When it comes to buying games for younger children, you want to make sure that they are going to be a good balance between fun and not overly challenging. It is a difficult string to walk, especially if you are not familiar with games in general. But do not worry, if you have a little one who gets a break this holiday season, these are some safe bets at stake to get them.
Super Mario Odyssey (7+)
As the last main entry in the Mario series, Odyssey is predictably designed to be enjoyed by players of all ages. However, the game’s simple controls, open level design and accessibility options make it especially kind to younger players. Odyssey rarely forces the player down a certain path; If a challenge is too tough, they can return to explore the fun and colorful worlds to find something else to do.
If the game continues to prove too tough, the aforementioned accessibility options can make the game easier by removing the threat of bottomless pits and leading players to the next main goal. There is also a limited two-player mode where the other player can help with certain obstacles, while the main player controls Mario as usual.
Super Mario Odyssey
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (7+)
Mario Kart is always a great time – the series is known for its easy-to-understand but extremely fun racing mechanics. And 8 Deluxe has over 40 bright and imaginative courses, lots of fun characters to play as, and some great multiplayer options both offline and online. The game’s object system means that new players still have a shot at victory, and battle mode is a fun distraction from the core race.
This entry also has some accessibility options, including automatic acceleration and smart steering – it ensures that the driver does not plunge off the edge of the track.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Luigi’s Mansion 3 (8+)
Luigi’s Mansion 3 keeps a scary atmosphere all the time, but it never makes an attempt to actually scare the player. The player plays as Luigi as he explores an abandoned hotel full of ghosts, giving some gentle haunted vibes. There are many things to collect and puzzles scattered around that never get too taxing. Even if they do, there is a two-player co-op mode where the other player plays as “Gooigi” and can help in some of the game’s more challenging sections.
Luigi’s Mansion 3
It’s a decent chance you’ve already heard of Minecraft-it is after all one of the most popular games of all time. The game’s free form makes it the perfect digital sandbox for many children. Once a world is started, players can transform it into whatever they want, whether it means building a peaceful farm or a massive city. There are very few limits to creativity in this game, and the more challenging aspects such as having to collect materials, deal with enemy enemies or eat food can all be disabled to make the game more peaceful.
Minecraft is also a great collaboration experience. Players can join each other’s worlds over the internet, and split screen co-op mode means up to four players can play the same system at once. (However, you want to make sure you are connected to a decent-sized monitor.)
Pokémon: Let’s Go Games (7+)
While the Pokémon series has evolved and expanded over the years, Let’s go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee aimed at getting things back to basics – which means they’re both good for younger players. The number of Pokémon was reduced to the original 151, and capturing Pokémon now involves a fun little mini-game, and Pokémon even follow you as you cross the map. The game keeps the difficulty low, but not absent, and catching all the different Pokémon should prove to be a fun challenge to overcome.
The differences between the two games are quite minimal: Eevee or Pikachu will serve as companion creatures throughout the game, depending on the version, and each version has 11 Pokémon species exclusively for it. You can also play with your child as another Pokémon trainer who explores the map and helps in Pokémon battles.
Pokémon: Let’s Go
Kirby Star Allies (6+)
The Kirby the series has always positioned itself towards younger players with its cute graphics and forgiving difficulty. Star Allies is never that challenging, but the large collection of levels and bonus challenges available means it should keep your child’s attention for a while. Kirby is able to copy the enemies’ abilities, so it’s enough to experiment when it comes to solving the simple puzzles found in each step. There is also offline four – player collaboration that everyone can participate in.
Kirby Star Allies
Animal Crossing: New Horizons (6+)
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is about peacefully building an island town. The player becomes friends with a colorful cast of villagers when they decide where to place buildings, plants and furniture. It’s not just about decoration, as players can also earn money in the game to upgrade parts of their city or house, and collect various species of insects and fish to donate to the museum. It’s a chill game, and without any real way to fail or lose, it’s great for players of all ages.
There is a limited cooperation mode for four players, and several people can live on the same island at the same time. It is very important to note that only one island can exist on each console, so if there are several using the switch, they must share.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Rocket League (9+)
Rocket League is a simple game about hitting big soccer balls with cars to win every game. It’s a fun concept that leads to a great time while playing and while there is room to be very good at Rocket League, The game’s core mechanics are simple enough that slightly older children will not have much trouble understanding it. However, this game has a strong focus on playing online with strangers, with a naturally competitive element included. However, you can disable all forms of communication with other players, if you prefer.
You can also play offline or online matches just with friends too – it’s a great time when enough people get together. Rocket League is also free to play, so there is no harm in trying it.
This is the latest release here, and Ninjala is another free to play online competitive game. In this colorful world, you play as Ninjas competing in team-based tournaments. The player can choose from a variety of weapons to beat opponents around the stage, with different objects thrown in for more variety. With a strong emphasis on customizing players and a generally light tone, this is a great game for children to sink their teeth into.
LEGO Games (+7)
There are quite a few LEGO games that kick around the switch, but they all have the same core gameplay. These games are about collecting objects, unlocking characters and solving simple puzzles. The gameplay is simple and fun, there is a great offline collaboration mode for two players for each game, and the stories are told in a way that prioritizes comic book humor above all else.
Most LEGO games are based on pre-created franchises such as Jurassic World, The Incredibles, Harry Potter, or The Avengers. Because of this, it is best to just look at the list of available LEGO games and choose the one that best suits your child’s interests.