Gaming has come a long way since the early days of Pong and Pac-Man. Now there are immersive open-world adventures, engaging story-driven experiences and competitive multiplayer titles that can suck up hundreds of hours of your time. With so many great games out there, it can be tough to decide what to play. But these 29 video games stand out as some of the most worth your time.
1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
You don’t need to have played the previous Witcher games to enjoy this fantasy epic (but it helps). As monster hunter Geralt of Rivia, you travel a war-ravaged world in search of your adopted daughter and your lover, Yennefer. The Witcher 3 features suspenseful quests around every corner, with choices that have significant impacts. Immersing yourself in the rich story and lore of the Northern Kingdoms is easy. And riding across the countryside, slaying griffins and exploring points of interest never gets old. Few games deliver an adventure this massive and deep with as much care.
2. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
“The Elder Scrolls V: The fantasy action role-playing game known as”Skyri” lets players choose between playing in the first or third person. In addition, it has an open world with no confinement, allowing people to explore the land of Skyrim, where one can find wilderness expanses, dungeons, caves, and settlements like cities, towns, fortresses, and villages. In recent times, the game has gained a lot of praise as well for its huge world, amazing lore, and great in-game experience.
Exploding onto the scene in 2017, Fortnite has rapidly emerged as one of the most popular video games in recent history. At its core, Fortnite is an online multiplayer shooter that pits up to 100 players against each other in a battle for survival. Matches take place on a vast island where combatants scavenge weapons and resources while attempting to remain the last player standing. What sets Fortnite apart is its quirky artwork, innovative building mechanics, and accessible free-to-play model. Players can unlock custom skins, creative emotes, and limited-time game modes like Party Royale that foreground socializing. Supported across platforms, the free-to-play Fortnite transports players into an imaginative world brimming with action-packed challenges that anyone can enjoy with friends. No wonder over 350 million registered users have been captivated by its charms.
4. Super Mario Bros: Wonder
Super Mario Bros. Wonder 2023 by Nintendo is a 2023 platform game. This means that Super Mario Bros, with eight selectable characters running through 8 different side-scrolling kingdom stages, is back again! Wise guys should remember that Wonder Flowers is a totally different new approach to the classical Mario style, which was not used before. The”Super Mario Bros. Wonder” was one of the main chapters in the Super Mario franchise. This episode captured the hearts of numerous fans globally and was recognized by critics. It has been declared as the best-selling game of 2015 across the world.
5. NBA 2K23
The newest NBA 2K game just dropped, and hoops fans are hyped! NBA 2K23 lets you step into the shoes of an NBA superstar or even a WNBA all-star. Ball out in “MyCAREER” mode, guide a franchise in “MyGM,” and build your fantasy team in “MyTEAM” – there’s something for ballers of all levels. They amped up the graphics and gameplay to make it more realistic than ever. Pull off sick crossover dribbles, zoom down the court for epic alley-oop dunks, rain down buckets from downtown – it’s like you’re right there on the court going head-to-head with the greats! There’s also a wild new cruise ship mode where you can squad up with other players. You travel around hitting up courts all over the world, which is kinda crazy but fun. And with regular content updates like new player cards for MyTEAM, the season keeps rolling, so the ballin’ never stops! If you’re an NBA fan, 2K23 is a must-cop. The attention to detail and fluid play captures what makes basketball so great. Strap on your kicks, and get ready to get some nets!
6. Legends of Zelda: Kingdom of Tears
In May, Nintendo released an action and adventure game for Switch called “Tears of the Kingdom”. Characters move on top of this bigger map of Hyrule. The story revolves around a single, albeit adventurous player navigating along Link while they go out on a journey to rescue girl Zelda and vanquish a demon ruler whose activities have resulted in total havoc. Their successors received excellent appraisal from gamer and critics for they could stride through the whole of the Hyrule’s skywalk and navigate across the world starting from a single point.
7. Half Life 2
Valve’s 2004 opus advanced video game narratives to new levels. Protagonist Gordon Freeman awakens from stasis to find the alien Combine occupying Earth. This dystopian setting provides the backdrop for a gravity gun-fueled, physics-bending shooter. Ravenholm’s zombie hordes and fleeing head crabs offer frights, while vehicle sequences lend variety over 13 memorable chapters. Half-Life 2 employed advanced facial animation and voice acting to draw players into its world. Crew members like Alyx Vance felt human, not just NPCs. Set-piece battles against striders and gunships coupled with innovative physics made Half-Life 2 a visceral treat in its day that still impresses.
8. The SIMS 4
“The Sims 4” is a life simulation game developed by Maxis and published by Electronic Arts. It allows players to create and control virtual people, called “Sims,” and build their homes and fulfil their needs. The game offers a wide range of customization options, from designing Sims’ appearances to constructing and decorating their houses. With its expansion packs and community-created mods, “The Sims 4” provides players with diverse gameplay experiences, making it a popular and enduring title in the simulation genre.
