What does it mean to be funny? Merriam-Webster defines funny as “affording light mirth and laughter”, and in these dark times, don’t we all need a little bit of Light Mirth?
Well, do we have the mirth-inducing games for you! From witty writing to pants-wettingly chaotic co-op games, this list has every kind of light mirth that you could ever want. Not all games are made equal, so your mileage may vary when it comes to what makes you laugh — if you’re amused by people getting their legs sawn off or whatever, nothing short of professional help can reach you now — but hopefully you’ll find something to make you lol, lmao, or even roflmao (do so with caution, please).
Publisher: Pillow Fight / Developer: Pillow Fight
16th Mar 2021 (UK/EU)
Later Alligator is a big, long goof of a game that’ll make you smile like a crocodile. Every minute of this game is crafted with love, attention to detail, and a sense of humour that could even cause you to wee yourself a little bit. And somehow, despite being a noir story about helping out a paranoid alligator by playing a bunch of minigames, it’s surprisingly relatable. Who among us has not jumped to conclusions about whether or not our weird Mafia family are plotting to kill us?
Publisher: Terrible Toybox / Developer: Terrible Toybox
21st Sep 2017 (UK/EU)
Thimbleweed Park initially manifests a kind of Twin Peaks-meets-The X-Files aesthetic and atmosphere. It feels spooked, not quite of this plane of existence, long before you get to play as an Actual Ghost. Soon enough, though, factoring in the silliness and highly self-referential nature of proceedings, the game’s tone becomes more Eerie, Indiana than anything where the stakes are rather more raised, its gentle drama underpinned by sharp funnies. And its keenness to let the player know it’s both a video game and part of a very specific lineage of them, where fourth-wall breaking is often part of the package, is always endearing.
Publisher: Ant Workshop / Developer: Size Five Games
4th Sep 2020 (UK/EU)
Lair of the Clockwork God is a self-referential loving tribute and knowing parody of point-and-click games, starring the two developers — Ben and Dan — as adventure game versions of themselves. It’s very funny and very British, and extremely silly: Early in the game, for example, adventurer Ben encounters a minuscule raised step and refuses to climb it, as doing so would be the actions of a platforming hero – not a wannabe Guybrush Threepwood like him. How do you get Ben over this impassable step? Well, it involves the discovery of an entirely new type of gravity, desecrating the corpse of a clown and, er, urinating.
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Intelligent Systems
17th Jul 2020 (UK/EU)
Paper Mario: The Origami King tries to do something different with its combat system and, to be honest, we aren’t feeling it. That doesn’t mean the rest of the game isn’t thoroughly entertaining, however, and while the puzzle-based battles aren’t quite what a new Paper Mario game needed, they aren’t so awful that everything else shouldn’t be experienced as a result. It’s one of the funniest games in the series and it’s got a truly likeable companion character, and while the combat is far from ideal the fact that we still thoroughly recommend the game regardless speaks volumes about every other aspect of it.
Publisher: Ghost Time Games / Developer: Ghost Time Games
9th Sep 2021 (UK/EU)
Tux and Fanny is an extremely bizarre, absurdist game that begins as two friends needing to re-inflate their football, and quickly descends into a bunch of unexpected twists that will hopefully, eventually lead to the football being re-inflated. Segments include playing as a worm stuck in a horse’s gut, a massive boss battle with a giant fly, and the sad story of a flea who seeks a land where his friends aren’t all dead. It’s a specific type of humour, but if absurdity is your jam, you’ll love it.
Publisher: Asymetric / Developer: Asymetric
31st May 2018 (UK/EU)
Every instance of West of Loathing is packed full of so much irreverent and dry humour to the point that it’s totally and utterly inescapable; if you’re not a fan of laughing, you’d better steer well clear. Various moments even caused us to laugh quite literally out loud, despite being totally alone and with the windows open, disturbing passers-by. Whether it’s a grotesquely detailed description of you plunging your hand into a rotten spittoon or receiving a boost to your armour skill called ‘Mostly Scabs’ because you’ve walked into too many cacti, you’d have to be dead inside not to enjoy the humour this game throws at you.
Publisher: Double Fine / Developer: Double Fine
1st Nov 2018 (UK/EU)
This gem of a game is still as enchanting and evocative as it was the first time you popped open that oversized cardboard box back in PC in 1998. Even its story and dialogue is still as pithy and self-referential as ever. Following Manny Calavera, a travel agent working in the Land of the Dead who discovers a menacing conspiracy involving the souls passing through its gates, Grim pays homage to so many different inspirations through its four-act story. There’s the Dia de Muertos (the Mexican Day of the Dead celebration) aesthetic that informs its character designs; the cool yet bleak approach to storytelling that doffs its cap at the classic noir mysteries of film and literature.