Whatoplay presents the 25 BEST new games this year. Just a reminder, this is not a ranked list. This video showcases games that reached a score of 8.30 and above. If you’re curious which other 2021 titles didn’t make the cut, you can check our page on New Games releases.
Nintendo once again gives us another reason to buy their famed Mario titles. This re-release is a celebration of all the great things the series has to offer, including a special campaign that’s sure to satisfy long-time fans. With 61 critic reviews and over thirteen thousand user reviews, this theme-park-like adventure is considered the Switch’s best so far this year.
2. Monster Hunter: Rise on Switch and PC
CAPCOM’s streak of good games this year proves they are back on track. Rise is the most accessible Monster Hunter game to date. It welcomes all newbies to the series with open arms… and a wirebug that lets us swing around the map like Spider-Man. Its deceptively complex systems and satisfying gameplay make this a strong title to play with friends.
3. It Takes Two on PC, PS5, Series X|S, PS4, and XB1
This project from the team behind ‘A Way Out’ is a co-op game you can play with your significant other or friend, and it has a lot of surprises in store. Its whimsical tale of Cody and May is like a long-winded marriage seminar, but its unpredictability coupled with the lengthy story makes it worth the 60 bucks, especially on the PC where it received its highest playscore.
4. Resident Evil Village on PC, PS5, Series X|S, PS4, XB1, and Stadia
If it isn’t the talk of the town. Capcom’s latest RE is winning the Best 2021 game so far on our Community Page. Resident Evil celebrates its 25th Anniversary with this impressive new chapter. Lady D. isn’t the only good thing about this title. Village feels like Disneyland for horror fans, showcasing a different kind of horror with each passing moment. Every corner of its decrepit village is filled with detail. Including Ethan’s poor hands.
5. Little Nightmares II on PC, PS5, Series X|S, PS4, XB1, Switch, and Stadia
Speaking of horror games, Tarsier Studios’ sequel to their acclaimed spooky platformer introduces a new protagonist alongside fresh scares. While it didn’t bring anything revolutionary to the series, it sets up a larger focus on its terrifying world.
6. HITMAN 3 on PC, PS5, Series X|S, PS4, XB1, and Stadia
Out of all the platforms it released on, the Series X version of IO Interactive’s latest stealth-action game received the highest playscore. This game is one of the few titles that push the limits of Microsoft’s new-gen machine. Letting us breeze through assassination contracts in 4K was exactly what it needed to show us what it could do. We can’t wait to see IO’s next game which centers on (“Bond...James Bond.”)
7. Loop Hero
The roguelike genre’s increase in popularity is all thanks to Supergiant’s ‘Hades’. If you’re looking to scratch that roguelike itch, then Loop Hero brings something familiar to the table. Like Slay the Spire, its ever-changing gauntlet of challenges is all about deckbuilding. Like all roguelikes, it’s addicting and it dares you to go for one more loop.
A game with a one-of-a-kind premise: you use your eyes to control the story. Yes, by attaching a webcam to your gaming machine, you can experience a narrative adventure that goes from surreal scenes to hard-hitting reality checks. Every blink feels like you’re in another story. It got over 2 thousand user reviews with 14 critics all praising its emotional tale.
For a 1 gigabyte game, Valheim is a treasure trove of content. Whether you are playing with friends, or alone, there is always something that will surprise you about its evolving Nordic world. It’s a survival game, so make the most of your resources while rummaging around its treacherous mountains and landscapes. It’s still in its Early Access phase, so there’s more room for improvement here, but a massive update is coming out soon.
10. Everhood on PC and Switch
Lately, indie games have reached the same quality as Triple-A games, with less focus on microtransactions. Everhood is a game best played blind. Its unconventional take on gameplay makes you feel like you’re playing different games at once. One moment you’re playing a bullet-hell adventure, then suddenly it’s a rhythm game.
11. Persona 5 Strikers on PC, PS4, and Switch
ATLUS’ Persona 5 continues to milk their Phantom Thieves, in a good way, at least. Strikers is a follow-up to their acclaimed JRPG, but with a major twist to its gameplay. It was lauded for its impeccable writing and great character development. The Musou gameplay wasn’t unique, but its colorful barrage of abilities feels satisfying. It gained the highest playscore on the PS4.
12. NieR Replicant ver.1.22 on PC, PS4, and XB1
2B’s journey wouldn’t be possible without the original Nier game. Replicant completely reworked most of its mechanics, including the original’s dated gameplay. Now combat feels satisfying and actually fun. Like any Nier game, it’s riddled with secrets and callbacks to their overarching narrative.
