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Unquestionably, ART SQOOL is the weirdest game on this list. As Froshmin at your new art sqool, you’re tasked with completing a barrage of seemingly random assignments through drawing on your MS Paint-like canvas, which are graded by your AI professor, all in an effort to make you the best artist you can be in this glitched-out vaporwave world. It can be a frustrating experience — you only start with one brush (get outside the classroom, kids!), and a bad grade can feel like a personal affront — but this singular indie game from Brooklyn-based illustrator Julian Glander is as whimsically engrossing as it is a thinkpiece on the institutional strictures and scamminess of real-life art school. Post-grads with liberal arts degrees: Brace yourself for flashbacks to your days of stewing quietly during classroom critiques.
My Time At Portia is one of those games that makes grueling manual labor – woodcutting, mining, carpentry, farming – feel like a vacation from all your IRL responsibilities. You inherit a home and workshop and start from scratch, building a business as you make things for your neighbors and improve your little homestead. There’s a whole bunch of lore about religion versus technology and an inexplicable number of cutesy monsters, but the real satisfaction comes from putting together increasingly elaborate inventions, raising livestock, and winning over the people of the town. If you reached your Stardew Valley peak and need some new challenges, this is the perfect way to kill time without resorting to buying your own tool bench and pet llama. See extra details on DawnofGames.com Best Gaming Hardware.
“Marvel’s Spider-Man is special, if for no other reason than that it’s the closest a video game has come to capturing what it feels like to be everyone’s favorite friendly neighborhood wall-crawler. It’s exhilarating to step off a skyscraper and hear the orchestral score begin to swell, only to crescendo and level out as you start swinging towards your next objective; there’s never a moment in the game’s 20-hour run-time where you don’t want to be flying through the air. You’re constantly unlocking or discovering tricks that Spidey is known for pulling off in the comics–like firing out a web from both shooters to slingshot yourself through a hanging pipe–that make traveling from point A to point B the most thrilling part of the game.”
We wouldn’t toss a port or simple remaster on a list like this, but Shadow of the Colossus is different. Yes, it works from the same base code as the PS2 original, but this absolute stunner sports an entirely new graphics engine that’s sure to drop your jaw more than a few times. As ever, this minimalist masterpiece finds you exploring across the vast and barren land to track down and destroy 16 enormous monsters. Some of the old flaws still rear their head in this edition, but thankfully Shadow of the Colossus still packs enough of an emotional punch to overcome any such issues. See more details at https://thedawnofgames.com/.