As we make our approach to the most wonderful time of the year, we pass a number of holidays, namely Thanksgiving, the precursor warmup round of family debate before Christmas knocks on the door. When, inevitably, your relatives erupt into furious debate about the state of the world, it’s good to have a few games in your quiver that you can turn to and rely on when you need to escape the mayhem this time of year. Here’s a few games you can pick up way in advance to be sure you’ve got something cosy to turn to when the going gets rough!
When dinner is over, dash straight to your nearest PC, console or Chromecast and load up Destiny 2. If you’ve got your phone with you, consider trying it out via Remote Play with your PS4 if you can’t properly escape. There’s always a way to play Destiny 2, by far one of the most accessible and cheap games on the market at the moment. Luckily it’s also tremendous fun. Consider coordinating with your fellow disillusioned holiday gamers to jump in at the same time for quick bursts of crunchy gunplay in between your turkey bites.
If dealing with your relatives at Christmas is like herding cats, there cannot be a better escapist game for you than Planet Zoo. This wonderfully realistic simulator still allows for a lot of absurdities, and would certainly be cathartic for those of us trying to manage a household in the holidays. Feed feral hogs, create a tortoise amusement park or simply experiment by throwing random animals with different dietary needs into a caged area. See what happens!
If you can’t quite get to a PC or a console, the Apple Arcade is full of fantastic games ready to go from the comfort of your pocket. In particular, you want to focus on the titles you can play without too much effort that are still tons of fun. Grindstone is an excellent luxury matching game that just requires a few swipes every now and then. There’s also WhatTheGolf, a genuinely rib-tickling flick-based golf game that will keep the young side of the family entertained whilst also providing interesting gameplay that changes upon every puzzle. Sayonara Wild Hearts might also be worth a look if you manage to get some time to yourself where you can plug your headphones in and escape. The game isn’t very long at all, and can easily fill the hours before dinner with dream-pop rhythmic biking.
Firaxis’ Civ series is known for its “Just one turn” addictive gameplay loop, and given that the game arrived both on consoles and mobile devices this year, you can start a new empire at the comfort of the dinner table. Recreate history and engage in some positive diplomacy with a variety of ancient world leaders to drown out the dinner table debate. With a simple interface and a set of criteria to think about, you decide whether to take your enemies by force, defeat them with science or come together in harmony.