List

Escape into the World of Video Games

By Skokie Staff Adult Services

Ly, Neil, Penny, and Perry recommend games--in this list, you'll find titles from a variety of genres, from puzzles to story-rich, character-driven games. If you are new to video games, here are some definitions of gaming terms used on this list:

  • Platformer: These games heavily feature platforms. To progress, players have to jump between them and avoid obstacles. Super Mario is a popular example of a platform-type game.
  • Rhythm: These games use music to enhance the game. Players have to time button presses to the beat of the music playing (sometimes to simulate playing musical instruments). Popular examples include Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero.
  • Sandbox: This type of game lets players build their own world to interact with. A popular example is Minecraft.
  • Spyro: Reignited Trilogy

    2019

    This is a HD remaster of a beloved classic series for the Playstation 1. It’s a 3D platformer that follows the world-saving adventures of a fiery little dragon, Spyro. The game is cute, charming, and less punishing than some of the other platformers on our list, making it a fantastic pick if you’re looking for something a little lower-key (but still tons of fun). Also available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Recommended by Neil and Penny.

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  • Stardew Valley

    2016

    Stardew Valley is an extremely charming farming (and life) simulator about making the most out of every day. This could mean taking care of your farm, talking and building memorable relationships with the townsfolk, or even just taking a walk and exploring what the world has to offer. With its cute pixel art style and adorable soundtrack, it’s something a lot of people relaxed with during the pandemic. Recommended by Ly, Neil, and Perry.

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  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

    2017

    This game is visually stunning, one of the prettiest ever. Plus, the story is just plain fun! You play as an amnesiac guy who’s apparently been sleeping for about 100 years, newly awakened for a do-over at saving the world (having failed the last time). Running around the gorgeous world, fighting monsters, and trying to recover your memories make for a great time with a video game. Recommended by Ly and Perry.

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  • Portal 2

    2011

    This first-person puzzle game is a must for anyone who enjoys thinking outside the box. Some of the puzzles can be pretty challenging (up to you if you think that’s a pro or a con!), but the incredible story and memorable characters really make it stand out. It also supports cooperative play and makes a great two-person game! Also available on Xbox 360. Recommended by Ly and Neil.

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  • Cooking Mama Cookstar

    2020

    Cooking Mama is a super cute and fun cooking simulation/puzzle game. Mama will teach you many different recipes from all around the world. For someone like me who can’t really cook, I found this game to be a great experience (I feel like I can become a master chef whenever I play it). Recommended by Penny.

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  • Rayman Legends

    2017

    This is an amazing 2D platformer great for fans of Mario. The game starts off with simple jumping mechanics, but as you progress, the levels get more and more creative. It’s a blast to play and even supports cooperative play for up to four players. Which can get a little chaotic, but I think it’s even more fun that way! Also available for other consoles. Recommended by Neil.

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  • Snipperclips Plus: Cut It Out, Together!

    2017

    This is a really fun and creative puzzle game for two players. You and a friend each control a character, and you have to cut each other into different shapes to solve a variety of challenges. It’s very cute and surprisingly tricky! Recommended by Neil and Penny.

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  • Dishonored

    2015

    Equipped with your knife, a multitude of gadgets, and supernatural abilities, you are tasked with taking down a corrupt government any way you like--and the game gives you a lot of options. You’ll have plenty of problem-solving tools, from murder to ruining someone’s social life, and that’s what makes it so fun. Dishonored takes place in a fictional city with aesthetics inspired by Victorian England, so I recommend it to anyone who is a fan of steampunk or stealth-action games. Recommended by Neil.

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  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses

    2019

    For those of us who just don’t have the reflexes for real-time combat but still like hitting things with swords! All the fighting is done in turns, which lets you take your time to strategize without instantly dying. Besides, the story is incredible--there are so many characters, and I still got attached to every single one. Recommended by Perry.

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  • Hollow Knight

    2019

    Hollow Knight is a 2D platformer that pulls a lot of its inspiration from older platforming games. This means that it can be very challenging and punishing at times--which might sound bad, but it really just makes it even better when you succeed! Besides, the art and music are both beautiful, so if you like a challenge, this is a must play. Recommended by Neil and Perry.

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  • Little Nightmares

    2017

    This is a genuinely creepy cross between a 2D platformer and a horror game. You spend your time running and hiding from bloodthirsty enemies, and most of the storytelling is done through the very detailed animated backdrops. Solve puzzles, navigate deadly platform levels, and try not to die! Also available on Xbox One. Recommended by Neil.

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  • Battle Chef Brigade Deluxe

    2018

    Part Candy Crush, part cooking game, and part monster-slaying platformer, this is a game that absolutely defies description. Of course, the crazy genre-mashup premise is part of the fun--no matter what, I guarantee you’ve never played a game quite like this. Recommended by Neil.

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  • Tetris Effect

    2018

    This game is a beautiful journey of sight and sound. It’s a new take on the classic game, with stages that evolve as you play. From the music and the backgrounds to the pieces themselves, everything is perfectly in sync and absolutely gorgeous. Recommended by Ly and Neil.

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  • Ghost of Tsushima

    2020

    From beautifully lush environments to an enthralling story, this game is an experience you won’t forget. You play as a samurai torn between his traditional teachings and the need to save his homeland from invasion. Throughout his journey, there are places so stunning and picturesque that you can’t help stopping to admire the surroundings. The music is gorgeous, and the solid real-time combat mechanics make it even better. Recommended by Neil and Penny.

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  • Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

    2017

    The plot of this game is complete nonsense, but the game embraces that, and it ultimately comes together in the most beautiful way possible. You’ve probably heard of Mario, but Rabbids are mischievous little rabbits who tend to cause trouble in really comical ways. The combat is turn-based, which is a perk if you prefer having more time to plan, but the real joy of this game is its silliness. Recommended by Neil.