13. Rain on Your Parade on PC, XB1, and Switch
The state of gaming has people wanting something out of the ordinary. Rain On Your Parade might just be it. Here, you play as a douchebag Cloud ruining people’s lives. Yep, just hover around the air and cause setbacks to everyday activities.
14. Subnautica: Below Zero on PC, PS5, Series X|S, PS4, XB1, and Switch
A follow-up to Unknown Worlds’ underwater survival game. Below Zero is a whole new journey set in the frozen alien world. Players are once again caught up in a mix of agoraphobia and thalassophobia. Survive the harsh abyss and find your missing sister. The shady capitalists that run this expedition are back and there are even more conspiracies. It got its highest playscore on the PC with high praise from 15 critics and over 35 thousand users.
The latest from Square Enix’s classic JRPGs. This follow-up to End Layer has its ups and downs. Its strategic Brave and Default combat is made even better, making each encounter feel rewarding. But if you’re interested in the same story quality as its previous titles, you may be disappointed by how mediocre this one is.
16. New Pokemon Snap
The latest Pokemon craze is a major upgrade to the 1999 title. This first-person photography game is a collection of fan service and easter eggs that are made for hardcore fans of the series. Each encounter with these adorable creatures offers a creative interaction about their role in the Pokemon ecosystem. It’s pretty cute, but if you’re not a major fan of the series, the 60 dollar price tag might not be worth your while.
17. Skul: The Hero Slayer on PC, PS4, XB1, and Switch
This action-packed roguelike didn’t introduce anything new to the long list of indie titles out there. But its charming protagonist and its gorgeous art style makes up for it. Skul’s multiple abilities gives more room for experimentation after every death. It just came out, so there might be more DLCs or gameplay improvements coming.
Everyone’s favorite thicc-thighed protagonist returns in a whole new alchemical adventure. There are more treasures to collect and mysteries to uncover. It’s the kind of game you have to think twice about before pressing the buy button. (Just a heads up), your wife or your girlfriend might not talk to you anymore.
Moving on from curvy anime girls, this is a fantastic narrative-driven RPG that’s fit for anyone looking for mature themes. (Not that kind of mature) It’s a game that forces players to make depressing choices that feel justified. It’s pretty stressful, but its impeccable writing and gorgeous art style somehow soothe the looming anxieties it has to offer.
20. SaGa Frontier Remastered on PC, PS4, Switch, iOS, and Android
Straight out of the vaults of 1998 is a beloved JRPG classic from Square Enix. If you’re familiar with Octopath Traveler, this is kind of similar. You control eight unique protagonists, each with their own path and it offers hours and hours of replay value. This Remastered version includes high-def visuals, improved sound, and a new main character to control.
The latest exclusive for the PlayStation 5. Housemarque was once a small indie studio that gave us Resogun, Matterfall, Nex Machina, and more. Now, their newfound Triple-A contract takes players into an eerie Lovecraftian world. Returnal’s fast-paced roguelike gameplay is satisfying as each death lets players learn more about the story and upgrade their character. It still needs a Save System though.
22. Mass Effect: Legendary Edition on PC, PS5, Series X|S, PS4, and XB1
We can finally play BioWare’s award-winning science fiction trilogy in its definitive version. This Remastered saga comes with everything Mass Effect was praised for like its fantastic story, solid gunplay, and memorable characters. The visuals, sound, and controls are tweaked for seamless action in Commander Shepard’s journey. It’s the highest rated game on the PS4 with a playscore of 9.02.
23. Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time on PC, PS5, Series X|S, PS4, XB1, and Switch
Crash’s return came out last year, but the Switch version just arrived recently. It’s pretty much the same as its other versions, but Nintendo’s hybrid console somehow fits the platformer feel of the franchise. It’s still challenging for new players, but with enough practice, you’d be breezing through the stages in no time.
24. Days Gone on PC and PS4
Bend Studios’ open-world zombie game is no longer a PlayStation exclusive. For a game that came out just recently, Days Gone has a decent playscore that easily gives it a spot on the list. As of the moment, the PC port is surprisingly well optimized. Some reviewers even stated that it’s a major upgrade compared to its console counterpart.
We end this list with a VR title. Demeo is a dungeon-crawler fantasy RPG where you survive the relentless onslaught of monsters in the Underworld. Select from unique characters and play with up to four players. For players who can’t afford VR gear, don’t worry, the devs announced that they are working on a non-VR version and it’ll come out soon!