It’s the festive time of year again, which, for many of us, means time with the family. Whatever form your family may take, small or large, consisting of friends or relatives, we’re sure you’ll be wanting to spend some quality time together this Christmas. If you’re reading this article, however, chances are you’ll spend the whole time itching to play video games.
Well, why not do both? And what better console to spend your Christmas with than the Nintendo Switch?
Nintendo has, historically, been an innovative company when it comes to games for the whole family. Remember all those broken TVs as a result of Wii Fit? The Switch has continued this tradition with a slew of games bound to keep the family unit entertained. And hopefully keeping the TVs intact, this time.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of five Switch games that should keep you and the family entertained on Christmas day, both before and after the belly-busting dinner.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
If you’ve been put off Mario Kart 8 by all the rage you felt during Mario Kart Wii, fear not. This one is a lot calmer, and a lot less punishing. Once you fall off the edge, you’re swiftly returned to where you fell by Lakitu the flying Koopa’s fishing rod. And the roads aren’t quite as janky and course.
That’s not to say there isn’t a challenge, however, and the family competition will be just as fierce. The 48 tracks are gorgeous, too, and the jazzy soundtrack is an absolute bop. There’s nothing quite as family-friendly as this colorful racer.
It’s also worth adding that the upgrade from Wii-U to Switch wasn’t just a polished port. You can now carry two items, which, let’s face it, was a long time coming. You’ll really feel the family rivalry with this one.
Mario Party Superstars
If racing isn’t quite your bag, however, or if your family craves a bit more variety, then the most recent Mario Party game might be worth a try. It’s still pretty new (released only a couple of months ago) so there’s a chance the people you’re spending Christmas with won’t have played it. And what’s more exciting at Christmas, than a beautifully crafted top-quality party game? From Nintendo, you know you’re getting the best.
The Mario Party series has been around for over two decades, and this one pays homage to the classics. It’s done away with the motion control games (TV safe, check), and returned to what it did best on the N64.
The overall game is essentially a board game, with dice rolling and moving spaces. So perhaps you can convince the older folks to join. The minigames aren’t quite as Christmas-circa-1968, but you don’t have to bring them up until they’re balancing atop a giant clock hand, frantically jumping to keep their place.
Moving away from the Italian plumber here, and from the Nintendo brand as a whole, but back in the direction of driving wacky carts around and sending your opponents (and yourself) into an indiscrete tantrum.
Rocket League is the most unusual success story; soccer with go-carts is the best way to describe it. It might not be as colorful and varied as the Mario games, but it sure is addictive. Want to keep the kids distracted for a bit? Or, perhaps, for the whole night? This is the game.
The Switch port comes with plenty of benefits, too. It links with players using other hardware – such as a PC – so people without a Switch won’t be excluded from online games. There’s no better time to connect with distant friends than at Christmas, after all.
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fuelled
We’re back to cart racing, but this one is for the ubiquitous (and famously proud) nineties kids. It’s a remaster of the 2003 classic but, like 2017’s N. Sane Trilogy, it’s been rebuilt from the ground up. It’s not just a port for the sake of nostalgia, but an improved game with new features like online multiplayer.
The difficulty, however, is just as it always was. CTR, you’ll soon remember, is crushingly difficult. If you want to show the young ‘uns how tough it was back in the day, this is the one to go for.
That’s not to say it isn’t child-friendly, or impossible to play for the uninitiated. The controls are that of a straightforward racer, and the maps are just as zany and colorful as Mario Kart: from a futuristic cityscape to a barren desert.
ARMS is a wacky motion-controlled beat-’em-up that continues the tradition of boxing on Wii-Sports. The setup is similar; the camera is positioned behind the avatar as you duck, weave, and punch your opponent.
We would usually put Smash in a spot like this, but we thought something a little different might be better suited. Bushnell’s law comes into play; ARMs is easy to learn, but difficult to master. With Smash, on the other hand, it takes a while to learn the basic moves. And for a Christmas gathering, you want something to just pick up and play… and punch.
We should add that this isn’t playable on the Switch Light due to the motion control.