There’s nothing in this massive universe like smoking a bowl and melting into the couch with a captivating game at your fingertips. The holidays just passed, which means millions of people have new games they’re battling through to conquer. The only problem is that once the game’s over, you need a new one to fill its spot. Luckily, there are some new games coming this year that look wild, surreal, and challenging enough to make every type of stoned gamer stoked to be alive.
Kingdom Hearts 3
Rejoice, friends, for Kingdom Hearts III is finally here. Sora, Riku, and King Mickey are back as they try to thwart Master Xenohart and his goons’ attempts to reshape the world by kickstarting a new Keyblade War. Slash through an army of dark creatures and villains with your own keyblade as you discover the Guardians of Light and repel the evil forces at work.
Team up with classic characters like Goofy and Donald as you traverse a series of locations from various Disney movies and Final Fantasy games. Part of this franchise’s charm comes from the different tones and mini-games associated with each locale, and this iteration will be the first to include places like San Fransokyo from Big Hero 6 and Arendelle from Frozen. The series features some pretty complex, convoluted lore, but this new title, the first to be playable on non-Sony consoles, looks enjoyable and accessible enough for both new and old fans to walk away with a smile.
Available on PS4 and Xbox One Jan. 29, 2019.
Have you ever just felt like a discouraged ape in a cage, constantly prodded along and watched as you try to enjoy your life? Well, then Ape Out may just be the escapist, ultra-violent experience you’ve been waiting for—you know, to insert some metaphorical control back into your life.
Take control of a hulking primate on the loose as he punches his way through a series of complex, colorful levels. With a bird’s eye view of the map, it’s up to you to help this misunderstood gorilla find freedom. Grab hold of guards and use them as human shields—even taking control of their weapons—as you dodge bullets and navigate the various, beautifully designed locations. With some beautiful sound design to boot, this game is likely going to be one of 2019’s indie hits.
Available on Nintendo Switch and Windows PC Feb. 7, 2019.
The Sinking City
H.P. Lovecraft’s influence can be felt in series’ like Bioshock, but his work has never been fully explored in video games. Enter The Sinking City, an adventure-horror game with a detective twist that sees the player investigate a mysterious flood that’s left the city’s residents mad. Set in the 1920’s in a fictional Massachusetts town, the game balances the glitz and glamour of the jazz age with a dark story that sees players uncover secrets with big consequences for the town and its citizens. The flood is damaging enough on its own, but the encroaching water also brought something much scarier into town: a series of monsters torn straight out of Lovecraft’s literary worlds.
Developed by Frogwares, a company best known for their Sherlock Holmes games, they’ve undeniably kicked up their mechanics a notch for this dark world. An open world game, The Sinking City forces players to explore every nook and cranny and talk to everyone in order to solve the mystery. With no map markers or instructions to follow, players will have to use their own intuition to move the story along and free the town from its mysterious new presence.
Available on Playstation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC March 21, 2019.
Super Smash Bros.
Franchises like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter may be older, but Super Smash Bros. is the undisputed king of fighting games. Ultimate, the franchise’s first release for the Nintendo Switch, is just as fun and action-packed as its predecessors. Thanks to the Switch’s capabilities, you can now play with seven friends, meaning you can get the whole squad stoned and spend the day playing tournament after tournament.
With 74 characters (everyone from the franchises’ past returns except Waluigi for some reason…) and dozens of arenas to choose from, there are countless options for experimentation. Whether you’re a casual gamer or a bit more hardcore, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is one of the most fun games available right now. Like the previous games, there is a story mode that is packed full of Nintendo references and interesting team-ups, but as always, the best thing to do is just zone out and jump straight into the versus mode to test your skill.
Currently available on Nintendo Switch.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
There are so many amazing Star Wars games out there, but the truth is fans of the franchise haven’t been treated to an enjoyable title in quite a while. Fallen Order, a story set between Episodes III and IV, looks like a chance for the franchise to return to its video game glory. Even though details are sparse, the fact that it is directed by Stig Asmussen, the lead on God of War III, the game will likely feature an epic, character-driven plot.
Take control of a young padawan as the Jedi are on the run and being hunted by the Empire. With characters from various comics and television shows rumored to appear, this game looks like it’s steeped in the franchise’s lore as it tells a new, dark story. With hype around multiplayer-only games still building, fans of adventure driven single player games can rest easy knowing that Fallen Order will forgo online matchmaking for a unique solo experience.
