The top video games of 2021: Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5, NHL 22, Super Mario 3D World

Video games make for great stocking stuffers for kids and kids at heart. But with so many console and computer titles to choose from, shopping for a gamer can be an overwhelming endeavor. After all, no one wants to gift a dud that will quickly become a drink coaster or shiny Christmas ornament.

If you’re looking for some suggestions, the following are a handful of recommended gaming picks – a very subjective look at some of 2021’s best – divided into various age groups. Prices are $60 unless otherwise specified.

Because many games are available for multiple platforms, make sure you’re buying the right one for the machine they own (and include the gift receipt, just in case).

Two very swollen thumbs up for these picks:


The top video games of 2021: Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5, NHL 22, Super Mario 3D World

Forza Horizon 5 (Xbox Game Studios; for Xbox X/S/One, Windows 10): Driving fans, here’s your chance to virtually climb behind the wheel of hundreds of awesome (and customizable) cars and other vehicles and race through an open-world Mexico – from historic cities and vast deserts to sun-kissed beaches and ancient ruins.

Along with countless challenges across several missions, engage in white-knuckle races against others over the Internet (and with cross-platform support between PC and Xbox users).

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury (Nintendo; for Nintendo Switch): One of the best family games of the year, Super Mario 3D World is a fun refresh of the best-selling 2013 adventure, now with high-resolution courses to run through, local and online multiplayer support and tons of collectibles (including stamps to use in Snapshot mode).

Talking Tech newsletter: Sign up for our guide to the week’s biggest tech news

The top video games of 2021: Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5, NHL 22, Super Mario 3D World

Each with their own abilities, choose from one of four characters – Mario, Luigi, Peach and Toad (and Rosalina, later in the game) – as they set off to save the Sprixie Kingdom.

Also included is the open-world platform game, Bowser’s Fury, that challenges Mario to team up with Bowser Jr. and venture through a cat-themed world of Lake Lapcat (and its islands), use power-ups and collect items.

NHL 22 (EA Sports; for Xbox Series X/S/One, PS4/PS5): Lace up and hit the ice as or against your favorite pro hockey team – or create your own unique NHL team, if desired.

Powered by EA’s Frostbite engine (for PS5 and Xbox Series X/S), the game looks as good as it plays.

Indulge in several solo and multiplayer options (on the same TV or over the internet), along with updates to modes like World of Chel (adding custom player classes and “X-factor “abilities), Be a Pro (create a character, progress over time), Franchise (try to take your team all the way to the Stanley Cup) and Hockey Ultimate Team (HUT), which allows you to create a fantasy lineup and compete against others.

Other recommended games for kids include Enhance’s Tetris Effect: Connected (for multiple platforms), 2K’s NBA 2K 22 (for multiple platforms) and Nintendo’s New Pokémon Snap (Nintendo Switch).


The top video games of 2021: Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5, NHL 22, Super Mario 3D World

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (Sony Interactive Entertainment; for PS5): An evil robotic emperor is intent on conquering cross-dimensional worlds and it has its sights on your own dimension. This is the premise behind Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, a super-fun third-person action game that fuses combat with platforming challenges.

Along with Ratchet, a heroic alien accompanied by robotic companion Clank, you also get to control a female fighter named Rivet, in this interactive cartoon.

Taking advantage of the PS5’s power, the game looks incredible, loads fast and takes advantage of the improved DualSense wireless controller and its amped-up haptic feedback, including adaptive triggers that provide tension when you’re interacting with the environment.

Xbox turns 20: The 10 biggest moments in the video game console’s history

It Takes Two (EA; for PS4/5, Xbox Series S/X/One, Windows): Fans of cooperative (co-op) games should boot up It Takes Two (found as low as $20), an indie game that can only be played by two players, be they side by side or over the Internet (with the latter, only one person needs to own the game).

Combining platforming, action and puzzle-solving, It Takes Two tells of a divorcing couple, Cody and May, who are magically transported into the bodies of tiny dolls and must work together to navigate dangerous worlds inside and outside the house – including in a garden, in a tree and in a snow globe – in the hopes of returning to their human bodies.

