“Hades” from Supergiant Games is a visually stunning, difficult and thoughtfully designed roguelite centered around Greek mythology.
Players take on the role of Zagreus, the son of Hades, and fight their way out of the Underworld to meet his godly relatives on Olympus. Packed with endless, wonderfully written story content, endearing characters, a beautiful soundtrack and dynamic gameplay, this fully voice-acted indie game has won over nine awards and stolen the hearts of players across the gaming community.
“Hades” is also a user-friendly introduction to the roguelike and roguelite genre, providing a “God Mode” to aid struggling players. However, “Hades” has plenty to offer in the way of difficulty. It’s a naturally challenging game–but once beaten, players can ramp the difficulty exponentially and customize what aspects get harder.
Overall, “Hades” is one of the prettiest games to come out of the last few years, with substance in its gameplay and story elements to match.
“Hades” can be played on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, Xbox, PC and MacOS.
Sayonara Wild Hearts (Lilli)
“Sayonara Wild Hearts” from Simogo and Annapurna Interactive is one of the most unique experiences in the indie genre to date. Consequently, “Sayonara Wild Hearts” is also one of the most difficult games to describe.
The developers call it a “pop album video game;” while not a rhythm game outright, “Sayonara Wild Hearts” has players descend into a dream-like journey through a series of catchy, synth-pop songs.
The story is simple, straightforward and almost completely devoid of dialogue, yet deeply touching and enrapturing. The game features a diverse, all-female cast and is an empowering tale of self-actualization and high-speed action. Players follow a heartbroken young woman as she battles motorcycle gangs in order to restore balance to the universe, with many game elements inspired by tarot cards.
The full game is about 45 minutes and can be completed in one sitting; however, its amazing soundtrack, eye-catching art style and addictive, arcade-like gameplay can keep players captivated for much longer.
“Sayonara Wild Hearts” can be played on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, Xbox, PC, MacOS and iOS via Apple Arcade.
Monster Hunter Rise (Lilli)
“Monster Hunter Rise,” the sixth main installment of Capcom’s “Monster Hunter” series, is one of the most newcomer-friendly “Monster Hunter” games to date.
“Monster Hunter Rise” is kind to new players in its early stages, making it an excellent gateway to the “Monster Hunter” franchise without compromising the series’ notorious difficulty.
The experience in question is one of comically oversized weapons, flashy armor and, of course, hunting massive monsters. Accompanied by two adorable animal companions–a bipedal fighting cat and a large, rideable dog–players dawn the mantle of a hunter of Kamura Village, a beautiful, quaint Japanese-style town filled with charming supporting characters.
Within it, players can choose from a variety of unique weapons and upgrade their equipment. The straightforward gameplay loop of “Monster Hunter Rise” seems stale in theory, but the customization available for every loadout imaginable, combined with gripping combat mechanics and zany, classic “Monster Hunter” vibrancy makes the game an exciting experience to return to again and again.
“Monster Hunter Rise” can be played on the Nintendo Switch and PC.
Death’s Door (Kevin)
“Death’s Door” is an indie gem developed by Acid Nerve and published by Devolver Digital. The game is an isometric action RPG that wears its classic Zelda influences on its sleeves as players explore dungeons and solve puzzles to progress between locations.
Players take on the role of a crow who is tasked to collect souls while armed with an array of weaponry from a great sword, twin daggers and even an umbrella. These weapons and various tools and abilities are unlocked throughout progressing the story. This provides a steady pace for the game, as players will never get bored with their arsenal.
While weapons and abilities can be upgraded, the player will never feel too overpowered as they progress. Beating boss battles require knowledge of specific mechanics and perfectly timed attacks that can’t be compensated with an over-leveled character.
“Death’s Door” can be played on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, Xbox and PC.
“Valhiem” is an open-world survival game developed by Iron Gate Studio and published by Coffee Stain. Thematically, the game is heavily inspired by Norse mythology–as the player encounters various monsters, runes and symbols throughout a randomly generated world.
Players are in control of a Viking and in typical survival game fashion, must gather and craft their own equipment and shelter. Progressing through the game requires exploration. Players must venture off from their starting point to different biomes that include forests, snowy mountains and deserts.
Finding these biomes rewards players with new materials used to craft better armor, weapons and building materials. Finding these biomes won’t be easy however due to the randomly generated map and the vast size of it. These patches of land are not entirely connected as well, players can find themselves sailing the waters for hours.
There are also various bosses in the game found across these biomes and beating them rewards players with new power-ups. These power-ups could only be equipped one at a time and are on cooldown, but each one helps the player progress in their journey.
The combat in the game is simple yet addicting. The game is visually reminiscent of the early 2000’s with its stiff animations, but something about the sound design and obliterating armed skeletons is extremely satisfying.
“Valheim” is the perfect game for students to get lost in as they immerse themselves in this Nordic inspired virtual landscape.
“Valheim” can be played on PC.
Vampire Survivors (Kevin)
“Vampire Survivors” is a 2D pixel graphic action roguelike developed and published by poncle. The game is simple. Players are dropped into a map and must kill every monster they encounter.
There are various characters players can play as and each one is equipped with a different starting weapon. The runs in this roguelike last up to 30 minutes in which your character will instantly die. However, getting to this point is not easy as players must optimize their leveling throughout a run.
Attacking in the game happens automatically and a good run requires synergy between the weapons and upgrades chosen while leveling. Players level up by collecting gems dropped by the monsters they slay.
There are also permanent upgrades to behold and unlockable characters by spending gold and acquiring achievements. Gold can be collected during a run. This straightforward gameplay loop provides just the right amount of enjoyment for students with limited time.
“Vampire Survivors” can be played on PC, Android and MacOS.
There isn’t always time for video games during the hustle and bustle of the semester. As such, students often must wait with bated breath for any kind of break in order to crack open their gaming systems of choice.
Even with the anticipation of a good gaming session, however, choosing what to play can be an arduous task. Hopefully, these suggestions have made your spring break gaming experience a little easier–even if it takes the willpower of the Greek gods to tear yourself away from your console when it’s done!