One of my favourite things about the Nintendo Switch, since I owned the system, is the ability to disconnect the joy-cons, fling one at a friend and play some games with the Switch propped up on a garden table while you enjoy some ginger beer. Of course, you can also enjoy the Switch in all sorts of places out and about or just back at home on the TV.
Today’s article is a list of just a few party-based games I recommend playing with other gamers of all skill levels over the festive period. Initially, I was going to list the usual suspects like Mario games (which let’s be honest could fill a list itself). Instead, I turned this list into something a little more personal. Adding my own stories behind the game I chose here and why I feel they make great party games.
When coming up with this list, I was particularly looking for games that could be picked up by anyone with almost no gaming experience and still find some enjoyment. Some of the games will be familiar, but, hopefully, you’ll see a few that you’ve never heard of. All games featured are available on Nintendo Switch, though most are available on multiple platforms.
Gather Round For Some Gaming
Jackbox Party Pack 1-7
The Jackbox games feel like those novelty games you play at Christmas with the family, except you can play it at any time of the year. It’s essentially various silly board game style games that you can enjoy from the comfort of your sofa. No controllers are needed but each player does need a smartphone or tablet that connects to the internet. Even my ridiculous old kindle works with this game. The games in these collections vary wildly, from word games to general knowledge quizzes, to drawing a few little pictures. But you don’t need to be smart to have fun.
The touch controls are easy to pick up and play for everyone. Some of the games do feature adult themes but these can be switched off to make for a more family-friendly experience. You’re bound to find something here for everyone to enjoy, even for the old folks.
When lockdown started in 2020 to try to bring some joy to the family we streamed the game to family members over Twitch. It was a bit of a mess since internet speeds varied and some family members clearly struggled. But the heart of the experience was trying to bring some joy and distract people away from their woes even if it was only for a few hours.
Snipperclips was practically a launch title for Switch and still remains one of the most original co-op concepts I have seen on the system to this day. You play as little shapes and solve basic puzzles by cutting shapes out of each other. There isn’t really a right or wrong way to solve the game’s basic puzzles but coming up with silly ideas with someone else really brings this experience to life. For me, the most fun I had with this game was playing four-player with some board game buddies, where we just created silly artwork on one of the game modes.
There was no challenge to this. Often reviewers (including myself) may look at these modes and not really see the point of them. But sometimes, there are people who create their own fun. That’s just what we did. There is a mode in this game where you start with a blank canvas and each player uses a joy-con to create a painting at the same time, usually with messy yet amusing results. We were just making silly paintings but memories of this will likely last a lifetime and hopefully, that will be the case for you too.
I have played basically every Overcooked game co-op with my wife across multiple systems. The simple concept of preparing food orders under time limits just clicked with us so much so we even went the extra mile to 3 stars every darn level. It’s absolutely stressful! There were Mario Kart levels of stress and aggression at times, even the odd time where we got angry at each other. But mostly there were moments of laughter and enjoyment.
Over time, the game has been updated to feature more accessibility options to make the experience a little more casual if you do find things getting a bit too much. We have been fortunate enough to enjoy the game locally with some friends as well as online with friends abroad. Sadly the latter had mixed results due to slow internet but there still seemed to be enjoyed on both ends. Plus these games all feature Christmas themed levels like the infamous dog from the first game where you cook a turkey by using a flamethrower. You can read our review of Overcooked! All You Can Eat here.
Out of Space
I’m a little surprised Out of Space never became more popular with its original concept. You are a bunch of animals moving into your new home in Space. But before you settle in, the house needs a good clean. With up to four players the game becomes a case of moving from room to room cleaning the muck and getting rid of aliens all while managing your hunger and stamina meters. It really is more fun than it sounds. If you ever found Overcooked to be a little too stressful, Out of Space might feel a little more casual and welcoming.
The reason I put this on the list is that this game became quite a regular rotation on our weekly sessions with a friend from abroad. Granted we played the PC version (Since that is the only version with online capabilities) but this was a title we were all capable of just picking up and enjoying. You could also tell we got a little too into it as there would be these long periods of silence and concentration as we all seemed to inherently know our roles and what to do in order to clean the entire house. A comfortable silence indeed. A silent night maybe? You can read our review of Out of Space here.
One for the retro lovers. Iron Crypticle is a twin-stick shooter with a medieval theme inspired by retro classics. If you like Smash TV, Gauntlet and a dash of Bubble Bobble then this is a game well worth picking up and of course, can be enjoyed with up to four people. It’s easy to pick up and play for all skill levels plus it also has that kinda addictive rogue-like feel to its gameplay that makes it difficult not to jump in for another run.
I have played this game across the PS4 and Nintendo Switch and even the original version of the game on PC. I still return to it regularly alone but this game really becomes more alive if you play with friends. Work together to go for the highest score possible and have some good old fashioned arcade fun in the process.
There are of course many more games to share over the festive period. Be sure to share your favourite games and stories in the comments below. We would love to hear from you.