The El33tonline Buyer’s Guide for Holiday 2012: Party games for friends and family

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It’s been six years since the Wii first introduced us to a different way of playing games with the motion-control capabilities it brought to the market. The possibility of getting fit, learning to dance, and enjoying sports while playing games and not necessarily just sitting on the couch was a step forward in the industry.

It opened up a whole new market and meant that more people from around the world were shown just how fun gaming can be. It also meant that gaming became something that the whole family could enjoy together, something which the PlayStation Move and Kinect for Xbox 360 built on and took to new heights.

There have been a number of really great titles released this year that you can enjoy playing with your family over the festive season, or with a bunch of mates on the weekend. There’s a fair selection for both PS3 and Xbox 360 gamers, and now a fantastic range for the new Wii U as well.

My wish is that some of these titles will inspire new people who play them at their friend’s houses to glimpse into our world, and share the fun and excitement that gaming brings to our lives.

New Super Mario Bros U. (Wii U)

New Super Mario Bros. U Large IconThis classic 2D side-scrolling platformer is really great fun with a group of friends or family. Up to five players can join in the action, and thanks to the new GamePad controller you can assist a less experienced player too. Apart from that, I like to think that it’s our duty to teach the new generation about the adventures of Mario, so step right up and help spread knowledge about the Mushroom Kingdom to the young ‘uns.

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Wonderbook: Book of Spells (PS3 with Move)

Wonderbook Book of Spells Large IconBook of Spells is the first title in the new Wonderbook Augmented Reality series. Written in collaboration with Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, it’s an interactive spell book that is set within the world of Hogwarts. Although it’s primarily aimed at children, you’ll no doubt also enjoy learning spells and watching as your Move controller transforms into a wand on-screen.

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LEGO: Lord of the Rings (Xbox 360, PS3)

LEGO Lord of The Rings Large IconContinue your stud-collecting addiction in the latest LEGO game which follows the story of The Lord of the Rings. Solve puzzles, complete quests, and enjoy the laugh out loud humour that have become synonymous with the LEGO series of videogames. Look out for all of your favourite characters from Middle-Earth, faithfully recreated in LEGO, and enjoy the drop-in/drop-out co-operative play, precious.

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Just Dance 4 (Xbox 360 with Kinect, Wii U, PS3 with Move)

Just Dance 4 Large IconThe psychedelic colours and groovy beats of Just Dance are back, and with a rocking 40 song tracklist and great new modes this is a must-have for your New Year’s party game collection. Watch as even your most reserved friends get swept away with the fun four player dance action in Just Dance 4, or watch them sweat as you test out the new Puppet Master mode on the Wii U which lets you change your friend’s next dance move in real time using the GamePad controller.

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Sports Champions 2 (PS3 with Move)

Sports Champions 2 Large IconThis game will give you the chance to find out who is the most talented sportsman among your friends and family. Using the Move controller you’ll be able to use single or double motion controllers and compete in five new mini-games (boxing, golf, bowling, skiing and tennis) as well as an updated archery mode. Sports Champions 2 also features a new Party mode where you can enjoy multi-sport tournaments.

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Fable: The Journey (Xbox 360 with Kinect)

Fable: The Journey Large IconFable: The Journey is an action-adventure game that follows a parallel story set fifty years after Fable 3. It’s completely controlled using the Kinect and it’s a great game to enjoy with your children. If you’re a fan of the Fable franchise give this one a go to experience the world of Albion in a different way.

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Sorcery (PS3 with Move)

Sorcery Large IconSorcery is a magical wand-waving adventure that players of all ages can enjoy. Using the navigation controller or DualShock 3 players will guide the game’s protagonist Finn around various locales, while using the Move controller to cast spells, drink potions and stir brews. It’s an engaging, albeit short, story and features a beautiful art style too.

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Dance Central 3 (Xbox 360 with Kinect)

Dance Central 3 Large IconThe latest dancing game from Harmonix features a tracklist of 40 songs, including both classic and contemporary dance tracks. From Maroon 5’s ‘Moves like Jagger’ to ‘Ice Ice Baby’ from Vanilla Ice, there’s something for everyone, and you can even download Gangnam Style now. Get back in front of Kinect with the most boss grooves on the planet.

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PlayStation All Stars-Battle Royale (PS3)

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale Large IconThis mascot brawler features characters from Sony’s massive line-up of first-party franchises. The roster includes iconic characters such as Nathan Drake from the Uncharted series and Kratos from the God of War franchise, as well as a legacy of early PlayStation personalities such as PaRappa, Sweet Tooth and Spike. This four player beat ‘em up promises to be great fun with a group of mates!

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Wreckateer (Xbox 360 with Kinect)

Wreckateer Large IconThis Xbox LIVE Arcade game sees players put in control of a enormous castle-wrecking Ballista thanks to the Kinect. You’ll be able to destroy castles and other structures using six projectiles – an experience that you will discover to be thoroughly cathartic after rushing around among manic crowds doing your Christmas shopping.

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Zumba Fitness Rush (Xbox 360 with Kinect)

Zumba Fitness Rush Large IconThis is a great option if you’re looking for a total-body workout game that you can have fun enjoying in your own home. It blends dance rhythms from around the world with easy-to-follow choreography, and will definitely help you burn calories, and have fun doing it, while you learn to Zumba.

Read El33tonline’s review

If you enjoyed this feature, be sure to read the rest of El33tonline’s 2012 Buyer’s Guides (so far):

The El33tonline Buyer’s Guide for Holiday 2012: Wii U

The El33tonline Buyer’s Guide for Holiday 2012: PS Vita

The El33tonline Buyer’s Guide for Holiday 2012: 3DS

The El33tonline Buyer’s Guide for Holiday 2012: Sports Games

The El33tonline Buyer’s Guide for Holiday 2012: First-Person Shooters

The El33tonline Buyer’s Guide for Holiday 2012: Racing Games

The El33tonline Buyer’s Guide for Holiday 2012: Role-playing Games