At first glance, Minecraft presents a simple world of blocks and critters. Start punching trees, though, and its captivating complexity unfolds. By crafting tools from raw materials, players can remake the landscape any way they like. Creations range from humble dirt huts to sprawling castles with secret passages and meandering mines. Minecraft evokes youthful wonder in building new worlds. Its charming pixelated style masks great depth, as proven by functioning in-game computers crafted block by block. With over 200 million copies sold, Minecraft’s creative building hooks all ages. The game empowers players to reshape worlds as they envision.
10. Red Dead Redemption II
The Wild West comes alive like never before in Rockstar’s epic open-world action adventure. As outlaw Arthur Morgan, players experience the faded era of gunslingers and stagecoaches just before modern civilization expands west. The sprawling frontier immerses with wildlife, weather and rustic towns full of shootouts, heists and duels. A branching morality system based on Arthur’s choices provides nuance beyond good and evil. Living up to its name, stunning redemption may await at the journey’s end. With lifelike characters and a sweeping soundtrack, Red Dead Redemption 2 weaves an unforgettable tale through its twilight years of the American outlaw.
11. The Last of Us
Naughty Dog’s 2013 masterpiece pairs survival horror with a gripping human story. As an infectious pandemic ravages civilization, players lead Joel and Ellie across a post-apocalyptic America. Combat against zombie-like infected demands a strategy using limited supplies. But The Last of Us finds heart through character moments, like Joel’s brooding past and Ellie’s resilience. The pair forms an emotional bond as they rely on each other to survive. Exceptional writing and performances blur the line between gameplay and cinema. The Last of Us melds satisfying stealth action with a gut-wrenching narrative journey. Its ending resonates with how players define justice.
12. Portal 2
Valve struck gaming gold again by adding witty writing to clever portal puzzles. As test subject Chell, players solve first-person challenges by teleporting between surfaces with linked portals. This portal gun gameplay licenses delightful “aha” moments. Escape the testing facility, and you’re treated to sprawling chambers with tractor beams, light bridges and gels for momentum fun. Portal 2 shines most for its snarky AI antagonist, GLaDOS, voiced brilliantly by Ellen McLain. Her darkly comic commentary punctuates the plot’s twists and turns. Portal 2 tickles brains with spatial puzzles while keeping players grinning with funny banter and expressive animations.
Retro 16-bit charm blooms to life in this indie farming simulator. Beyond tilling the soil, players build relationships with Stardew Valley’s quirky residents. Festivals, secrets and varied romances offer surprising depth beyond the mellow garden setting. From mining and fishing to raising animals or crafting goods, the variety engages across seasons. While more stressful than real farming, Stardew Valley transports players to pastoral escapes full of new friends and old traditions. Its winning mix evokes cozy nostalgia without contrivance. Stardew Valley’s vibrance flourishes thanks to effortless gameplay and cheerful characters worth celebrating.
Pixelated platforming receives modern polish and innovation in this indie darling from Matt Makes Games. Players scale Celeste Mountain’s treacherous cliffs, lifting the protagonist Madeline’s self-doubt. Backgrounds shift gorgeously between seasons during the ascent. Each room solves like a puzzle with hazards to avoid. A “dash” ability and feather fall make movement snappy and empowering. Boss stages and hidden cassette tapes add retro callbacks. Celeste blends tight controls, charming style and a touching narrative about overcoming inner demons. Approachable difficulty options accommodate players of all skill levels. For Madeline and us, Celeste Mountain presents the ultimate platforming accomplishment.
15. Mass Effect 2
BioWare’s spacefaring epic delivers gripping drama across the Milky Way. As Commander Shepard, players recruit a motley team to stop shadowy Collectors from abducting human colonists. Each unique squadmate broadens the sci-fi world and Shepard’s relationships. Planetary stories span shady gangs, genetic experiments gone awry and ancient alien cultures. Branching dialogue trees drive the narrative while allowing for player agency. Third-person cover shooting provides action between story beats. With improved combat and streamlined exploration over the first game, Mass Effect 2 exemplifies interactive sci-fi at its finest. Few games establish lore as lovingly as this emotional space opera.
16. Mortal Kombat
Gory and controversial, Mortal Combat has a diehard fan base because of its unique fight style and iconic characters. It most certainly launched the whole fighting genre to new levels. These days, when people think of a classic video game, Mortal Combat is one that always comes up. Love it or hate it, there’s no doubt the series left its mark.
