The Best Games to Play When Stuck at Home

Social distancing means being stuck at home, which gives a lot of us some extra time to play video games and even catch up on those fickle backlogs. The IGN staff came together from our remote locations to share some suggestions of how we’re riding out our shelter-in-place orders. We tried to group up our recommended games by our respective tastes, but also by category of “mood,” if you will. Hopefully, this will spark some inspiration. Please do share your own suggestions, in list form and in accordance with your chosen “mood” in the comments below, too!
Check out IGN’s safety guide for COVID-19 here.

Games to Play While Stuck at Home

Check them out in the gallery above, or scroll down for the full list.

Worlds to Get Lost In

Epic stories in big, beautiful worlds.

Red Dead Redemption 2

An amazing follow-up story with incredible detail you can get lost in over campfire chats or barreling through raucous heists. Plus, Arthur Morgan is a beautifully written character with an incredible arc. – Tina Amini

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Given the breadth of Breath of the Wild’s systems, the Kingdom of Hyrule is a constant joy to explore and mess around with. If you think you can do something in Breath of the Wild, you probably can. – Lucy O’Brien

Horizon: Zero Dawn

You hunt giant robot dinosaurs with cool-ass retrofuturistic caveman tools. What else do you need? A gorgeous, sprawling open world full of interesting characters and discoverable secrets? Well… good, because HZD has that too. And again: robot dinosaurs. – Jon Ryan

Mass Effect 2

Saving the universe through a combo of deft combat and pure wit and will is one thing, but you get to do it alongside a group of both human and alien friends (and then some). The level of AI comrade engagement in ME2 is next to none. – Tina Amini

Mass Effect Review Scores


It may be a grimy, hostile world, but Bloodborne’s Yarnham is beautiful nonetheless. The story of Yarnham unfolds in its intricacies; whispers through windows, forgotten treasures, and men driven mad. – Lucy O’Brien

If there’s ever a good time to try and Platinum one of the best games of all time, this is it. – Matt Kim

The Witcher 3

A great choice, no matter if you’re finally going to dig into the DLC, which might as well be full sequels, or just finish up sidequests. – Matt Kim

A singular, ultimate quest takes so many diverging paths in where you explore, who you meet, and what you’re hunting. Some of the more harrowing quests will stick with you, too. – Tina Amini

Persona 5

Persona 5’s Tokyo is astonishingly evocative of real-world Tokyo, from its idiosyncratic subways to its Shibuya buffets. Whenever I want to recapture that giddy rush of walking through Tokyo streets, this is the next best thing to being there. – Lucy O’Brien

Mad Max

If you haven’t given Avalanche Studios’ take on the world after the Water Wars a shot, you owe it to yourself (and all of us holding out hope for a sequel) to check it out. With a gorgeous, if bleak, world to explore and some of the best car combat in recent memory, Mad Max is a (now heavily discounted) must-play for any open-world enthusiast. – Jon Ryan

Far Cry 3

The Far Cry formula’s gotten a little long in the tooth, but Far Cry 3’s wonderful pairing of gorgeous tropical paradise and chaotic sandbox mayhem managed to satisfy my need for a relaxing beach vacation and my need to blow up a great white shark with a rocket launcher. – Max Scoville

Fallout: New Vegas

My personal favorite open-world RPG to revisit time and again, New Vegas boasts what is widely considered the most engrossing plot in the Fallout series, and what puts it over the top for me as far as a quarantine game goes are the stellar and highly-replayable DLCs: Dead Money, Honest Hearts, Old World Blues and Lonesome Road stepped up what a DLC can be, and how much care can be put into one. – Michael Swaim


Though you explore BioShock’s Rapture in a more linear fashion than any of the worlds listed above, its Utopia-gone-mad is no less seductive for it. – Lucy O’Brien

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

As I pace around my small city apartment, alternating between stress eating, telecommuting to meetings, and peering out the window expecting a day where the government yells “everything is normal again!” I desperately long for the freedom of a sprawling, gorgeous open world to explore. Windwaker provides the exact kind of exploration I’m not getting at home right now. – Brian Altano

Every Modern IGN 10/10 and Where to Play Them

Divinity: Original Sin 2

Divinity’s world might look like standard top-down western fantasy fare at a glance, but where it shines is how much it lets players make its world their own through exploration and choice. Sure, you can be a badass warrior who saves the world (yawn) OR you can play as a horny idiot skeleton lizard who talks to dogs, turns people into chickens, picks locks with his gross little bony fingers, and is rude to everyone. – Max Scoville

The Yakuza series

If you want big city night life, Yakuza has you covered. Set in surprisingly accurate recreations of some of Japan’s rowdier neighborhoods, the various installments have padded out their crazy, operatic crime stories with tons of ridiculous minigames and sub-stories that gamify dating, friendship, eating, drinking, smoking, gambling, karaoke, disco dancing, polite conversation, and even managing a hostess club. – Max Scoville

Test Your Might

Linear games that challenge your skills, strategy, and coordination.


