Sup, y’all. It’s your mentally and emotionally exhausted boy. I’m sure for most of us this week has been—to put it plainly—Not Fun. So, in the spirit of bringing some fun and relaxation to your weekend, here are some affordable games that you can just vibe to.
While not “relaxing” in the traditional sense of the word, Mafia III does allow you to blast on racists in 1960s America—which is something I’m safely assuming some of us might need right now. Set in the fictional city of New Bordeaux, which is very much modeled after New Orleans, you play as Lincoln Clay, a Black man.
The game opens with Lincoln returning from the Vietnam war to find his mentor has fallen into debt with the Marcano mob. Lincoln agrees to do a job with the mob to settle the debt only to be double-crossed and left for dead. Lincoln then begins his crusade to grow a criminal empire and take revenge against the Marcano family.
On a core gameplay level, Mafia III is thoroughly mid, I can’t even front. This is the definition of a 7 out of 10. It doesn’t do much with the open-world formula that hasn’t been done before and, outside of the cutscenes, the graphics aren’t particularly impressive.
That said, the setting, characters, and story are some of the best of this last console generation. Playing through Lincoln’s moral descent is engrossing and quite often tragic. The cutscenes are beautifully rendered, with future versions of the characters talking about the lasting consequences of what Lincoln did.
All of that is cool but, to me, the main selling point is that the game lets you set klansmen on fire.
I don’t know about you, but that’s worth 20 bucks to me.
Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1+2 has been a godsend since its release in late August. The inherent structure of the game makes it the perfect title to pick up, play, and tune everything else out. The game, a full-on remake of the first two titles in the Tony Hawk series, is simply about nailing as many tricks as you can within two-minute intervals.
That’s it, that’s the game.
No long winding story, complicated mechanics, or crazy intense difficulty. The game is a pleasant experience no matter your skill level, and if you have any nostalgia for playing the series on PS1 or the N64, this is a must-cop.
The pick-up-and-play nature of the game makes it perfect for just about anyone. If you only have a limited amount of time to game, you can bang out a solid number of runs in a short amount of time. Also, big shout out to the soundtrack for still managing to bang a whole two decades later.
Even if skateboarding isn’t your jam, and you didn’t spend childhood afternoons trying to beat your cousins in h-o-r-s-e, this gameplay is so well designed that it’s fun no matter what. If you’re just trying to tune out the chaos with some easy yet rewarding fun, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 is the fix you’re looking for.
This one is for my folks who are just trying to capital-V vibe. I was going through my personal library to try and find some chill-ass games this week and remembered the lovely time I had playing through Abzu.
The game is a linear puzzle-based adventure game that puts you in control of a deep-sea diver. You explore various underwater environments, all beautifully rendered in the game’s unique art style. Each time you solve a puzzle, the environment comes to life and the screen is filled with beautiful sea creatures.
It’s a very easy and very short game; I’m fairly certain I beat it entirely in one sitting. The music and visuals combine to create a calming, serene experience. So if you’re looking for a satisfying, undemanding game that will put you at ease for a couple hours, give Abzu a shot. The game is also available on PC, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch for $19.99.
Before I go, I have to give the honorable mention to Tetris: Effect, which is currently on sale for $19.99 on PS4. I’ve talked ad nauseam about why this game is incredible and at 20 bucks you really should consider giving a go.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna drink this whiskey and play Tony Hawk cause dammit, I need it.
Stay safe, wash your hands, and indulge in whatever self-care you need to this weekend. You earned that shit.