Tis the season to be jolly, as they say, and it’s also the season to take time off work and finally get around to that backlog you’ve been meaning to tackle.
December is usually a quieter month for game releases, and that’s certainly the case in 2023 as well, although your Xbox Series X/S can’t take a rest just yet.
There are still a few games lining up for those who haven’t filled up their holiday stocking yet, so whether you’re looking for immersive RPGs, adventure games, or anything in between, you’ll find what you’re after in December.
Here are the best Xbox Series X/S games coming in December 2023!
The Lost Legends of Redwall: The Scout Anthology (December 1st)
If you haven’t encountered the world of Redwall before, it’s a series of children’s books created by writer Brian Jacques back in the mid-80s.
The books revolve around a society of anthropomorphic animals including mice, badgers, and foxes, and although they’re technically classed as fantasy novels, they’re fairly grounded as the genre goes.
This adventure game was originally created back in 2018 and follows young mice Liam and Sophia, who have newly joined the Lilygrove Scout Corps.
The two mice must travel to Redwall Abbey to seek help for their village after it’s attacked by searats, encountering all manner of friends, foes, and quirky characters in between.
SteamWorld Build (December 1st)
If you’ve played previous SteamWorld games and enjoyed them, then SteamWorld Build should definitely be on your list, even if you’re not usually a fan of city-builder games.
You’ll build and expand a town in the distinctive SteamWorld universe, attracting more bots to your settlement and growing its complexity as you go.
It wouldn’t be a SteamWorld game without underground excursions, though, so you’ll also have to delve into the mines beneath your settlement in order to gather resources and fend off monsters.
In short, SteamWorld Build is shaping up to be another essential entry in the excellent SteamWorld series, so make sure to grab it if you’re looking for something cosy and satisfying to play over the holiday period.
Disney Dreamlight Valley (December 5th)
Disney Dreamlight Valley has been available in Early Access for over a year now, but the game is getting a full release on December 5th.
If you’ve already bought it, you can look forward to the chance to pick up a new expansion called A Rift In Time, which will add new characters and locations to explore.
However, if this will be your first time entering the Valley, then you couldn’t have picked a better time; the full release indicates a high degree of polish, and since the game will remain a premium purchase, you won’t be signing up for another free-to-play title full of unnecessary bloat.
Disney Dreamlight Valley has captivated players all over the world since its Early Access release, so add it to your calendar for December if you want to relax throughout the holidays.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora (December 7th)
The breathtaking world of James Cameron’s Avatar comes to life in this open-world game from Ubisoft. If you’ve ever felt like Pandora would be a wonderful place to explore, now’s your chance.
Critics of the Avatar movies point to their somewhat stilted storytelling as reasons the movies don’t work, and while that may indeed be the case, getting the chance to wander the expansive landscapes of Pandora should hopefully make this game something to remember.
You’ll play as a Na’vi, upgrading your character and crafting new gear for yourself as you play. For traversal, you’ll bond with a Banshee, which will allow you not only to soar over the world but also to engage in aerial combat.
This looks very much like the apotheosis of the Ubisoft open-world philosophy, so if you love games like Far Cry or Ghost Recon: Breakpoint but wish they were a little more, well, alien, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is for you.
Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader (December 7th)
If you’d prefer to spend your holidays experiencing something a little more cerebral, then Rogue Trader, the latest RPG from Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous developer Owlcat, should fit the bill nicely.
You’ll take on the role of a rogue trader within the world of Warhammer 40,000, which coined the phrase “grimdark”, so you know what to expect. The light-hearted shenanigans of Baldur’s Gate 3 are a world away.
In the Koronus Expanse, anything goes; you’re a long way away from the Emperor’s gaze, so you’ve got plenty of opportunities to subvert the iron fist of his rule if you want to.
As you explore, you’ll engage in turn-based isometric combat, complete with a raft of companions who all have their own special abilities to bring to the table.
Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties: Definitive Edition (December 8th)
Alright, cards on the table: this game is absolutely atrocious. It’s a curio from the mid-90s, co-opting the worst aspects of FMV-style adventure games with a new and fascinating level of awfulness.
You should very much only pick this up if you have an interest in the lowest of the low when it comes to video games; this isn’t going to be a conventionally entertaining product.
If you’ve yet to experience Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties, though, it’s worth handing over some cash just to see how low games could stoop in the 90s.
This “erotic comedy” isn’t erotic and it isn’t very funny, but if you’re laughing at it rather than with it, you can easily carve out an evening’s entertainment for yourself, especially if you’re with friends.