One of the greatest video games ever created. Spelunky gamifies and randomizes cave exploration, which is already a great concept. But the real hook is how all the different systems work together, creating an ever-changing world that presents many dangers — but can also be exploited to your benefit. – Daemon Hatfield

Doom/Doom Eternal

Whether you’re ripping and tearing through 2016’s pseudo-reboot or its sequel, the frenetic, visceral combat that developer Id brings to the modern Doom games is nothing short of spectacular, and a brutally satisfying way to spend your days cooped up at home. – Jon Ryan

The latest entries in the Doom series are both tough but fair, and boy does it feel empowering to conquer the plague of demons single-handedly, not to mention stylishly. – Tina Amini


So good it’s on here twice. Also because it’s a great example of both an incredibly challenging and an amazing world to explore.

The 15 Hardest Contemporary Games

Crushing hopelessness, citizens locked indoors, and a monstrously terrifying infection epidemic might hit a little too close to home right now, but hear me out! Bloodborne is all about overcoming fear and adversity and destroying it as you cheer and scream at your television. Remember all those years you spent saying “I wish I had the time to get into a SoulsBorne game”? Well, now you do, and this one is the best of them. – Bloodborne. – Brian Altano

The town of Yarnham and its labyrinthine surroundings is a horrible, awful place that’s an absolute treat to explore. It’s challenging and obtuse, but absolutely worth the trouble both for the gaming experience and the sense of community that comes with it, and I say this as a gigantic coward who is bad at games. – Max Scoville

Gears of War 4 / Gears 5

If you somehow haven’t ventured back into the Gears of War series, now’s your chance to play two excellent co-op campaigns, survive waves of enemies in Horde, or rush through enemies in Gears 5’s escape. The story’s got a lot of heart and the multiplayer modes are a good time! – Miranda Sanchez

Age of Wonders: Planetfall

Since a key goal of your quarantine games will be to swallow up hours of your time at a stretch, I immediately thought of XCOM and Civilization, two series notorious for compulsively getting you to play just ONE MORE TURN eleven thousand times in a row until the sun rises and you miss your daughter’s recital. Age of Wonders: Planetfall is a Civ-style board game that zooms into battles, which become XCOM-style tactical challenges. Not to mention that it features multiple story campaigns set on different worlds and helmed by a range of interesting DoTA-style sci-fi heroes. You’re welcome. There goes your month. – Michael Swaim

Dynasty Warriors 8 XL

Not only do I firmly believe that Dynasty Warriors’ repetitious hack ‘n’ slash action is as close to replicating a zen meditative state as gaming has ever gotten, but 8 XL offers that on a frankly almost irresponsible scale. Conquering a nation dozens of times has never felt so good. – Joe Skrebels

Beat Saber

If you’re feeling trapped inside, virtual reality is a great way to escape. Beat Saber’s musical slash-fest is a great way to get some exercise indoors in a relatively small space, and it’s amazingly fun and challenging when you turn up the difficulty, too. Just don’t pass the headset around too much. – Dan Stapleton

Dishonored 2

Adapting and elevating the excellent combination of sneaking and the supernatural of the original, Dishonored 2 is one of the most unique stealth-action games ever, and possibly the best in the generation. Playing through for its Clockwork Mansion level alone is worth your time, but it continues to satisfy straight through its closing moments. – Jon Ryan

You can cause all sorts of mayhem – quiet or loud – in the sun-dappled, Southern-European-seque city of Karnaca thanks to Dishonored 2’s finely-tuned skillset. There’s an attention to detail here that suggests sheer tomes worth of world-building. – Lucy O’Brien

Dead Cells

You’re probably familiar with this one, but just in case: Dead Cells is much more focused on combat than Spelunky, but there is no shortage of secrets and mysteries to solve. Plus, the pixel art is amazing. – Daemon Hatfield

Resident Evil 4

Things are bad out there in real life but they’re not “infected religious cult trying to kill you with eyeball tentacles bursting out of their necks” bad. Not yet, at least. RE4 has been released on practically every system ever made and it still holds up despite being fifteen years old. It’s a great, long game to kick ass in right now and you owe yourself a playthrough or re-playthrough. – Brian Altano

