Winter is now in full swing and we are deep into the most wonderful time of the year. With time off from work and school, icy cold weather to keep you inside, and the potential to receive brand new games from loved ones, the festive season is undoubtedly the best time of the year for gaming.
Whether you want to play a couch co-op game with family and friends, go on a single-player jaunt through a snow-smothered paradise, or earn special season-exclusive items in your favourite title, there are numerous wintery games to sink your teeth into this Christmas.
As we expect that you’ll need a break from heated first-person shooters, intense story-driven RPGs, and the leftover spooky games you were playing during Halloween, we’ve compiled a list of the best mobile and Switch Christmas games for you to try out. Be sure to bundle up, get the fire going, and grab a delicious hot chocolate or mulled wine so you can feel fully immersed in the winter wonderlands we have featured below.
Here are the best Christmas and Winter themed games:
Mario 64 is included in Super Mario 3D All-Stars on the Nintendo Switch, and includes the iconic Cool, Cool Mountain area. This wintery level features quests that see you racing with a penguin, reassembling a snowman, and reuniting a baby penguin with its mother.
Cool, Cool Mountain has earned meme-status in recent years, as fans of the game admitted to dropping the baby penguin off a cliff rather than return it safely to its mother. We don’t recommend this unless you want to get on the naughty list this year.
Dress up as Santa Claus, build a snowman, and collect sparkly ornaments with the Animal Crossing: New Horizons Christmas event. Once you have downloaded the update, your island paradise will be covered in snow, and your villagers will be full of festive spirit.
On Christmas eve, Jingle the reindeer will visit your island at 18:00 local time to provide you with presents to deliver to your villagers, so don your Santa costume and spread some Christmas cheer to all your animal friends.
Genshin Impact version 1.2 includes the brand new snow-covered realm of Dragonspine, and releases just in time for Christmas on December 23. Along with the frosty landscape, a new wintery game mechanic called the Sheer Cold bar is also on its way. This bar slowly fills while you explore the icy tundra, to then slowly deplete your health until you get somewhere warmer.
Over Christmas you will also be able to complete a seasonal event in Dragonspine that will allow you to fight alongside a brand new character, and net a mysterious new weapon.
Season of Dreams is the upcoming eighth seasonal event in Sky: Children of the Light. The event is set to start from January 2021, and sees players traverse snowy areas to gather seasonal spirits.
The gorgeous teaser trailer for this event shows a child skating on an ice rink surrounded by snow. Although Christmas may be over when this event begins, you’ll still feel the need to grab a hot drink and get cosy before you start on this icy adventure.
You can take a pacifist, neutral, or genocide route in Undertale, and I’m a strong believer that Santa uses the decisions you make while playing to decide whether you get on the naughty list or not. That being said, the festive village of Snowdin will feel very different depending on how you choose to play the game, but still gives off Christmas vibes even if you have chosen the genocide route.
You can find Papyrus and Sans’s house in Snowdin, the property is permanently decorated with a wreath and fairy lights which will have you feeling festive just walking by. As long as you befriend Papyrus during your playthrough, you’ll be able to venture inside, to spend some quality time with the character over Christmas.
Donkey Kong Island has been frozen by the evil Snowmads. Team up with all your favourite Kongs for some good wholesome couch co-op fun that can be enjoyed with the whole family. Tropical Freeze is full of penguin enemies, so, if you are one of those Mario 64 players that has a vendetta against the flightless bird, we recommend taking your anger out on them in this title.
The original Final Fantasy VII may not be the first game that comes to mind when you think of festive fun, but it has an amazing wintery area with a pretty fun snowboarding mini-game. The mini-game sees Cloud hopping on a snowboard to collect balloons while dodging snow-chocobos and ice-crusted trees. Sadly, you don’t get rewarded for snowboarding with style, but nevertheless, you’ll still want to play it over and over again.
When you’ve finished snowboarding, you’ll find yourself in the Great Glacier, a huge snowfield where you’re bound to get lost at least once. A thorough search of the area will get you a powerful summon after you defeat an evil snow witch.
You’ll be dashing through the snow for hours in Pokémon Sword and Shield: The Crown Tundra. This new expansion brought back a whole slew of Ice-type Pokémon from previous titles, and lets you explore a snowy tundra full of life.
The Crown Tundra also lets you bring a Pokémon out of its ball to follow you around the map. So, to really get in the spirit, we recommend pulling out your favourite Ice-type to journey with you over Christmas.
The Fortress of Festivity level in Pikmin 3: Deluxe has players manoeuvring around Christmas presents, sliding down a beautifully decorated tree, and using Pikmin to steal fruit off of a delicious festive cake.
As well as the Fortress of Festivity, Pikmin 3: Deluxe also has a couple of snow levels, so you won’t be stuck for things to do on Christmas day if Pikmin is your game of choice.
An honourable mention goes to my personal favourite Christmas level of all time, Freezeezy Peak. We have allowed Banjo-Kazooie to enter our list due to the game featuring on Game Pass, and because it should really be on everyone’s list.
Freezeezy Peak sees Banjo and Kazooie compete in an epic sled race against Boggy the Polar Bear, protect some adorable Twinklies from the evil Twinkly Munchers, and turn into a pudgy walrus in order to acquire musical notes.