The game’s theme is cooperation, but there are some competitive mini-games, such as a take on Tug of War and Whack-a-Mole.

Pyschonauts 2 (Xbox Game Studios; for Xbox Series S/X, Xbox One, Windows): Better late than never?

This stellar sequel to its 2005 predecessor once again stars Razputin “Raz” Aquato, a powerful young psychic who ventures out to unravel a mystery, using his quick wits, nimble moves and mostly, customizable psychic powers like slowing down time, levitation and mind-reading.

This fun – and funny – cinematic (and often surreal) single-player story was created by legendary game designer Tim Schafer (Grim Fandango, Brütal Legend, Broken Age).

Other awesome games for teens include Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy from Square Enix (for all major platforms), Nintendo’s Metroid Dread and Capcom’s Monster Hunter Rise, both for Nintendo Switch.

► Must-have accessories: Level up your PC gaming with a sweatproof mouse, high-speed keyboard and other gear


The top video games of 2021: Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5, NHL 22, Super Mario 3D World

Returnal (Sony Interactive Entertainment; for PS5): While it may not have received the kudos it deserved, Returnal is a gripping sci-fi shooter that follows Selene, a space pilot who crash-lands on a dangerous planet to investigate a strange beacon – but finds herself caught in a time loop.

Whenever Selene succumbs to her injuries in this third-person action game, she’s resurrected at the same point, but the world is different each time, plus she battles strange visions with each loop.

Between its gorgeous visuals, tense action and strong narrative, Returnal is a “must play” for PS5 owners.

Deathloop (Bethesda; for PS5 and Windows). While the story may sound similar to Returnal, Deathloop is a first-person shooter starring Colt, an assassin, who is stuck in a time loop in an alternate 1960s and tasked to take out targets within a certain amount of time.

Including stealth and parkour elements, Deathloop gives you guns and gadgets to use (and some special abilities, too), while avoiding guards, tagging eight Visionaries and moving between the island’s four areas, during different times of the day.

The top video games of 2021: Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5, NHL 22, Super Mario 3D World

The game includes innovative multiplayer modes, too.

Halo Infinite (Xbox Game Studios; for Xbox X/S/One, Windows): Yes, one of the biggest games of 2021 – available Dec. 8 but already playable as a multiplayer “beta” – is a real blast for fans of the famous franchise and newcomers alike.

► Halo Infinite multiplayer: 5 things I learned from playing the Xbox beta version

Featuring many of the same weapons and vehicles as previous Halo games (like the Warthog military vehicle), this new first-person shoot gives you several kinds of abilities for the protagonist, Master Chief, to use across the (mostly) open world planet with bases to capture.

Multiple online modes include fan favorites like Capture the Flag and Deathmatch (last one standing wins), as well a fun new 12 versus 12 mode, dubbed Big Team Battle.

Note: the multiplayer portion of Halo Infinite is free-to-play.

Other great games for players age 17 and older, include Capcom’s Resident Evil Village (multiple platforms), Ubisoft’s Far Cry 6 (multiple platforms), Activision’s Call of Duty Vanguard (multiple platforms) and IO Interactive’s Hitman 3 (multiple platforms).

News Related


Comedian Louie Anderson Hospitalized for Blood Cancer Treatment: Reports

© Provided by People Joe Scarnici/WireImage Louie Anderson Comedian Louie Anderson is undergoing treatments for blood cancer, according to multiple reports. The Baskets star, 68, was diagnosed with diffuse large ... Read more »

What's happening on the Space Coast this weekend: Jan. 28-Feb. 1

Support local journalism: Find offers for new subscribers here: Special Offers — FLORIDA TODAY. © Space Coast Symphony/Submitted photo Aaron Collins will conduct the Space Coast Symphony Orchestra in “Hooray for ... Read more »

The new guy: Marco Odermatt is the Next Big Thing in skiing

It’s like how Lindsey Vonn was inspired by Picabo Street when she met her idol as a 9-year-old kid at an autograph-signing session: When he was 10, Marco Odermatt won ... Read more »

The best treadmill deals: big savings and expert advice

Treadmills are becoming very tough to find, as more and more of us try to limit the time we’re spending outdoors in favor of working out at home. Many of ... Read more »

