Best Kids Video Games (2018)
It’s time to review the best kids video games; the games with our unofficial universal rating that can be enjoyed by the younger members of the family. But don’t let that make you think adults can’t enjoy these, too! We’re just saying that kids would appreciate and be safe to play the following list of games.
Super Mario Odyssey
The 3D Mario games have always been great for kids. Not just due to how they’re a shining example of the genre, but due to the quirkiness and variety of the worlds you explore. The most recent entry in the Mario universe, Odyssey, is bigger and better than anything that’s come before it. Collecting some of the moons will be tricky for those on the younger side, but simply exploring each of the game’s unique worlds is a joy. Buy it here.
The Legends of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Launching alongside the Switch at the beginning of 2017, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is still one of the systems greatest games. You may be spoiling kids by letting them dive into one of the best open world ever created, but there’s so much to see and do that they’ll be occupied for potentially hundreds of hours. The shines are a challenge, the story is compelling, and the world is full of wonderful surprises.
Yoku’s Island Express
An open world, metroidvania, pinball games sounds a bit odd, but Yoku’s Island Express works surprisingly well. As you roll around the world, you come across what are essentially pinball stages, collecting items and moving on to new areas. Then, as the story progresses, you need to backtrack to collect items and talk to previously visited characters. The world and story are charming, the pinball gameplay is solid, and the art style is beautiful. Yoku’s Island Express is a real surprise.
The Nintendo Switch isn’t generally the home of competitive multiplayer shooters, but Splatoon 2 would even stand out on other platforms. Both the competitive content and the single player modes are fun, and it’s being kept fresh with frequent events. Even if your kid isn’t interested in run around the map shooting paint at other players, trying to get the win by covering the map with your team’s color is even more important, and just as fun.
Some of the best games to introduce to kids are those that you play with them. Snipperclips is the perfect example because it asks the two players to work together to complete puzzles. Thankfully, most of the puzzles are really well designed and require really good teamwork to complete. It’s a charming game that’ll get your kid thinking. You’ll need to sit down and play it with them, though.
At this point, Rayman Legends is available on pretty much any modern platform. Not only is it one of the best Rayman games to date, but it’s one of the best 2D platformers released in recent years, too. The beautiful, hand-drawn backdrops, tight gameplay, and varied stages make it a joy to look at and play. On top of the standard levels, the challenging music levels see you jump around to the tune of Eye of the Tiger, all with the visuals distorted. It’s tough at times, but some of the most unique and fun platforming you’re likely to find.
Now one of the biggest selling games of all time, Minecraft is arguably the best kids game available. That’s not just due to its quality, but due to the fact that it allows its players to do almost anything they’d like. If you kid’s imaginative, they can build their wildest dreams, or they can head out into the game’s world to hunt for items and take on the enemies that roam. Also, since it’s available on pretty much any platform, including mobile and tablet, you can keep your kids quiet wherever you go.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Originally a Wii U game that not many people played because not many people played the Wii U, Mario Kart 8 made its way to the Switch not long after the system’s launch, complete with all its DLC content. In Deluxe, you’re able to hold two items at a time, adding a tactical layer to the element of attack, and the brand new tracks a phenomenally designed. You’ve probably played a Mario Kart game before, but 8 is up there with the best there have been.
As we’ve said before, working together with a younger gamer can be a lot of fun and while Overcooked 2 certainly requires a lot of communication, there’s likely to be a lot of shouting, too. As you share out the responsibilities, fires will start, platforms will move, and diners will be left disappointed. That being said, finally nailing the tactics and smashing the high score is immensely satisfying if you’re playing with a partner.
Sonic games will likely be the childhood favorites of a lot of parents nowadays. The blue hedgehog’s recent outings haven’t been much to shout about, but Mania brings him back to his glory days. The excellent visuals and soundtrack are matched by responsive gameplay and varied levels. Now is the perfect opportunity to show your kids exactly why you love Sonic the Hedgehog.
Super Mario Party
Super Mario Party takes the series back to its board game styled roots. If you get the whole family to gather round the Switch, there aren’t very many options. The huge collection of mini games play into the larger competition, and there’s something for everyone to be good at. It’s lighthearted, varied, and easy to gamers of any age to get to grips with.
Kirby Star Allies
Kirby’s Nintendo Switch debut, Star Allies isn’t the most challenging or unique platformer, but its character recruitments feature makes it perfect for co-op play. Also, since it’s not as difficult as some of its Nintendo counterparts, gamers only just getting into gaming or the genre should feel right at home with Kirby’s colorful adventure.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
Based on the ‘Adventures of Captain Toad’ levels in Super Mario 3D World, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker originally released on Wii U but has since come to Switch. As you’d expect from a Toad game, it’s adorable, and the platforming and puzzles are great fun. It might be a bit short for a seasoned Mario player, but there’s plenty to enjoy for kids. Just make sure you keep them out of the way of Goombas.
Dragon Quest Builders
The Dragon Quest series is one of the best and most famous RPGs series of all time. Builders, a spin off of that series, combines traditional RPG elements with the building and sandbox stylings of Minecraft. If your kid has loved, but exhausted Minecraft, Builders would be a great next step. There are clearly similarities, but Builders is more story and character focused, seeing you progress in more than just what you’re creating.
