Rank It! Special Edition: Online Games

Feeling bored at home? Well, have no fear as Raffles Press has got you covered this June holidays! We have specially come up with a whole list of games that you can indulge yourself in and add a bit of spice to your life. After much research, we proudly present to you our top 9 online games that you can play in your free time!

So sit back, relax and get your App Store ready for some great game additions to your phone!

These games have been shortlisted based on the following criteria:

  1. Fun factor, where 10 denotes the most fun, represents how much fulfillment and enjoyment one can derive from playing these games. 
  2. Game mechanics, where 10 denotes the best visual and sound effects offered, reflects how immersive and rich the game experience is.
  3. Replayability, where 10 denotes the most replayable, represents whether players who have already played through the game and mastered the skills involved would be motivated to play the game again.
  4. Ease of controls, where 10 denotes easiest to learn, reflects how complex the controls of the game are, and hence how hard it is for new players to pick it up. 

Rankings:

Solo Games (Free):

By Mandy Wong (22S03C) and See Man Teng (22S03A)

  1. Sky
  2. Tetris
  3. Choices

Solo Games (Paid):

By Mandy Wong (22S03C) and See Man Teng (22S03A)

  1. Superliminal
  2. Gris
  3. Tiny Bang Story

Social Games:

By: Chloe Charity Pudjo (22S03G), Chung Thong En (22S06N), Lim Yong Le (22S03M), Phang Duncan (22A13B)

  1. Among Us
  2. UNO
  3. Skribbl.io
Free Solo Games: Sky: Children of the Light

Sky: Children of the Light

By Mandy Wong (22S03C) and See Man Teng (22S03A)

Crowned first place is Sky: Children of the Light, a free-to-play mobile game where you take on the role of a “Child of Light” to explore seven realms and uncover the lore of the kingdom of Sky. Having just been born into a beautiful but empty kingdom, your task is to find your Ancestor Spirits and live through their memories, whereby you can earn expressions to communicate with other players, cosmetics and spells. 

Fun Factor: 8/10. A game that offers an explorative experience, Sky gives players the chance to take full control over their individual journeys through the realms. Depending on the nooks and crannies players are willing to explore, the time taken to complete the entire game can be relatively long.

However, the storyline can become rather lacking at times. Starting out with an eye-catching premise, the little follow-up comes in the form of repetitive murals and cutscenes which most players would opt to skip. In our opinion, Sky misses out on an important opportunity to develop this initially appealing premise and add more insight and meaning to players’ entertainment.

Game mechanics: 10/10. Sky probably has one of the best visuals and music out of all the games in this list. From the bright, sunbathed fields of Daylight Prairie to the dark, barren deserts of Golden Wasteland, the different scenery and musical themes in each realm allows the game developers to create a wholly immersive experience no matter which realm players enter, which further adds to the exploratory aspect, and hence entertainment value of the game.

Replayability: 8/10. New seasonal events are introduced every month that feature entirely new Spirits and cosmetics, expanding the already vast lands of the realms for players to explore. Every two weeks, Spirits from past seasons arrive as well, allowing newer players to pay them a visit and collect what they have to offer. 

Earning cosmetics and new expressions from these new Spirits also means that players will have to regularly work to save up in-game currency. While this can be  a motivator for many players, collecting Candles (by collecting wax throughout the realms) can definitely get a bit repetitive after a while, and earning Hearts (the social currency earned as gifts from Spirits) can be  undoubtedly difficult for some.

Others (6/10)

Battery life: The battery life of your device will be compromised to support those good graphics and music — and while it is possible to mute the game and tune it down to the lowest resolution, sound is a good signpost when danger arises, so we highly discourage muting the game. 

Ease of controls: Little guidance on how to control your character — likely to give players maximum freedom to explore and try out new things — backfires here as it is especially challenging for new players to fly and steer well. 

Total score: 32/40

Ranking: 1st

Free Solo Games: Tetris

Tetris

By Mandy Wong (22S03C) and See Man Teng (22S03A)

Second on our list is the good ol’ classic Tetris, a tile-matching video game . The goal of the game is simple enough:  just prevent the pile of bricks from stacking up to the top. Bricks are constantly falling from the top of the screen while you control the orientation and location of where the brick lands. But here’s the catch — the blocks you are dealt are of different shapes. You only have  very limited time to decide how and where the brick lands.       