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  • Tales of Berseria

    2017

    The Tales games are known for their memorable cast of characters and fluid combat system, and this one is a great introduction to the series. The main character is on a revenge quest, and along the way, she collects a band of misfits who’ll do just about anything to get what they want. The combat system can be chaotic at first, but it’s really satisfying with a little practice. Recommended by Neil.

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  • Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer Featuring the Legend of Zelda

    2020

    This is an entertaining rhythm/puzzle game that takes place within the world of Legend of Zelda. You have to hack and slash your way to victory--except your movement is tied to the beat of the game’s soundtrack. If you move outside of the beat, you’ll stumble, giving nearby enemies an opportunity to attack. If you are a fan of exploration games and want a slight twist to that genre, this is a great game to check out! Recommended by Neil.

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  • Sayonara Wild Hearts

    2019

    Sayonara Wild Hearts is a pop album dressed up as a video game, and it’s magical. You have to run, dodge, and jump your way to victory, all while your eyes and ears are treated to what can only be described as a sensory candy store. This game is an awesome experience, and anyone who is a fan of music should definitely give it a try. Recommended by Neil.

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  • Doom Eternal

    2020

    This game features face-paced, hand-to-hand combat and lives in the horror genre. The protagonist gets to blast demons at every turn to save the world from hell-raising priests. This sequel to the reboot of Doom has bigger and better guns and more monsters to slay. A game to raise your blood pressure. Also available on Xbox One. Recommended by Neil.

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  • Star Wars Squadrons

    2020

    For Star Wars fans and gamers who love fighter pilot simulators, this game satisfies both criteria. There are two game modes: campaign, where two teams of five pilots race to get to 30 kills, and battle, where two teams play tug-of-war to dismantle the other team’s ship. The characters also get some really great story arcs! Also available on Xbox One. Recommended by Ly and Neil.

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  • The Outer Worlds

    2019

    A game with similar mechanics to Fallout, this game takes place in the vacuum of space, in a dystopian world where an evil corporation exploits and represses workers (but in a dark humor way). The protagonist wakes up from a cryogenic sleep, after being adrift in space for 70 years, to find a capitalist hellscape. Also available on Xbox One. Recommended by Ly and Neil.

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  • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

    2017

    A retro first-person shooter that explores what it would have been like if Germany had won WWII. You play as a man willing to do anything to take down the Nazi regime. This game is a reboot of a classic series from the '90s, but with all the features you’d expect from a modern game. I highly recommend it if you are a fan of sci-fi or alternate histories. Also available on Switch and Xbox One. Recommended by Neil.

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  • Overcooked! 2

    2018

    If you like fast-paced games that put you in a pressure cooker, Overcooked is for you! In this restaurant kitchen simulation, up to four players run around as a kitchen team, fulfilling orders. Everything from chopping veggies to plating up dishes is a task the players must complete while avoiding obstacles unique to each level. Also available on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Recommended by Neil, Penny, and Perry.

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  • Super Mario Party

    2018

    A classic multiplayer party game that lets up to four players be their favorite characters from the Mario universe. Set up like an interactive board game, players compete to go around the game board and battle each other in minigames testing different skills. Whoever gets the most stars wins! Recommended by Ly, Penny, and Perry.

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  • Mariokart 8 Deluxe

    2017

    If you’re not already familiar with Nintendo’s classic Mario Kart, this edition is fun and easy for beginners and kids. Choose your Mario character and go-cart vehicle and race with your friends or computer players. Battle mode is another exciting way to play the game, where you go head-to-head with other players on an obstacle course and try to pop their balloons. Use of weapons to foil your competition, like shooting slippery banana peels, is encouraged! Recommended by Ly and Penny.

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  • Forza Horizon 4

    2018

    Looking for a more realistic racing game than Mario Kart? Forza Horizon 4 offers customizable characters and real street cars set in a detailed environment. Players can speed through the UK’s open countryside, urban settings, or on a racetrack, which change through all four seasons. The game’s graphics look beautiful, and nothing beats going really fast! Recommended by Neil.

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  • Terraria

    2019

    For those who love building things from scratch, Terraria is a wonderful sandbox game that lets the main player create and build their whole interactive world, starting with just a few tools. The player can create more and more items by exploring the world, fighting monsters and bosses, and putting different combinations of resources together. Terraria’s world is expansive and lets the player’s ingenuity shine. Also available on 3DS, Xbox One, and Wii U. Recommended by Ly and Neil.

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  • Batman: The Telltale Series

    2016

    This graphic narrative-driven game allows players to make choices as both the vigilante and the businessman while moving through Gotham City. In one scene, you might be solving crime as Batman, and in the next, schmoozing with Gotham’s high society as Bruce Wayne. If you’re a person who enjoys engaging storylines and “choose your own adventure” games, this game is a great pick. Recommended by Neil.

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  • Detroit: Become Human

    2018

    This game is all about character-driven decision making, and believe me when I say that those decisions will matter. No combat, no difficult controls, just hard choices. The voice acting is spot on, and the soundtrack really ties the whole experience together. If you like beautifully crafted character arcs or enjoy feeling the feels, this is the game for you. Recommended by Neil.

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  • Life Is Strange

    2016

    In a game that examines what it means to be human, you play as an android tasked with solving crimes and making decisions that’ll leave you questioning the difference between right and wrong. If you are a fan of sci-fi dramas, or mysteries, this is definitely worth checking out. Also available on Xbox One. Recommended by Ly, Neil, and Perry.

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