Mario Tennis Aces
Mario has tried his hand a most sports throughout his career. Whether it be every single one in the olympics, or golf, he’s won it all. Recently, he’s returned to tennis. With deceptively deep gameplay, over-the-top visuals, and unique character moves, Mario Tennis Aces has something for both the tennis fan and the Mario fan. Tennis is also easy enough to understand that the younger fan will be able to jump in.
Astro Bot Rescue Mission
You’d think that VR games would be best when they’re first person title that offer something different to the standard experience. While Astro Bot Rescue Mission is, at base level, a pretty straightforward platformer, its does everything it can to immerse the player, becoming one of PSVRs best games. Your little robot mate is loveable and well animated, you truly feel present in each of the levels, and the platforming is ingenious. Certainly a step forward from The Playroom when we first met our new robotic friend.
There’s something for everyone when it come to the LEGO games and they’re perfect for younger players. Whether you’re a Harry Potter fan, a Star Wars fanatic, or love all things Marvel or DC, there’s a game for you. They’re funny, colorful, and easy to play, plus the sheer number of collectibles and characters in the games ensure that you can play them for a long time. Almost any of them are worth playing, whether they’re based on a license or not.
Improving dramatically on the original, Knack 2 combines modern technology with the sensibilities of old school adventure games. As Knack and his team continue their journey, you’ll be changing size to solve puzzles, blocks flying everywhere. There’s nothing outlandish or surprising in terms of story of puzzles, but Knack 2 is beautiful and charming game in the mould of older mascot 3D platformers.
Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle is a mix of things we didn’t think we’d ever see. Mario and his friends join forces with the immensely popular Rabbids in a turn-based strategy game. Yes, really. XCOM style gameplay is mixed with the silly slapstick sensibilities of the Rabbids and the charming world of Mario. It’s gets tough as you get to the latter levels, but it’s the perfect jumping in point for this type of game.
Puyo Puyo Tetris
Puyo Puyo Tetris is described as a collision of two puzzle game juggernauts. Tetris is the biggest selling game of all time and almost anyone has tinkered with it at some time or another. When combined with the Puyo Puyo series in the way, it becomes one of the best puzzle games around. There’s a huge amount of content, whether you’re playing alone or with other, and it wonderfully colorful game that kids’ll find hard to put down.
Just Dance 2019
The new Just Dance game has even made its way to the Wii. Yes, that console that launched 12 years ago. So, you shouldn’t have any issue getting a chance to play Just Dance 2019, no matter how old your console is. With some of the worlds most popular tunes, some excellent visuals, and some great exercise to be had, the Just Dance games are the perfect choice for any music loving young gamer.
Tearaway can be played in two slightly different forms. The first, and original, was on PS Vita and took full advantage of the back touch and camera on the system. The other, Unfolded, is on PS4 and uses the touch bar. They’re both charming and unique adventure games, which you’d expect from Media Molecule, and the paper styled world is very well designed. Either way you decide to play will be a wonderful and whimsical adventure.
Moss is another, arguably the first, game that proved that established genres work excellently in VR. Quill is adorable and his tale is wonderfully told, but you’ll understand exactly how it plays. As an overseer, you move Quill through the levels, solving environmental puzzles and fighting enemies. Once again, it’s proof that VR can be about more than horror of shooters.
Everybody’s Golf, which has previously been known as Hot Shots Golf, has been popular on PlayStation systems for years. The lighthearted gameplay, the deeper than you might expect, sees you gradually get better and better. Also, with a plethora of customization options and even a fishing mini-game, there’s plenty to mess around with that has nothing to do with wind speeds or tee times.
One of the best parts of sports game is that they offer something for players of all skill levels. In the likes of FIFA 19, you can jump into competitive play, control a club throughout the seasons, or even play a match without any rules. There are also options for playing with just two buttons, making passing and shooting easier than ever, so the games are easy to jump into even if you’ve had very little experience.
Jackbox Party Pack
There are plenty of games that allow you to compete against your friends and family from a smartphone or tablet, but the Jackbox Party Pack games are the best. The mobile controls are simple, especially for kids, and the games are quirky and easy to understand. Also, since they’re silly and rely on the interactions between the players, they’re great for kids and adults alike.
Snake Pass’ controls can be a bit tricky to get to grips with, but that’s a key part of the gameplay. As a snake, you need to climb with your body, just as a snake would. Therefore, you need to slither along to move quickly and wrap around objects to climb. The unique gameplay makes for some challenging platforming, but the charming world and well thought out collectibles make Snake Pass an enjoyable title that’s unlike any other.
Yarny is an adorable character that kids are bound to love. What’s better than one Yarny, though? Two. Unravel Two develops the great platforming from the first game to make it work perfectly in co-op. With another player, you jump and swing through the levels, using the physics of the yarn to pull each other along. The gameplay remains largely the same, but Unravel Two is a great two-player platformer.
Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2
The standard, tower defense style Plants vs. Zombies games are great in their own right, but it was always clear that more could be squeezed from the personality of the series. A third person, class-based shooter may not have been what was expected, though. Whether you’re playing alone, or want to jump online, Garden Warfare 2 is a solid shooter, and the lighthearted tone and funny story make it perfect as a starting point for younger gamers.
Many parents’ childhood memories will be filled of adventures with Rare’s games. Whether it be earlier ones such as Banjo and Kazooie, or Xbox 360 favorite Viva Pinata, there’s something for kids to enjoy. Not all the games are suitable, either due to violence or difficult to grasp controls, but some of the classics on offer are an absolutely perfect way to introduce younger gamers to video game past.