Winter is now in full swing and we’re 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. But what are the best Christmas games?
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 favorite title, there are numerous wintery games to sink your teeth into this Christmas.
Here are the best Christmas games and winter games.
Mario 64 – Switch
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 returning it safely to its mother. We don’t recommend this unless you want to get on the naughty list this year.
Genshin Impact – mobile
In December 2020, Genshin Impact version 1.2 introduced the snow-covered realm of Dragonspine, and now, there are loads of wintery quests. While you take in the frosty landscape, make sure you keep an eye on your sheer cold bar. This bar slowly fills while you explore the icy tundra, to then slowly deplete your health until you get somewhere warmer.
Undertale – Switch
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’ve 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. If you’re looking for similar titles, check out our lists of games like Undertale and the best visual novel games.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze – Switch
The evil Snowmads have frozen Donkey Kong Island. 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’re 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.
Final Fantasy VII – mobile and Switch
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-Chocobo 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 finish 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. Take a look at our list of the best Final Fantasy games for more RPGs to play this holiday season.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Switch
In Animal Crossing, winter starts on November 26 and ends on February 24. During this time you can pick up some attire for the cold weather, take part in Christmas events with your villagers, and maybe even encounter a couple of snow folk around your island.
Pokémon Sword and Shield: The Crown Tundra – Switch
You’ll be dashing through the snow for hours in Pokémon Sword and Shield: The Crown Tundra. This 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. With generation 9 just hitting the scene, you may want to take a look at our Pokédex, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet exclusives guide, and Pokémon Scarlet and Violet starters.
Pikmin 3: Deluxe – Switch
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.
Banjo-Kazooie – Switch
My personal favourite Christmas level of all time is Freezeezy Peak from Banjo-Kazooie. This level 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.