Against the grey and gloomy backdrop of a British winter, sometimes it’s nice to just get away to somewhere more pleasant for a while. With its bright and colourful hand-drawn aesthetic and utterly charming world, Yoshi’s Island is about as good as it gets for cheering you up during the cold months.
The game burst with character, every level looking as though it’s popped out of a children’s picture book and come to life. Over twenty years on it’s still a unique and refreshing look; a madcap crayon world populated by Shy Guys, Goonies and of course Yoshi’s adorable canine companion Poochie.
Yoshi’s Island is about as good as it gets for cheering you up during the cold months.
As well as being just the thing to brighten up a dour day, it also happens to be a brilliant platformer, packed full of inventive puzzles, cleverly hidden collectibles and brilliant bosses.
While the pace is generally pretty laid back through most of the game, if you’re after a challenge the final and hidden worlds definitely offer it. So if you’re after something to chase away the winter blues, you could do a lot worse than packing your bags for a trip to Yoshi’s Island.
When you think of comforting games, Dark Souls is perhaps the last that would come to mind. Notoriously difficult and punishing, From Software’s cult-hit into the RPG genre is a controversial choice.
However, there’s truly no better feeling than, after hours of isolation in the depths of Lordran, returning to Firelink Shrine. The peaceful and relaxing music topped with the community of fellow undead makes you feel safe in an otherwise tormenting world.
The music is nothing short of brilliant and the presence of nature overrunning the land of Ancient Lords is a beautiful sight.
Whilst it is challenging, I find myself returning to Dark Souls every couple of months. Once you’ve familiarised yourself with the mechanics, the bosses, the level design and the enemies, it goes from being unbelievably cruel and unrelenting to enjoyable and peaceful.
The music is nothing short of brilliant and the presence of nature overrunning the land of Ancient Lords is a beautiful sight. What many consider to be aggravating and stressful, I look at as incredibly relaxing.
In this industry full of greedy corporations churning out overly-serious shooters, it takes something exceptional to light a fire in my cold, dead little heart. Unravel manages to do this in spades, despite being published by the corporate manifestation of Satan’s dirty sphincter, Electronic Arts.
Developed by ColdWood Interactive, Unravel exudes a sincere warmth from every aspect of its being. The visuals in particular are granular in their level of detail and pleasingly comforting in their autumnal colour palette.
The video game equivalent of a piping hot bowl of your favourite soup on a frosty winter afternoon
On top of this, the soundtrack has a lovely mysticism to it, making the whole presentation feel like a breath of fresh, cedar-scented air in a generation dominated by big, shouty, cinematic experiences.
This all adds up to make Unravel the video game equivalent of a piping hot bowl of your favourite soup on a frosty winter afternoon: wholesome and familiar, an antidote for the harsh briskness of these miserable months.
Hearty food, made and shared alongside friends and family, and the panic of a dish spilt, burnt or otherwise ruined. These are staples of the Christmas season, and perfectly encapsulated in the co-op mania of Overcooked.
Entirely playable on your own or in a group, this indie gem sits right alongside the Jackbox Party Packs for a group gathering full of laughs. Each player controls a chef working in a chaotic kitchen, managing the different ingredients required for upcoming orders. Kitchen hazards ranging from piles of dishes in need of cleaning, to floors that shift at random ensure that things never go as smoothly as players attempt to plan.
Entirely playable on your own or in a group, this indie gem sits right alongside the Jackbox Party Packs for a group gathering full of laughs.
It’s a simple concept but, aside from a few performance dips depending on your platform of choice, it’s perfectly executed. And be warned: despite its wholesome exterior, the game’s swear button (resulting in text boxes of garbled characters) can often match the attempts at communication in the real world… Fun for the whole family!