With real life parties put on hold for the foreseeable future, these side-splitting games are sure to have you and your friends laughing together in no time...
By Virgin TV Edit
Going out and meeting up with mates is not on our radars for the foreseeable. But thanks to a raft of brilliant consoles and apps, you can still play party games... even if you can’t physically go to a party.
Be it via a side-splitting quiz or an action-packed punch-a-thon featuring “beasts” that look like they’re made from blu-tac, with the party games listed below, there are plenty of ways you can get re-connecting with your mates and continue having an absolute blast.
We know, we know – sneakily pushing their buttons and prompting a rage-induced rant from them isn’t quite the same as seeing their meltdowns in person, but these titles and apps are a pretty good compromise…
1. Super Mario Party
Available on Nintendo Switch
We may as well start with the OG party master himself, Mario. Yes, everyone’s favourite cartoon Italian plumber-slash-gaming icon is back with another set of mind-blowingly addictive party games for you and your friends. And, with this latest offering on the Switch, he and his plethora of pals have never looked better.
2. Nidhogg II
Available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and Mac
We love Nidhogg. Why? Because the goal is simple: get from one side of the map to the other, and get past your friend to do so. From throwing knives at your friend, whacking them with a sword, hitting them with arrows or steaming past them like an Olympic fencer, every match is a riot of violence, stupidity, and fun. Well worth a try.
3. Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled
Available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
There is, quite simply, no better way to ruin a long-lasting friendship than destroying your friend in a cartoon kart racing game. With this 2019 reboot of the PS1 classic, doing just that has never been so fun. Gorgeous visuals, intuitive controls and forgiving yet ferocious racing ensure this is one of those games you can lose entire evenings to. Ridiculously good.
4. Psych! Outwit Your Friends
Available on Android
A trivia game with a twist, this app sees you making up fake answers to real trivia questions in the hope that your stupid, disgusting friends mistake them for the real answers. Think Shooting Stars, but even stranger.
Available on iOS, Android and Mac
It’s just you, your mates, and the simple pleasure of ripping into them (and being ripped into, of course) or, if you’re a normal human being, having a nice chat over Houseparty’s brilliantly simple app. But hit up the dice icon on the top of the screen for games including Quick Draw and Christmas classic Heads Up.
6. The Jackbox Party Pack 6
Available on Mac, PC and Android
If you like game shows, you’ll like this game. If you like game shows and are convinced that you’re far, far funnier than your friends, then you’ll love this game. Five hilarious minigames allow groups from two to ten players to compete in increasingly nonsensical challenges that are sure to have you all rolling on the floor laughing. The best kind of weird.
7. Netflix Party
Available on Google Chrome
Perfect for long-distance couples incapable of resisting the urge of watching a shared programme without your loved one or a few mates who are well and truly invested in that cheerleading documentary everyone is talking about, this absolutely brilliant Google Chrome extension allows you to share a screen and chill with another while watching the same show. Genius.
8. Overcooked! 2
Available on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Mac and PC
If you and your mates’ shared passion for Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares has you plotting your own restaurant endeavour, then allow Overcooked! 2 to shatter those dreams. Teams of up to four players must prepare, cook and send out orders to customers in a series of surreal restaurants. Sounds simple? Ohh, just wait. You haven’t known stress until you play Overcooked!
Available on PlayStation 4 and Android
Fifteen utterly bizarre (but brilliant) minigames await the four players mad enough to give this cracking party game a go. Hilarious customisable characters and no shortage of carnage/weirdness lie in store. It’s a good time waiting to happen, basically.
10. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Available on Nintendo Switch
There’s a reason we said Mario is the OG of party games… and yes, you’re right, this technically isn’t a party game, but shut up. It might as well be for the trust-ruining rifts it can open up between friends. If you think you know someone, just wait until they send a blue shell careering into your rear as you race around beautifully designed tracks. There’s no telling to how many laughs are to be had with this one.
11. Who Can’t Draw?
Available on Android and iOS
Ahh, the eternal question. Which of your closest friends is terrible at drawing? Well, with this handy and utterly hilarious app, that question remains one side-splitting game away as you attempt to exchange a secret message through an entire group – with the only means of communication being whatever weirdness your mates happen to draw.
12. LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga
Available on Android, iOS, PC, Wii U, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Mac
We could have picked any of the LEGO games. Easy, instinctive gameplay, brain-tickling puzzles and that so-addictive-you-find-yourself-dreaming-about-doing-so urge to collect studs makes them a must-have for any group of gamers looking for a fun, casual way to while away a few hours. This one, we think, is the créme de la brick of the series. Oh, and given its age, probably dirt cheap, too.
