Of course you’re gaming: 67% of US households do, and we do so on a record number of platforms, as well. There are two capable console generations from each of the big three (Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo) and iOS and Android devices galore. 40 percent of gamers are female, and the gaming industry brings in about $10.5 billion annually, according to the ESRB, the Entertainment Software Rating Board.
Here then, are the best new games we’re having tons of fun playing right now, one from each major gaming platform around. Click through the images above to see more in each category.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
PS4 - Destiny
This may just be and update to Bungie’s Halo franchise, but Destiny ($59.99) is currently the best multiplayer first-person shooter out there. The game is drop-dead gorgeous on the new generation of consoles; I can't get enough of the beautiful environments on Venus, Mars, and the Moon. It’s got solid controls, fantastic single-player content, an entire community of players to team up with or battle against, and a ten-year plan to keep the thing surprising new fans and old. If you’re not playing this, you’re not in the loop.
PS3 - Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition
Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition ($39.99) is the ultimate smash and grab loot-fest out there, with perfectly balanced multi- and single-player gameplay, containing all the goodness of the original game and all the expansion packs. It’s gorgeous to look at, controls like a dream, and allows up to four players to sit on the same couch and kill all demons. It’s a ton of fun, and well worth the purchase on a console like the PlayStation 3, which still kicks all kinds of ass for gaming.
Xbox One - Titanfall
All-multiplayer, all the time. That’s Titanfall ($49.99), where you get to play as a giant mechanized robot intent on smashing and exploding all your enemies until you reign supreme on the battlefield. You'll fight in six-on-six matches across post-apocalyptic outer space colonies, and the fast-pace of the endless action will have you shouting for more as you run up a wall to flip around and deliver a devastating final blow.
Xbox 360 - Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
This is a gorgeous, painterly environmental puzzler where you have to control two brothers out looking for a cure for their critically ill father. Each puzzle you come across in Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons ($14.99) will take your A-game ingenuity to figure out which brother to move where. It's beautiful and wordless, making this a perfect game for those contemplative afternoons.
Picture: 505 Games
Wii U - Shovel Knight
Retro-platforming at its best right here, with Shovel Knight ($14.99) from indie dev Yacht Club Games. It’s a classic action adventure game with an 8-bit art style. You’ll play as the Shovel Knight, a tiny little knight with a huge quest: to save his beloved (trope!) and defeat the evil enchantress. It’s fun, fast paced, and a great way to spend time with Nintendo’s TV console.
Picture: Yacht Club Games
PS Vita - Don’t Starve: Giant Edition
Don’t Starve: Giant Edition ($14.99) is a whole new DLC package that came to Mac/PC players for free. Now it’s on the Vita, and — if you've purchased the game on any other Sony console, you can get it for free there, as well. There’s nothing better than just barely surviving in a barren land on the best portable device out there. Make sure you feed your little character, and avoid the hounds if you can.
Picture: Klei Entertainment
3DS - Bravely Default
Square Enix’s finally put out an all-original title, Bravely Default ($39.99), has everything you love from the RPG genre, with turn-based battles, cute in-game characters and sweepingly beautiful cut scenes, job-based classes, and more. Give this one a try if you’re itching for some new RPG action with a classic touch.
Mac - Kentucky Route Zero
This one is weird, philosophical, and immensely satisfying, even though the full episodic arc isn’t finished. Currently in Act III, Kentucky Route Zero ($24.99) tells the story of a group of emotionally broken people trying to find their way back to some sense of normalcy. It’s a mythical journey across and underneath the highways and deserted towns of America, and you’ve got to play it to believe it.
Picture: Cardboard Computer
PC - DoTA 2
It’s time to learn how to play the hottest new gaming genre and e-sport, the massively online battle arena (MOBA). This is Valve’s serious competition for League of Legends, and it’s a doozy - players spend hundreds of hours learning and mastering this game, and you can watch full-on bouts on sites like Twitch and YouTube to better your own game. Plus? It’s free to play, so you can’t go wrong here. Be prepared, though: DoTA 2 (free-to-play) isn’t a casual game.
iOS (free) - Epic Island
This free-to-play gem from Colorado-based indie mobile developer Backflip has you hiring and leveling up heroes and sending them along on quests to defeat monsters or other players in various dungeons on the eponymously named island. It’s fun to play in bursts, sending your heroes out to complete time-based quests and bring back gear, armor, and other loot. Epic Island (free-to-play) has a sweet crafting system and an online battle arena that lets you beat up other players from around the world.
iOS (paid) - The Wolf Among Us
Telltale Games is getting quite a reputation for their gritty, dark adventure games based on comic books, like The Walking Dead and the award-winning Fables comic by Bill Willingham and published by Vertigo. The Wolf Among Us ($4.99 per episode) tells a procedural murder mystery set in New York with the magical creatures of fairy tale come to horrifyingly realistic life. Bigby (Big Bad) Wolf is the sheriff, and he must battle his dark nature to uncover the truth behind a grisly murder in Fabletown.
Picture: Telltale Games
Reaper (free-to-play) is a great little action game for your Android-based smartphone or tablet: become the Black Swordsman and battle your way through wave after wave of magic and monsters, grabbing quests and leveling your little guy up with better skills, weapons, and armor. It’s the best fun I’ve had on an Android device all year.
Picture: Hexage Ltd