The smell of mince pies baking, the sound of Christmas songs on the radio and eating yourself into a food coma are what Christmas is all about. Many will say it's about spending time with your friends and family, but generally speaking, if you ask any kid about what Christmas means to them, you'll get but one answer - presents. But sometimes, knowing what to get them can be the hardest part of the festive preparations, particularly if they're the type that will literally circle the entire Argos catalogue as their "wants". If your little, and not-quite-so-little, ones are looking for a game this year, then look no further than our Christmas Gift Guide, which breaks down all the best games for each age group, taking at least some of the stress out of Christmas in the process!
Ages 3 to 5
Generally speaking, the Xbox 360 doesn't really have much to offer the youngest of the young, skewing more towards the older end of the spectrum - meaning, if you have them, you may have more luck looking for Wii U and 3DS games instead.
Frozen Free Fall: Snowball Fight
However, there is one game that might go down fairly well with the younger crowd - although it isn't exactly the sort of thing you can wrap up and give on Christmas morning. A free to play download from Xbox Live, this Disney-themed match three game sees you swapping gems around to make matches of colours to make those tiles disappear. As you make matches, you'll earn points, and all you need to do to finish the level is to make enough matches to reach the target score, whilst staying within the fairly generous maximum number of moves. A word of warning though - Frozen Free Fall is supported by in-game purchases of extra lives, snowballs and the like, so you'll want to be sure your little ones don't have access to your Xbox Live account and credit card.
Ages 6 to 10
LEGO Jurassic World
Always a hit with this age group, LEGO Jurassic World is the latest instalment in the two player co-op, enemy bashing, brick smashing LEGO series. Taking you on a whistle stop tour of all four Jurassic Park films, all retold in a family-friendly, slapstick and silly style, you'll find yourself dodging T-Rex, hiding from rabid Velociraptors in the kitchen and Gyrosphere-ing across the park's plains, as you punch, rebuild and puzzle solve your way through all the key plot points. Outside of the levels, there's four huge hub worlds themed after each Jurassic Park, packed with extra missions, hidden collectables and more to keep you busy well into the new year. And did we mention you can play as cutesy Lego versions of all your favourite dinosaurs too?
Full LEG Jurassic World Review
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Buy LEGO Jurassic World from Amazon.co.uk
Buy LEGO Jurassic World from Amazon.com
Fuelled by it's huge range of collectible figures, which can be used as your characters in game, Skylanders Superchargers takes the 'toys to life' genre to the next level. With series bad guy Kaos set on sucking up the skies of the Skylands, it falls to a new breed of Skylanders to help save the day - the Superchargers, who can harness the power of vehicles (sold as separate figures) to put an end to his tricks. Coming in the form of a Starter Pack, which includes two Superchargers character figures and a land vehicle, you have everything you need to smash, bad guy bash and puzzle solve your way through the traditional Skylanders adventure, now punctuated with all-new vehicle sections, letting you take to the land, sea and sky to fight Kaos. The Starter Pack comes with everything you need to play through the full story of the game, but the odds are you'll want to pick up more characters and vehicles along the way too, which in turn will unlock extra bonus areas to explore.
Full Skylanders Superchargers Review
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Buy Skylanders Superchargers from Amazon.co.uk
Buy Skylanders Superchargers from Amazon.com
Disney Infinity 3.0
Perfect for the young Star Wars fan in your life, Disney Infinity 3.0 is another co-operative adventure, but this time set in the sci-fi world of the first three numbered Star Wars films. Coming bundled with real-life figures of Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano, which become your characters in the game when placed on the included portal, you'll find yourself infiltrating droid factories on Geonosis, pod-racing across Tatooine and lightsaber swinging with Darth Maul as you play through all the key parts of the films. Your adventure can then be expanded by buying extra Play Sets, based on other Star Wars films, Pixar's Inside Out and Marvel, as well as more character figures to play as in game. Outside of the main levels, there's also a more free form Toy Box where you can create and play your own levels as well as download new ones to try too.
Full Disney Infinity 3.0 Review
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Buy Disney Infinity 3.0 from Amazon.co.uk
Buy Disney Infinity 3.0 from Amazon.com
Mixing a traditional Lego game's bad guy bashing, brick smashing and simple puzzle solving with collectible figures in the manner of Skylanders, LEGO Dimensions takes the whole genre to a new level. On a mission to stop the evil Lord Vortech from taking over the whole LEGO multiverse, Batman, Gandalf and Wyldstyle must travel through everything from Back to the Future to The Simpsons to Lord of the Rings and foil Vortech's evil schemes. Coming with buildable figures of Batman, Gandalf, Wyldstyle and the Batmobile, as well as buildable portal to put them on, it's part Lego kit and part video game - extra levels, characters and vehicles can be purchased separately to expand the game too. Keep in mind that an internet connection is required to download the latest updates before you can play using certain characters, or in certain adventure worlds beyond the main story, though!