Classic Tetris’ game interface 
Types of Tetris blocks

Fun factor: 7/10. Tetris’s merits lie in the satisfaction of watching the blocks fall into place; an added bonus is if the move forms complete rows and clears out space. To do this, players have to make sure the blocks fall in the right spot by rotating the falling blocks and seeing whether they will fit. However, the mistake of misplacing a block will “stack up”, and you would often have to improvise or risk losing the game.  

There are  also  competitive modes for Tetris that are  insanely fast-paced. Such game modes like the DT-Cannon and 4-wide require extensive strategizing with skills such as speed that come with experience over time. 

Game mechanics: 6/10. Tetris prides itself on being simple  — there is just a nostalgic charm with Tetris’s modest yet iconic game interface. The anticipation of colourful blocks falling down to the bottom of the screen has a timeless place in all of our hearts. Still, Tetris is not one to shy from new futuristic graphics. Check out the Tetris effect’s stunning, futuristic design below!

The Tetris’ effect game interface (arguably the best designed of all the Tetris variants)

Replayability: 8/10. The infinite combinations of ways the blocks can fit together result in a limitless amount of replayability. The versatile nature of Tetris means no two games are the same, creating a puzzle game with unlimited puzzles to solve.

We can’t talk about Tetris without talking about the “Tetris Effect”. It occurs when players see the iconic blocks falling into place on an invisible layout when they close their eyes. Tetris is so replayable that it is possible that some players play Tetris even without playing Tetris!

Others (7/10)

Battery life: Tetris has simple graphics that do not use a lot of battery to load

Ease of controls: Easy to understand, hard to master. The concept of stacking blocks is simple enough,( all you have to do is make sure they fall and fit) but stacking them in a manner that maximises your score isn’t. T-spins, Z-spins, softdrops are all tools that players can use to maximise their score, which takes time to learn! 

Total: 28/40

Ranking: 2nd

Free Solo Games: Choices

Choices 

By Mandy Wong (22S03C) and See Man Teng (22S03A)

Coming in third place is Choices: an interactive game played in first-person that allows for customized gameplay. Much like choosing from a library of different books, your journey in Choices begins with you selecting a story you want to embark on. From there, players unlock different chapters to advance in the story. From its humble beginnings in 2016, with only 3 genres to choose from, Choices has gained traction to now boasting a whopping  94 stories from a wide selection of genres like horror, romance, action, and more.

Fun factor: 7/10. Compared to similar choose-your-own-adventure games such as Episode and Chapters, the storylines for Choices are arguably a lot more immersive and well developed. They have more diversity and versatility, and offer more character development along the way. Something worth commending about Choices is that even its romance books (which, let’s be honest, the genre most of these role-playing apps thrive on) do not have a contrived plot and the superficial idea of “love” is not the sole motivator. This adds to the charm of the game and makes the stories much more enjoyable and satisfying upon completion. 

An example of the background graphics of the game 

Game mechanics: 6/10. In terms of game currency, there are two different variants: diamonds (which expand dialogue, plot, and customization of characters to enhance the overall experience) and keys ( needed to unlock each chapter of new stories). Unfortunately, each key takes 3 hours to regenerate and while that may break the momentum of playing the game, it does help stop gaming addiction which is a huge plus for busy JC students like us.

In terms of graphics, Choices is remarkably beautifully and intricately designed. While the characters are not animated, the facial expressions, color scheme, and background design are stunning and sufficient to bring the story to life.

An example of your story library with different books to choose from 

 

Prices of keys and diamonds 

Then there are the choices. In scenes, you will be given about 2-3 options to select from depending on where you want to take your story. It could be a decision to get closer to another character or a desired portrayal of your character. This personalisation of your choices is a factor that draws users into the game and makes them feel invested in finishing the story. Akin to real life, the choices have a domino effect and affect the eventual outcome of your story, so choose wisely! 