Another violence interrupter shot dead as gun violence dominates Baltimore community

Gun violence: An American epidemic? See more videos What to watch next Cruise ship diverts to Bahamas after judge grants seize order Passengers and crew from the Crystal Symphony returned ... Read more »

How Bills' 13-second collapse was only tip of defensive problems is playoff loss to Chiefs

© Provided by Sporting News The Bills deserved to win Sunday night’s AFC divisional playoff game at Kansas City because of stellar play by quarterback Josh Allen. Unfortunately for them, ... Read more »

Biden weighing deployment of US troops to NATO allies amid tensions with Russia: report

© AP/Andrew Harnik Biden weighing deployment of US troops to NATO allies amid tensions with Russia: report President Biden is reportedly weighing the deployment of U.S. troops to NATO allies ... Read more »

Bruce Arians said “some guys didn’t blitz” on big play to Cooper Kupp

After Bucs running back Leonard Fournette‘s touchdown tied the game late in the fourth quarter, Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford had 42 seconds to move his team into position for a ... Read more »

Coronavirus travel testing rules to be relaxed

© Getty Images Ministers are expected to approve a further relaxation of England’s international travel testing rules when they meet later on Monday. Likely changes include dropping the requirement for ... Read more »

How to Get Back to Happy in 2022

When you think of starting over, what do you picture? Whatever it is, all it takes to initiate a new beginning is the courage to try — sometimes under new ... Read more »

Malaysian badminton ace appeals two-year ban, says body

© Pedro PARDO Lee Zii Jia represented Malaysia at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Malaysian badminton star Lee Zii Jia has appealed a two-year ban imposed on him for quitting the ... Read more »

Deal alert: Flights to Phoenix from $128 round-trip

MSN has partnered with The Points Guy for our coverage of credit card products. MSN and The Points Guy may receive a commission from card issuers. Travelers head to Arizona ... Read more »

Woman who only buys second-hand shares her thrifting tips

Josie Barnes is using her flair for fashion to help save the planet by buying secondhand clothes. (Collect/PA Real Life) A woman who only buys second-hand in order to help ... Read more »

Trump Mocked For Embarrassing 'Please Clap' Moment At His Own Resort

Donald Trump may have just had his own “please clap” moment. A new clip posted on Twitter by PatriotTakes, which monitors right-wing media, shows Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort standing ... Read more »

We can end 'emergency phase' of COVID in 2022, says World Health Organisation

The WHO has warned that Covid should not be treated ilke flu. (Stock image: Getty) The World Health Organisation has said it hopes to be able to end the “emergency ... Read more »

The Profound Effect of Americans Living Longer Lives

Thanks to lifestyle changes and the miracles of modern medicine and science, the number of people living into their 90s and beyond is growing every year, even with a slight ... Read more »

Strictly Come Dancing winner Rose Ayling-Ellis snapped holding hands with co-star

Rose Ayling-Ellis has been loving the Strictly Come Dancing tour so far, but a recent snap revealed that the dance show had proved too much for the EastEnders actress and ... Read more »

Emma Thompson talks about the ‘challenge' of shooting full-frontal nude scenes ‘at the age that I am'

Emma Thompson has opened up the “difficulty” of shooting nude scenes “at the age that I am”. The 62-year-old spoke about rehearsing “entirely nude” and filming a full-frontal scene for ... Read more »

Porsche's PCM 6.0 infotainment adds better electric charging planner and more

Porsche announced its new PCM 6.0 infotainment system last year, but today the company has a few updates to share with us about this software. The most important update arrives ... Read more »

Here's why the 2022 Ford Bronco Raptor is four-door only

While the regular 2022 Ford Bronco can combine just about any powertrain, suspension and wheel combination in both the four-door and two-door configurations, the new Raptor version is restricted to ... Read more »

Six Women on Restarting Their Health and Wellness Journey

When you think of starting over, what do you picture? Whatever it is, all it takes to initiate a new beginning is the courage to try — sometimes under new ... Read more »

