A videogame for every one of your quarantine moods
Feeling like you "just can't right now" or going totally @!#$ crazy? There's a game for that.
We're a month and a half into the coronavirus quarantine and the effects of self-isolation continue to manifest in many different ways. It's common, and totally relatable, to jump from curled-up-in-a-slanket to rage cleaning one's home in a manner of hours. No matter how you're handling the mental gymnastics of the COVID-19 crisis, if you're looking for a distraction, there's a videogame recommendation for each one of your moods (which could potentially bust out at any given time in any given corner of your living room). While production in Hollywood is as close to a standstill as it's ever been and a number of albums we would've been jamming out to this year have been postponed, the gaming world keeps on keeping on with fresh releases, despite their own logistical hiccups. So if you're ready for a new kind of adventure, or you just can't right now, there's a game for that.
Mood: "Anxiety, my old friend."
Treatment: Sky: Children of the Light
Consider Sky as your sensory spa experience. A relaxing musical score accompanies your journey through a kingdom in the clouds. There are no stakes, none that you feel anyway. As you use your caped wings to fly from floating island to floating island, skipping across the fluffiest of clouds, it's your mission to spread light through the universe and return fallen stars to their constellations. It's an experience capable of soothing your standard anxiety fit. (Use with your headphones to truly put your head in the clouds.)
Mood: "[Googling 'virtual therapy']."
When the world feels like a dark place, as if some cloaked shroud is slowly draping over the sky, the best remedy for the endless grey is a pop of color. Gris is a watercolor painting come to life, a wordless adventure with the sole goal being to bring color back to a color-less world. The premise centers on a young girl dealing with her own pain in various metaphorical ways. As she progresses and learns from her experiences, she begins to see the world differently and gains new transformative abilities to fend off the darkness.
Mood: "Dreaming of a better world."
Treatment: Animal Crossing: New Horizons
There's something about escaping to your own deserted, sunny island that feels really attractive to a lot of people right now. Who'da thunk? The latest Animal Crossing was one of the first big game releases during the coronavirus pandemic and players — even non-typical "gamers" — latched to it like those tarantulas everyone's been chasing down. Turn your island into how you want the world to be and hopefully will again some day. Curate your zoo, recreate scenes from movies (which is also a thing players have been doing). It's your island!
Where to play: Nintendo Switch.
Treatment: DOOM: Eternal
Dog owners know this as the "zoomies." It's when your little furry boo-boo baby gets a burst of energy and runs about uncontrollably, often times in the same circle over and over and over. Humans, too, can get the zoomies, as quarantine is proving. That's where the remake of DOOM: Eternal comes in. Match your own crazy by taking a chainsaw to a bunch of Hell spawns. The army of the underworld has taken over planet earth and you can only defeat them by going full-on berserker nut job. In other words, embrace the zoomies.
Mood: "Desperate for a distraction."
Treatment: Assassin's Creed Odyssey
Assassin's Creed Odyssey is the kind of game you started playing in October 2018 when it first launched and are probably still working through it to this day. The role-playing adventure sees you embodying an Ancient Greek Spartan mercenary — either Kassandra or Alexios, depending on which gender you choose to play — who embarks on a, you guessed it, odyssey across the Greek world to reunite their family and defeat an elusive cult with nefarious plans to change the course of history. Between all the DLCs and side missions (including ones where you can literally sleep your way across Greece, men and women are both invited), it'll easily eat up your time.
Mood: "I need a new Game of Thrones."
Treatment: Final Fantasy VII
The remake of the 1997 game-changing RPG is probably one of the best things you could experience on a television screen right now. It has fantastical action (hence the fantasy elements), it's a remake (so you know it's on trend), there's a hero with a mysterious past coming in swinging a giant sword (his name, Cloud, is close to Jon Snow), and there's a complex ending that prompted lots of "explainer" articles online. Yoshinori Kitase, the renown Japanese producer of Final Fantasy VII, told EW the developers sought to make the game visually comparable to the animated Final Fantasy movies. So, if you're looking for a new television obsession, you shouldn't just be looking at TV shows.
Where to play: Playstation 4.
Mood: “Embracing the existential dread.”
Treatment: The Last of Us
If you're gonna wallow, might as well wallow while also enjoying one of the best videogames of the 2010s. The Last of Us Part II is now finally coming out this June 19 after numerous delays, so you might as well get caught up or reacquainted with the story that still captivates players. In a post-apocalyptic world that has been forever changed by a global pandemic — see what we mean by wallow? — Joel, a survivor from one of the last human settlements, is tasked with smuggling a young girl, Ellie, out of his city to rendezvous with a group of rebels. Ellie is the only known person who's immune to the effects of the virus, which turns the infected into zombie-like beasts. Perhaps the secret to saving the human race lies in her blood. It's not exactly escapism, but it remains a compelling, immersive story.
Where to play: Playstation 4.
Mood: "Someone, please, talk to me!"
Treatment: A Way Out
You have to play A Way Out with someone else, either someone sitting beside you or someone online, so there's no excuse not to socially interact while socially distancing. The game plays out via split-screen as each player takes the role of one of two brothers, Vincent or Leo, who are determined to team up and bust out of prison together. It's about teamwork and puzzle solving... and in the case of the COVID-19 quarantine, actually having a conversation with another living person. Maybe A Way Out will be your way out of the corona-blues.
Mood: "Contemplating the nature of man."
"Is mankind inherently good or inherently evil?" is a question a lot of us might be thinking about these days, especially when a certain someone allegedly joked about us all ingesting disinfectants to combat coronavirus instead of, you know, not firing the government's pandemic response team. The Dishonored series has been unpacking this moral dilemma since 2012. The first game sees Corvo, a royal bodyguard from the steampunk city of Dunwall, framed for the murder of his Empress and the kidnapping of her daughter. A spritely supernatural being, The Outsider, appears to Corvo and grants him an arsenal of magical abilities to suss out the responsible parties. The later two games, as well as the DLCs, maintain the spirit of this choice-driven saga. Will you use your powers to seek justice or will you be a total dick and kill as many people as possible? Will you prove that mankind is inherently good or evil?
Mood: "Feeling loopy."
Treatment: Borderlands 3
"Bonkers" is a word that often comes up when describing the Borderlands games, which is probably why bonkers filmmaker Eli Roth is adapting them into a movie. They are set on a collective of planets exploited by corporations, but you can ignore the timelier peg and focus more on the Mad Max-ian shooter environment. The third game introduces the Calypso Twins, leaders of a new cult known as the Children of the Vault. Use your imagination and array of abilities as one of the Vault Hunters to defeat these threats to the universe in the most inventive and brutal fashion.
Mood: "I just can't right now."
Treatment: Pokémon Go
Just because you're on your phone while your family is trying to watch a movie doesn't mean you want them to turn it off. Sometimes you just need to go through the motions of mindlessly flipping your fingers across a screen while listening to something in the background. Throwing virtual Pokéballs at virtual Pokémon monsters can fill that space. Not to mention Pokémon Go, the mobile AR game that once encouraged you to get off your couch and go outside, is now encouraging you to stay on that couch with new functions that make catching Pokémon without leaving your apartment easier than ever.