It’s the evening of Christmas Day. You’ve got a whole bunch of your family around. Your granddad has commented on how “well” you’re looking (while also inferring that you’ve put on a bit of weight). The kids have already broken one of their gifts off Santa. Nana has said something… problematic. Everyone is finally coming around from the food coma they put themselves in a few hours earlier. You get the picture. The Queen’s had her say so It’s time for a spot of entertainment. You’ve played Buzz so many times, everyone now knows all the questions off by heart, the Wii-motes are missing so no virtual bowling this year and you’re hesitant to get the board games out because you don’t want a repeat of ‘The Great Monopoly Argument of 2016’. What do you do?
Never fear. Here’s Finger Guns to the rescue with 11 party video games that released this year that are guaran-damn-teed to liven up any Christmas gathering.
1). Let’s Sing 2019
After a few glasses of sherry and some Whisky trifle, someone invariably starts singing at every Christmas party. Why not boot up Let’s Sing 2019, put a mobile phone in front of them and see if they can beat your high score on Livin’ on a Prayer. There’s a little bit of everything in this game from golden oldies to modern day bangers so even Nana and edgy cousin Steven who won’t listen to anything not in the charts and thinks he can breakdance will find something to belt out here. With up to 4 player co-op and competitive modes, Let’s Sing 2019 is available now on PS4, Switch and even the Wii.
My kids and I have not had as much fun with a 4 player local multiplayer game like Treadnauts since the heady heydays of Worms. It’s a simple premise – you each play as a tank that can walk on most surfaces (including the roof), can jump (or fly, if you enable it) and can propel yourself through the air like an iron trapeze artist by firing off your turret while airborne. The idea is to blast each other until there’s a winner, either winning points by defeating others or surviving. With a myriad of stages, each presenting their own challenge, Treadnauts is hours of fun for those accustomed to games and controllers (but might be a little too fiddly for nan and granddad). Treadnauts is available now on PS4, Xbox One, Switch and PC.
3). Big Crown: Showdown
The latest release on this list, Big Crown: Showdown released last Friday and has already entered heavy rotation in our home. I described this as “a simple premise, masterfully executed” in my review, getting a lot of fun out of a relatively straightforward concept. Played by between 2 and 4 players, you play as colourful Knights that have to race around a track, avoiding traps and pitfalls while attempting to knock your opponents off and avoid their own attacks. It’s simple to play and very fast family friendly fun that even my 3 year old has mastered. Get it now on PS4, Xbox One, Switch and PC.
4). Knowledge is Power: Decades
Short on controllers? Don’t fret. Knowledge is Power: Decades, the time based trivia sequel, is a PS4 Play Link title which means you can use your mobile phone to play along with the game on console. One for the older kids and adults to play, Decades takes the simple premise of the original Knowledge is Power game and groups the questions by decade so that everyone from 18 to 80 will have a round which is their speciality. If you’re a fan of Buzz or Pub Quizzes, this one’s for you.
Another of those handy Play Link titles for PS4 that allow you to play with mobiles, Word Hunters is a party game for those who like an intellectual challenge (I’m looking at you Uncle Jimmy, the guys who has memorised the QI book). A collection of word based puzzles like anagrams, typo/fake word spotting and word wheels (but not in a wheel), Word Hunters tasks each player (from 2 to 4) to complete their own word by travelling around the world with Amy the Aviator and competing in mini-games. Just don’t let your friend near your phone as Rossko found out at EGX.
6). Super Smash Bros Ultimate
As entertaining as competitive Smash Bros is, this Switch exclusive is at its most enjoyable when it’s a party game played by people who’re only ‘alright’ at it (because 90% of the game isn’t banned from use). Getting a bunch of mates around to pit Snake against Pacman, Mario and Peach is about as pure and as enjoyable as any party game released this year. I bet even great uncle Andy could button mash his way to a victory or 2.
7). FIFA 19
Is FIFA a party game? Well, when you celebrate goals as flamboyantly as my family do, so much so that they might as well be playing Just Dance instead of a football game, then yeah, it’s a party game. The classic “Winner stays on” is always a party favourite but eventually all the old rivalries boil to the surface too. Stoke (my mum) vs Derby (father in law). Man Utd (Rossko) vs Liverpool (Paul). Chesterfield (Cousin Matt) Vs Mansfield (Cousin Scott). England (my dad) Vs Wales (my granddad). Just be careful you don’t end up with thrown pretzels and an argument on your hands.
8). Overcooked 2
Now with free festive DLC, Overcooked 2 is one of the single best party games of 2018 – fact. Building on everything that made the first so frantically fun, this sequel is 1-4 player co-operative loveliness. For the uninitiated, Overcooked 2 challenges players to cook and prepare a variety of meals against a timer, all the while navigating Kitchens that are shifting, moving or otherwise doing everything they can to set themselves on fire. Want to know more? Here’s Rossko’s review.
9). Jackbox Party Pack 5
Is it even a party if you’ve not played a Jackbox game? Featuring a new version of the old and impossible favourite – You Don’t Know Jack: Full Stream – a game about an omnipresent cat that asks players to complete hypothetical situations which are then judged by the rest of the party – Split the Room – robotic rap battles – Mad Verse City – a game about pitching insane ideas to solve everyday problems – Patently Stupid – and a game about slingshotting aliens at one another – Zeeple Dome – Party Pack 5 is packed full of party goodness for up to 8 players (using mobiles too).
10). Super Mario Party
The Mario Party franchise finally returned to relevance with its latest entry after 2… shall we say lacklustre?…entries. The game returns to the formula we know and love from the 90’s with Mario and Co navigating a board in search of stars while competing in mini-games. True to form, Super Mario Party is fun for all ages, playable by anyone from 3 to 103 and is a must for any Nintendo loving family this Christmas.
PUT THE KIDS TO BED BEFORE PLAYING AWKWARD. I repeat. PUT THE KIDS TO BED BEFORE PLAYING AWKWARD. Awkward is often described as the “virtual version of Cards against Humanity”, not because of any play type similarities but because it gives you some grim yet hilarious ethical quandaries to mull over. The game is designed to test how well you know the other players by asking difficult questions and then revealing the answer for all to see. This game is known to (and is apparently designed to) cause arguments – but what’s Christmas without a barney or 2?
There you have it. 11 Party games to Liven Up Your Christmas Soirée, all released in the year of our lord, 2018. Got other suggestions? Hit the comments section and sound off.