Video games to help with stress during Finals Week

The title screen from “Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls.”

Margaret Troup

While Finals Week is a stressful time, that doesn’t mean there isn’t any time to relax. In this week’s mini-series, Limelight will be giving recommendations on video games, movies and TV shows to help take a break from the stress of finals. This first entry focuses on video games.

“Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls”

This elaborately titled game is a direct sequel to the first “Danganronpa” game, “Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc.” For those who don’t want spoilers as to who survives the first game, it might be best to play that one first.

“Ultra Despair Girls” follows Komaru Naegi, the sister of the first game’s protagonist (Makoto Naegi), as Komaru must shoot her way out of the Monokuma-infested Towa City.

This game is a great stress-reliever during Finals Week due to its multifaceted nature. There are multiple animation styles in both 2D and 3D, as well as multiple modes of gameplay. While the main gameplay focuses on Komaru shooting enemies with her megaphone gun, the cartoony style and frequent cutscenes make this game feel more like an interactive TV show.

The return of well-known characters from the previous game as well as the introduction of fascinating new characters keep the players interested in the plot. This fast-paced, story-heavy shooter is perfect to take a quick break in between tests. Besides, sometimes one needs to just shoot something in a game to help with their stressors.

“Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls” is available on Steam and in stores.

“Life Is Strange”

This game follows Max Caulfield, an 18-year-old freshman at the elite art school Blackwell Academy. After discovering she has the ability to rewind time, she and her childhood friend/love interest Chloe Price must uncover the dark secrets lying within the Academy.

Since its initial release in 2015, “Life Is Strange” has spawned multiple spin-offs, such as “Before the Storm” (2017) and “The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit” (2018) as well as full-fledged sequels. “Life Is Strange 2” came out in episodes throughout 2018, and a third entry in the franchise, “Life Is Strange: True Colors,” is scheduled for release in September of this year.

The fun time-travel gameplay, likable characters and stylized animation makes “Life is Strange” one to keep coming back to. The episodic releases and choice-based gameplay also invite replays, as players can return to make different decisions with different outcomes. Playing this first entry in the series could also open up an interest in playing the other excellent games in the franchise.

The two to three hours per episode in the series is perfect for those who want to kill a few hours in between finals.

“Life is Strange” is available on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Windows.

“Animal Crossing” series

While it was tempting to list the most recent entry in the “Animal Crossing” series — “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” — any of the games within this franchise suffice for taking a break during finals.

Ever since the first game released in 2001, “Animal Crossing” has been renowned for its relaxing gameplay, cute characters and simple tasks to complete. While the characters in the first game are comically more rude to the player than in recent games, the original “Animal Crossing” still offers unique gameplay that not even “New Horizons” has. Mini games such as hide and seek with villagers, finding elusive perfect fruit and visiting nonplayable characters such as Brewster are all exclusive to earlier games than “New Horizons” in the series.

However, despite some of the missing gameplay elements, “New Horizons” is still a nearly perfect game overall, but it’s especially good for unwinding during Finals Week. Fishing, crafting furniture, enjoying the beautiful redesigns of buildings and growing friendships between villagers are all incredibly relaxing ways to take a break from finals.

“Animal Crossing: New Horizons” is available on the Nintendo Switch.