Multiplayer gaming has had a bit of a facelift in recent years. You no longer have to be in the same room with the people you want to play with, and many of the top-selling games have taken advantage of that. Most of their gameplay is centered around online modes, with single player campaigns slowly becoming a thing of the past. However, while this might be the new normal for multiplayer titles, you just can’t beat sitting down and testing your friendships face to face. Get-togethers are a great excuse to boot up your console and see who comes out on top, but be prepared for some tough competition. If your friends are anything like ours, letting you win is going to be the last thing on their minds.
The Wii U didn’t exactly blow gamers out of the water. It had a largely unsuccessful run during its five-year lifespan, ultimately selling fewer units than it’s follow-up – the Switch – managed after nine months on sale. However, while it might not have been a remarkable console, it still had plenty of great games on offer, such as Nintendo Land. A party game designed to showcase what the Wii U could do, Nintendo Land is a love letter to many of the company’s most popular franchises, including The Legend of Zelda, Animal Crossing and Donkey Kong.
Mini-games like Pikmin Adventure and Metroid Blast require you to work as a team to advance through various levels, with the player using the gamepad utilizing different controls to everyone else. With all of you sharing the same health, communication is vital, even if that means shouting at each other what to do to avoid being attacked. If you’d rather compete against your friends, then games like Mario Chase or Luigi’s Ghost Mansion have got you covered. The player with the gamepad is tasked with running away or attacking their competitors, while everyone else has to stop them. These mini-games only last for a few minutes, but the replayability factor is definitely there.
If you and your friends are big fans of Nintendo, then this game ought to help you fill up an afternoon or evening together.
Jackbox Party Pack
If your friend group is bigger than most multiplayer games can accommodate, then the Jackbox Party Pack might be a good way to go. Up to eight people can get involved with this series of party games, and all they need is a mobile phone to play along. What self-respecting millennial doesn’t own one of those?
Each version of the Jackbox Party Pack comes with five different games that see you try to outwit, outsmart and… uh, outfunny (?) all of your friends. Try to craft the most hilarious response to a prompt in Quiplash, or show that your artistic skills are unmatched in Civic Doodle. If you have a great poker face, prove your worth in Fakin’ It, or test which of you is the most knowledgeable in You Don’t Know Jack 2015. With so many different styles of game to play, you can easily lose several hours with the Jackbox Party Pack.
There are currently five versions of the game – the latest was released in October 2018 – with a new addition released each year. That’s twenty-five different games to keep you busy across a wide range of consoles, including PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. What are you waiting for? Whip out your phones and get playing.
Nintendo knows what they’re doing when it comes to bringing people together, so it’s no wonder that Wii Party was the tenth best selling game on its console. Offering the ultimate party gaming experience for friends and families, there’s sure to be something on here that will work for your get-together.
You can keep things classic by playing the standard board game, not that it’s quite as simple as it sounds. The way you play in mini-games will determine when you get to have your turn, although that could all be undone if you land on the wrong space. Try not to rage when you end up swapping positions with the person in last place – they certainly won’t be unhappy about it. If you want something slightly fairer, why not engage in a mini-game battle, or try one of Wii Party’s other varied modes. You can play bingo, test your knowledge of each other, or even pass a bomb around!
We always have a blast playing Spot the Sneak. For every mini-game you play, one person will have an easier job of winning, and it’s up to you to work out who that person is. Unless, of course, it’s you, in which case you’d best do a good job of hiding the truth. It’s a great way to see if you’re any good at bluffing.
Super Mario 3D World
You don’t have to exclusively play party games to make the most of a get-together. Sometimes a classic platformer can be just as fun, especially if it offers multiplayer functionality for four people. Nintendo’s newer Mario games generally provide this feature, with Super Mario 3D World the best of the bunch.
Rather than competing against each other to see who can rise to the top, you have to work together to reach the same goal. At least, that’s the intention. Nothing is stopping you from trying to outdo each other by defeating the most enemies or stealing all the power-ups. Aside from the fact that you all share the same lives, you’re free to be as helpful or hindering as you desire. That’s intensified by the fact that whoever scores the most amount of points in each level gets to wear the royal crown, a useless accessory that can tear friendships apart.
