After Diner Special
The holiday season is upon us, and hopefully, this will give you an opportunity to meet up with some loved ones to enjoy some wholesome gaming. For this Christmas article, I decided to look back at the party games I reviewed this year and select some suggestions for the game night for the holiday period.
Sadly, not all of us will be able to meet up in person, so I’ve also included a few online suggestions. Even if you’re far away, be sure to let your friends and family know you’re thinking of them. Although, if you can spare some time to play games, then that’s pretty awesome too. Some of my favourite Christmas memories are shared with family members, but that’s an article for another time. So sit back and consider adding a few of these to your wishlist. All the games below are available on Nintendo Switch.
Why go on an epic dungeon-crawling adventure when you can just hang back in your shop and live out your fantasies as a local blacksmith. Merek’s Market is about filling various customer orders before the store closes. Very British medieval voice acting is also a feature that will undoubtedly get the odd chuckle from some folk. Craft the usual blacksmith wares like swords, armour and belts. But also do a little potion brewing or furniture assembly.
Don’t forget to grab your cat now and then to keep the dreaded rats at bay. Best of all, this chaotic crafting can be enjoyed with up to 4 people. The local co-op multiplayer acts as a separate campaign from the main story, which is a shame. But expect to have a lot of fun shouting at fellow players trying to fulfil your order. This game will work best for players with some familiarity with gaming and may not suit those totally new to holding joy cons. However, if that is the case, some loved ones may prefer to watch the silliness than play it.
Our review for Merek’s Market is here.
Rescue Party Live!
Probably my favourite party game on the list this year. This can be played locally or online, and the entire campaign is available in co-op. The pitch with this one is to think Overcooked but you’re emergency service people. At each level, you need to perform a variety of tasks in order to help people in need. Place ladders in order to reach distressed civilians. Then bandage them up, apply a splint, throw them on your back and carry them to the ambulance or helicopter. You need to deal with this stress all while disasters are occurring like fires, floods and avalanches.
The game was far from perfect. Bugs and glitches kind of got in the way of the experience, but I thoroughly enjoyed playing this earlier in the year with my wife and the experience kind of stuck with me all through the year. The appeal for the game night here is the tutorial does allow everyone to join in on the game to get used to the controls. Though I will admit, more casual gamers may find it a hard game to pick up and play initially. Still, full cooperation is not needed to succeed in a level, even if players just want to run around pretending to help. If the addictive gameplay doesn’t win you over, maybe the cute chibi graphics will.
Move or Die Unleashed
Probably the best pick for pick-up and play and short gaming sessions. Move or Die doesn’t ask a lot from the players, even those who may have never touched a game in their lives. Rules are pretty simple; move… or you explode. Added to this, you have extra game modes like passing a bomb, chainsaw battles, and many other wacky mini-games.
Games only last 20 seconds, so you can even slip in a quick game while waiting for food to cook. This can also be enjoyed locally or online if you are short of players; you can fill slots with AI bots. Fast jump-in and out fun suitable for all skill levels. Keep in mind this game is competitive only with no co-op unless you form teams.
The review for the game is here.
How about something a bit more outdoors? Lumberhill has you and your fellow gamers working together to perform the typical lumberjack tasks like chopping down trees and herding sheep into the pen. Play across a variety of environments and even time periods. On some levels, you’re herding pandas and on later ones, you’re running away from dinosaurs.
The game also features some rather amusing designs, like getting launched into the sky by a tree suddenly sprouting from its chopped-down stub. A feature that’s also charming is when you finish a level, you pose for a picture, allowing you and your crew to come up with something truly silly. Lumberhill can be played locally or online and features both competitive and co-op modes. For this one, a basic understanding of gaming controls will help get the most out of it. Whether you want to work together or against each other, there is something to like here.
The review for Lumberhill is here.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredders Revenge
Maybe folk just want to beat some baddies up. TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge is a brilliant brawler that can be enjoyed whether you’re familiar with the 80s cartoon or not. But if you do love the cartoon and have experience with previous video games, you’ll love the references in this. Work together through the campaign to defeat the evil Shredder.
This is probably a great one to stick on after a nice meal once everyone has settled since you’ll likely be seated for a while. You can enjoy the game just as a button masher or use the game’s deeper controls. There is something here for gamers of all skill levels. On top of that, you can play with up to 6 people locally or online. I guess the only argument folk may have is who gets to play as Leonardo. Turtle power, indeed.
If all else fails, you always have the board games, or you could just talk to each other. But why do that when you have a perfectly good games console ready to go. There were, of course, many games released this year which can be played together. If you have any suggestions yourself, be sure to share them in the comments, even if they weren’t from 2022. Be sure to grab a party game and share some good gaming time with a loved one. It might just make their Christmas.