Considering a video game gift for a friend or relative and not sure where to turn? From the sublime, head-spinning serenity of Tetris Effect to the creature-collecting adventure of Pokémon: Let's Go! we've got you covered, with help from unique detective mystery Return Of The Obra Dinn, superb jump'n'run platformers Celeste and Dead Cells, and polished fantasy adventure Divinity: Original Sin II.
Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon, Let's Go: Eevee! (pokemonletsgo.pokemon.com)
2018 has been a year in which a trove of highly-rated indie games landed on the Switch – Undertale, Celeste, Hyper Light Drifter, Mark Of The Ninja – while Pokémon, Let's Go became the platform's first full Pokémon game, lifting some elements from mobile's Pokémon Go and available with either yellow gerbil Pikachu or cat-like Eevee as starting companions.
Dare to climb and even conquer the snowy Celeste Mountain to show it can be done, to meet its unique inhabitants, and even grapple with the main character's own persona. Or, simply, to beat it as fast as possible. Charming graphics, an engaging story, and a stellar chip-tune soundtrack. Available for PS4, XBO, Switch, PC, Mac and Linux.
Dead Cells (dead-cells.com)
Escape an isolated prison island tower through skill and exploration, collecting weapons, items and abilities and struggling to make it to the end of each randomly-generated level lest all freshly accumulated currency be lost at death. Launched from an early access programme onto PS4, XBO, Switch, PC, Mac and Linux, where it was met with critical acclaim and became an enormous success for its studio, a French collective.
Divinity: Original Sin II (divinity.game)
Set forth in the company of a friend or on a solo mission to save the world of Rivellon from a horde of evil creatures and their leader. A great reinvention of the action-role playing genre, with strong writing, good humour, engaging characters and layered gameplay mechanics supporting classic combat-oriented quests. Released on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One as a Definitive Edition after two years on PC.
Return Of The Obra Dinn (obradinn.com)
Among the year's most distinctive-looking releases thanks to a monochromatic aesthetic, this murder mystery sets up an 1800s ghost ship to explore, courtesy of a time-travelling pocket watch. Find out what happened to the merchant ship's crew members, one by one, and discover the vessel's final fate: thus shall an insurance claim be properly filed. For PC and Mac. Can be gifted through the Steam, Humble and GOG stores.
Tetris Effect (tetriseffect.game)
Introduced as a PSVR virtual reality head-trip but equally viable on a plain old PlayStation 4, this takes the classic block-matching game of "Tetris" and gives it a dazzling visual and sonic makeover, thanks to synesthesia-style designer Tetsuya Mizuguchi of Rez and Lumines fame. Plus, it introduces a new 20-line clearing move called an Ultimatris. – AFP Relaxnews