Use Super Mario 3D World to see how good your communication skills are and test the loyalty of your nearest and dearest. If it looks like someone’s preparing to betray you, beat them to it and show your true colors. This might not be a party game, but there can still only be one winner.
If you want to give your get-together some retro flavor, why not whack out the old PlayStation 2 and load up some Buzz!. With 18 different games in the series covering categories like sports, music, and Hollywood, there’s a multitude of questions on offer for you to test your knowledge against. Admittedly, you’ll have to cast your mind back a bit given most of the games are over a decade old, but that’s a small detail.
Choose from a selection of wacky characters as you battle it out to see who a video game judges to be the smartest in your friend group. Don’t take it to heart if someone beats you – that’s what round two is for. Just revel in the authentic feel of being in a quiz show by using the game’s specially designed buzzers. There’s nothing quite like slamming your hand down on the button to answer a question first, only to realize you’ve no clue which option to go for. Thankfully, there are only four answers to choose from, and it’s always a great feeling when your lucky guess ends up being the right one.
Testing your smarts against your friends is a great way to mix things up at a get-together. If someone doesn’t think it’s a great idea then their general knowledge probably isn’t the best. That should be even more of a reason to get them playing – it’s one less person to worry about.
There ain’t no party like a Mario party because a Mario party don’t stop!… until you run out of turns. The ultimate party video game for any get-together is undoubtedly one that features Mario, Luigi, Peach and the rest of the gang. With over ten games in the series, including the 2018 Switch title Super Mario Party, you’ve got a wide variety of boards to explore and mini-games to compete in as you fight it out for the top spot.
The great thing about Mario Party is that you never truly know who’s going to win until the very end. The presence of bonus stars based on your performance can turn everything around, sending you from 4th place to 1st in the blink of an eye. Even if you played terribly and landed on every red space possible, that could still be to your benefit once the game is over. It might be a nuisance to those who spent most of their time being in the lead, but it does mean you don’t have to be a Mario Party expert to still do well. Any party game worth playing has to be accessible for people of all skill types.
If you’re not one for board games, all Mario Party titles offer a feature where you can just play the various mini-games instead. With each release providing its own diverse set of wacky and wonderful mini-games, your get-together will never be boring when Mario’s involved.
Why go out to a club to dance when you can bust some moves from the comfort of your living room? Your friends might feel embarrassed about throwing shapes in front of everyone, but after a few drinks, those nerves will be a thing of the past. After all, isn’t it better to make a fool of yourself in front of the people you care about, rather than a room of strangers?
Not only does Just Dance offer the opportunity to show you don’t have two left feet (unless you do), but it will also provide your night with a blazing hot soundtrack. Only the hottest new songs and the best guilty pleasures make it on to the game, of which there are now over a dozen different iterations and spin-offs. You’d be hard pressed not to find at least one song that you can’t all get into, especially with the introduction of the premium subscription.
Through this, you can select from hundreds of different tracks previously used in the series. So, even if you grab yourself a copy of Just Dance 2019, you can still get down to tracks used all the way back in Just Dance 1. Just boot up your console and choose whether you want to put a ring on it, hold out for a hero, or simply shout “Hey Macarena!”
There’s no quicker way to end a friendship than by sending a blue shell to attack your friend in first place. Anyone who’s ever been on the receiving end of this will know just how frustrating it is, especially when you’re so close to the end of a race. What’s the point of a get-together, though, if you don’t have at least one argument about being cheated out of first place?
Mario Kart is a firm favorite for us here at RetroEnt, and we reckon it’s the same for a lot of people out there. It’s easy to get the hang of, and the Mario franchise is one that’s hard not to love. The variety of characters and eclectic courses makes Mario Kart a more visually appealing racing game compared to its contemporaries, and it always has several tricks up its sleeves. Where else can you knock your competitors out of the way with a rocket, then proceed to race up waterfalls and across precarious rainbow-tinted roads?
No get-together is complete without a bit of Mario Kart. Plus, with so many different versions across Nintendo’s many consoles, half the fun is in picking which game to play. Do you keep thing’s modern with the Switch’s Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, or go retro with some download play on Mario Kart DS? The choice is yours.
The next time you host a get-together, why not give one of these games a go. They’ll provide you with something fun to do, and you’ll have the chance to see how competitive your friends can really be. Just try not to be a sore winner – or loser. The last thing you want is for your night to end in tears.