’Tis the time for year-end lists. We had the worst celebrity breakups of 2018, the best books of 2018 and now, we’re looking back on the most exciting video game releases from this year. And, boy, were there a lot of them. From fan-favorite Nintendo franchises, like Pokémon and Super Mario Bros. to an exciting release centered on everyone’s friendly-neighborhood Spider-Man, 2018 was an exciting year for video games, which makes holiday gifting easy.
So, for those in need of last-minute present ideas or who simply want to make the holiday shopping process easier, we’ve collected 10 exciting video games from 2018 to gift this holiday season. Whether you’re looking for a fast and easy stocking stuffer or are in the mood to try out a new game from this year, this list has you covered.
Pokémon: Let’s Go
Fans of 1998’s Pokémon Yellow will find a modern take on the classic Gameboy game in Pokémon: Let’s Go, which takes Pokémon Yellow‘s story and revamps it with a sleeker look and a new way to catch Pokémon. Following in the success of Pokémon Go on mobile, Pokémon: Let’s Go allows users to catch and train Pokémon by a simple throw of Pokéball. When it comes to Nintendo Switch game’s two versions, Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee, choose wisely as the game determines their starter Pokémon.
$58.75 at Amazon
Super Mario Party
Selling more than 1.5 million copies in its first month, Super Mario Party is one of the most popular games on the Nintendo Switch, and it’s for good reason. The game, which is the 16th in the Mario Party series, includes both classic game play (users compete in minigames to win stars. the user with the most stars wins) and a new team-player mode. With 84 mini games and more than a dozen fan-favorite Mario characters to play as, including Luigi and Princess Peach, Super Mario Party proves why Mario Party is one of the franchise’s longest-running and most popular series.
$58.88 at Amazon
Hailed by critics as one of the best superhero video games ever made, Marvel’s Spider-Man uses an open-world design, where users can shoot webs, climb on walls, do aerial combat and parkour across New York City as everyone’s friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. The PlayStation 4 game, which tells an original story unrelated to any previous Spider-Man media, uses puzzles, stealth and good old-fashioned fighting to save New York City from evil.
$39.99 at Amazon
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
The much-anticipated fifth installment in the Super Smash Bros. series, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for the Nintendo Switch features a record-high 76 characters from more than 20 Nintendo franchises, including Pokémon, Super Mario Bros. and Fire Emblem, as well as some fan-favorite third-party games like Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog and Capcom’s Street Fighter. The two-dimensional fighting game, which features a brand-new solo mode with even more character inclusion, consists of a flexible play style fit for professional, competition-like brawling and casual, easy-to-learn family fun.
$59.88 at Amazon
Mario Tennis Aces
When it comes to sports spinoffs with Super Mario Bros. characters, the list is never-ending. There’s baseball, soccer, basketball. But one of the most popular is tennis, which returned in 2018 with Mario Tennis Aces. The game, which includes Mario characters like Waluigi and Bowser Jr., features a simple hit-the-ball play style, with more advanced techniques, like slow-motion and special moves, for an exhilarating tennis match in your own home.
$54.96 at Amazon
Just Dance 2019
Say what you want about the Just Dance franchise, but there’s no denying it’s popular. Even former President Barack Obama’s daughters, Malia and Sasha Obama, are fans. The motion-based game, which has users mimic choreography on screen set to some of today’s most popular songs, returned with its 2019 version in October. The game, which can be played on several platforms, such as the Nintendo Switch, included both modern hits, like Camila Cabello’s “Havana” and Dua Lipa’s “New Rules,” as well as throwbacks, like Corona’s “The Rhythm of the Night” and Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing.”
$29.99 at Amazon
Celeste proves platform games are still cool as one of the most popular video games of 2018. The game, which is available on consoles like the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation4, follows a girl named Madeline as she makes her way up a mountain while avoiding deadly obstacles like spikes, fire and hurricane-level wind. Along with Madeline’s signature mid-air dash, users also also use mechanics, like springs and feathers for flight, to help their heroine reach her destination.
$19.99 at Amazon
Monster Hunter: World
Monster Hunter: World, the fifth installment in the Monster Hunter series, is the best-selling game in the 14-year-old franchise, selling more than 10 million copies in its first year. The game, which is often proclaimed as one of the best games of 2018, follows the user as a monster hunter tasked with killing or trapping monsters that roam various environmental areas. With each kill, the user is rewarded with monster parts to craft better weapons and armor. The core of the game is thus: Hunt down more monsters, build more powerful gear. Rinse and repeat.
$23.40 at Amazon
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
The 20th game in the Assassin’s Creed series, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is set in 431 BC and tells a fictional story about the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta. Users can play as either a male or female mercenary who inherits a broken spear that allows them special abilities in battle, boosting their stealth, archery and combat. The game also allows users to form romantic relationships with non-playable characters of either gender, a rare win for LGBTQ representation in a video game.
$50.40 at Amazon
Spyro Reignited Trilogy
After 18 years since the last installment in the Spyro series from the late ’90s and early ’00s, Spyro Reignited Trilogy remasters the franchise’s first three games—Spyro the Dragon, Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage! and Spyro: Year of the Dragon—with a more modern look and more detailed surroundings. The game, which also used the same voice narrator from two of the original games for extra nostalgia, follows a purple dragon named Spyro who must free his fellow dragons from crystal prisons scattered across his world.
$29.88 at Amazon