Available on Playstation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC in Q4 2019.
At the Gate
Few strategy games live up to the intensity of Civilization V, so when lead designer John Shafer first announced At The Gates through Kickstarter in 2013 it immediately became a must watch for fans of the genre. It’s up to the player to build a new thriving Kingdom in the shadow of the now crumbling Roman Empire and take power for themselves. As your lands expand and you conquer more territory, it’s up to you to harvest more resources and figure out how to keep your economy and military thriving in order to outlast the other kingdoms vying for dominance.
If the game sounds like too much of a headache after smoking a bowl, just pretend you’re Jon Snow or Daenerys Targaryen plotting to take out Cersei Lannister in the lead up to the Game of Thrones return. For anyone interested in indie game development, Shafer posted an extremely personal blog post that describes the burnout and emotional toil involved in the seven-year process.
Available on Windows, OS X, Linux and iOS Jan. 23, 2019.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Yeah, Red Dead Redemption 2 came out in October of 2018, but the story mode has so much damn content odds are most people still haven’t finished it. A masterpiece in nearly every sense of the word, RDR2, a prequel to the 2011 original, is one of the most thought-provoking, entertaining games we’ve played in a while. Arthur Morgan, the game’s central protagonist, is stuck between his outlaw ways and the slow encroachment of civilization, giving players a front-row seat to a changing world and a dying way of life. The controls can be a bit finicky at times, but the enjoyable, blood-soaked missions and the sharp dialogue delivered by some of the best voice actors in the industry more than make up for it.
Even if you already defeated the story, the game’s online mode is finally heating up. With the ability to create your own character and let him loose in a seine of online missions and versus modes, Red Dead Redemption 2 is setting itself up to be a major game for the rest of the year.
Currently available on Playstation 4 and Xbox One.
With so many fighting games on the market, it can be hard for specific titles to stand out. Jump Force, a 3D brawler packed full of everyone’s favorite Shonen Jump characters created to celebrate the publication’s 50th anniversary, will have no problem cutting through the noise.
As the villain Kane, designed by Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama, sets his sights on reshaping the world in his image, it falls to heroes like Naruto and Luffy to take him down. The story mode will see players control characters from franchises like One Piece and My Hero Academia as they all fight to defend their home from the new evil menace. A 3-on-3 fighting game, manga fans can rejoice in the fact that Yugi Moto and Goku will be in the same game, meaning they can finally answer the important question and determine who has the bigger hair once and for all.
Available on Playstation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC Feb. 15.
Originally announced when the Xbox One was brand spanking new back in 2014 at E3, Crackdown 3 may just be one of the most delayed games in recent memory. Originally set for a 2016 release (and then 2017, and then 2018), the game has been pushed back multiple times due to staff reshuffling and technical challenges. No matter, Crackdown 3 is finally here and it looks freaking glorious.
Like the first two games, players control an elite officer who is tasked with dismantling the criminal organizations that are controlling the city of New Providence. It’s up to you to destroy the bases, halt their operations and take out the gang leaders as part of your mission to rescue the city. The series has a dynamic combat style that sees players shoot, punch, or run over gang members all across the city. With a massive world at your fingertips, the possibilities for mayhem are truly endless, considering you can drive every car you see and even knock over major buildings. If bloody action isn’t enough for you, the series is also known for its deadpan humor, which will lend itself beautifully to a stoned Sunday afternoon gaming the day away in your sweats—and munching on cereal.
Available on Xbox One Feb. 15, 2019.
Bus Simulator 18
Driving while stoned is a big no-no, but playing Bus Simulator after taking a hit is of the most thrilling activities to dive into. Jump behind the wheel of a public bus and master various routes around the city. Packed with miles worth of urban and rural roads, Bus Simulator 18 is an incredibly realistic experience that has players drive around to pick-up and drop off riders all while sticking to a tight schedule.
My pops is actually a Metro bus driver, so playing this game is the closest I’ll ever come to understanding what his day-to-day entails. Sure, it’s a superficial understanding. But these simulators really do give players a new perspective and appreciation of some of the world’s most stressful and under-appreciated jobs. If you like this, we recommend checking out one of the big rig or subway simulators to expand your understanding of modern transportation.
Currently available on Steam and will be on Playstation 4 and Xbox One this year