10 (not so) jolly Christmas games!

10 (not so) jolly Christmas games!

Whether you like Christmas or not, it’s THE holiday in gaming land where developers often like to put in that little extra effort to create something special for their games. There’s a good chance that if you are somebody who plays a game that affects thousands of players, you will therefor notice some special event or skin changes to your beloved game. Games such as Overwatch, League of Legends, Killing Floor, and more, they all get just that bit more magical. Though this list could include tons of those games, it will focus more on games that have Christmas incorporated instead of those making an event out of it. Finding these games isn’t easy and there are far less than you would expect. So we had to delve deep so we could see how humanity’s favorite holiday is used by developers and to find that little festive feeling in yourself.

1. Mario 64/Banjo-Kazooie (N64, PC emulator)

Sliding down the snow in Mario 64 or doing the Freezeezy Peak level in Banjo-Kazooie should be more than enough to bring you the Christmas heat, as well as some nostalgic feelings. Freezeezy Peak comes complete with a memorable soundtrack, and you can get Banjo-Kazooie easily on Xbox as well nowadays thanks to Rare Replay and the online store.

2. Payday 2 (PC, Xbox One, PS4, Switch, PS3, Xbox 360)

Yes, Payday 2 might be quite similar to games such as Killing Floor 2, but the difference is that Payday 2 actually includes Christmas-themed missions in their game forever. Since the developers from Overkill Studios are having a rough financial time and re-opened Payday 2 for even more expansion and profit, it might be worth to get the game now and enjoy the Christmas… heists. Slap a drunk Santa, let ‘’elves’’ pack drugs and throw them down the chimney, rob some stores and steal a tree. Despite these atrocities, it’s actually really surprising how much Christmas feeling these missions can add.

3. Jazz Jackrabbit 2: The Christmas Chronicles and Holiday Hare (PC)

You won’t see Jazz Jackrabbit on any list most of the time, but it’s a very good game! Terribly underrated and hardly available, Jazz Jackrabbit also released a Christmas themed game called The Christmas Chronicles, as well as ‘’Holiday Hare’’ levels for parts one and two. A great game with cool animations and multiplayer options, there’s a big chance you forgot all about this one even if you did play it.

4. Santa Slayer (PC)

This game is so old and weird that you probably won’t have an easy time finding it. As a matter of fact, only one of us ever played it from one of those weird compilation/demo discs that you could get back in the day, which was maybe not even legal. The game seems to be focussed on you riding a sleigh with static guns as you try to blast away everything in your way. It’s like a feverish developer dream from somebody who played too much Duke Nukem and Doom back then, but that’s what also makes it kind of interesting.

5. Re-Volt (PC, Android, iOS, PS1, N64, Dreamcast, Linux)

Advisable to play on your PC, N64, or PS1, Re-Volt is absolutely amazing. Perhaps it’s not covered in snow and decorations, but it’s an absolute delight to play by yourself or with friends. Think Mario Kart where everything is replaced by toy cars, fully loaded with a map editor for your convenience and delight. Perfect for a Christmas morning, because it feels like unwrapping your toys and playing with them.

6. Terraria/Minecraft (pretty much every platform out there)

Both the 2D crafting/survival game Terraria and the 3D Minecraft have snow biomes as well as selected Christmas items included from events over time. It’s very possible to make the cutest stuff covered in snow and add some Christmas lights, which just feels like decorating something in the real world since it’s your own creation. Use your imagination, make Santa proud!

7. SSX 3 and SSX Tricky (Xbox classic, PS2, Gamecube, backward compatible with Xbox One)

Where SSX 3 is a bit more serious and everything takes place on one mountain, SSX Tricky is a bit ridiculous with all its environments and tricks. Both games are, however, very nice to play during the winter times with a hot cup of cocoa. You versus the mountain, nothing but snow, now do a trick with a ho ho ho.

8. Pong 3D – Pong: The Next Level (PC, PS1, Mac)

Known as either Pong 3D or Pong: The Next Level, this Pong adaptation brings loads of extra fun to you and your loved ones. Play with up to four players and do the campaign in co-op mode. Let yourself be amazed by some Christmas-looking artic levels and also just immerse yourself in the fun and joy that this game brings! It plays best on PC.

9. Overcooked and Overcooked 2 (PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch)

Playing Overcooked around the holidays actually makes a lot of sense. While your mom might be slaving in the kitchen, you and your cousins can do the same but with a different type of stress. Both games include Christmas DLC, and are great party games to have some fun with family or friends. Teamwork makes the dream work.

10. I am Setsuna

I am Setsuna is great for those who want to hide away for a bit, getting lost in a traditional RPG with turn-based combat. The way I am Setsuna approached winter (which is everywhere in the game) feels a lot like the old screenplay of an old Christmas movie about poor people living on the street, selling bread just to get around. Luckily I am Setsuna is not as depressing as that, but it does know how to bring you atmosphere!

And that was the list! Did we miss any recommendations that couldn’t be missing? Let us know what you’d always like to play during the festive season. And as a final addition, some games that haven’t been mentioned because of a variety of reasons but which still deserve an honorable mention:

James Pond II: Codename Robocod, Christmas Nights into Dreams, Dead Rising 4, Bully, Duke Nukem 3D: Nuclear Winter, Viscera Cleanup Detail, Home Alone.

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10 (not so) jolly Christmas games!, 10.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

I'm a game designer, developer, and reviewer. I've been reviewing for 3rd-strike.com since 2017.

1 Comment

  1. Ibuki
    December 15, 2019, 01:05

    Loved Banjo-Kazooie, the Overcooked series and I Am Setsuna. 🙂

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