Enter the Gungeon

The important thing is to find a mindless, arcade-style, procedurally-generated game that’s right for YOU. In my case it’s Enter the Gungeon’s bullet-hell loop and hilarious gun concepts that make it an ideal fit. For you, it might be Spelunky, Dead Cells, or any other box of game parts you can shake up and play over and over again even if the internet goes down. – Michael Swaim


Especially if you’re playing on PC and have access to mods there’s virtually no limit to how many times you can replay the tactical battle against an occupying alien force, and if I can’t hang out with my friends in real life I might as well name my squad after them and do my best to keep them alive. – Dan Stapleton

Rogue Legacy

Another roguelike platformer with a focus on action, but Rogue Legacy’s hook is when you die, control is passed to one of your character’s heirs. Your heirs will have their own unique abilities and disabilities, meaning you’ll have to adapt your playstyle each run. – Daemon Hatfield

Playing Together

Games for socializing even while you’re home alone.

World of Warcraft

An oldie but a goodie (unless you go Classic and count that as a… newie?). You can spend hours upon hours questing, raiding, and upgrading with friends. If you’re like me, some of your closest relationships can be forged through playing this game in a guild. – Tina Amini

GTA Online / Red Dead Online

For a good time with your pals online, Rockstar’s multiplayer suites in GTA 5 and RDR2 both offer a ton of opportunities for both structured objective-based game modes and inventing your own stupid creative ways to explore and engage with these sprawling digital worlds. – Jon Ryan

The Elder Scrolls Online

An incredible MMORPG for those who are huge into fantasy and lore – and if you played Skyrim, try this game out. Trust me. – Jessie Wade

Final Fantasy XIV

Nothing says meaty like an MMO, and nothing says RPG quite like Final Fantasy. Plus, if you’re stuck in a virtual world there are way worse options than Eorzea. – Matt Kim

WoW: Classic

There’s no better way to lose yourself in the original grind than taking a trip down memory lane in World of Warcraft Classic. It’s the perfect experience to slowly quest through Azeroth with a group of friends, catch up on your Netflix backlog while waiting for the next battleground, or watching the hours fly by as you raid Blackwing Lair with a dedicated team. – Brendan Graeber

Jackbox Party Pack(s)

Being isolated from your friends can really suck, so it’s great that the various Jackbox Party packs offer a host of wacky multiplayer games that anyone can stream to a small group of friends in a discord channel, or to a wider audience on twitch, and allow everyone a chance to have some laughs deciphering a bizarre drawing in Drawful, or falling for the most outrageous lie in Fibbage. – Brendan Graeber

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

If you’re missing some real, actual human engagement, don’t forget fun steam-powered party games like Keep Talking, which challenges you and a bunch of friends on headphones to work cohesively together while viewing different sets of gaming information. Kind of feels like an escape room experience, but no one risks catastrophic illness. Bonus! – Michael Swaim

Dungeons & Dragons

Yes, I know, it’s not a video game, but when I want to have fun with friends and explore creative fantastical worlds, D&D is the absolute best of both worlds, regardless of if you’re playing together at a table or online (you can use a service like Roll20 or just open a google hangout!). Plus, if you’re not sure you want to commit to it as a full-time hobby, you can totally get the complete experience for the low-low price of totally free. – Jon Ryan

Lighter Fare

When you just want something chill, man.

Untitled Goose Game

If you can’t go outside and bother the heck out of people in real life, you might as well wreak havoc as a naughty goose. – Colin Stevens

Animal Crossing

Yes, of course Animal Crossing is just a nice thing to play at any time, but the fact that I can catch the same fish, water the same plants, and do the same jobs day after day, with tangible (if meager) benefits is what will keep me coming back to this one. – Joe SkrebelsWe’ll all be picking apples and designing fountains with our friends for a long time in New Horizons. If we can’t meet up in real life, we can meet up to show off new haircuts and outfits as we sit on cute park benches together. – Tina Amini

There are some specific reasons why Animal Crossing is a very good thing right now. For starters, you can visit your friends in their homes without worrying about getting sick. You can run around and play outside and not have to wash your hands forty times after. And your home gets bigger the more you work on it, which is the opposite of how my real-life apartment feels after a week of being stuck inside it. Oh, and the town supermarket still has items left on the shelves. It’s a good place to be right now. – Brian Altano

Stardew Valley

If Animal Crossing isn’t your speed, consider starting up a farm in Stardew Valley! It’s similar, but there’s a bit more to do daily without time limitations. You can only have three friends on your land at a time, though. – Miranda Sanchez


Our game of the year for 2012, Journey may be older, but it still mesmerizes us with its beauty, simplicity, clear direction, and ability to inspire awe each second you play. – Colin Stevens