Replayability: 7/10. Choices is, unsurprisingly, relatively fun to replay. Given that you can make different decisions that will land you in different circumstances at every turn, changing a single choice can completely alter the direction of the story. You can also replay stories after completion to see what would happen if you had chosen differently. 

Others (5/10)

Battery life: Drains battery life quite quickly; unfortunately, having to support high-quality and detailed graphics comes at a price

Ease of controls: Extremely simple since you just have to make your own decisions and there is no right or wrong choice. After all, it is your own experience for you to customise.

Total: 25/40

Ranking: 3rd

Paid Solo Games: Superliminal

Superliminal

By Mandy Wong (22S03C) and See Man Teng (22S03A) 

Superliminal comes first in our ranking — and very deservedly so. Released in 2019, it has been the recipient of high praise from game reviewers and critics alike. You are a participant in a dream therapy program and due to some malfunction, you are stuck in a recurring dream cycle. The goal is therefore to escape from the stimulation and regain consciousness.

If the storyline isn’t gripping enough, the gameplay will definitely enthrall you. The combined elements of playing from a first-person perspective as well as Superliminal’s iconic optical illusions immerse players in an experience, akin to touring a trick-eye museum.

The terms and conditions you have to sign to participate in the dream therapy program 

Does a slice of cheese seem too small? Just bring it closer to yourself such that it is right in front of your field of vision. Now, release the piece. 

Now you’ve got yourself a two-storey-tall slice of cheese. Cool and definitely useful as an escape route!

As our favourite fictional character Thanos puts it, “Reality can be whatever I want.” This quote quite literally sums up the essence of Superliminal as there is always more to the game than meets the eye. 

Fun Factor: 7/10. Superliminal arguably has one of the best storylines out of this entire list. An experimental study gone wrong. Having to wander around unsettling, empty hallways while eerie music plays in the background. The thrill, the adrenaline rush is simply *chef’s kiss*. If you are thrill seeker or someone who just likes a good brain teaser, this game is made just for you. 

There is no doubt that Superliminal may get a bit trippy and disorientating, what with its complete dismantling of everything you know. But if you are up for it, it is certainly a rewarding experience. It tests your cognitive ability to see how quickly you can adapt and learn the rules of the new environment you are in — basically  an immersive escape room but requires deep thought and focus. Needless to say, the feat of escaping a room is surely something that evokes cathartic relief and satisfaction as you had managed to find meaning amidst chaos. 

Game mechanics: 10/10. Superliminal is an indisputably enthralling game to play, owing to its well-thought-through graphics and game interface. Everything that you see is intentionally placed at a certain location for you to progress in the game. From the engravings in the chess piece to the shadows cast on the walls, everything seems life-like. Superliminal excels in its  attention to the minute details and refines them to be as close to reassembling real life. Rest assured that it is not a horror game, though — it psychs you out.

Example of how the exit sign can be manipulated to press both the yellow buttons simultaneously so that the player can exit

Replayability: 7/10. Unlike the rigid one-answer-fits-all kind of escape room, Superliminal offers you many ways to circumvent the problem. While not as thrilling as the first time, it still has its value in replays as it offers exploration and may offer you new creative ways to escape the rooms.

Others (7/10)

Price: this may be the biggest drawback of the game as it comes at a hefty price, costing about $20 on Switch. While it may look like a lot to pay, keep in mind that Superliminal takes some time for you to complete. In order to increase the difficulty and time needed to play the game, Superliminal does not offer hints  and it is highly likely that you will get stuck on your first try. For both the experience and the good brain workout, it is definitely worth the cash. You are paying for the art, amazing graphics, sound and an overall inimitable experience. 

Battery life: Based on our experience playing the game, battery life would be the least of your problems, unless of course, you get stuck in a certain room for too long. 

Ease of controls: Easy enough to experiment and the controls work relatively well.

Total score: 31/40

Ranking: 1st

Paid Solo Games: Gris

Gris

By Mandy Wong (22S03C) and See Man Teng (22S03A)

In second  place we have Gris, a simple, colourful game where you play as the titular character Gris, a young girl who has fallen into a whimsical world. Similar to playing Sky, you will need to explore the five different areas of this world all while gaining new abilities, solving creative puzzles and overcoming harsh challenges. 

