It is summer.
But that is by no means a reason to go outside.
After all, the time of year doesn't stop video game studios from continuing to release exciting games, including deep-sea adventures, a photo safari, a trip into the depths of consciousness, or a nerve-wracking horror experience.
The following twelve games can make summer vacation a little more interesting.
"Returnal" by Sony Interactive Entertainment for Playstation 5 (80 euros)
So-called rogue-like games are about reliving the same gameplay in order to finally find a way out of the cycle in changeable subtleties.
Learning to assess the opponents, getting to know the weapons better - these are the tasks of the players on their way.
"Returnal" raises this popular game principle to an AAA level.
With bombastic graphics and brutal sound, the aim is to steer the space pilot Selene through an extremely hostile environment in order to get to the bottom of her memory loss.
And to find out how she got to this repellent planet in the first place.
"New Pokémon Snap" from Nintendo for Nintendo Switch (60 euros)
When "Pokémon Snap" was released for the Nintendo 64 in 1999, there were 151 Pokémons.
Today there are 898. Even if not all of the pocket monsters were included in "Snap" then as now, today's game is much more varied.
But the principle of the game has remained the same: on rails, the players move through a colorful world with a camera in hand and take photos of Pokémon that are composed as perfectly as possible.
The better the snapshots, the more points.
In "New Pokémon Snap", in addition to special tasks and changeable behavior of the Pokémon, there is now the option of editing the photos with frames or filters and sharing them on social media.
"Resident Evil Village" by Capcom, for Playstation 4 and 5, Xbox One and Series X / S, Stadia and PC (60 euros)
Nothing in Resident Evil: Village is beautiful.
Everything is at least dilapidated, often grotesque, even more often bloody and macabre.
So pretty much everything in Resident Evil: Village is pretty exciting.
As the eighth part of the horror series, it does a few things differently: It dispenses with the item boxes, through which the players otherwise had to carefully consider which items they would carry with them.
It introduces ammunition and healing item crafting.
But in essence it relies on the strengths of the series by transporting the players to a remote region and putting bizarre opponents in front of the shotgun - in order to finally stage the global conspiracy again, in which all horrors are connected.
"Subnautica: Below Zero" by Unknown World Entertainment for Playstation 4 and 5, Xbox One and Serries X / S, Nintendo Switch, Mac and PC (30 euros)
Survival games have been enjoying great popularity for a number of years.
»Valheim« alone has turned millions of players into survivors this year.
In Subnautica, however, you don't go into wild forests - like in the predecessor, you go into the depths of an ocean.
The protagonist Robin Ayou wants to find out what happened to her sister, who is said to have mysteriously passed away.
Typical for the genre: The players start their journey with scarce equipment and few resources.
In order to survive on the water planet with all kinds of murderous creatures, it is important to always search the environment with your senses and use your own resources as wisely as possible.
"Mass Effect: Legendary Edition" by Electronic Arts for Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC (70 euros)
The "Mass Effect" series was one of the first games that made it possible to enter into relationships of a sexual and erotic nature with other characters, regardless of their gender.
Even if the representation of the sexual acts was a bit clumsy at times, it was absolutely new to the video game medium.
Around these relationships, in three parts (the fourth is often kept secret), a story of almost messianic proportions was knitted, which left different paths open to the players.
The "Legendary Edition" not only polishes the trilogy graphically and enables 4K resolution, but also contains a large part of the DLCs, i.e. the additional downloadable content.
"Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart" by Sony Interactive Entertainment for Playstation 5 (80 euros)
There was a time when so-called mascot platformer were the standard. In other words, games in which the players steered a funny figure, which was often based on an animal, through colorful levels with all sorts of jumping passages and tried to collect as many objects as possible. Then came the grim noughties, when gray shooters were particularly popular. But now such a game is again a selling point for a console and is also really fun. "Ratchet & Clank" uses the speed of the Playstation 5's SSD skilfully: In a matter of seconds, players change levels through portals or swing from a city full of skyscrapers into a jungle populated by dinosaurs - without any loading times. "Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart" is fast-paced, entertaining and extremely charming.
