Choosing a game for someone can be as difficult as choosing an item of clothing, it is after all a mark of their personality. This task is made even harder when it is a young person you are buying for - we're here to try and give you a few ideas.
The Christmas celebrations are fast-arriving, November just flew by and December likely will too. Perhaps you have one of your kids in mind, a niece, nephew, or a younger sibling – a video game would be a perfect present. But… which one? There are so many to choose from, not all of them are kid friendly. Of course, you have got benign (and brilliant) shooter/combat games like Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart and the Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, yet shooter games might not be on the cards. To make matters worse, most of the appropriate games are on the Nintendo Switch whereas the little one we are buying for shares a PlayStation. In the list that follows, we are going to give you five categories of kids’ games and a few examples of each; gaming is important in our early years! We hope it helps!
Arguably no better family game exists on the Switch than Mario Party Superstars, a 100-game extravaganza featuring five classic game boards to be progressed on by earning stars and winning mini-games. The game can host up to four players at once, an amusing and rather buoyant party game that has so much to do it doesn’t ever get old. Put it this way, the fun Mario Party Superstars has in store is equal to its huge mini-game portfolio. That said, if the person in mind doesn’t fancy Mario mini-games, perhaps Just Dance 2022 might be in order; we all enjoy a little boogie from time to time, and if the child you are buying for likes popular chart music, Just Dance 2022 ticks all the right boxes. Learn dances from some of the world’s best instructors, practice with friends and then show them to your family come Christmas day! Apparently, I am a bit too old to do that sort of thing these days, better make the most of it while you can! Third on our list is a golf-oriented game again arising from the Mario universe: Mario Golf: Super Rush. Pick up to four players, pick up a club and off you go, picking from 3 – 18 holes, this game can be as quick or lengthy as you need or want it to be. Mario Golf: Super Rush, like any sport co-op games, are essential during the Christmas period, they have an addictive quirk to them and provide a healthy dose of competition to keep the family on their feet. Personally, I’ve been practicing all year so that I won’t lose – my ego is at stake.
Race Exploration Games
An underrated gaming genre for little ones is that of racing games, particularly when they are open-world. A good friend of mine opened my eyes to this one; he and his young son sit down and share a controller as they race around the map together, having a right laugh while doing so. Wholesome eh! The just released Forza Horizon 5 is a perfect place to start, a game looking to be the zenith of open world driving games that many millions of adults will be playing over the next few years. The good news is that there are no grisly crashes or vulgar music or themes in FH5, only vast surroundings to explore and a lot of fun, adrenaline, and races. It’s a two bird, one stone sort of situation, appealing to both the grown-ups and the little-uns. Forza is unfortunately only available on Xbox, and multi-platform games series like Need for Speed and Crew tend to have mild themes of violence and explicit rap songs too, perhaps not the best for developing brains. If driving doesn’t sound up their street, perhaps Riders Republic might instead, a game where you ski, snowboard, wingsuit, cycle, and jetpack around a massive American landmark themed world in whichever way feels right. I am currently playing (and loving) both, particularly the absurdity of Riders Republic – it’s mental in the best way possible. Either way, both games capture the attention of adults for hours, let alone the kids!
We all love it when book turns to game or a game translated into movie and vice versa, the Metro, Uncharted and Witcher games are immediate examples. Well – might kids too? Addams Family, the popular cartoon film saga, has been rendered into a new game called The Addams Family: Mansion Mayhem. Up to four players can get stuck into the animated-horror themed title, a game visually similar to films like Paranorman and Hotel Transylvania, as they negotiate the titular mansion via puzzles and mini games. Another instance on the lighter side of things is Paw Patrol: Adventure City Calls, a game based off the popular kids TV and Film series wherein a litter of puppies, including the series’ character favourites, called Team Possum save the city in zoomie rescue missions. As far as game concepts go, it doesn’t get much more wholesome than that – and it gets better! - you can play with your child too for the game has co-op functionalities!