Game release cover, showing a close-up of Gris

Fun Factor: 9/10. Gris brings a gripping, compelling story about a young girl overcoming grief through a gorgeous, multi-coloured gameplay experience filled with symbolism that will leave players in awe. This is what places Gris as one of the top few adventure games when it comes to imparting real, intangible and important messages to players. 

Apart from the strong emotional aspect explored through a peaceful setting, Gris also offers thrilling moments where you swim for your life as a giant sea serpent attempts to devour you or struggle through dark-coloured crows that blow you away from your destination. These moments come in sudden, unexpected bursts — particularly since Gris is an exploratory game — that further enhances the gaming experience.

A large bulk of gameplay is focused on puzzle-solving, which is where Gris truly shines. Throughout the game, players need to collect stars to form paths and help Gris gain new abilities to navigate the world better. This will test your ability to think outside the box and your control over character actions in order to succeed. 

Restoring the colour red to the world
Gris sings

Game mechanics: 9/10. Gris’ accolades speak for themselves: the game has been nominated for over 20 awards and has won 7 of them. With breathtaking watercolour-painted landscapes changing area to area,, intricate artistic details, and a breathtaking orchestral score for its music, Gris is undeniably a fantastical delight for the senses, immersing the player into a whole new world. 

If there was  an imperfection we had to comment on, it would likely be the overly 2-dimensional aspect of Gris. Certainly, it is meant to be an animated work but this can become an obstacle, tripping up players with where exactly they can land on while jumping or walking. 

Gris holding her ground against a crow

Replayability: 4/10. Gris does attempt to encourage players to replay it: there is an Achievements section for players who wish to challenge themselves, and Momentos scattered throughout the worlds giving players a deeper understanding of Gris’ life. Its stunning visuals and music are also certainly a joy to return to — but after being blown away by the first playthrough of the game, the puzzles and storyline unfortunately become predictable and easy to comprehend, taking away a large part of the fun.

Others (5/10)

Price:  S$6.98 for iOS and S$16 on Steam

Battery life: Sound and visuals take a huge toll on battery life, lasting about [blank hours] when starting on a full charge.

Ease of controls: On MacOS and Steam the controls are generally easy to get used to, though it will be a little more complicated on touch-screen devices.

Total score: 27/40

Ranking: 2nd

Paid Solo Games: The Tiny Bang Story

The Tiny Bang Story

By Mandy Wong (22S03C) and See Man Teng (22S03A)

And last but not least is The Tiny Bang Story, a find-the-object puzzle game that involves players restoring a broken, tiny world after a “tiny bang” (really just a soccer ball popping) destroys it. It comprises five different stages where you search for objects to complete puzzles, before collecting jigsaw puzzle pieces which, when put together, will reassemble the tiny world.

Fun Factor: 7/10. Combining find-the-object elements with puzzle-solving minigames adds a new dimension to the many riddles this game offers you. While not the first game to do this, the puzzles are challenging and prove to be a good brain workout in your free time. There are also no repetitive puzzles — which mean greater variety in gameplay and more entertainment for players.

Restoring a painting in a minigame
Finding the relevant objects…

Little bugs that hover around the screen power up hints that you can use — but they only help you discover  objects. However, without hints, the in-depth puzzles can take up to 5 hours to solve.

Game mechanics: 7/10. The Tiny Bang Story features distinctive fairytale-esque, hand-drawn landscapes and five main music themes for each of the areas in addition to a mandatory jigsaw puzzle after every stage to restore the world. Each stage is also large, often spanning many areas, and filled with plenty of interactive elements that enrich puzzle-solving: solving one minigame could mean the key to the next object to find, and so on! 

Replayability: 2/10. Unfortunately, this is a department in which The Tiny Bang Story heavily lacks. Puzzles and finding the objects quickly become simpler after you have completed the game once, and while there is the option to replay all of its minigame puzzles, there is little appeal in doing so.

Others (3/10)

Price: US$4.99 on MacOS and Steam as well as on Nintendo Switch

Battery life: Playing for long hours definitely drains battery.