Not everyone is a maker kid, but I am. If you spent every recess in Elementary School drawing in your sketchpad, making sandbox sculptures, or scripting sketches with your friends, I can’t recommend Dreams enough. It’s the entire Adobe suite of programs rolled into one gamified package. It’s an all-purpose multimedia maker. – Michael Swaim

Outer Wilds

I’ve been preaching about this game on Podcast Unlocked for the better part of last year, and now that it’s on PlayStation 4, I can pressure even more of you to play this incredibly morose but overwhelmingly joyful game about discovery. – Miranda Sanchez

Slay the Spire

Limitless replayability strikes again with this incredibly smart deck-building roguelike that makes every run feel different from the last. I’ve played hundreds of hours at this point and could easily do hundreds more. – Dan Stapleton


For a simple, utterly gorgeous platform-adventure with a beautiful story, play Gris – if possible, do it handheld on Switch. – Jessie Wade

LEGO Star Wars / Harry Potter

The Complete Saga is fun and fresh LEGO game that Star Wars fans will adore, while still being challenged and not too “kiddish” when needed. Similarly, every single Harry Potter fan should check out the LEGO rendition of the Wizarding World – it might be a while until that rumored Harry Potter RPG becomes a reality, so this is a great way bring the magic to you in the meantime. – Jessie Wade

Into the Breach

Finally, a different kind of roguelike. Into the Breach is a turn-based strategy game that keeps the action confined to a small playfield and shorter battles. There are loads of mechs to unlock, each with many unique abilities. – Daemon Hatfield

80 Days

Inkle’s beautiful RPG text adventure somehow manages to tell you entirely different tales every time you make your way through its 2-3 hour runs – it’s the perfect mixture of an engrossing story, roguelike mastery, and gentle exploration. I can’t recommend it enough. – Joe Skrebels

Lone Echo

A VR title, and for my money, the one that’s proven the most immersive, meditative, and all-consuming of the ten or so I’ve had the time to play through. Shows off what works well about VR while, more importantly, showcasing a compelling friendship between an astronaut and their helper robot. You play the robot. – Michael Swaim


Another VR title, this one more of a presentation/experience than a game. Although the ride only lasts about fifteen minutes and it’s the same every time, I’ve found myself enjoying multiple spiritual engagements with this game that purports to simulate an Ayahuasca trip. And no vomiting! Unless VR makes you nauseous, then some vomiting. – Michael Swaim

Konami Pixel Puzzle Collection

This Picross game is a) absolutely enormous, b) free and c) a Picross game (which means it’s essentially an instant 10/10 for me). The fact that it unlocks beautiful galleries of old-school Konami art is merely a bonus. – Joe Skrebels

Quick Fixes

Games that can be completed in a few hours or less.

Sayonara Wild Hearts

This mobile rhythm-based action game clocks in at about 2 hours and features some incredible songs you won’t be able to get out of your head, plus some deliciously bright visuals. – Colin Stevens


Nobody expected Portal to be the breakout success of Valve’s Orange Box, but this first-person puzzle shooter remains a modern classic due to its humor, design, and absolute originality. – Colin Stevens

What the Golf?

So you have a golf mobile game, and you drag a line to knock the ball into a hole – what’s the big deal? Play for more than a few minutes, and you’ll instead be manipulating everything imaginable BESIDES a golf ball, and it’s glorious. – Colin Stevens

Best Games of the 2010s


This VR game is a testament to how traditional adventure platformers can be perfectly designed to fit in virtual reality, as you explore an expansive world with a single, brave mouse. – Colin Stevens


From its opening moments, you never feel quite safe in Inside. Every little logic puzzle that gets presented to you in its twisted, melancholy world continues to inspire respect, enjoyment, and sometimes a little disgust. – Colin Stevens

Ape Out

Made by a one-person team (Gabe Cuzzillo), Ape Out gives you the strength of a great ape, allowing you to beat your enemies to a bloody pulp. – Colin Stevens

Why We Made The Choices We Made

The last time I was holed up at home for a long period of time, I was 12 and bedridden due to a pretty gnarly spinal surgery. I found an escape from that reality in Final Fantasy X. It felt like a real, lived-in world. FFX, especially in its time, was full of people and culture and activities, all structured around one main narrative where I was not only the focus, but I was able to impact so much around me, too. Meanwhile, physically restricted in the real world, I had zero ability to impact even the tiniest bit of change. I could only bide my time, just like we’re doing now.

