Updated: Original list by Sam Simmons, Updated by Jupiter Hadley on March 26th, 2021.
"Winter is coming," as any Game Of Thrones fan knows. With the end of the year fast approaching, what better way to get into the festive spirit than celebrating the cold with some snow-bound games?
The days are getting shorter, the weather is getting icier, and the underpants are getting more thermal. It only makes sense to stay in your comfy home and experience the treacherous outdoors through the virtual medium of your mobile device. So here's your list of the 15 best winter-themed games!
We adored this game when it came out last a few years back. Its fundamentals are straightforward: snowboard down the mountain, collect coins (as well as escaped llamas) and do tricks for points.
The day changes as you ride, which is a simple but effective feature, and you get three challenges to complete as you play. Once you finish 'em you get three more, meaning you’ll always have something to do in this endless runner. It's a sleek and stylish winter game that brings you ski slope vibes.
This quirky pixel art game starts on top of a mountain. You are challenged to hit flags on the way down, whilst avoiding the trees and wildlife.
Skiing Yeti Mountain has a story which gradually unfolds across the 800 (!) included levels. And as well as the tale, the quicker you complete a level the more experience you get. This XP is used to upgrade your character's aesthetics, from jet black skis to solid gold helmets.
Snowboard Party 2 is a far more realistic snowboarding game than some mentioned on this list. This is clear from the crisper graphics, realistic tricks and snowboarding lingo. So if you are looking for something that's a bit less cartoon and a bit more serious, this is the game for you.
You get four different modes: Freestyle, Time Attack, Halfpipe and Big Air. Each level also has five challenges, like score a set number of points, collect the letters to make a word or slide around specific obstacles.
A puzzle game makes its way into our frozen hall of fame. And it’s a corker at that. You’ve got yourself a series of interconnected gardens and you need to build some snowmen. You can build ‘em with three balls of snow; a small one for the head, a medium for the chest and a big one for the base. Nice.
But it’s not that simple. Without a smidge of forward planning, you’ll end up rolling only large balls, which don’t deliver a good standard of snowman construction.
Icy Ropes is a puzzle winter game that isn't about taking on the slopes. You take control of two characters bound together by rope as you try and climb a series of icy pillars. Simple? Not so simple. Jumping from cliff to cliff is a genuine challenge.
There are over 100 different characters to unlock, which are randomly given out of a chest. When you gather enough coins you can spend your hard-earned cash on a mystery box, which contains a random character pairing.
Donut Games is famous for its "Rat on" series. This snowy edition brings something new to the aprés ski lodge. Yes you guessed it - exploding meatballs.
Rat On A Snowboard is made up of three modes: Speedy Slopes, Challenges and Exploding Meatballs. Two of these modes are endless, so potentially the fun never stops. Challenges is the exception with 50 specially-designed tracks to conquer, and Donut Games’ ranking system means you'll want to replay every level to chase scores.
The Stickman series already boasts opportunities to ride BMX bikes and skateboards, but now the stickmen take to the sick slopes, just in time for the winter season and this list.
You need a set score to pass each level, which you achieve through performing tricks or collecting stars. You have to evade the cops by conquering a mixture of different terrains, including ski slopes, cable cars and roof tops. “Rad,” we imagine.
Perhaps one of the simplest games on this list could actually be one of the funniest. It’s a top-down hockey sim. You can take on a friend (on the same device), or assuming you’re a friendless loner you can take on the computer.
Single player offers three modes; Quick Match, Tournament and Rage-Off. The goalkeeper is fully automated in the most basic settings but if you’re feeling adventurous, then up the difficulty level and take total control.
A massive online game, Snowball.io has you building up the biggest ball of snow that you can, throwing it at other players to hopefully knock them off the ice and into the freezing water. The map itself will get smaller and smaller as the ice breaks off, so your goal is to be the last one standing, then gaining a crown next to your name. It's a fun winter-themed game if you can keep yourself on the snow.
Five events make up this cartoon-like sports sim. Choose your favourite from 12 different characters and work together with friends or separately to beat the challenges. The highlight is tournament mode, where you compete to get closer to the front of the pack.
Playman gives you an opportunity to improve your response time, with most mini games entirely reaction based. It’s not just enough to react quickly; you also need to be accurate. Any misplaced inputs or slow responses are penalised with a decrease in speed.
Take control of a small polar bear (awww!) dodging obstacles from atop a giant snow boulder (erm, ouch?).
A polar bear has many natural enemies… but in Roller Polar the enemies are more unnatural. Like snowmen. You have to jump over them, and rocks and trees, otherwise they screw with your boulder’s path. Time your jumps wrong, and you’ve got birds to contend with as well. Sad times for your polar pal.
Unlike the ubiquitous side-scrolling sims out there, this one introduces a fantastic drone-cam viewing angle. Fantastic 3D mountain views ensue as you shred the slopes in the company of snowboard legend Travis Rice.
You’ll stomp tricks, collect gear to customize your character, build a basecamp, upgrade your drones and more. It’s set in real world locations in the British Columbian mountains and Alaska.
If you are looking for a bit of action, Snowball Fighters has you getting a bunch of characters to fight, through making snowballs, building walls, and otherwise knocking down your enemies. It's a simple game, with a few different upgrades, that can pass the time and make you feel like you are in the middle of a snowball fight, without all of the issues around actually knocking down people.
Clean the Road is a bit different in terms of wintertime and this list. You play as a snowplow, looking to create a clear path for cars that are currently stuck in the snow. People are waiting off to the side for snow to be cleared, then they will follow you around the road, creating a snake that hopefully doesn't crash into you. You'll need to avoid broken cars, random bins and much more as you clear the snow!
When it comes to a more idle and management approach to the slopes, WinterSports Idle is a game that allows you to build your own slope! You will need to build the park, get visitors to come and check out your tracks and support their wants to ski, bobsleighs, do awesome tricks and more. Then you can let the money roll in as they continue to use your slopes.