Ease of controls: At the start it may be difficult to comprehend how the various objects can be used to solve puzzles due to little guidance

Total score: 19/40

Ranking: 3rd

Social Games: Among Us

Among Us

By: Chloe Charity Pudjo (22S03G), Chung Thong En (22S06N), Lim Yong Le (22S03M), Phang Duncan (22A13B)

Our very first contender would be the game, the myth, the legend: “Among Us”


The hottest game of 2020, riding the waves of circuit breakers worldwide, the (in)famous Among Us is an indie social deduction game available for all personal digital devices. Even if you’ve never touched it, the huge amount of memes (mostly ironic) has certainly reached even the most technologically averse among us (pun intended). 

To avoid being slaughtered like Y5s at promos, the crewmates have to get rid of the impostors by voting them out – done during emergency meetings, or when a crewmate’s dead body is discovered and reported.

A game that brings out both your inner Sherlock Holmes and James Moriarty, Among Us is a crowd favourite that keeps you on your toes. Though fate, or rather an algorithm, is what determines your side of the moral compass, each role is guaranteed to bring an adrenaline rush – either from killing or “sussing”. However, we do admit that the role of the imposter is undoubtedly the most vied-for amongst players. 

Fun Factor: 7/10. The game can be quite intense and engaging as you participate in a battle of wits with your fellow players, “sus” each other out and keep yourself from being ejected from the rocketship. Clearly inspired by classic sci-fi horror films such as Alien, a large part of its initial fun factor comes from the suspense and tension players experience. 

However, it is generally agreed upon that impostors tend to have more fun than crewmates by simply having more options open to them (killing and sabotaging) outside of fake tasks. This is in addition to the thrill of having to defend themselves during meetings despite knowing that they are indeed guilty as charged. Crewmates on the other hand can only complete tasks, suss people out, and get mad over being wrongfully blamed. Given that there are higher odds of becoming a crewmate over becoming an imposter, the full experience of Among Us is far from guaranteed even after playing multiple rounds.

Game Mechanics: 8/10. It is easy to find yourself absorbed in the game at first, with the high tension and competitiveness inherent in the game being at the forefront of your mind and blocking the rest of the world out. Especially for those newer to the game, Among Us can be a thrilling experience with friends. 

Despite the rather modest graphics, the game’s visual design and sound effects  work well in increasing its immersiveness; e.g. the silence of the game is punctuated only by routine beeps and whirs of the map, lulling crewmates into a false sense of security so that any killing (accompanied by suitably blaring sound effects) will shock them even more. Again, the basic aesthetics are part of the game’s charm – easy to remember, iconic and all the more startling when one gets murdered by a harmless-looking cartoon spaceman like the one below.

Replayability:  7/10. Unlike skribblio and Houseparty UNO, Among Us is able to provide a greater variety of ways to play. From the little details like customising your own avatars  to changes in gameplay such as choosing different maps (all of which have different and unique tasks), Among Us offers compelling incentives to players to keep revisiting it. 

Ease of controls: 4/10.The game itself is simple enough to understand. However, to win is more difficult; not only are good social deduction skills crucial in helping you survive, but the tasks themselves also require some level of basic skills such as memorising patterns. While not impossible for newer players to win, experienced players who are familiar with the maps and tasks have a massive advantage over others.

Total score: 26/40

Ranking: 1st

Social Games: UNO

Uno – Houseparty Edition

By: Chloe Charity Pudjo (22S03G), Chung Thong En (22S06N), Lim Yong Le (22S03M), Phang Duncan (22A13B)

Up next, we have the crowd favourite,  “Uno – Houseparty Edition”.
Admittedly, this game is only here because everyone seems to be on Houseparty in this era of SMM-regulated socialisation.

With Houseparty, Uno is no longer limited to physical gatherings. Houseparty allows mutual friends to join in the game, a perfect pretext to help expand your social circle.  The objective of Uno is just to get rid of your hand of cards as fast as possible. Every player takes turns to place cards that match the previous cards by either colour, number, or action, but have to draw cards if they can’t match anything. 

