Hosting a great party in the modern era is harder than ever before. Competing with shortened attention spans, mobile devices with literally all of humanity’s information at everyone’s fingertips, and the most technologically-obsessed generation going through their party phase (no hate, me too!), captivating and retaining your guests’ attention is no easy feat. Thankfully, modern game companies have realized this and are here to help.
For a game to be considered a true party game, or at least make this list, it must have two crucial features: the ability to have multiple people play on one local device and the ability to entertain all of said players with little downtime. That means that party games like Among Us or Fall Guys will not be included as they can only be played together virtually, perhaps a list for another day!
This list of four of Steam’s best party games are one of the easiest ways to spruce up a dull party. By creating local competition, fierce teams, and captivating gameplay, your guests will be both entertained and engaged for hours on end. To heighten the stakes, feel free to add in your own side bets on the game! To finally get to the action, here is a detailed list of the best party games available on Steam:
One of the most classic party games franchises out there is the Mario Party series which is unfortunate for PC players. The entire Mario series has remained exclusive to Nintendo since its inception and there are no signs of that changing. However, that does not give Nintendo the exclusive rights to party games featuring a board game style map, minigame competitions in between, and a scoring system consisting of racking up smaller currencies to be able to afford game-winning pieces. Thankfully, Rebuilt Games has created a game featuring all of these tried and true attributes.
Pummel Party is a local or online party style game allowing up to eight players to play within the same game. Gameplay as mentioned earlier is relatively similar to Mario Party, but for those who have not played that I will briefly explain. The map is laid out like a typical board game (think CandyLand) with individual spaces having unique twists. Some will make you lose keys (the smaller currency system used to purchase game-winning pieces called Goblets), others will make you gain keys, and others will quite literally kill you.
In between each round of rolling there is a minigame section in which you compete with all of the other players you are playing with. There are a ton of different minigames within Pummel Party meaning that you can play many games without the gameplay getting stale. Admittedly, after a certain point you do start to learn the minigames and know what to expect, but that only makes it more competitive as everyone is practiced in them.
Finally, there are items within the game to help players move up the ranks and surpass their competition. There are a bunch of unique items that vary in power and difficulty to obtain. Most of the more powerful items can only be gained through winning a minigame outright. For example, there is the ‘Remote Controlled Eggplant’ which is essentially just a controllable bomb that will kill another player if they are close enough to it, resulting in a loss of keys and board position.
The person at the end of the game with the most Goblets (or keys if there is a tie) wins! There are a variety of maps to play through adding even more replayability. Pummel Party is certainly one of the top contenders for the best party game available on Steam. It also has the added benefit of being similar enough to Mario Party that the guests at your party who have played Mario Party before will be able to pick it up quickly!
“Caused the small amount of friendships I had to become strained, and desks to be pounded on. 10/10, would ruin friendships again.” - RageaholicRick on Steam
Gang Beasts is a unique entry onto this list as it has very little objective. Most party games you think of are either a competition amongst the players or a cooperative objective the group works towards. However, in Gang Beasts, there really is no objective. You can fight each other in player vs player combat or fight waves of enemy gangs invading the city. Outside of that, this game is known simply for its hilarious mechanics.
At its heart, Gang Beasts is a ragdoll type game with difficult controls, like a more tame version of QWOP (but with more to do). The hilarity comes from characters ragdolling off of buildings or throwing your friends into massive machine grinders against their will. Since it has little to no objective, I would recommend this game to party groups who can have fun with something simple (the imaginative types). If you are looking for a competitive game or storyline focused party game, this probably is not for you. But if you want to have some funny moments with your friends and simply just mess around, this would be the perfect game to kill some time with some of your best buds!
“It's tough to be down on Gang Beasts. At heart, it's just very silly entertainment for you and your pals, like the multiplayer games of yesteryear. It's kind of bad, broken even, and it's certainly not going to become a mainstay of anyone's regular gaming catalog. But it does guarantee some laughs with your buddies. Isn't that what gaming was designed to do?” - excalibuR on Steam
Jackbox Party Games are absolutely perfect for the groups of friends composed of ‘non-gamers’ looking to just have some fun. The ‘gameplay’ of the game is not mechanically difficult in any way. In fact, I would consider it more of a gameshow than an actual video game. That being said, it does not make it any less fun to play with a group of friends.
In the 7th party pack, there are five different game modes to be played. These consist of:
All of these game modes have their own unique prompts, goals, and scoring systems. They all tend to follow a similar structure of giving each player a certain prompt and allowing them to answer it however they like. After that, answers are revealed anonymously and the funniest/best answer to the prompt is voted on by the group and that player receives points depending on how they did vote-wise. Some game modes will even have you draw pictures instead of answering with words.
Talking Points is definitely my favorite game mode due to how unique it is. Players are given a random slideshow of ‘talking points’ that they must give a speech to. Whenever you run out of things to say, simply go to the next talking point and improvise it from there! The best speech gets voted on and points are awarded. This can end up with some really funny speeches depending on the person and the talking points they are given.
The best part about Jackbox games is that the entire group can play right from their phone, no installation necessary. All you have to do is go to the link the game provides and enter the password for your unique game. If you have ever played Kahoot in school, it is a similar process to that in terms of joining a game.
Jackbox games tend to work best with more extroverted groups of friends who are not afraid of getting a little embarrassed, after all, that’s the point! As for which party pack you should get if you are interested, it is definitely worth looking through all of them and seeing which game modes are best fitting to you and your group. The older ones tend to be cheaper than the newer ones. The reason I included the most recent installment is solely because of Talking Points and the fact that it is arguably the most polished of the party packs.
“Honestly, the best party pack in my opinion. I love Talking Points and Champ’d Up. I've never laughed this much before.” - Danshot on Steam
The final party game on this list is the Game of Life 2 by Marmalade Game Studio. Life is a classic board game that I am sure many of you can remember from your childhood. Its gameplay is relatively simple and the decision making process equally so. The reason I believe it deserves a spot on this list is for its nostalgic vibe and the ease of play.
Even if people within your group, or yourself for that matter, have never played the original board game before, you can still get along just fine. The gameplay is as straightforward as a board game can get. Progress through the map by spinning a wheel and make a decision based on which space you land. The board game creates a sped up version of modern life by allowing you to make decisions like going to college, having kids, investing, career choices, etc. For the capitalism enthusiasts out there, whoever has the most dough at the end of the game wins!
With such a simple concept, it is hard to go wrong with the Game of Life 2. The fact that it is within a video game instead of a board game makes gameplay more engaging and more visually entertaining. Similar to Gang Beasts, it is best played as a chill party game to simply vibe out with some friends with gameplay happening in the background. If you wanted, you could even get competitive with the game and make some side bets as to who will end up with the most wealth at the end.
“I have always been a big fan of this as a board game when I was younger. I fully enjoy this version of this timeless classic. Excellent work!” - Erebus on Steam
Hosting a party is no easy task, and adding in modern cell phones makes keeping everyones’ attention nearly impossible. Try including any of these multiplayer Steam party games to spice up the party and to get everyone involved in one common group activity. Be sure to try and judge which party game would be best depending on the type of people you have at your party. The more accurate your guess is on that, the more fun your party will be!
Image courtesy of psu.com