"Minute of Islands" by Studio Fizbin for Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Mac and PC (20 euros)
To be a heroine - how troublesome. In a nutshell, that's the story of "Minute of Islands". Mo is a heroine, she has to be, after all she has got hold of a strange staff that gives her great powers. Your job is to watch over four giants that live underground and keep a ventilation system running that allows people on the surface to breathe clean air. But one day the powers of the giants wane. The players steer Mo through hopping and quite simple puzzle passages on their journey to earth salvation. "Minute of Islands" hardly shows any heroism, but rather shows how isolating the role of the rescuer can be. How much a noble goal in life can corrupt your connection with the people around you.
"Knockout City" by Electronic Arts for Playstation 4 and 5, Xbox One and Series X / S, Nintendo Switch, and PC (20 euros)
Völkerball: Hardly anyone would have really liked throwing their classmates in physical education.
It always quickly became apparent who was particularly happy to aim at the face.
»Knockout City« is like dodgeball - only without a musty sports hall.
In the online game, the aim is to hit fellow players with a ball through all sorts of tricky throws and jumps and thus get points for your own team.
And if you don't have a ball in your hand at the moment, you should train your reflexes to pluck every throw from the air, no matter how skilful it is.
"Knockout City" is a lot of fun and is an easy game to learn even for beginners, which nevertheless offers a lot of tactical depth.
"Chicory: A Colorful Tale" by Finji for Playstation 4 and 5, Mac and PC (20 euros)
"Chicory" is a role-playing game that is based on the look of the 16-bit games of the 1990s.
There are funny villages, weird characters and of course you have to stop the evil.
That's very charming, but not what makes the game really interesting.
In "Chicory" the players take the brush in their hand and paint the colorless environment again in color.
This is the only way to get ahead in the game: With a stroke of the brush, for example, you can make trees grow and then continue on your way.
As the game progresses, this mechanic becomes more and more creative and complex - and also used to defeat bosses who don't like getting color in their eyes.
"Legend of Mana" by Square Enix for Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch (30 euros)
"Legend of Mana" was first released for the Playstation in 1999, it was a continuation of the "Secret of Mana", which was very popular on Super Nintendo.
It is not a common role-playing game, but combines building, farm and role-playing elements and sometimes - then as now - causes a bit of confusion and aimlessness.
But then it feels like traveling back to childhood again.
The game has been provided with high-resolution backgrounds, the soundtrack has been re-imported and the playability has been modernized with options such as random battles that can be displayed.
Nevertheless, you can tell "Legend of Mana" that it is an RPG of the nineties.
Precisely because of this, the game should be interesting for some.
"The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD" by Nintendo for Nintendo Switch (60 euros)
Another new edition: It is an attempt to give one of the less popular parts of the »Zelda« series another chance. First released on the Wii, “Skyward Sword” relied entirely on motion control. A circumstance that is eliminated with the HD remaster. Although the players can still control the Joy Cons by swinging them, they also have the option of directing everything that happens with analog sticks and buttons. Nevertheless, you can tell that this control is a replacement. Other revisions work better: tutorials can be skipped, dialogues can be fast forwarded; and of course the graphics look much sharper. Apart from that, "Skyward Sword" is still an exciting game in which the players soar high into the air to finally, once again, save Hyrule.
»Death's Door« for Xbox Series S / X, Xbox One and PC from Devolver Digital (20 euros)
The life of the crows is tough: in the harvest commission they sit at desks, hunched over numbers. "There is a lack of souls," they say with a croak. So the players set off, steer a crow, called a reaper, through different worlds in order to defeat opponents and get their souls. »Death's Door« is an action adventure game, which is reminiscent of the »Zelda« series and »Bloodborne« in terms of its mechanics. The fights require great concentration, are challenging, but always fair. In the various sections of the game you have to help strange characters and ultimately collect enough souls to open the door of death. »Death's Door« invites you to explore every corner - and it's worth it!