Whether they’re revisits or an opportunity to finally scratch some stuff off your backlog, my list is all about games you can fall down into a hole with. – Tina Amini

Normally, I prefer shorter games and experiences. Something I can finish around 10-12 hours, ideally. But in extraordinary circumstances such as these where I spend most of my time cooped up indoors, I dive into meatier games, typically 100-hour RPGs. It’s almost always in situations like these that I manage to finish games like Persona 4 or The Witcher 3. – Matt Kim

Now’s the time for us all to become pro gamers (yeah right) or at least try to work through our backlog of games. I’m personally devoting my time to more multiplayer games and pretty much anything on Xbox’s Game Pass since there are so many games available. – Miranda Sanchez

Being stuck at home with little to do is something I cannot abide. Somehow, in that situation, massive narrative games just emphasize how long the days are, and make me even more bored. Which is why I’m increasingly filling my time with games built around short loops, repetition, and quasi-magical time-eating qualities. – Joe Skrebels

I’m stuck at home with two young kids, so turn-based games I can put down at a moment’s notice and come back to or games they can watch me play without being splashed in gore are a huge bonus for me. Combine that with my love of tactics and VR and you get the following recommendations. – Dan Stapleton

In times where you’re confined indoors, I always find it really important to maintain contact with your friends, and find ways to stay in touch and keep spirits up with more than quick multiplayer matches. For that reason, I’m thankful for games with large open worlds to explore with friends, and party games that allow friends to join easily and stick around for long-lasting good times.Brendan Graeber

When I’m stuck at home for more than a day – regardless of the circumstances – I usually gravitate towards one of two things: exploring massive and richly detailed open worlds (preferably with a fun/unique take on action and combat or a really stellar physics system) in single-player, or stupid, raucous fun with friends online — and, of course, sometimes both! – Jon Ryan

I tend to largely sink my time into MMO’s or first-person shooters, but I also have a huge sweet spot for platformers like the LEGO video games. When I’m trying to pass time – something many of us are focusing on doing in a fun way right now – I tend to go towards more light-hearted games, unless I can group up with good friends and slay some dragons (or attempt). – Jessie Wade

The games I gravitate to are the ones that truly feel like little living worlds for me to fully explore, whether that means seeing what’s hiding in every little corner, or how the world will react if I do something stupid. Here are a few virtual locales where I’ve spent dozens of hours making bad decisions with no real world repercussions. – Max Scoville

For me, escapism has always come in two flavors. There’s the “escape to a happier place” type of escapism where bright, vibrant worlds full of happy, saccharine characters make me feel like there’s hope out there. And then there’s the bleak, miserable, horrible “go spend some time in a world that is way worse than yours and you’ll feel better about how you have it” type of escapism. These types of getaways generally share one thing in common: they’re oddly comforting because they’re games that I’ve conquered before and I know extraordinarily well. In tough times when we don’t have a lot of the usual routines, comforts, and frivolities of the real world, we can start to feel like we’re losing control of things, and I’ve always found that crushing through a video game that I know front to back – and generally kick ass it – has been immensely rewarding in making me feel like I actually accomplished something that isn’t just refreshing a terrifying twenty-four hour news cycle. – Brian Altano

I’m recommending a few games with near-infinite replayability. These are all roguelikes, pure masterclasses of gaming full of secrets to discover and rewarding challenges. Every time you think you’ve got one of these games figured out, another layer is revealed and the world expands further than you realized possible. – Daemon Hatfield

Naturally, having to stay at home for long periods of time will make you probably want to lean into long, engrossing experiences. And that’s wonderful! But I wanted to provide some suggestions for shorter, more digestible experiences you can play between your Breath of the Wilds or your Witcher 3s. When it’s all said and done, you may feel like you’ve accomplished quite a bit with the sheer amount of games you beat. – Colin Stevens

The best video games have such cohesive worlds you feel as if you’re an incidental visitor to them; they were there long before you arrived and will be there long after you leave. Here are some of my favorite worlds in video games to help distract yourself from reality. – Lucy O’Brien

When I got my tonsils out and had to stay in bed without talking for two weeks, I beat Psychonauts, and it forged an undying bond between me and that excellent game that persists to this day. My tonsils I have discarded and forgotten. Screw you, tonsils. Although I would spend the bulk of my free time playing video games regardless, there’s no question that forced indoor time and gaming pair especially well. Case in point: my current social distancing regimen got knocked up a notch when I decided it was the perfect time to finally invest in home VR equipment. Whether you’re taking the opportunity to explore a whole new console, revisit your favorite retro comfort foods, or lose vast swaths of down-time to an engrossing storyline, here are some games that I put in list format and will be playing extensively this month, and my brief opinion on why now’s such a good time to give them a play. Michael Swaim

Don’t forget to share your own suggestions, in list form and in accordance with your chosen “mood” in the comments below, too!

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