Valentine's Day is an odd time of year. Whether single or not, the occasion dominates our timelines, adverts and high streets (remember them?). This year's commercial festival of clichéd, store-bought romance is a little different, and I don't just mean because I actually don't feel dead inside for once. No, Valentine's Day 2021 will be taking place during a lockdown, meaning that actually "going out" is impossible for many of us.
So, being the caring, hopelessly romantic types we are, the team at GAMINGbible have all come up with our own, virtual ways to spend this year's anniversary of the 1929 Chicago massacre. Enjoy!
Words: James Daly (JD), Imogen Donovan (ID), Tom Ryan-Smith (TRS)
When it comes to positive social experiences, you can't go wrong with Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Visiting islands, showing off your house, meeting new people (anthropomorphic or otherwise), are all lovely activities. Just being in this game is already a welcome change of pace from most aspects of daily life, but during these "new normal" times, it's become a bigger opportunity for escapism than ever.
For many people, the current lockdown will keep them apart from their beloveds, but Animal Crossing can, once again, provide an alternative to the currently unavailable real world. Load up your island and set about preparing it for a virtual date. Create a restaurant scene. Dress up some locations for cute photo ops. Create a scavenger hunt of personal, gift-wrapped tokens of affection. Basically, do whatever you like to spoil your loved one, and make the most of the pleasant, easygoing world Animal Crossing already offers by adding in an individual feel for a Valentine's Day like no other. JD
For The King is lovely and self-explanatory. Tragedy has befallen the peaceful kingdom of Fahrul, as the King has been assassinated and the Queen realises she cannot trust her closest allies. Heartbroken, she addresses the people of the land, praying that some brave souls will answer her and stop chaos from swallowing Fahrul whole.
It's a good game for your S.O. who might not be so inclined towards gaming, because the premise is recognisable and the mechanics are simple. In the beginning, players can choose one of four classes: Blacksmith, Hunter, Scholar, and Minstrel. There's a lot of text to explain how things work, and unlocking new outfits and weapons is exciting to natter about over a voice call if you're apart on Valentine's Day. And, procedurally generated realms mean that every adventure is different, and though the art style might be reminiscent of a storybook, those turn-based battles are nail-biting at times.
For The King is available on Switch, PlayStation 4, PC, and Xbox. Actually, it's included in Xbox Game Pass, and the first month of Game Pass is free. Saves the cash for gifts, cards, and/or takeaway! ID
Minecraft Dungeons is one of those perfect "play anywhere" games that's not only available on most consoles, but supports cross-play. This means that if you have an Xbox Series S and your partner has a Nintendo Switch you can still chop down zombies and spiders while hunting down the Arch-Illager together, however you both prefer.
It's not the most romantic game, but teaming up with your significant other in this simplistic, yet engaging dungeon crawler can be a genuinely fulfilling experience. Watching your partner and yourself level up and collect new artefacts - all while arguing which weapon to keep and what power ups are the best - is a truly wholesome experience that can really strengthen your team in the game, and out of it.
Oh and Minecraft Dungeons is on Game Pass, so if throwing TNT at enchanted zombies is your idea of a romantic night, you could do much worse. TRS
When Pokémon Sword and Shield released in 2019, a lot of us were underwhelmed. These games just didn't seem as exciting as previous entries in the franchise, but one thing they totally got right was the social aspect. When it comes to casually exploring a shared virtual space and taking on giant Pokémon in online raids, Sword and Shield are good fun. However, with the right person, they can be even better.
Pokémon Sword and Shield are the perfect backdrop for to enjoy a relaxing, virtual hang. Battling Pokémon together and trading to help each other complete the Pokédex is a lovely way to unwind. You can even pose for cute photos together in the Wild Area, screenshotting to preserve these happy memories in your Switch photo albums, and to share with each other. JD
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