Fight or Kite: Multiplayer games to play over the holidays with friends and foes, 2023 edition


Tis the season, everyone! Grab your loot and get ready. I hope you have a little bit extra time to yourselves or at least some time to play games with your friends or family. For my part, I’m going to be shoulder-deep in the land of aunts, uncles, and children galore. Basically my whole clan lives within my city limits, so I’ll be hopping from one gathering to the next with little time for myself in between.

If you’re expecting to be as busy as I am, then I suggest you have a plan for how to make sure you can still get your game on. Mine is multifaceted: I’m going to do my best to be the cool uncle who busts out the systems and teaches these little ones how a true gamer throws down. These kids aren’t babies who need me to go easy on ’em any more. I don’t have to dive out of the way so they can score an easy goal. Nah, they’re old enough to face my true power now!

So this might be the season of joy, laughter, and giving, but when I sit down with those terrors, it’ll be my season of joy – my laughter as they toss controllers in frustration and my amusement as I’m giving out Ls. It’s no holds barred in the house this week!

Couch battles for family supremacy

I’ll be upfront and honest and say not all my group gaming will be decking the halls with children’s tears. We actually play a bunch of friendly games too. If that’s your preference, then I’ve got a few suggestions there as well.

Mainly, I’ll be playing my fair share of Minecraft Dungeons. It’s a great Diablo-like centered in the world of Minecraft. The kids absolutely love all their familiar monsters and baddies appearing. They also love gaining newer and more powerful gear. It’s been out for a couple years, so it’s not the new hotness, but it’s still a solid couch co-op.

Also in the queue is the relatively new Illusion Island on the Switch. It’s a classic 2-D platformer featuring the animation style of the new Mickey Mouse show. The show is on Disney+ and probably on the Disney channels too. It’s pretty funny and a regular in our home. I have to admit the game has been a blast too. It’s very similar to a Mario platformer (or even Ori and the Blind Forest) but a bit on the easier side, which is good for kids who are still cutting their teeth on real games. There’s no combat to speak of, and it’s very friendly in that I can carry the team and make up for the kids flailing around the screen.


As far as the real fun goes, I highly recommend a classic fighting game. I’m planning on plugging in my old system and playing some Street Fighter II. It’s just too good. Kids love the button mashing and seeing Chun-Li’s crazy kicks, and a random hadouken flying out from Ryu always gets the crowd going wild.

I also heard my nephews bragging about how great they are in Rocket League. Now, I might not be leading any esports teams here, but I know my way around a dribble and some wall jumps into a flying goal. I literally cannot wait to pull one of those out on them and see their faces. It’s going to be epic. Also, it’s free on Epic Games, so it’s an easy one to include in your gathering.

Mario Party is another great one to play at gatherings. I’m particular to just playing the minigames and keeping a tally of the wins. No one is going to have the patience to really sit for rounds of the full game – and honestly, the minigames are all anyone wants to play anyway.

Mobile gaming to keep you occupied during gatherings

On the other end of the spectrum, there will be moments sitting around the porch, table, or whatever when you’re simply not going to be socially permitted to excuse yourself for gaming. The family will insist you stop upsetting the kids and come act like an adult. Oof.

In those cases, you may need to be a bit more sly, and that’s where mobile gaming will be your savior. After all, who wants to listen to another story about how smart little Sammy was and he really should have been in the gifted and talented program but those administrators really just had it out for our family. Oh if only he’d been in it, he probably would’ve been valedictorian, and the whole course of our lives would have changed. Please just make my suffering end.

For me, Harry Potter: Magic Awakened is still the go to mobile MMO. I’ve written several pieces about how great a game it turned out to be, to my shock. I can knock out achievements and dailies, as well as PvP to my heart’s content. The matches take only a couple of minutes, so it’s possible to look up occasionally if you need to make eye contact so that it appears you were following the conversations.

While I haven’t played it in a while, Albion Online is a great game too, particularly for those of you who love MMO PvP. I played it just a bit when it first launched on Android, and it worked really well, although you can also play on PC, of course. With some of the cutthroat nature of its PvP, I’d likely avoid going anywhere dangerous in case you can’t put 100% of your focus on the game. However, if you just wanted to casually gather in lower zones and putter around on your personal islands, I suspect you’d be good to go.

Ascension, Star Realms, and Hero Realms are also great options. You can play these competitively or just casually as a solitaire game. True, these are deckbuilding card games and not core MMOs, but I still play them on and off and love them.

One last night cap to wind down

Finally, after all the hullabaloo of the day has passed, it’s time to chill out and play something comfortable. If you’re on an away trip for the holidays, this may not be an option for you unless you’ve got a decent gaming laptop. However, I get to return home each evening, so I’m about to fire up my rig and decompress before bed.

Obvioisly, any MMO or game that is your home can fill this roll. Right now I’m quite the masochist as I’ve been sitting down in the evenings to get rekt in THE FINALS. It’s so not my typical game, but something about it is just fun.

Whatever game you’re playing likely has some sort of holiday festival content to partake in; in fact, we’ve rounded up a lot of those to give you some ideas for where to go if you’re bored over the season. So kick back, enjoy some alone time, and play away. You don’t have to get up too early anyway. Oh wait, I’m being told we need to be at the house by 9:00 a.m.? Well, whatever you’re up to, I hope you’re enjoying it and can still get your game on.

Every other week, Massively OP’s Sam Kash delivers Fight or Kite, our trip through the state of PvP across the MMORPG industry. Whether he’s sitting in a queue or rolling with the zerg, Sam’s all about the adrenaline rush of a good battle. Because when you boil it down, the whole reason we PvP (other than to pwn noobs) is to have fun fighting a new and unpredictable enemy!
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