It’s time to get into the seasonal spirit! Here are our top 10 video games that give an ode to the holidays.
10. Snowbelle City – Pokemon X & Y Versions
Home of the ice-type Pokemon gym in the Kalos region, Snowbelle City’s slogan is “The city of everlasting winter.” The city truly lives up to its name, covered in blankets of white and bearing ceaseless snowfall. The holiday vibes are further emphasized by the abundance of pine trees and warmly lit streets, which are cozily reminiscent of Christmas.
9. Mineral Town: Winter Season – Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town
This endearing farming simulator enables players to live through an actual winter season complete with its own collection of festivities. These include the “Thomas Claus” event, in which Mineral Town’s own mayor (Thomas) will leave a present in your stocking, and the New Year’s events, celebrated by the player and townsfolk. It’s the close-knit community of Mineral Town that make its winter season a hearty holiday experience.
8. Snowflake Mountain – Diddy Kong Racing/Diddy Kong Racing DS
Diddy Kong Racing’s Snowflake Mountain is the ultimate holiday racing world. This location’s raceways feature obstacles like rolling snowballs hurtling toward the players, slippery ice terrain, and a giant blue walrus (Aptly named “Bluey the Walrus,”) of whom the player could challenge to a boss race. With its wintry backdrop and Christmassy motifs, this racetrack is a perfect love letter to the holidays.
7. Snow Kingdom: Shiveria Town – Super Mario Odyssey
Whenever the holiday season comes around, the sense of community and togetherness grow. Super Mario Odyssey’s Shiveria Town of the Snow Kingdom not only harbors a visual representation of the holidays, but also a figurative representation with its friendly, welcoming atmosphere. Complete with parka-clad winterfolk, wreaths and candles, and good-natured cheer, Shiveria Town charmingly nods to the festive season.
6. Christmas Town – Kingdom Hearts II
It doesn’t get more Christmassy than Christmas Town! Kingdom Hearts II expanded upon the world of Halloween Town (From Disney’s The Nightmare Before Christmas) and brought players to the enchanting land of Christmas Town. Here, Sora and friends were tasked with saving Santa Claus and ultimately Christmas from Oogie Boogie, Maleficent, and the heartless. A true Christmas dwelling of candy canes, gingerbread houses, snow, and Santa Claus himself, it is also here that we discover Sora is unfortunately on the naughty list. Christmas Town speaks for itself as a holiday-themed location.
5. Winter Wonderland Kitchens – Overcooked! 2
‘Tis the season of food! The Winter Wonderland kitchens bring the more chaotic side of the holidays to the forefront, but what’s better than hectic fun? The beautiful setting of Christmas tree surroundings and snow are topped off by the “Candy Hordes,” which are simply overzealous Christmas treats arriving for their “doorbuster” meals. Sharp teeth and glowing eyes on a ravenous candy cane? What better way to depict the holidays?
4. Snow Land – Kirby’s Epic Yarn
Christmas time and the holiday season can generally be seen as a softer, more cozy time of the year. Kirby’s Epic Yarn quite literally captures this cushy atmosphere of the holidays, taking players on an excursion that’s a true seasonal salute; from collecting gems in the form of Christmas lights, to possessing a “dash-sled,” to the final boss being the Santa-like penguin King Dedede, this level oozes holiday spirit!
3. Fortress of Festivity – Pikmin 3
The Fortress of Festivity map is a delightful holiday-themed level which zeroes in on a homey Christmas atmosphere. By “homey Christmas atmosphere,” I literally mean being in the setting of what looks like a cozy home on the night of Christmas. The explorers and Pikmin must weave their way through surfaces of presents, a decorated Christmas tree, and even party foods like cake and pizza to gather the large fruits strewn all over the place. As its name suggests, the Fortress of Festivity really depicts an intimate-yet-exciting holiday cheer.
2. Winter Season – Animal Crossing: New Horizons
The winter season of Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a holiday experience in and of itself. Players can build a “Snow Boy” every day and the island also spends this season gearing up for “Toy Day,” the Animal Crossing rendition of Christmas. Players can prepare gifts (That includes wrapping them!) for their fellow villagers and are even tasked with delivering presents by the game’s own Santa Claus, “Jingle the Black-Nosed Reindeer.” For Animal Crossing: New Horizons, winter is truly “the most wonderful time of the year.”
1. Freezeezy Peak – Banjo-Kazooie
Freezeezy Peak is a location that basically takes everything about Christmas and the holidays and transforms it into a beautiful and mesmerizing wintry adventure. This level is a wonderland of holiday fun, featuring a wide cast of seasonal-themed beings, including but not limited to Twinklies, which are Christmas light folk, and Sir Slush, who are snowmen that engage Banjo and Kazooie in a one-sided (and potentially fatal) snowball fight. With a slew of activities like sled racing, delivering presents to (polar bear) children, and saving tree decorations, Freezeezy Peak takes the cake as one of the best game locations that give tribute to the holidays.
What are your favorite holiday-themed game levels? Is there anything you’d change or add to this list? Let us know in the comments!