17. Luigi’s Mansion
One day, Luigi wins a contest he never even entered and scores a free mansion! It’s a pretty sweet deal, except this place is totally haunted! It’s filled with ghosts and all kinds of creepy stuff. It was not exactly the luxury vacation he was expecting! Turns out his brother Mario got captured inside by King Boo. So now it’s up to Luigi to gear up with a special ghost vacuum cleaner and go room by room bustin’ ghosts and solving puzzles. He’s scared out of his mind but determined to rescue his bro. The game was a big hit on GameCube back in the day. Fans loved the humorous take on Luigi and the creative ghost-hunting gameplay. The sequel Dark Moon on 3DS kicked things up a notch, letting Luigi explore multiple mansions jam-packed with ghosts and secrets. But the latest game, Luigi’s Mansion 3, really takes the cake. The new Poltergust vacuum has all these crazy slam and blow-away moves to beat down ghosts. And you can play co-op with Gooigi, Luigi’s weird goo clone, to solve puzzles together. The graphics and animation got a huge glow-up, too. Overall, it keeps the series charm while bringing a ton of fresh ideas. It’s definitely one of the best Switch games out there.
18. Animal Crossing
Who doesn’t love a game full of cute talking animals! In Animal Crossing players get their own little house and there are tons of fuzzy friends to meet who all have their own personalities. Some are super peppy and upbeat; others are kinda cranky or weird. But that’s all part of the fun! Players can totally make the village their own paradise. Decorate your house, plant flowers, catch bugs and fish, and buy cool furniture – the world is your oyster! There is always something relaxing to do, like custom-designed clothes or just chillin’ with your animal homies. Even when you aren’t playing, you’ll get random letters from your neighbours, which is adorable. Over the years, there have been a bunch of Animal Crossing games that built up a huge fanbase. Fans just love escaping to their happy virtual villages. The latest is Animal Crossing New Horizons on Nintendo Switch. It took the customization options over the top! You can place furniture outside, make paths, and transform your whole island however you want. Wanna turn it into a tropical resort? Heck yeah! Even when you hit the end, it never really ends. It is just an awesome feel-good series to kick back and get creative. Moving to an animal village and making friends rarely gets old. It’s the perfect comfy game to relax with, which I’m sure is why fans go nuts for it!
19. Clash Royale, Mobile Game
Clash Royale smashes together the characters from Clash of Clans with real-time battling. It’s super addicting! You’ve gotta collect a deck of troops, spells and defenses to knock down the other dude’s towers and win. Unlocking new cards and upgrading your favorites gets intense! There are knights, baby dragons, royal giants – all the troops from Clash but with some new faces, too. You gotta balance attacking while defending your own towers using strategy to place your cards. Like, plop down a giant to soak up hits, then flank with goblins. Zap and fireball at the perfect moment to wipe enemy swarms! Matches are quick but crazy strategic. And the cartoon graphics and battle cries like “Pancakes!” make it fun and lively. As you climb the ranks, it gets competitive, facing off people from all over the world. You’ll grind for months to max your deck and master new battle techniques. Then again, sometimes you just get rolled by an over leveled Prince! For a free mobile game, Clash Royale packs a punch. Hopping online to out-strategize opponents never loses steam. It’s hands down one of the best multiplayer on phones. Playing just five minutes here, and it is easy to get hooked!
20. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Breath of the Wild isn’t just one of the best Zelda games ever made. It completely reimagined the long-running series with a massive open world to explore, free climbing mechanics and an unparalleled sense of freedom. Hyrule feels like a real place you can visit, full of mysteries to uncover and Shrines to locate. The physics systems lead to creative problem-solving and unscripted moments of excitement. From its grand sense of adventure to the small touches like cooking and taming horses, Breath of the Wild is a masterpiece.
21. Super Mario Odyssey
Mario’s adventures have taken him through some wild settings, but Super Mario Odyssey’s sandbox-style approach hits new heights. Mario can possess enemies like a T-Rex and a Goomba stack to navigate the world. Each Kingdom brings a completely different theme, from a city to a forest to a food-themed land. It’s stuffed with collectables and challenges while still retaining that classic Mario charm. If you own a Switch, it’s pretty much mandatory to experience Mario’s globe-trotting journey.
22. God of War
God of War was already a popular franchise, but the 2018 reboot took it in an exciting new direction. Besides changing the setting to ancient Norway, it shifted the camera to an over-the-shoulder perspective and added semi-open levels to explore. But it’s the relationship between Kratos and his young son Atreus that forms the emotional core. Their somber journey is punctuated by epic clashes against dragons, trolls and other Norse beasts. The combat is super satisfying, especially using the Leviathan Axe that can be thrown and summoned back to your hand. This new take on God of War injects personality and heart into the series.
