If you live somewhere where it gets snowy, dark, and somewhat miserable in the winter, you’re certainly familiar with the feeling that a tropical vacation is the only cure for the winter blues. As someone who lives in Alaska, for six months of the year, I dream about escaping to somewhere with palm trees, a beach that isn’t covered in ice, and endless blue skies. Since I have so many months to dream about this holiday escape, I have come up with some good ideas on how to escape when you can’t actually go anywhere.
My favorite gaming escape is to play games that all feature a tropical setting. If you are in need of an escape as well, read along for the top five games to play to satisfy a need for a tropical holiday.
5. Super Mario Sunshine
Coming in at number five is an oldie but a goody, the 2002 game Super Mario Sunshine from Nintendo. What starts out as a vacation for Mario and Princess Peach quickly turns into the usual Super Mario shenanigans and series of challenges. If you’re looking for a game packed with all of your favorite characters and a beautiful tropical setting, Super Mario Sunshine is a great way to go.
4. GTA V
Generally, you wouldn’t think of Grand Theft Auto as a holiday sort of game with the somewhat-stressful environment when it comes to actual gameplay, but GTA V makes this list at number four because of the awesome California scenery. If you’re like me, you don’t always play within the confines of the arc of the game in GTA. My favorite thing to do in the GTA family of games is to run around, checking out the world of the game, and finding as many glitches as I can. GTA V is one of my favorite games for getting fully immersed in a sunny scene.
3. Sonic Adventure
If you can’t get enough of classic characters like Mario and Peach from Super Mario Sunshine, you will love the third game on this list, Sonic Adventure, which makes the list because of the views of the Emerald Coast in the game. As you run around on your Sonic adventure, the beautiful beachy scenes will keep you in a cheerful mood in this beautifully-designed game.
2. Final Fantasy X
For all Final Fantasy fans out there, the second-to-last game on this list will be perfect for you. Final Fantasy X from 2001 has all of the adventure of the Final Fantasy series, and the island setting is a fantasy in and of itself. If you’re a fan of the Final Fantasy series in general, check out this article from Stropse’s Final Fantasy guru, Mariah Qaiser.
1. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Coming in at number one, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is without a doubt the best escapist game of 2020 and this current winter season. After coming out in only March of 2020, this new game in the Animal Crossing series has taken the world by storm (seems like we’ve all needed a good tropical vacation this year.) I couldn’t even count the number of hours I have spent working around my island this last year and this chilly winter in Alaska, and I know that even when the weather warms up in a few months, Animal Crossing: New Horizons will remain in my constant gameplay cycle to keep me in a tropical mindset all year long.
Whether you’re currently in a winter wonderland or you live somewhere blessed with sunny skies all year long, it is always nice to have a place to escape to in your gaming adventures. There is something for everyone on this list of tropical vacay games, from carefree adventures to intense tropical missions. Whatever your paradise is, enjoy these vacation-esque games and take a holiday while still staying warm inside.