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Good Games To Play Over Christmas

N.B. I'm posting this outside the paywall from the get go because I'm hoping people will add their own suggestions in the comments and it will become a Useful Resource for those who don't know what to play over Christmas!

Whether you celebrate or not, chances are you'll have a bit of extra downtime in the coming fortnight and you might be looking for games to play. For me I tend to pick multiplayer things which I can use to get a chunky bit of time with friends even though we're all scattered around the country. If I want to be on my own I tend to go for puzzles because it means I can watch Midsomer Murders at the same time.

Here's what I'm planning to hunker down with over while the festive season is in full swing but it would be great if you share your own plans as well...

Dota 2

It's a comfy, familiar multiplayer game so it helps with keeping in touch with friends. I find that really important at Christmas, not because there's anything wrong with my family but because going home means going to a tiny village where only one or maybe two of my schoolfriends will be within driving distance. My parents are pretty busy so my social life tends to become "two cats, a third cat who is sometimes mistaken for a dog because she is fat like a little barrel and her weight loss is not working, and the slow cooker full of mulled wine". I miss the Christmas Dota from a few years ago, though, where they had a special event called The Greeviling. In The Greeviling you started the game with a Christmas stocking and that had a special whistle you could use to turn yourself into a Greevil and play as this daft-looking monster. The river had been reworked so it was iced over and you'd slip and slide and whistle and tit about. I remember it incredibly fondly.

Cover image for YouTube video

For various reasons I ended up putting Dota 2 to one side for the back half of the year, trying to find a way to make it fun again. I'm hoping that having taken a bit of time off and with the 6.86 patch it will be a sufficiently different prospect and I'm hoping it taps into happier previous Christmas memories instead of current stresses. Also the thing about Dota (and League) is that it means definitely being out of commission for the giving of lifts and the doing of babysitting for a whole hour at a time!

Sherlock Holmes: The Silver Earring

Murder mysteries are what Christmas is all about for me. You will find me curled up in a chair, laptop warming my legs and mug of wine warming my hands as I role play a famous detective. There will probably be hats because there are always hats. This is how I will cope with there not being a new David Suchet Poirot to watch.

Bound By Flame

This one is less of a certainty but the free time I have tends to be limited in a way that massive games - I AM LOOKING AT YOU WITCHER 3 - are a nightmare which I struggle to even start let alone finish. I played a preview of Bound By Flame maybe a year and a half ago and it seemed solid and, importantly, medium-sized. Manageable. If I do RPG it is likely to be this one. I miss games feeling manageable.

Picross/Sudoku/any number of other logic puzzles

These are the ones I'll play when there's only a little time to kill or I want to keep my hands busy while watching a film or something. Solid logic puzzles. If I'm honest I think I've mined Hexcells dry at this point so it's far more likely to be one of the others for me but I'm listing it here as a good option if you're into those types of puzzles and looking for Christmas fodder. Jigsaws also have a similar place in my Christmas routine. Good for chipping away at while the telly's on or the cat won't move from your leg.

Animal Crossing

What's that? Not on PC? I couldn't give a monkey's. I love Animal Crossing at winter and I'm so excited to see New Leaf on Toy Day and see if I can make snowmen and get nice furniture and just have a lovely time. I also want to bring my old DS home as a gift-in-waiting for my little niece. Eventually she will be able to play it and then I can spend a few years being better than her at Mario Kart (before strategically "losing" my DS when she develops enough motor control for snaking).

How about you?

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In this article

Animal Crossing

Nintendo GameCube

Bound By Flame

PS4, PS3, Xbox 360, PC

See 1 more

Dota 2

PC, Mac

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About the Author

Philippa Warr

Former Staff Writer

Pip wrote for Rock Paper Shotgun between 2014-2017, covering everything from MOBAs, hero brawlers and indie curios. She also had a keen interest in the artistry of video game creation, and was very partial to keeping us informed of the latest developments in British TV show Casualty.