Looking for the perfect gift to get the gamer in your life? Sure, waking up to a new system on Christmas morning is next level joy, but what if you’re just looking to gift a small special game after drawing a gamer’s name in a Secret Santa exchange or shopping for your online gaming buddies? To help you avoid pricey or impersonal options (no Battlefield 2042s under our tree, please) the LBG staff has come up with a list of charming and affordable games to gift this holiday season!
Golf With Your Friends ($15 Play Station, Switch, Steam)
Golf With Your Friends is one of the most fun party games of the past decade, boasting countless party modes, a competitive online scene, and plenty of ways to unwind with your friends over the creative putt putt locations. You can challenge your friends to see who wins an intense battle royale on a space station course, or you can just play mini golf basketball on 18 holes in a cheery candy world. So much of the holiday season is about spending time doing something fun with your family and friends, and this game will have you laughing and golfing with your friends for hours.
A Short Hike ($8 Play Station, Switch, Steam, Xbox)
Sure, the game itself takes place on a summer’s day, but it’s a must play 2 hour gem that blends the cuteness of Animal Crossing with the exploration of Breath of the Wild. A Short Hike has a joyfully satisfying climbing and gliding mechanic, a lot of adorable animals to meet, and a beautiful soaring score. It’s the perfect gift to give to up and coming gamers and seasoned veterans alike. You even get some wintery Christmassy snow near the end of the game, along with a heartwarming message about family and the lengths we’ll go to make sure they’re ok. It’s a meaningful ending to a quick journey that oozes home for the holiday soulfulness.
Shovel Knight Treasure Trove ($40 Play Station, Switch, Steam, Xbox)
Shovel Knight Treasure Trove is on the pricier end of Secret Santa gifts, but it actually includes four radically different versions of the game. We especially love the newest mode where you play with the greedy King Knight battling through the kingdom, and playing an impressively in depth card game on top of the base platforming mechanics. And with the other stellar adventures of Shovel, Plague, and Specter Knight, it’ll be like you’re giving four presents in one! Talk about a Christmas morning miracle.
E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy ($10 Steam)
Blending N64 shooters vibes with the systems of Fall Out 3, E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy is an atmospheric and cryptic shooter that engulfs the player in a world of futuristic theocracy and mystery with some terrific mechanics. If futuristic theocracy doesn’t sound Christmassy enough for you, it boasts an impressive co-op mode that makes it the perfect game to play with your siblings, parents, or friends before a holiday dinner. This is a revolutionary FPS at only $10, making it an engaging gift, and even better present if you can play together.
Into The Breach ($15 Switch, Steam)
Arguably the greatest turn-based strategy game to ever grace gaming, Into the Breach is a futuristic Pacific Rim style chess game that puts the player against an invading force of kaiju sized bugs. It boasts endless replayability with branching paths and the ability to pick from 27 mechs, each with their own custom attacks and abilities. And the game communicates movement and upcoming consequences leaving the player feeling in full control of their team’s fate. With so many ways to revisit and strategize new runs, gifting this game leads to a game gift that keeps on giving.
Celeste ($20Play Station, Switch, Steam, Xbox)
Even if it’s one of the most well known game on this list, it still stands to be repeated that Celeste is one of the best platforming games in the history of the genre. And at $20 (or usually cheaper on sale), this is a beautiful, challenging, emotional piece of art. Madeline’s journey up the snow-covered Mount Celeste is such a relatable tale, with a delightfully charming cast of characters. Add in the razor sharp controls and innovative and constantly building mechanics, and this is the type of game to bring any seasoned gamer plenty of joy all through the year.
Stardew Valley ($15 Play Station, Switch, Steam, Android)
While it might be hard to find a gamer who doesn’t already own Stardew Valley, this farming sim is filled with charm, depth of gameplay, and hundreds of hours of content, making it the quintessential Secret Santa game gift. Stardew gives the player so many different choices and tasks, and with the co-op mode this is a gift you can play together for literal years to come. And we have to mention you can even celebrate The Feast of the Winter Star in game, Pelican Town’s own version of Christmas!
However you are celebrating the holidays, we hope these recommendations help you find the perfect gift for the gamer in your life! Do you have a favorite game you’ve given or been gifted in a Secret Santa? If so be sure to let us know in the comments!