When you drop hundreds on a brand new console, for yourself or for your kids, it̵
However, there is one thing we want to note before diving in. Many free-to-play games have in-game purchases to support themselves. These “microtransactions,” as they are commonly referred to, can range from something as simple as cosmetic skins to items that actively affect gameplay. We made sure to narrow our selection so as not to include games with particularly bad microtransactions. For almost every game here, microtransactions are limited to purely cosmetic items, but we’ll definitely notice the games that don’t adhere to that.
Since most of these games are targeted online, we’ll be sure to mention which games support cross-play between different platforms.
Fortnite (PS5 / Xbox / Switch)
You’ve probably heard of it Fortnite, but it is not as big as it is for nothing. Aside from the popular Battle Royale genre, you’ll participate in 100-player competitions where you have to fight to be the last player (or team), while picking up various weapons and items on the map. The gameplay is easy to pick up but still has plenty of room for improvement for dedicated players, especially with the unique building system that allows you to build structures instantly. And with a variety of events and updates happening throughout the year, there’s always something new to discover.
Fortnite is available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X / S, and Nintendo Switch with cross-play support across all platforms.
Rocket League (PS5 / Xbox / Switch)
Rocket League takes the sport of football, replaces the people with rocket-powered cars, and drives you crazy. There are few limits to what you can achieve Rocket League, and the few out there are usually due to your own skill. You can spend hundreds of hours fine-tuning your mechanics so you can pull crazy tricks to win competitive matches, or just play every once in a while to have some quick fun. Rocket League works in both conditions, which is why it has remained so popular for the past five years.
Rocket League is available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X / S, and the Nintendo Switch with cross-play support across all platforms.
Paladins (PS5 / Xbox / Switch)
Choose from one of 46 unique characters in this action-packed team shooter. Each character has their own skills and playstyles, and you can amplify them mid-match with different maps for an extra level of strategy. If this sounds familiar, it’s probably because Paladins takes on some tough clues from the popular game Overwatch, but the unique characters and mechanics make it a new experience even if it has a similar gameplay.
Paladins is available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X / S, and the Nintendo Switch with cross-play support across all platforms.
Brawlhalla (PS5 / Xbox / Switch)
Do you have fond memories of the Smash Brothers series? Good, Brawlhalla takes that gameplay formula, adds some unique mechanics, and has a good online game to boot. Whether you’re playing against friends for fun or trying to climb the competitive ladder, Brawlhalla will surely give you a lot of chaotic battles. There are 51 characters to play, including multiple crossover characters such as Lara Croft, Shovel Knight and Finn from Adventure Time.
Brawlhalla is available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X / S, and the Nintendo Switch with cross-play support across all platforms.
Apex Legends (PS5 / Xbox / Switch)
If you prefer a more realistic battle royale, Apex Legends is your best bet. Not only are the firing mechanisms more realistic and the tone more grounded than anything Fortnite, but the game puts a huge emphasis on your overall movement. Between rabbit hopping and wall-kicks, there’s plenty to master here, and the vast roster of unique characters just aids that. And of course, if you can grab a friend or two to join your team (games are limited to teams of two or three players each), that just makes the matches even more fun.
Apex Legends is available on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X / S with cross-play between the two. A Switch release is planned, but no specific release date has been announced yet.
Spelling break (PS5 / Xbox / Switch)
The last battle royale on this list, Spelling break introduces some interesting ideas for the genre. Instead of your default weapons, your characters equip different gloves that can harness elemental powers. You can cause earthquakes or launch massive fireballs to deal damage, but it goes deeper than that. You can equip two gloves at once to create unique elemental combinations, such as toxic fire or electrified water. If you like the battle royale genre, Spelling break is worth checking out for the unique ideas it brings to the table alone.
Spelling break is available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X / S, and the Nintendo Switch with cross-play support across all platforms.
Undaunted (PS5 / Xbox / Switch)
Undaunted takes some clear inspiration from the Monster Hunter series, but hey, there are definitely worse places to get ideas from. While the main gameplay loop of fighting monsters, crafting new gear and then battling more difficult variants of the same monsters is here and largely unchanged, Undaunted still has lots of unique ideas in store. Even if you are a veteran of the Monster Hunter series, this is still worth checking out. And if you’ve never been one of the Monster Hunter games, this is a perfect introduction to the genre.
Undaunted is available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X / S, and the Nintendo Switch with cross-play support across all platforms.
Astro’s playroom (PS5)
This 3D platformer is a love letter to previous Sony systems, but even if you don’t know about the company’s past, there’s still plenty to do here. Astro’s playroom is a free game included with and exclusive to the PlayStation 5. It uses several features of the new DualSense controller to demonstrate its capabilities, including gyro controls, haptic feedback and the touchpad. There is enough standard platform to enjoy, and everywhere, Astro’s playroom is a short and sweet endeavor worth checking out if you are a fan of the genre.
Warframe (PS5 / Xbox / Switch)
Warframe is an MMO, but it doesn’t fall into many of the same pitfalls as other games in the genre. It’s free to play, it has combat mechanics involved, and the massive open world is a sight to behold. The alien worlds you explore are vast and detailed with tons of quests and events to take part in. And having some friends to play with just makes things better.
Warframe is available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X / S and Switch. Cross play is currently not supported.
Genshin Impact (PS5 / switch)
Explore the magical world of Teyvat in this grand open-world RPG. The world is full of unique things to find and many items to collect. The different characters each have unique perks and abilities, and there are many more that you can unlock as you level up. If you have played The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, you will certainly notice some similarities in movement and how the world is designed, but Genshin Impact still offers plenty of unique ideas, such as full co-op multiplayer.
Fair warning though, Genshin Consequence has rather blatant microtransactions compared to other games here. While you can play for free, many characters and certain unlockables are behind loot crates.
Genshin Impact is available on PlayStation 5 with a Switch release planned ahead.
World of tanks (PS5 / Xbox)
World of tanks is a game where you control tanks – surprisingly not? The tanks feel as powerful and heavy as you’d expect, and while that means there’s a bit of a learning curve, it makes it so much more satisfying when you finally get the hang of the controls. And the well-detailed maps only make the gameplay better with lots of buildings and structures to plow through while destroying your opponents.
Microtransactions are present here and go beyond purely cosmetic options. You can pay to upgrade your tanks in this game to give yourself an edge over your opponents and get through the game’s level system faster.
World of tanks is available on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X / S with cross-play between both platforms.