Games to Spring You Into Spring

Is there anything better than a bright, sunny spring day? Flowers in bloom, the weather starting to warm up, the sun not disappearing at 4pm… the promise of warmer and longer days is always a boon for our mental health. I know I’m pretty happy about not waking up from a nap to it being dark out and panicking that I slept for 2 days. And though I’m sure most of us gamers won’t be touching grass anytime soon, it’ll be nice to see that it is indeed very green from the safety of our homes as we dive into a fresh swathe of games for the season. And what better way to celebrate than by playing a bunch of video games and not going outside literally at all? 

For this list, I’ve chosen a combination of some newer games with a few older ones to provide a bit of variety. Whether you enjoy a good puzzle with a friend, or blasting away man-eating alien bugs in the name of democracy, or discovering you have attachment issues to your TTRPG-esque fantasy character, this list provides a few options to really strap in and enjoy yourself, whether with friends or on your own. 

Final Fantasy VII Remake/Rebirth

ff7 rebirth
Tifa (foreground) in conversation with main protagonist Cloud (background).

In 2020, Square Enix helped to ease those early days of the Covid lockdown with the release of Final Fantasy VII Remake, the first in a planned trilogy remaking the original Final Fantasy VII from 1997. The game was a massive success, in no small part due to the fantastic redesign of the core gameplay, music, and character design. With the recent release of the second game in the remake trilogy, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, it made the most sense to include these two as a package deal. 

For all that Remake improved upon, Rebirth has only amplified and improved upon that. Criticisms of the game’s UI and navigation system were heard and overhauled. The already gorgeous graphics and settings were made even more gorgeous and incredible. For those that are already familiar with the story of Final Fantasy VII, these first two games of the trilogy are a wonderfully refreshing take, and for those new to the story altogether, it is a welcome and easy to follow introduction and subsequent journey. In complete transparency, I had never played the original game, though I have watched many a playthrough and am very familiar with the story. If you’re looking for a great story, interesting characters, and a scapegoat for your rage at corporate greed, this is definitely a franchise to sink your teeth into. 


A fun, challenging puzzler with a few surprising twists that make it one of my favorites in the genre.

Growing up, one of my favorite movies was Stand By Me. I always appreciate a good coming of age tale, especially something that resonates with a child as well as an adult. Developer Tokoronyori’s puzzle platformer Bokura is a beautiful and seemingly reimagined interpretation of that classic story; kids navigating a complicated, scary, and often tragic world, and finding their own personal joy despite that. 

You and a friend take on the roles of two childhood friends who set off into the forest to climb to the highest peak and blow up the town’s statue, for no other reason than the fact that you simply don’t like it. Along the way, as you work together to solve a variety of increasingly more complex puzzles, the heart of the story becomes more clear. Both players take on a completely different perspective of the game and have very different roles in solving the puzzles. It’s a fun and challenging 8-10 hour adventure with some beautiful writing that brought me to tears at the end. So if you’ve got 5 bucks and a friend, this is definitely one worth picking up and playing together.

Helldivers 2

helldivers 2
My new favorite way to start the day is with a nice hot cup of Liber-Tea.

Who knew spreading democracy could be so damn fun? Developer Arrowhead’s follow up release to the top down shooter game Helldivers has seen a remarkable burst of attention, so much so that they had to increase their server capacity since hundreds of thousands of players were getting in on the action all at once. 

In the (not so distant) future, civilization is ruled under a “managed democracy” known as Super Earth. Their elite shock troops, known as Helldivers, are sent on what are essentially suicide missions to reclaim human colonies from alien bugs, mass murdering robots, and even the environment itself. The game is laden with Super Earth propaganda that is so laughably ridiculous, perhaps to help us forget that the convictions of the game’s characters and soldiers hits a little close to home at times. It also strangely makes me want to seek out Eagle Sweat cologne because patriotism should smell good I guess.

With its Starship Troopers vibe and very tongue in cheek representation of unchecked nationalism, the game certainly provides a few laughs while also reminding us of the dangers of what that means. But don’t worry, you can take your mind off it by mindlessly plunging orbital nukes against your enemies and blasting your alien bug enemies to bits. And honestly, for someone who plays a lot of Halo and often tires of the toxicity that comes with PVP gameplay, it’s nice to actually team up with friends against an environmental threat for once. 


With its Dungeons & Dragons vibe, this little digital TTRPG is a treat to play with friends.

If you’re a fan of Dungeons and Dragons, TTRPGs in general, or even just telling a good story with friends, then Wildermyth is an absolute must for your list. You can play with up to five friends in this character driven adventure. Design your character, their backstory, and their quirks, and choose from a number of different stories to immerse yourself in for multiple hours. The characters you create can live full lives as adventurers, have children, and ultimately retire (if they live long enough that is). Telling these stories together creates a wholesome attachment, and I found myself simultaneously relieved and very sad when my warrior, Donald Purplebeard, finally hung up his armor for his well deserved rest. 

I’ve played hours and hours of this game with friends, and we’ve told countless stories together. We often spiced it up by voicing our own characters, giving them funny accents or vocal pitches just for a good laugh. The camaraderie has always been memorable, and we still like to talk about some of the shenanigans we’ve gotten into over the years. 

There’s no end to the paths you can take with friends, or the narrative direction you can chart together. Wildermyth is a great game to play with friends or even just by yourself, if you’re looking for a good story to inspire yourself. 

Outer Wilds

outer wilds ember
Commentary redacted.

I’ve talked about this game at length, both here and across the internet, a feat in itself since the whole point is to avoid spoilers as much as possible. But I’ll say it here again, because I think Outer Wilds is the kind of game everyone should play, regardless of the usual types of games you like to play. 

In short: you play as the newest astronaut of an up and coming space program, and your goal is to travel across your micro solar system exploring the ruins of an ancient civilization to try and understand their history, and what happened to them. The story is as much about this ancient civilization as it is about you, and the joy of discovery is always palpable as you make your journey through the stars. So, play Outer Wilds, and you can thank me later.

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