For many in the northern hemisphere, January can be solum month, the exciting buzz of Christmas reached its crescendo and now all that lies ahead is three months of cold weather. Sure, we could hit the slopes and go snowboarding, but it’s expensive and generally only lasts a week. The nights are dark, the mornings are dark, hell, in the UK even the afternoons are dark. I don’t know if January is a common month for suicide but it wouldn’t surprise me. With this dark thought in mind, I think it’s time to talk about the happiest games on the Xbox One. With the recent release of We Happy Few let’s start there.
We Happy Few
This might not be a happy game per se but the concept is still pretty intriguing. Set in an alternative 1960s England, residents walk around with white-painted faces all drugged up on ‘Joy’, a drug that keeps the populace under control. You play a ‘Downer’, one of a small splinter group who has refused to take the drug. However, the warped, crazy-looking inhabitants do not take kindly to downers and you must pretend to be happy in order to scavenge for supplies and complete missions. So if you are not happy in real life then this might give you some pointers on how to at least act it.
When a happy-looking unicorn is training you to fireballs in the air to clear a stage, it’s hard not to smile. The colours are bright and the game is bursting with positive energy. The tension comes when there is only one block left and once said block is hit, the ensuing celebration is well worth it. The game can be both simple and challenging depending on your goal and progression is simple and rewarding.
Just Dance (Any)
Getting up and moving is a surefire way to improve your mood. The Just Dance games and Just Dance Disney games have an array of tracks to make even Scrooge a chipper old goat. So whether you are jumping around to Happy by Pharrell Williams, Jiving to Grease Lighting, or splashing about as The Little Mermaid, getting up and dancing will definitely improve your day.
The clue is in the title on this one. Whilst the game itself is not very happy. The frantic multiplayer action and over-the-top melee combat are enough to work out your stress. The graphics are cute and colourful and the best is best enjoyed with friends so if you can get a team together it will surely cheer you up.
Recently released as part of the Rare Replay collection, Viva Piñata and Viva Piñata 2: Trouble In Paradise is a gaming experience like no other. You look after a garden fun of sweet-related animals that include colourful characters such as a Chewnicorn, Doenut, and Horstachio. You start off by attracting worms and end up with a living, breathing world of Pinatas. When animals mate, players must complete a love dance and it is not short of fireworks. If two worms doing a romantic rumba doesn’t warm your heart then you are obviously dead inside and I can do nothing more for you.
Super Toy Cars
Remember Micro Machines? Now hold that warm fuzzy feeling of nostalgia and celebrate as Super Toy Cars is the latest iteration of Micro Machines. Players race across tabletops and along kitchen floors in a plethora of different vehicles. The view can be switched from behind the car to a top-down view so you can relive those childhood memories and giggle like a small child.
Fruit Ninja Kinect 2
We are up and moving again with Fruit Ninja Kinect 2. Whilst your real-life fighting skills may be sub-par, on Fruit Ninja you are an elegant, chopping badass. The game is easy to play, hard to lose and will brighten anyone’s day. The graphics and characters are bright and colourful and the drop in function means another sad friend just needs to bow to the TV to get in on the action.
The Peanuts Movie – Snoopy’s Grand Adventure
There is something about the jazz piano that plays throughout this game that always makes me smile. The levels are straightforward, the enemies unchallenging and by changing clothes you can unlock all sorts of different skills. The flying levels are a break from the simple platforming and occasionally Snoopy dances… It’s short, sweet, adorable, and not all that bad. Other games that may be good but I never had time to research included Frizzy and Electronic Super Joy which both sounded happy but are yet to be released.