The best games of 2019 (so far)

UPDATED: Our list gets larger with Super Mario Maker 2 and more

It's early in the year, but 2019 has already been pretty awesome for new game releases. How awesome, you ask? Awesome enough for us to roll out a list of picks… in the spring.

Granted, we'll be updating this list continually throughout this year, but with such an incredible slate of releases, we couldn't imagine waiting any later into the year to start compiling our favourites.

Whether it's a long-awaited sequel, fresh twist on a familiar theme, or something new and delightfully unfamiliar, we've got you covered here. Read on, find something fresh and exciting to check out, and then repeat the process – we'll have more games listed before long.

Resident Evil 2

Capcom has had a long-standing habit of putting its classic Resident Evil games on just about any platform imaginable, but this year's Resident Evil 2 is no mere port or remaster: it's a completely rebuilt version of the PSone classic and an absolutely brilliant one at that.

Resident Evil 2 finds the middle ground between the original game and the more modern, post-RE4 approach to survival horror, packing in welcome gameplay tweaks and fantastic graphics as you command Leon and Claire through one of the series' best quests. It's a remake, sure, but it's also the finest Resident Evil experience to date.

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice hails from the same developer as Dark Souls and Bloodborne, which sets expectations both warranted and unwarranted alike. For example, Sekiro is fiendishly difficult just like those other games, and you shouldn't bother if the idea of playing and replaying a battle over and over (and over) again makes you preemptively want to chuck a controller at something.

On the other hand, Sekiro isn't just Dark Souls with ninja trappings: you'll need to unlearn some Souls habits to thrive in this game, as the sword-swinging combat feels completely different and requires a masterful touch. As our reviewer admitted, "I'm hopelessly addicted, despite dying hundreds of times." Good luck only dying twice in this one.

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Super Mario Maker 2

Nintendo has made some pretty wonderful Super Mario levels over the years – but if you think you can top Ninty itself, then Super Mario Maker 2 is an essential toolkit.

It's not all that different from the brilliant Wii U original, but it adds content from Super Mario 3D World along with multiplayer fun… and since people actually care about the Switch (sorry), there's likely to be a lot more user-created levels available to keep you playing for ages. This one's a must-have for Switch owners, even if you're into the playing more than the creating.

Platform: Switch

Apex Legends

Like large-scale battle royale games, but bored of PUBG and exhausted by the ongoing phenomenon that is Fortnite? We hear you – and so did EA, which unleashed the super-fun Apex Legends on an unsuspecting gaming populace.

Spun off from the Titanfall franchise (and missing the mechs), Apex Legends puts a pure emphasis on squad combat, as your three-player team must prevail against 19 other squads at the end of each battle. With cool special abilities, a great map, and strong tweaks on the battle royale formula (like respawning), it's the hottest free-to-play obsession of 2019 so far.

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Kingdom Hearts 3

More than a decade of waiting for anything seems sure to result in disappointment, but Kingdom Hearts 3 amazingly (and thankfully) bucks that trend. It's been ages since the last core entry, but the latest (and perhaps final) Disney-meets-Final-Fantasy role-player is a blast.

As ever, the epic quest skillfully blends Disney worlds with original characters and some FF faves, bringing in the likes of Toy Story and Frozen for the series' most gorgeous and awe-inspiring entry to date. Look, you'll be pretty lost if you start with this game… but you might be pretty lost anyway, given the incomprehensible storyline. So why wait?

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Mortal Kombat 11

At its core, Mortal Kombat 11 is still the gory, gratuitous game that's been entertaining fighting fans for more than a quarter-century. However, NetherRealm has been steadily adding more depth and entertaining story hooks over the last few entries, and MK11 is the best yet.

The kombat itself feels more refined and complex while still being pretty accessible, while the story mode is a lot of fun and the game looks fabulous throughout. The grind for cosmetics and customization stuff can be exhausting, but it doesn't take away from the great core experience here.

Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch

Tetris 99

Apex Legends isn't the only hot battle royale game out in 2019. There's also… Tetris? It's true! No, Tetris 99 doesn't add guns or open-world play to the beloved puzzle legend, but it does borrow the concept of a mass pool of players all fighting to be the last one still playing.

Here, up to 99 players will battle it out, completing lines and sending their garbage blocks over to other online players. If you can survive the speedy onslaught, then maybe you can secure a victory. Not only is this inventive battle royale a perfect fit for the Switch, but it's also free for Switch Online members. That's fantastic.

Platforms: Switch

Devil May Cry 5

Capcom's recent resurgence thankfully goes well beyond the Resident Evil series, and Devil May Cry 5 gets a fresh injection of style and attitude as the publisher shifts away from the DmC reboot timeline and brings back the original franchise approach.

As ever, it's all about hacking, slashing, and shooting as you slay loads of foul demonic foes. Not only is it ultra-gorgeous, but the combat is thrilling and brand new additional playable character V adds a unique twist with his demon-summoning ways. You can shut your mind off a bit to enjoy this one, and that's no complaint.

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Yoshi's Crafted World

Taking a cue from the likes of LittleBigPlanet and Tearaway, Yoshi's Crafted World has a charming arts-and-crafts aesthetic that makes the game look like it's been constructed out of a heap of real-life cardboard and construction paper. It's immensely joyful.

The side-scrolling platformer itself is a little too easy to be memorable enough to land in Nintendo's pantheon of all-time greats, but this is definitely one of the best Switch exclusives in recent memory – and you can bring in a local pal for co-op play, no less.

Platforms: Switch

Metro Exodus

Just as the previous Metro games were largely set below the surface in subway tunnels, the cult-favourite series had lingered just outside of the mainstream. But with Metro Exodus, the atmospheric shooter series has broken free of its constraints in more ways than one.

Opening up the post-apocalyptic wilds of Russia gives Metro some fresh life, and it all looks pretty incredible too. And with Fallout losing steam of late, this is a much more compelling world filled with intriguing characters and a rich morality system.

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Blood & Truth

The PlayStation VR hasn't seen quite as much attention lately, but Blood & Truth is a proper blockbuster action game that you'll only find on Sony's console VR headset.

This thrilling shooter is "one of the most visually impressive games in VR," as our reviewer wrote, sending you blasting through on-rails segments while occasionally pausing to pick a lock or soak in a story segment. Immersion is the key draw here, and it's the kind of experience that only VR can deliver.

Platform: PlayStation VR

Tom Clancy's The Division 2

Tom Clancy's The Division 2 takes one of 2016's best games and gives it a nice change of scenery, shifting its post-outbreak setting from New York City to the American capitol, Washington D.C. And yes, things are pretty bad there too.

Well, only within the fictional world – actually playing The Division 2 is often a blast, with a well-honed core loop of shooting and looting backed by rather in-depth role-playing underpinnings. It can be repetitive, but exploring the world is a treat, and co-op play and Dark Zone are a violent delight.

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Ape Out

Ape Out is easily the least-prominent game on the list as of this writing, but that's all the more reason why we need to put it on your radar – and why you need to give it a look.

Devolver Digital's game is a bit like Hotline Miami at a glance, with a top-down view of some seriously fast, seriously violent antics… only this time, you'll command a primate who needs to break out of a bad situation, and your every smash and bash is punctuated by frenetic jazz wailings. Yes, that is as tremendous as it sounds, and why this sleeper indie deserves a place alongside industry giants.

Platforms: Switch, PC