra dimension to it, totally immersing you into the game’s psychedelic world.
So there you have it, our list of video games for you to get started on gaming. Do you have other recommendations? Let us know in the comments below!
Franz Co contributed to this article.
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