To call a game a ‘Sandbox’ title is to refer to its ability to be customised and altered depending on the player’s preferences. For kids, not only can be Sandbox games be addictive, but they can also prove to be brilliant tools to channel any creative spark your child might have. Take Minecraft for example, the world’s best-selling game of all time, selling 200 million copies, a game that allows us to build our own pixelated world. We craft and extract materials, build structures and landscapes and modify gameplay mechanics to our needs – it’s a ‘virtually infinite’ landscape perfect for young kids to get their minds stuck into. Put it this way, there’s a reason why it is the best-selling game of all time. If not Minecraft, which is accessible on Xbox and PlayStation consoles, perhaps opt for Pokémon Shining Pearl & Brilliant Diamond, two games remastering the 2006 classic Pokémon Diamond and Pearl where we build a roster of magical animals called Pokémon. We can roam the world of Sinnoh, take part in harmless battles to top leagues and engage in myriad other mini games with our anthropomorphic counterparts. Pokémon was and is a staple of many of our childhoods, speaking to the quality and charm the brand has built – Sun, Moon or Shield, Sword games are examples of technologically updated Pokémon games should that be a stipulation of yours. Otherwise, Sims 4 could be another idea that on paper is the ideal game for kids this Christmas, particularly for the budding architects. Players start off by building houses, creating individuals and families living in said houses and eventually moving on to designing full-scale communities. Admittedly, this process is not quite as hard as it sounds - I made some cracking cribs back in the day and I don’t have a creative bone in my body. Anyhow, Sims games facilitate young people in wrapping their head arounds the fundamentals of how their surroundings are built while also providing a social simulation where they adopt a duty of care and responsibility. It’s an enthralling play, designing and so on, but has legitimate potential to educate and teach at the same time.
The Feel Good Games
The most important aspect of gaming is that we enjoy playing the game! Else what is the point in doing so? Sometimes it’s a wise idea to gift a game known for being a smile-inducer – a safe bet! The first game that comes to mind for me is Ori The Collection, a two-part gaming series comprised of Ori and the Will of the Wisps & The Blind Forest that just cannot help but be endearing. Ori, a cute little ethereal spirit, (takes us on an innocent and optimistic gaming voyage that even adults (like me) play for a bit of lift on a bad day. The Xbox and Switch game broaches on various topics and themes which is ideal for kids who already seem to have a precocious sense of worldliness. Moving on, Super Mario Odyssey is yet another game that has an addictive ebullience to it. Mario negotiates an open world, a new format for Mario games akin to The Legend of Zelda, another gaming series much of my generation grew up on. Featuring dinosaurs, skyscrapers, trademark pipes and … humans, it is a bit weird and wonderful this game, but kids don’t care. If we were to look back at the TV shows we watched when we were young, I assure you it feels like quite the trip – the Teletubbies, for example, are absolutely bizarre! As the name suggests, Super Mario Odyssey is a bit of an adventure and requires some thinking, but it’s a load of fun and will likely serve as one of those games your child will look back on as an integral part of their childhood. Last but certainly not least on this list is Animal Crossing: New Horizons, a Switch classic serving as a basis as to why many even get a Nintendo Switch. In Animal Crossing, we forge an island in whichever way we see fit, crafting and catching fish and bugs, growing plants, and partaking in carefree leisure activities such as swimming. For many throughout the early days COVID pandemic, Animal Crossing games allowed a cheery and sunny way to distract yourself and connect with others; a must have for kids for, like Sims, Animal Crossing gives the little guys something to lose their curious minds in while giving them a sense and duty of care, too.
Naturally, investigate any games that take your fancy and be sure all involved are comfortable with them. We have only mentioned a few of the most popular and recently released games, sundry other child-friendly gems out there exist from previous years, like Stardew Valley and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and my personal favourite, Journey. Either way, the game you choose will depend on who your child is and the parenting style in which they are raised – we hope that we were able to recommend even one game that suits both categories! Any questions about a specific game? Get in touch with us.