Game: Jackbox Party Pack 3
Developed by: Jackbox Games
Published by: Jackbox Games
Available for: PC, Mac, Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, NVidia Shield
For years, when I’ve gathered to play games with friends, the Jackbox Party Pack has been a staple, and though the Jackbox Party Pack 4 is out now, the third party pack offers a separate selection of games that all hold their entertainment value steady. As with all Party Packs, though, your enjoyment of the pack heavily depends on your enjoyment of the individual games included.
NOTE: Setting the Jackbox Party Packs apart from other games is that you and your friends need only one internet-connected device each to play. Put away the controllers, as long as everyone’s got a phone, laptop, or tablet, you’ll be able to play.
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Game: Stardew Valley
Made by: Concerned Ape
Published by: Chucklefish
Available for: PC, Mac, Xbox One, Playstation 4, Switch
Stardew Valley may be the most relaxing game I’ve ever played. A spiritual successor to the Harvest Moon series, Stardew Valley opens by taking you away from crowded and chaotic city life and carries you away to the coastal Pelican Town where your grandfather’s farm awaits. From here, your path is your own — you can dedicate yourself to farming and living off the land, travel deep into the town’s mines, try your hand at fishing, or make an attempt at bolstering your relationship with the local townsfolk.
What captivated me about Stardew Valley was the game’s invitation to players to explore a variety of things to do in Pelican Town, all of which are fun and engaging. Stardew Valley, in its entirety, is a one man project, a fact made all the more surprising by just how much content this game has. Perfecting your farm or mastering the fishing skill can take years (in 13-minute days and 112-day years) of in-game time, but each planted crop and each fish or ore feels like a real step in the right direction. Stardew Valley’s progress is finely-tuned, and every day offers opportunity for accomplishment.
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