PQ magazine’s gaming guru, Edward Netherton, talks you through the
current ‘it’ games, which are a nice way to get a break from the current
doom and gloom.
Among Us (Android, IOS, Windows)
Among Us has a very basic premise. Up to 10 people join in a game, and play as a ‘cartoon’ crew of a spaceship. All the players must work on certain tasks, such as connecting wires and prepping rockets, so that their mission can continue.
The twist in the game is that two of the players are not part of the crew; they are secretly ‘impostors’ and have a hidden task to eliminate the rest of the crew.
What entails is a modern rendition of Cluedo, where each player must watch the other players closely and try to piece together which among them are the secret saboteurs.
If a player is found dead, or someone feels they have sufficient evidence against another, they can call an emergency meeting, where the hitherto communication-less crewmates can converse with one another and share observations and suspicions.
An incredibly fun experience with friends, or by yourself, Among Us is an exceptional way to work on communication, teamwork and detective skills. Imagine the film The Thing, only instead of terrifying shapeshifting aliens it’s quirky little cartoon astronauts.
Fall Guys (Playstation, Windows)
Need to just sit back and chill out? Fall Guys is a multi-player game that is reminiscent of TV shows such as Total Wipeout and Takeshi’s Castle.
The premise is fairly simple. There are 60 ‘jellybean-esque’ characters, each controlled by players, and they must run a series of playful gauntlets until there is only one remaining.
With a variety of colourful and playful levels, mostly consisting of platforming challenges and obstacles to evade, you can play with friends or random players to compete for the win.
When not dodging giant rolling balls or spinning rotors you may have to memorise a pattern on a floor tile or even compete in a game of tag to keep yourself in the competition.
An excellent way to sit back and relax, Fall Guys lets you exercise your brain without any strain as you learn to control and move your character throughout the various sections of the challenges.
Papers, Please (Windows, Linux, IOS)
Has isolation left you feeling a withdrawal from bureaucracy? If so, then Papers, Please is the game for you.
This 2013 indie game (subtitled ‘A Dystopian Document thriller’) puts you in the role of an immigration officer working in the fictional Eastern-Bloc country of Arstotzka.
Throughout your time in Papers, Please you must assess a variety of individuals trying to enter the state of Arstotzka by evaluating their passport and visas, and checking for fraudulent documents or incorrectly filed paperwork.
Although this may sound very humdrum, the game is actually intense, as you must juggle between doing your job correctly to keep your family fed by the totalitarian government, and helping people trying to escape from their impoverished and desperate lives.
What starts as a parody of bureaucratic procedure soon turns into a thrilling game of cat-and-mouse (albeit via paperwork and government forms) as you have to toe the line between being a good person and avoiding suspicion from your superiors.
A perfect way to help improve your critical thinking, and explore some deeper and darker themes than a lot of games provide, Papers, Please is a great way to see just how important and dangerous navigating officialdom can be.