Best games to play during Christmas dinner
We've already touched on the best games to play with friends and family over the holidays season, but for some folks the holiday season means forced, awkward interactions with your extended family.
Whether you still find yourself relegated to the kids table, or you need something to distract you from your family holiday snoozefest (no judgement here), we've got some recommendations that offer a more rewarding challenge than arguing politics with your in-laws. These are some of our favorite casual games of the past year and a bit that'll help you kill some family time.
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UltraFlow 2 is a simple yet challenging puzzle game that you could (in theory) easily play under the table at family dinner. It features very casual gameplay wherein your goal is to launch the fling the ball into the whole by bouncing it off the provided obstacles — but you only have a set number of ricochets per level.
The game features a chill, minimalist vibe and can be pretty relaxing even when you're trying to brute force your way through a particularly tough level. It's a free game so you have to deal with the occasional ad, but they're spaced out enough so that it doesn't feel overly intrusive.
Download: UltraFlow 2 (Free) (opens in new tab)
Brain It On!
This physics-based puzzle game is unique and challenging, requiring you to think outside the box to solve each level.
You use your finger to draw lines, shapes, weighted objects, and whatever else you think you need to solve each screen. Things get progressively creative and difficult as you progress through the over 200 levels, but you'll eventually need to go back and revisit old levels to get three stars to unlock new ones (stars are earned by finishing the level under time within the limit of shapes number of shapes).
It's a really fun game that'll make you feel smarter than everyone around you… when you're not stumped by a tricky level.
Download: Brain It On! (Free) (opens in new tab)
Enjoy the festive update for Trivia Crack as you prove how smart you are at the end of 2016. Just like the name suggests, Trivia Crack is the fix for anyone addicted to trivia.
You login via your Facebook profile and can either challenge your friends or a random opponent, then spin the wheel to answer multiple choice questions from six different categories — Entertainment, Science, Arts, Sports, Geography and History. As long as you keep answering the questions right, you can keep picking up pieces. Collect all six category pieces and you win!
There's also Challenge mode, where you go head to head with seven other opponents at one time, where time and accuracy is needed to win. This one might start as a solitary escape, but plays just
Download: Trivia Crack (Free) (opens in new tab)
Grab your gun boots and jump down the well in Downwell. This retro-styled roguelike game is extremely challenging, with a steep learning curve. But it's quick to jump right into the game, no pun intended.
Since your character is falling, enemies and shops come from the bottom-up, so you need to be strategic in your freefall do you don't accidentally land on an enemy and lose a heart. There are a number of different 'styles' you unlock through repeated play, which give you different numbers of hearts at the start, changes the way end of level upgrades work, and slightly alters the way your sprite falls down the well.
The goal is to survive as you fall deeper and deeper down the well. There's no in-app purchases, save points, or continues, so when you die you must start at the entrance of the well again.
Download: Downwell ($0.99) (opens in new tab)
Simple snake gameplay meets massive multiplayer in this wonderfully addictive casual game that will eat up your free time as you eat up your enemies.
The Snake Game has been a mobile gaming mainstay since the Nokia phones of the 90s, but slither.io updates the format in a big way. Slither.io allows for free-roaming, 360 degree movement and a smorgasbord of pellets to eat and grow your snake — and you're never alone. You're dropped into a circular arena with hundreds of other players, all battling for the same pellets.
You start as a tiny snake but quickly grow as you collect pellets. Double-tap and hold to go fast and try to cut off other snakes — if you run into another snake, you explode into energy pellets and must start from scratch. You can change your skin, set a custom nickname and go online, or play against A.I. opponents for faster gameplay.
Download: Slither.io (Free) (opens in new tab)
Beautiful visuals, intuitive controls, and endless playability. Alto's Adventure is one of the best games of 2016 and a great way to kill some time.
You play as Alto, a snowboarding llama farmer who must race down the mountain to collect runaways. This endless side scroller features smooth gameplay and simple controls: tap to jump, tap and hold to do a backflip. Landing tricks — backflips and grinds across buildings and bunting lines — gives you a speed boost to help blast past obstacles. Collect coins and spend them on upgrading power ups that will assist you on your next adventure.
Alto's Adventure includes objectives, which are challenging but fun and greatly enhance the replayability. Overall, it's a fairly relaxing gaming experience, with tight physics and a great sense of speed.
Download: Alto's Adventure (Free) (opens in new tab)
No matter what you get up to this season, we want to wish you seasons greetings and a very Happy New Year!
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Marc Lagace was an Apps and Games Editor at Android Central between 2016 and 2020. You can reach out to him on Twitter [@spacelagace.
Plus it's rude. Play a board game.