Seven of the best video games

“If you don’t play video games, you’re not just missing out, you’re wilfully ignoring the most rapidly evolving creative medium in human history,” according to TV critic Charlie Brooker. Here are seven to get you hooked.

Super Mario Odyssey

Mario has been with many of us since childhood, says Sam Loveridge in GamesRadar. This latest incarnation is a “beautiful homage”, yet with plenty that’s fresh and new. There’s almost too much to explore in Mario’s evolving and intriguing world. This is the “Mario of the future” and the most “glorious” of his adventures to date. (Nintendo Switch.)


Life is Strange: Before the Storm

If sifting through the fallout of a family tragedy doesn’t sound like the usual stuff of video games, that’s because this is no typical game, says Darryn King in 1843 magazine.  The purpose is to explore the inner life of the central character, and there are codes to crack and conundrums to puzzle through on the way. This is an exceptional  game that doesn’t only “dazzle the senses” but also “ensnares the heat”. (Available for Microsoft Windows, PS4 and Xbox One.)


Shadow of the Colossus

The aim is to slay the baddies and win the princess, says Keza MacDonald in The Guardian. Yet as you drive your sword into the ogres and aggressive lizards, this game elicits a feeling not of triumph, but of uneasy self-reflection on the selfish and destructive nature of possessive love. It’s a game of “extraordinary beauty and quiet profundity”. (PlayStation 4.)


Prey

This wonderfully atmospheric science-fiction adventure aboard an alien-infested space station will make you feel clever and paranoid, and will excite, intrigue, and, at least once in the story, absolutely terrify you, says Kirk McKeand in The Daily Telegraph. There are some glitches in the game play, but not enough to stop this being one of the most interesting and special video games of the past year. (Microsoft  Windows, PS4, Xbox One.)


The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Zelda is “one of the greatest games of all time”, says  Tim Martin in 1843. In its open world you can go anywhere and do anything; you can sink for hours at a time into a kingdom of glorious vistas and undiscovered corners that “enables the most joyfully lateral kind of puzzle solving”. This game reinvigorates the open-world format. (Nintendo Switch.)


Night in the Woods

It may look like a cutesy platform game, but this acclaimed indie adventure is a much darker tale than it first appears, says the GameCentral column in Metro.It’s essentially a social-realist version of a community-simulation game and a “heartfelt exploration of depression and angst in a small-town, working-class community”. It’s also very funny and one of the most impressive games of the past year. (Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC.)


Okami

This new release of an ageing game lacks much that is actually new, but still it remains one of the best games ever made, says Ian Dransfield on Trusted Reviews. Okami is a role-playing game where you run around as the goddess of the sun, taking on quests, exploring and discovering hidden secrets. The world created is “genuinely beautiful and enchanting”, and the game play not po-faced but full of wit, imagination and playfulness. It’s fun for all the family. (Microsoft Windows, PS4, Xbox One.)