Full Lego Dimensions Review
Parental Review: Lego Dimensions
Buy Lego Dimensions from Amazon.co.uk
Buy Lego Dimensions from Amazon.com
Minecraft Story Mode
Most kids are likely familiar with the block-based free-form creator, Minecraft - but with Minecraft Story Mode, they can experience the familiar Minecraft world in a whole new way. Much more story-focused, it tells the tale of Jessie and his/her friends, who are on a mission to save the world from a giant world-eating Wither monster, by rounding up the four legendary heroes to put it back in its place. Mostly revolving around solving a few light puzzles and picking conversation options to alter the course of the story, it's a fairly slow-paced adventure, perfect for the Minecraft fan of the family. A word of warning though - even if you buy the game on a disc, it'll still require an internet connection to download and unlock subsequent chapters of the story.
Full Minecraft Story Mode Review
Parental Review: Minecraft Story Mode
Buy Minecraft Story Mode from Amazon.co.uk
Buy Minecraft Story Mode from Amazon.com
A roller coaster sim with a bit of a difference, Screamride will see you driving, designing and destroying roller coasters through umpteen levels of craziness. Split into three parts, the first sees you trying to drive a roller coaster round a track as fast as possible, while the second tasks you with building or completing a roller coaster to meet specific requirements. Finally, though, in what's arguably the star of the show, you'll have the chance to fire pods off a roller coaster ramp at various structures to cause as much destruction as you possibly can. It may miss out on much of the management aspect of RollerCoaster Tycoon and Theme Park, but Screamride more than makes up for it with a hefty dose of addictive craziness that's sure to be a hit on Christmas day.
Full Screamride Review
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Buy Screamride from Amazon.co.uk
Buy Screamride from Amazon.com
While it may not be the most festive of games, Resident Evil: Revelations 2 is a great pick for the adult members of your family - especially as it's one of the few adult-oriented titles to offer split-screen, same console co-op. The game tells the tale of two groups of characters that find themselves trapped on an island with a group of zombies, as they do their best to survive, and escape. What follows is an adventure that stays true to the Resident Evil "survival horror" ideals, whilst mixing it with some interesting co-op play. You'll have limited ammo, face off against plenty of zombies, and solve puzzles whilst keeping an eye out for traps as you make your way around the island. One of the nicest things here is the kind of asymmetric co-op - usually, only one of your team can actually use a gun, with the other having to serve as a kind of look-out/spotter - and attempting to complete a level using only the game's set of built-in phrases to talk to your co-op partner is a lot of fun. "Wait! Wait! Over here! Come on!"
Full Resident Evil Revelations 2 Review
Parental Review: Resident Evil Revelations 2
Buy Resident Evil Revelations 2 from Amazon.co.uk
Buy Resident Evil Revelations 2 from Amazon.com
Game of Thrones
Winter has well and truly come, and what better way to take your mind off the hustle and bustle than with a good story-driven sit down? Set in the fantasy world of Westeros, a la George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones series, this branching point and click game puts you into the shoes of House Forrester, loyal to the recently disbanded House Stark. Starring all the same characters you know and love from the TV series and books, this is a "choose your own adventure" style game of intrigue and betrayal, as the choices you make will influence how the story plays out. Being on the wrong side in a war for the throne is a risky business too, and you'll have to make many an awkward decision along the way - to kill or not to kill, to trust or not to trust - make the wrong one and it could come back to haunt you later on down the line. Because when you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.
Full Game of Thrones Review
Parental Review: Game of Thrones
Buy Game of Thrones from Amazon.co.uk
Buy Game of Thrones from Amazon.com
Guitar Hero Live
For a bit of a musical twist this Christmas, Guitar Hero Live lets you live out all your rock star dreams from the comfort of your own home. Coming bundled with a plastic guitar peripheral, all you have to do is match the notes on screen in time with the music, wooing the crowd as you rock out to everything from Avril Lavigne to The Rolling Stones to Green Day and many, many more. As the game itself only comes with a single guitar, and previous Guitar Hero controllers won't work, technically only one person can play at a time - but it does still make an amazing pass the guitar party style game. And, if you happen to have a USB microphone knocking around anywhere, you can plug that in for a spot of impromptu karaoke too.
Buy Guitar Hero Live from Amazon.co.uk
Buy Guitar Hero Live from Amazon.com