23. Doom Eternal
The recent Doom reboot did a great job of capturing the essence of the classic demon-slaying first-person shooter. Doom Eternal cranks the formula to 11, with more over-the-top weapons, even more gruesome Glory Kills and some brilliant platforming mechanics. As the Doom Slayer, you relentlessly tear through hordes of infernal creatures in an interdimensional war. It’s a gory, pulse-pounding action that forces aggression and rewards skill. Once you get in the flow, Doom Eternal makes you feel like an unstoppable force of destruction. There’s also a sweet Meat Hook that pulls you quickly toward enemies.
24. Disco Elysium
Instead of combat, skills and inventory management, Disco Elysium focuses almost entirely on dialogue, choices and character development. You play an alcoholic detective trying to solve a murder mystery while also unravelling details from your own fractured psyche. The writing is some of the sharpest you’ll experience in gaming, with skills ranging from inland empire to electrochemistry that shape how you perceive situations. Rather than heroics, your journey through the bleak city of Revachol often feels pathetic, given your character flaws. But it makes for a one-of-a-kind role-playing experience.
“Would you kindly” play one of the most influential narrative-driven first-person shooters ever created? BioShock’s underwater city of Rapture captured players’ imaginations in 2007 with its unique retro-futuristic style, philosophical themes and creative Plasmid superpowers. The hallways and public areas of the crumbling metropolis feel like actual places with purpose, filled with splicer enemies who speak like insane victims. Piecing together the history of Rapture through audio logs remains compelling. BioShock expertly balances story depth with FPS action and still looks gorgeous.
Roguelikes are addictive thanks to their quick play sessions and randomness, but they can also get repetitive. Hades fixed this with an incremental progression system and evolving story. As Zagreus, you repeatedly fight to escape from the underworld, gaining permanent character upgrades that make future attempts a bit easier. Each run offers new weapon builds, Fated Authorities to fulfil, characters to interact with and a story to uncover. Clever writing brings Greek myth to life, while fast-paced combat feels great. Hades proves roguelikes can have engrossing stories and memorable characters alongside tight gameplay loops.
27. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on Nintendo Switch is easily the most lit Mario Kart ever! Pick iconic characters like Mario, Donkey Kong, and the gang, then smash through crazy race tracks battling to take first place. With weapons, wild shortcuts and speed boosts at your fingertips, the chaotic fun never stops! They cranked everything in MK8 Deluxe over the top. Driving on walls? Yep. Underwater jetstreams? Heck yeah! Anti-gravity sections let you defy physics and race upside down for awesome aerial stunts off ramps as you pass opponents. The visuals are crispy clear, and racing at 60fps is smoother than Bowser slipping on a banana peel! But the multiplayer is really where it gets wild with up to 12 players. Smack-talking friends as red shells fly, and blue sparks trail from boost pads amps up the excitement times 100! And Deluxe added badass double-item boxes, so good luck avoiding all those red shells. With tons of customization unlocks and Grand Prix mode for long tourneys, it’ll be hours of nonstop adrenaline-pumping action. Whether you’re a casual kart fan or a hardcore pro, MK8D offers the definitive Mario Kart package. It perfected the simple, chaotic racing formula Nintendo is famous for into a modern esports classic!
28. Lego 2k Drive
Buckle up for LEGO 2K Drive, an awesome open-world racing game jam-packed with bricktastic rides and adventures! You get to explore the LEGO world of Bricklandia with tuner cars, off-road beasts or even speedboats built completely from LEGO. How cool is that?! Zoom around diverse tracks and landscapes competing in challenges like epic boat races, demolition derbies, and downhill stunt challenges with huge ramps – you name it! Or cruise the open world and discover hidden areas where you can stop to construct new vehicles brick-by-brick however you want. With over 1000 LEGO pieces to play with, you can build your dream machine! Winning races and pulling off sick tricks earns you new parts so you can tune your ride for better performance. Deck it out with massive tires, turbo jets, and a fresh paint job – go wild! The goal is to win the prestigious Sky Trophy by beating all the events Bricklandia can throw at you. But the world is packed with fun diversions around every turn. From the super-charged graphics to the signature LEGO charm, 2K Drive just clicks. It lets you experience the thrill of LEGO racing games in a massive, vibrant world filled with endless custom builds and challenges. Strap in and enjoy the ride!
29. Princess Peach
Get ready Mario fans, Princess Peach is stepping out on our own March 2024! No more pink and delicate, damsel in distress. In Showtime, this leading lady is a baddy who sword fights, uses Kung Fu and solves life-saving mysteries. Its gonna be a real show-stopper!
Great games provide more than idle distraction. At their best, they tell impactful stories, stimulate creativity and let us explore new worlds from home. These 29 video games deliver those experiences through gameplay innovations, visual splendor, immersive settings and characters worth cheering. Beyond passing time, they represent seminal works of human imagination and technology. Each game above forged new ground or refined old formulas into polished brilliance. While tastes differ, their influence shines on. For gamers, new and old, these titles offer journeys worth taking. Their virtual realms continue inspiring our real ones.