Get into the holiday spirit with these festive Android games

If you need seasonal flair in every part of your life, these games can fill that void.

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Play the holidays away

During the final weeks of the year, we’re bombarded with holiday-themed music, movies, books, and television specials. If mobile games are your recreational media of choice, you don't have to be left out of the holiday spirit.

Many of the games featured within have been updated to incorporate holiday graphics or added content, while others are permanent festive creations that only seem relevant for a few short weeks each year. Whatever the case, these Android offerings can help you capture the seasonal spirit.

holidaygames crazytaxi
Crazy Taxi: City Rush

Sega's mobile-exclusive spin on the arcade classic has been dressed up for the season, with the colorful Bay City now draped in falling white powder. And that's not all: You can hire Santa to drive your cab, plus the taxis can be customized with antlers, wrapped gifts, and other holiday trinkets.

City Rush shakes up the traditional Crazy Taxi formula by implementing swipe and tap-based controls, which are used for dodging traffic, turning, and braking at your passengers' destinations. Still, it's a fun, free experience that evokes the original's raucous spirit, and now is a great time to check it out thanks to the holiday sheen.

Crazy Taxi: City Rush (Free)

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Angry Birds Seasons

The first Angry Birds spinoff remains a reliable holiday fixture four years later, as Seasons has been updated with yet another pack of winter levels. This year’s episode, On Finn Ice, refers to creator Rovio’s Finnish heritage and is peppered with facts about the region as you fling birds into snow-covered, pig-housing structures.

Along the way, you’ll spot Santa hats on friends and foes alike, as well as trimmed trees and stacks of presents. And all of the old episodes are still included, which means more than 100 winter stages amongst the bunch. Obnoxious video and banner ads don’t disappear even when you pay for access to all levels, however, so prepare for a little frustration amidst the fun.

Angry Birds Seasons (Free)

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Santa Rockstar

Santa Rockstar may not be much more than a Christmas-themed mobile take on Guitar Hero, but good luck finding a better game sporting that particular combination. It may not be original, but Santa Rockstar is actually quite fun, delivering heavy metal renditions of holiday classics that you can tap along to on the touch screen.

As the notes to tracks like “Jingle Bells” and “Silent Night” scroll down the screen, you’ll tap in unison to the music, all while Santa and his crew rock out in the background. With multiple difficulty options and a solid selection of songs, there’s plenty here to enjoy, as well.

Santa Rockstar (Free)

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The Simpsons: Tapped Out

EA keeps supporting its immensely popular cartoon-based city simulation, so it's little surprise that The Simpsons: Tapped Out features quite a bit of fresh holiday content. You'll notice immediately that Springfield is covered in snow and the trees are decked out in colored lights, but there's more to discover here.

The Christmas update is a full-fledged event that adds daily tasks to complete for Santa, which earns you presents, plus there's a fair bit of optional premium content to purchase—like Santa's Village or King Winter and his cave locale. If you're deep into Tapped Out, you'll find plenty more to dig into this holiday season.

The Simpsons: Tapped Out (Free)

holidaygames subway
Subway Surfers

Subway Surfers is one of the better behind-the-back running games on Android, putting you in the shoes of a mischievous kid evading capture from guards. You'll dodge oncoming trains by switching tracks, as well as leap from roof to roof on moving train cars—and if you play in the next few weeks, you'll do so with a fresh holiday theme.

With the latest update, Subway Surfers shifts the action to London—but all you really need to know is that the tracks are lined with garlands, snowmen, and lights, and there are Christmas tree icons to collect. Oh, and Santa is the one chasing you now, along with a dog wearing reindeer antlers… for some reason.

Subway Surfers (Free)

holidaygames adventuretime
Adventure Time: Card Wars

Among the many Android games based on the smash Cartoon Network series, Adventure Time: Card Wars is easily the most accomplished of the pack, delivering an entertaining collectible card game experience inspired by a popular episode. It's hearty and well designed, and now it has some holiday spirit, to boot.

From the amazing holiday sweaters that Jake and Finn wear in the splash screen art to the gifts, wreath, and eggnog bottle seen from the table, Card Wars adds some nice visual touches. But there are more tangible additions, too: special cards, a holiday-themed loot chest, and even an Adventure Calendar that gives you daily gifts for playing.

Adventure Time: Card Wars ($4)

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Cut the Rope: Holiday Gift

The Cut the Rope series is one of the best on mobile, delivering smart physics-based puzzles to solve with careful swipes and taps. Holiday Gift is a bite-sized freebie that delivers a small taste of the series with some holiday cheer, not to mention a play mechanic inspired by the season.

In Holiday Gift, many of the stages focus on stocking-based teleporters, which you'll use to get the candy to the little green alien creature, Om Nom. Guiding the candy into his mouth is rarely too difficult, but collecting all three stars along the way can be a real challenge. And if you like Holiday Gift, you'll find a few core Cut the Rope games on Google Play.

Cut the Rope: Holiday Gift (Free)

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Skyline Skaters

Skyline Skaters is a really solid endless runner that's similar in style (and name) to Subway Surfers, but it shifts the action to a side-scrolling perspective for rooftop skating action. It's also one of the most impressively overhauled games on this list, as the holiday additions are both extremely attractive and pretty significant.

First off, the cartoonish rooftops are fully decked out with Christmas trees, gifts, candy cane poles, and snow. But the update also adds a playable reindeer character, new holiday skateboards to unlock, and even collectible coin patterns in the shape of familiar holiday items when you get flung into the air for Super Skate Mode.

Skyline Skaters (Free)

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Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake

As with Adventure Time: Card Wars, Cartoon Network's Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake has been updated for the holiday season, and it's an even more substantial update that actually adds a fair bit of new gameplay to the adventure.

This adorable original affair spotlights a young boy's quest to recover his stolen dessert, and it's both hugely attractive and amusingly written, although the touch controls are awkward. The update adds someone named Codger the Elf, who appears in the world and sends you out into several new levels to recover his presents. Complete the tasks and you'll earn a sweet new costume for cake-seeking hero, Niko.

Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake ($5)

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My Santa

Santa has been transformed into an infant for whatever reason, and it's up to you to get him back into Christmas-fulfilling shape by playing games and plying him with snacks. Weird, right? That's the premise of My Santa, a cute but slight game in which you'll interact with the tiny holiday hero until he's back to his jolly adult self.

There isn't much to it, really. You'll feed him various foods, customize his appearance and surroundings, and play a variety of simple mini-games—like a Fruit Ninja knockoff, or flinging snowballs at a target. The more you play, the more Santa grows, naturally, although you can spend real money to speed things along.

My Santa :) (Free)