Fun Factor:  5/10. While this game may provide some entertainment and perhaps a trip down memory lane, sessions can easily extend indefinitely, with the process of drawing card after card affording nothing but tedium.

Game Mechanics: 8/10. For one, the game is literally just digital UNO, and the original source material itself is easy to understand. The UI is also quite clean and clearly shows the player every move they can take, hence aiding Houseparty UNO in maintaining its physical counterpart’s simplicity of gameplay.

Replayability: 4/10. UNO can get a bit repetitive and stale due to the fact that there’s not much strategy involved, and the oftentimes drawn-out games don’t exactly leave you craving more. There’s also not as much of a sense of competition  unlike the other games on this list, with the only actual interaction between players being limited to sabotaging each other to draw cards. However, it is a good game to play while  chatting with your friends should you be looking for a fun, light-hearted activity. 

Ease of controls: 10/10.  Almost everyone would have tried their hand at UNO before, but even beginners should be able to learn the basic rules relatively easily. The interface that highlights only your possible moves also makes it literally impossible to mess up.

Total score: 27/40

Ranking: 2nd

Social Games: Skribbl.io

Skribbl.io

By Chloe Charity Pudjo (22S03G), Chung Thong En (22S06N), Lim Yong Le (22S03M), Phang Duncan (22A13B)

And finally, the classic Circuit Breaker game “Skribbl.io”. Love it or hate it, it does bring people together quite effectively. The go-to icebreaker game, albeit perhaps overplayed, it has been the star of many a Zoom session. Simple to understand, free to play – it’s the perfect stay-at-home game!  

In case you’ve been living under a rock, Skribbl.io is a web-based game which allows players to unleash their inner Picasso in the non-judgemental comfort of their friends. One player illustrates a given word to the best of their ability while others have to guess the word, with the fastest guessers attaining the most points. The more artistically-inclined players are also rewarded with a higher score if everyone successfully guesses the word. 

Yong Le’s drawing of a coconut tree

There is a general, family-friendly word list to pick from for those who want to play a quick, hassle-free game, while in private rooms, you can make a custom word list. Feel free to put whatever you want there; last we checked, there were no specific censors. Just remember to be considerate.

Fun factor: 5/10. The game is simple enough and can elicit some laughter, be it from being disgruntled” over drawings you find “abstract” which may be clear as day to others; or from sketching out incomprehensible inside-jokes, especially when custom words are involved. However, not everyone will find the process funny, and if the players  in the room are good artists, the game can be quite boring even for first-timers.

Game mechanics: 6/10. The game is quite simple, so the user interface (UI) is fittingly clear. On laptops or computers, everything runs quite smoothly (even if you’re playing on Windows Vista). However, on mobile, the functions bug out frequently, causing jarring lines that can ruin your perfect drawing whenever you switch colours – so computers, laptops or the like are recommended to play this game.

Replayability: 4/10.  While it’s an easy icebreaker game, it can get rather repetitive after multiple rounds. The words offered tend to be on the idiotproof side (e.g. ‘car’, ‘door’, ‘hand’…), causing the game to be rather bland. On the other hand, harder words can tend towards being too niche to guess (e.g. ‘Phineas and Ferb’), which is not fun either.

Ease of controls: 10/10.  It’s an easy game that can be picked up with no introduction, allowing you to pass off scribbles as a modern day Van Gogh. However, to be fair, it could be a bit difficult for some to produce decipherable drawings using a mouse. (The perfect excuse for your otherwise abstract interpretation of art.) 

Total score: 25/40

Ranking: 3rd

2 thoughts on “Rank It! Special Edition: Online Games”

  1. Choices was robbed. Also, why Tetris?? Idk there are more modern games out there I’m sure isn’t Genshin kind of big right now I honestly have no idea. Persona 5 strikers? This was a cool article idea but I guess I’d like to clarify how the games were chosen and whether it was just based on the authors’ whims…

  2. Agreed! Choices deserves better than this. The sheer superiority of Choices should catapult it to the top of the rankings, especially above Tetris of all games. Interesting article, but I will have to respectfully disagree with the upsettingly incorrect opinions expressed…

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