We all do our best to enjoy a fun, family-filled holiday—but even the best of us needs a break sometimes. Every now and then, a few hours of alone time helps us relax, refresh, and gear up for another round of wrassling your little nieces and nephews.
Everyone has their own preferences for games to relax with, but in this final piece of our holiday blog series, we wanted to highlight some of the more introspective ID@Xbox titles. These are the games that absorb you into their story and really make you think—enough that you can forget about this year’s family drama and get into a totally different frame of mind.
So hole up in the study, in the bathroom, in the coffee shop down the road, and enjoy one of these story-centric games. That way, when your break’s over and Uncle Bob or Cousin Ted comes to collect you, you’ll be mentally and emotionally revitalized, and ready for some pie!
Here are our top suggestions for: Games to Take a Break from Family With:
Playing between two characters’ points of view (Madeleine and Caleb), you must uncover the (possibly sinister) secrets of the Assembly, a mysterious organization performing underground experiments. This long-form narrative game switches between Madeleine and Caleb’s separate investigations—you learn more about their backstories as the game progresses and discover what the Assembly’s up to with them.
Better yet, this game has the option of being played using a VR headset, for an even more immersive experience!
At a glance, this game looks like a throwback to the point-and-click adventures of the 80s and 90s. In practice, it’s a wonderful puzzle-based mystery adventure that embraces that gameplay style while updating it to a stellar 2017 game. From the same creators of the Monkey Island games, Thimbleweed Park includes many allusions to that much-loved series—and the storyline itself is reminiscent of our favorite sci-fi alien mystery series from the 90s.
Step away from Grandpa’s history monologue for a moment and dive into this nostalgic romp with a fun mystery story!
This powerful story will grip you and won’t let go until you’ve experienced its full, stunning conclusion. You play as Scarlett, a teenager traveling on a train with her younger brother, Finn. At least, that’s what seems to be going on—but the story quickly turns into deep, magical adventure, filled with mysteries and secrets.
We can’t say much more without giving away key plot points! Just know that this first-person adventure is as emotionally wrenching as it is beautifully designed. When you’re done with this game, you’ll be glad you’re near your family, because you might need a hug.
Another engrossing story with a lighter tone, Broken Age switches between two main characters, Vella and Shay. Vella is on a journey to defeat a giant monster who demands human sacrifices, while Shay is looking for a way to escape the spaceship he appears to be trapped on.
This point-and-click adventure game takes you through a sometimes silly, always heartfelt story. The puzzles are fun and the narrative is joyful (and filled with puns)!
What Remains of Edith Finch
This narrative adventure has won great critical acclaim in 2017, including The Game Award for Best Narrative! As young Edith, you will explore her family home in Washington state, uncovering short stories about each of her extended family members—and their deaths. You see, there’s a legend people tell about the Finch family: that they’re all cursed to die young.
As she explores the house to reveal each story, Edith (and you) will try to separate myth from truth. Each playable story has a unique style and tone, though all of them end with that family member’s death. It’s a beautiful, serene game—and another one that would benefit from hugs when you go back to hang out with your family.
What is life like 200,000 miles from Earth? This is what Tacoma invites you to find out. From the creators of Gone Home, you will explore an abandoned space station to find out why it’s abandoned. Who were the crew, and where did they go?
A first-person narrative adventure, you must listen to video and audio recordings to unravel this mystery. Watch scenes unfold and use your ability to rewind and fast-forward to explore the events and discover hidden elements. There are many layers and sides to every story!
Tacoma will give you an introspective look into people and events—which is a great way to mentally prep for your return to your Mom’s living room for a rowdy, group game with your family!
Night in the Woods
What great timing! Night in the Woods just released on Xbox One last week (complete with the Weird Autumn edition). We even did an interview with the Finji team. This adventure game has you play as Mae, who returns to her hometown after dropping out of college. As she settles back into her parents’ house, she’ll explore her old haunts and quickly find that the town of Possum Springs isn’t quite the same as when she left. Her friends have grown and changed, there are new stores downtown—and something strange seems to be going on behind the scenes.
If you’ve ever visited your old hometown after moving away, you’ll recognize Mae’s surreal experience in Possum Springs. Her relationships with her friends and family are wonderfully written, and the story is full of surprising twists that will keep you hooked!
We at the ID@Xbox team hope you’ve enjoyed Gaming the Holidays this year, and that you use some of these suggestions to connect with your family through great games! If you do, let us know in the comments or tweet at us @ID_Xbox!
Happy (gaming) holidays!