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The best games you absolutely need to look out for in December

Sadly, it seems like a lot of the best games in December have been moved to February.

solar ash best games in december
Image: Annapurna Interactive

When the weather outside is frightful, there aren’t many things more delightful than turning up the heat, getting cozy, and trying out some new games.

From Xbox and Switch to PlayStation and PC, it seems like there’s no shortage of things to play. Well, that’s the Hallmark version at least.

In reality, developers seem to have decided February 2022 is the month for all their big hitters, so this Christmas looks a little light on content. Despite that though, there are still a few games worth taking a look at in December 2021. So without further ado, let’s get down to it.

Mickey Mania

Kids are probably going to spend the next month or so hyped up on a combination of sugar and festive excitement. So it comes as no real surprise that the kid-friendly Disney Magical World 2: Enchanted Edition is set to capitalize on that when it’s released for Switch on December 3.

A re-release of a 2015 3DS game, the life sim sees players roaming the Magical Kingdom and interacting with plenty of famous characters, including Stitch, Winnie the Pooh, Anna and Else from Frozen, and of course Mickey and Minnie Mouse. It’s not a world-beating title by any means, but there’s plenty to keep younger gamers entertained.

We all know the reality of Disney is slightly more twisted than Mickey and his chums would have you believe, though. If this is the mindset you subscribe to, then Five Nights at Freddy’s Security Breach, which hits PC, PS5, and PS4, might capture your attention instead.

Like the rest of the horror-tinged series, this one absolutely isn’t for the kids. This one is for the grown-ups. Or at least the teenagers. The visuals are way better than when the series had its home on phones, so the potential for jump scares is through the roof. Expect to cower as murderous animatronics try to unalive you from December 16.

Christmas is cunning

I don’t think there’s any other way to put this, This Is The President, which hits Steam on December 6, could easily be renamed SimTrump. It’s a management sim where you play as a multi-millionaire whose goal is to dodge punishment for all the shady shit you’ve done in the past.

Obviously, it’s heavy on the satire, but blackmailing, bribery, and the general manipulation of political systems will hopefully allow you to change the US Constitution and avoid taking responsibility for your actions. 

Cast your mind all the way back to the heady days of 2010, when Kairosoft’s awesome phone title, Game Dev Story, gave humans everywhere a way to ignore their families. Now imagine Game Dev Story was released in 2021, complete with the cynical mindset we’ve all picked up since then.

That’s what you can expect with Startup Panic, which comes releases for PC on 12/8. It has a wonderfully charming graphical style, and also retains the isometric view of Kairosoft’s super-fun release. It also expands on the mobile classic with a deep upgrade system, so it promises to be an awesome way to waste a few hours.

Jingle hells

Sticking with PC exclusives, it feels like we’ve gone almost three days without a Souls-like coming out. So, if you haven’t had enough of the many, many games that people who hate themselves play, you might want to take a look at Thymesia.

Imagine Bloodborne with more acrobatics and a deep weapons system and you’re pretty close to what’s expected. Thymesia hits PC on December 7, with a PS5 release planned for 2022.

Remember Hyper Light Drifter? The awesome 2016 debut from Heart Machine? Well, the same studio is finally releasing their sophomore title, Solar Ash, on December 2.

It’s a third-person adventure with a beautiful graphical style and wonderful animation. High-speed traversal is the order of the day, and massive, life-threatening enemies want to make everything a little more difficult for players.  If Solar Ash comes anywhere near the heights of HLD, PC, PS4 and PS5 players will be in for a huge treat.

To festivity and beyond

Despite criticism from the entire internet after the trailer from July 2020, Halo Infinite seems to have turned it around and got the hype train back on track. Fans of the series will be waiting for it to hit PC, Xbox Series X/S, and Xbox One on December 8, while newcomers will finally get to see what all Master Chief’s fuss is about.

In the meantime, it might be worth doing a full run-through of Halo: MCC before it launches. Unless you’ve been blasting opponents online already, of course. Heads up; this one also releases on Game Pass on launch day, so it’s yet another Microsoft title you don’t have to pay for upfront!

If Halo doesn’t have enough personality for you, then maybe 2020’s breakout hit Among Us will tickle your pickle. It’s been available on PC, mobile, and Switch for a long while, but it’ll be hitting PS4, PS5, Series S/X, and Xbox One on December 14.

Enjoy the unique experience of destroying all trust in your friendships as you try to convince one another you’re not the imposter. Then hide in a vent before callously killing them. And blaming somebody else for the murder, obviously.

December 2020: The verdict

I really wanted to put Advance Wars 1 + 2 Re-Boot Camp on this list. It was supposed to hit Switch on December 3. Nintendo ruined Christmas by following everybody else’s lead and delaying it to Spring 2022, though.

The same thing applies to WWE 2K22, Saints Row (which has had a further delay to summer 2022), and Horizon Forbidden West amongst others.

Overloading the start of next year means I’ve struggled to find much to shout about before Santa empties his sack down your chimney. Maybe 2022 will amaze gamers everywhere, but for now, I’ll keep going with Metroid Dread and Forza Horizon 5.

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