The holidays are always the best time of year for video games. There are tons of releases, and excess downtime to spend playing them. Personally, I managed to make my way through a pretty decent chunk of my backlog, and even check out some games I wouldn’t have had time for otherwise. I hope you had a similar fortune, as quite a few great games launched this month.

In fact, this entire year proved to be a great one for the industry. If you require proof, look no further than our numerous best-of lists. Be warned, though: you’ll be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of awesome games. And speaking of overwhelmed, this month’s list wasn’t the easiest to write. We had to cut quite a few excellent titles, including Wordament, Street Fighter X Mega Man, Last Knight, Crazy Fairies, and Middle Manager of Justice. Time permitting, we suggest you give all those games a chance as well.

And now, without further ado, here were our favorite releases for the month of December:

 

PC/Mac Games of the Month

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Lake House: Children of Silence (Winner)

A hidden object game is only as good as its puzzles and hidden object sequences. Lake House: Children of Silence features some of the best we’ve seen in recent memory, not to mention an intoxicating storyline and atmosphere. And did we mention there are creepy children’s drawings? They’re burned into our psyche at this point.

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Marvin’s Mittens (Runner Up)

Many of us have memories of playing outside in the snow during the winter, building snowmen and sliding down hills on plastic sleds. Marvin’s Mittens is an endearing 2D platformer that taps into that nostalgia, inviting us all into a world where exploration is the name of the game, and the day isn’t over until your parents say so.

 

Social & Online Games of the Month

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Offensive Combat (Winner)

Offensive Combat is a browser-based shooter that oozes quality, featuring gorgeous graphics, solid level design, and gameplay that isn’t hampered by the traditionally limiting browser platform. There are also banana suits, which is probably a horrible outfit to wear from a tactical standpoint, but hilarious all the same.

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CoasterVille (Runner Up)

The true appeal of theme park simulations is how easy they make it to be a complete and total jerk (anyone who’s played the RollerCoaster Tycoon games knows what I’m talking about). CoasterVille from Zynga keeps that mischievous spirit alive by allowing the player to—amongst other devious acts—speed up coasters to the point where the people riding them lose their lunch. The game lacks some of the complexity of past theme park sims, but it manages to compensate for that with its meaty quest system and polished presentation.

 

Mobile Games of the Month

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Final Fantasy IV (Winner)

This may be the billionth port of Final Fantasy IV, but we’ll be darned if it isn’t a solid one. This particular release is actually based on the DS remake, which boasted new 3D graphics, voice acting, and other unnecessary-but-still-awesome additions. If you’ve already played this brilliant RPG, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to play it again. And if you’ve never played, stop reading this and fix that now! Seriously, it’s one of the best Final Fantasy games available – or the absolute best, depending on who you ask.

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Pyraplex (Runner Up)

In Pyraplex you’re placed in charge of a mall-pyramid hybrid, and tasked with filling it up with as many shops and businesses as you can. Why, you may ask? Because you want to be the proud owner of the most popular consumer haven in all of Egypt, of course!