Your Egg Carton Is Lying To You: Watch Out For These 5 Misleading Phrases

© Suggest Cardboard egg rack with eggs on white wooden table When you need a protein-packed breakfast, look no further than yummy, delicious eggs. Nothing says farm-to-table like eggs. And ... Read more »

Our top recommendations for dinner this week

I recently asked what you’re cooking, and in return I got a lot of emails that took me across the country and into your kitchens. It was a blast of ... Read more »

Philadelphia Flyers' Keith Yandle cherishes Bobby Orr's advice as NHL ironman record nears

In a discussion about injuries, someone once told Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Keith Yandle: “If you can skate, you can play.’’ That guy went by the name of Bobby Orr. Yandle, ... Read more »

This dangerous malware can even survive a drive reformatting

Cybersecurity researchers from Kaspersky have discovered a rare species of malware that can’t be removed by antivirus, or even the most extreme of measures, such as hard drive formatting or ... Read more »

Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley, two players disciplined for confronting official after Stanford game

Arizona State was going to have a tough time tackling No. 16 USC in Monday’s 9 p.m. Pac-12 game at the Galen Center. It’s going to be even tougher now. ... Read more »

Tom Brady shares classy moments with Matthew Stafford, OBJ after loss to Rams

Tom Brady saw his season come to an end Sunday when he and the Buccaneers couldn’t finish off a wild comeback and lost to the Rams at home, 30-27. Brady ... Read more »

Statue tumbled in Puerto Rico before Spanish king's visit

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Unknown people toppled a statue of Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León in the pre-dawn hours of Monday ahead of a visit of King Felipe ... Read more »

WHO chief warns against talk of 'endgame' in pandemic

The Associated PressFILE – Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization speaks during a news conference on updates regarding on the novel coronavirus COVID-19, at the WHO ... Read more »

Former pope was at meeting where pedophile priest discussed

The Associated PressFILE -Pope Benedict XVI acknowledges cheers from faithful and pilgrims during the weekly general audience in St. Peter’s square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Oct.24, 2007. At right is ... Read more »

Liz Weston: The mental health risks of retiring

The late Pamela Hixon of Leipsic, Ohio, was eager to retire from her job running a hospice agency. Soon after she quit, however, Hixon spiraled into depression and anxiety. She ... Read more »

How to clean the cache on PS5

One of the main ways that the PS5 is so startlingly ‘next-gen’ is due to its state-of-the-art blazing fast SSD that can chew through what would otherwise be agonizing load ... Read more »

A Genetic Mystery That Ran in the Family—For 250 Years

© Heritage Images / Getty; The Atlantic Of the three Bowlin sisters, Margaret, the middle one, was the first to show signs. She began having seizures as a toddler. Then ... Read more »

Despite lack of evidence it treats COVID-19, health insurers still paying for ivermectin prescriptions

© Provided by KLBK Lubbock Despite lack of evidence it treats COVID-19, health insurers still paying for ivermectin prescriptions ANN ARBOR, Mich. ( – Ivermectin continues to be a lightning ... Read more »

Nordonia High School's Synergy aims to bring music energy to music teacher's conference

A six-member a cappella ensemble from Nordonia High School will be one of the high school and university music groups to perform at this year’s Ohio Music Education Association’s conference ... Read more »

Vuarnet RTW Fall 2022

More from WWD Read more »

The Olympics Will be the Ultimate Test for China's Zero-COVID Policy

© Chinatopix/AP Residents line up for ­COVID-19 testing in China’s Tianjin Municipality, just weeks before the Beijing Winter Olympics Hosting the Olympic Games is a daunting challenge during any year. ... Read more »

Where Will BioNTech Be in 3 Years?

As half of the duo behind one of the world’s most widely used and effective COVID-19 vaccines, BioNTech (NASDAQ: BNTX) is well on its way to enduring stardom in the ... Read more »

What This FDA News Could Mean for AbbVie's Stock

Earlier this month, AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV) completed its application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Rinvoq to treat adults with a back arthritis (known as non-radiographic axial ... Read more »

Peloton Responds As 'Billions' Character Has Heart Attack After Using Bike

Peloton has issued a statement after one of its stationary bikes had a starring role in the season premiere of yet another show. Warning: spoilers ahead. Showtime series Billions made ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic