Boss Rush Bucket List Week 2: Relaxing and Retro Style Games

Welcome to week two of the Boss Rush Bucket List! The writing staff at Boss Rush has curated a list of the top 50 games released since 2014 that are a must-play. Five games surrounding a genre or theme will be featured every Friday at 10a.m. until September 3rd. The fifth game of each article will count down the top ten, so stick with us to find out which title is our number one recommended game!

This week, we take a deep breath and relax with these titles.

A Short Hike

By: Celeste

Developer: Adamgryu. Publisher: Adamgryu, Whippoorwill Limited

Release Date: 04/05/2019. Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC/Mac

A Short Hike in three words: We love exploring!

Have you ever wanted to be a cute little bird and explore an island? If so, this game was made for you. Soothing music, witty dialogue, fishing, and hidden treasures await you at Hawk Peak Provincial Park. Take your time walking, flying, and swimming around this peaceful hamlet while working your way to a heartfelt ending. 

Snack Pairing: This game is all about exploration, so prepare something that reminds you of camping trips. Perhaps your favorite campfire food, like s’mores or hot dogs, will make you feel as though you are enjoying the same vacation as the characters!


Stardew Valley

By: Block

Developer: ConcernedApe. Publisher: ConcernedApe, Chucklefish

Release Date: 02/26/2016. Platform(s): PC/Mac, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PS Vita, iOS, Android

Stardew Valley in three words: Time well spent.

Stardew Valley is the prime example of a labor of love. Developed by lone designer Eric Barone over a period of five years, the game seeks to combine the very best elements of similar casual games such as Harvest Moon, Minecraft, and Animal Crossing, and succeeds splendidly. Players are given an extraordinary amount of freedom in how they choose to explore the quaint settlement of Pelican Town; do they tend to the fields and focus on making a vast harvest, or do they explore the mines, rife with dangerous creatures? Perhaps they hone their fishing skills to bring the greatest catch, or maybe aim to excel in all areas to maximize profits across the board. Stardew Valley allows you to do just that, and so much more.

Snack Pairing: Crab cakes may satiate your hunger and appeal to the fisherman and baker alike, while banana pudding, one of the newest recipes made available in the latest free patch, is certain to be enjoyed by most all.


Rare Replay

By: Charlie

Developer: Rare. Publisher: Microsoft

Release Date: 08/04/2015. Platform(s): Xbox One

Rare Replay in three words: Best Compilation Ever!

Rare Replay is an all-you-can-eat buffet of some of Rare’s best games. Go through one of the best compilations in gaming history, spanning from the developer’s humble beginnings up until Sea of Thieves

Play 30 classic games from Rare’s 30 year history, including their Nintendo 64 classics like Perfect Dark, Conker’s Bad Fur Day and the Banjo games as well as some of their earlier arcade games you’ve never heard of. If there ever has been an essential collection of a developer’s games, this is it.  

Snack pairing: The classic chips and soda, to play classic games. 

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury

By: David

Developer:  Nintendo, Nintendo Entertainment Analysis and Development, Nintendo Entertainment Planning and Development. Publisher:  Nintendo

Release Date:  02/12/2021. Platform(s):  Nintendo Switch

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury in three wordsJoyous. Nostalgic. Clever.

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury is a port from the Wii U with added content in the form of Bowser’s Fury, a cat-themed open world that mixes the style of Super Mario Odyssey and Super Mario 3D World. Bowser’s Fury is solid, but it’s the port of Super Mario 3D World that makes this game magical. It has all the brilliance of level design from the Wii U version, but with fantastic online multiplayer added. Racing through levels with friends is a joyous experience like none other. For those that didn’t play the original, Super Mario 3D World gives all the nostalgia of traditional 2D Mario games, while somehow expanding it to a three dimensional environment. Essentially, it’s like side-scrolling action, except that you can explore a limited depth to the level as well rather than exclusively left-right traversal. For many fans of the series, Super Mario 3D World is at the top of their Best Mario Ever list. 

Snack Pairing: Oven-roasted, spicy artichoke (fireflowers!), along with some marinated and sautéed mushrooms–it’s Mario. If not now, when? 

Boss Rush Bucket List Top Ten: #9 Animal Crossing: New Horizons

By: David

Developer:  Nintendo, Nintendo Entertainment Planning and Development. Publisher:  Nintendo

Release Date:  03/20/2020. Platform(s):  Nintendo Switch

Animal Crossing: New Horizons in three words: Paradise. Adorable. Addicting.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons was the game of 2020, even if it didn’t officially win that award.  The game sold over 31 million copies in its first year in large part because the lovable build-your-private-island experience rescued so many from the mental health crisis of the pandemic. The portability of the Switch and the solid online gameplay experience allowed friends and family from around the world to connect during a time most were shut inside.

Beyond the community it fostered, the gameplay is addicting. Like many, I spent more hours than I’d care to admit fishing, catching bugs, and trying to complete my museum. Whether you are a completionist, into fashion, gardening, parties, or crafting, Animal Crossing: New Horizons has something for you to love. In terms of simulation games, AC:NH is both accessible and enjoyable. Decades from now, people will still talk about what this game meant to them during an impossibly difficult time in life. Don’t miss out on this experience!

Snack Pairing: Get your charcuterie table ready because DIY snacks are on point! Collect your favorite cheeses, crackers, dried fruit, and cured meats, because there are Nook Miles to be had for crafting a snack the whole island will be talking about!

Honorable Mentions: Tetris 99 (2019),Clubhouse Games 51 Worldwide Classics (2020), Pac-Man 99 (2021)

This wraps up week two of the Boss Rush Bucket List. Next Friday (7/16), we brave the best horror games around. Remember, there are hundreds of amazing games that have been released since 2014, and this is just our personal, curated recommendations list.

Miss last week? Check out five games under Action/Adventure, Part 1.

If you see a game that is not listed, we would love to hear from you. Please share your thoughts on these nominated games on our friendly Discord channel!

This week’s contributors: Celeste, Block, David, Charlie

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