13. Scribblenauts Showdown
Available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
The pen (or, in this case, the sweaty fingertip smudging your phone screen to draw objects) truly is mightier than the sword in this hair-brained party game that sees you compete to outsmart and outdraw your friends in 25 action-packed minigames.
Available on Xbox One, PC, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, iOS, Android and Mac
Correct, the game we all know, love, and once had our dear old nan near-enough on the floor from +4 card-induced panic is available to play online. There really isn’t much to say about this one, other than, well, it’s Uno. In other words, the greatest game ever.
15. Super Bomberman R
Available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC
If you’ve loved Bomberman at any point in the explosive character’s long and amazing history, then you’ll absolutely adore this latest iteration, which allows you to both blow up your friends, and once again tear around a small, maze-like maps wreaking absolute havoc. Great fun.
16. Worms W.M.D
Available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and Mac
WOOOOOORMS! How did we nearly forget Worms. If ever you’ve wanted to fight your friends with small armies of oddly cute-looking cartoon worms, then this latest version of the classic strategy game is a definite must-play. Honestly – no words do justice to just how satisfying blasting one of your friends’ wormy soldiers to high heaven can be.
17. Keep Talking & Nobody Explodes
Available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Android and iOS
Communication is key to this one. One person has the means of deactivating a bomb – but the other players have the manual needed for them to do so… and therein lies the problem (depending on your friendship group, anyway). Funny and infuriating in equal measure, this is an insanely entertaining game. Just remember to have a lie down afterwards.
18. Gang Beasts
Available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Mac and Wii U
This amazingly odd but justifiably acclaimed little game allows you and your mates to create action-film-esque punch-ups using rubbery, cute little critters who can grab, grapple and slap one another off ledges, into spiky mangles and so, so much more. If fights in real life were as fun as Gang Beasts, we’d instigate them daily. So good.
19. Stick Fight: The Game
Available on PC, Nintendo Switch, iOS and Mac
If, like us, your first forays onto the internet consisted of watching elaborately animated stick fight-sequences featuring gun-toting stick men, this is the game for you. Not only can you punch and kick one another in an array of brilliantly simplistic settings, you can fire guns… even a snake gun. Yes. A gun that shoots snakes. Not cool enough? How about a minigun that shoots snakes? That’s temptation you’re feeling – give in to it.
Available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, iOS and Mac
Interactive environments, superfast side-scrolling racing, grappling hooks and a plethora of power-ups make this four-player racing game a must-play. Throw colourful character models into the mix and an art style so nice it’ll have you swooning as you tear through it all and this is a “when shall we play it”-type game, not “should we?”
21. Push Me Pull You
Available on PlayStation 4, PC and Mac
As you can probably tell from the above trailer, things get freaky with this one. Before they wowed the world with Untitled Goose Game, developers House House had people rolling, pulling and pushing one another with this bizarre party game that sees two sausage-like “people” (each controlled by two players) try to push, pull and wrestle a small ball into a circle to score points. It’s like football but far weirder and, well, not remotely like football.
Available on Nintendo Switch, PC and Mac
Fans of the criminally underrated PSP game Loco Roco will love this side-scrolling racer in which, according to the developers, “party hats are mandatory”. Control one of four cute, colourful squid-creatures and get racing to a “bopping” octopus party in a game that is so charming, you’ll be able to forget that your friend’s every victory is at your feeble, failed expense.
Available on desktop, Android and iOS
Party games just got educational with this one. Multiple-choice quizzes allow any user to get a quick-fire crash-course on any subject of their choosing with this handy app. And– wait, it’s free? IT’S FREE? Scrap that university application, get Kahoot. Do it now.
24. Pummel Party
Available on PC
Whether it’s by playing a game of tag with an explosive device or knocking your friend from a precipice, there are countless ways to annoy, infuriate and ultimately mentally scar your friends with Pummel Party. A pleasingly box-like and beautifully bloody art-style make this a hilariously fun, albeit pretty “violent” party game. Perfect for any group of friends with a darkly comic sense of humour.
Available on Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PC, iOS and Android
Though it may not be a party game, Minecraft couldn’t be a more apt, calming way to spend time with friends you haven’t seen for some time. Its twinkly soundtrack and pleasing gameplay combine to create one of the most calming gaming experiences any group of friends can have… unless you take a certain satisfaction in blowing up your mates’ creations with copious amounts of dynamite. In which case, it’s still pretty fun.