Santa might get all the credit but YOU have quite the ordeal on your hands. Video games are expensive and often littered with mature language and images. Worse yet, many of the games targeted at youngster are down right terrible! Don’t panic, we’ve got your back. Below are listed some of the best games of the year for all ages. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself having just as much fun as the kids.
Toys To Life
If your child is just as eager for toys and they are video games, you’re in luck. 2015 was a fantastic year for the blossoming Toys-To-Life genre with three equally exciting entries.
The ever popular Skylanders series returns with Skylanders Superchargers (Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Wii U, Wii, 3DS, iOS). The familiar combat sections remain just as chaotic as previous entries but the real star of the show is the new racing mode. Players combine their real world figures and toy cars to traverse land, sea, and air in single and 2 player modes. The best news for parents, all of the previously released figures work with Superchargers’ brand new Portal of Power.
Traveler’s Tales Lego series have been a staple for families for nearly a decade with their signature lighthearted humor and plethora of familiar franchises. But why settle for one series when you can have them all? Lego Dimensions (PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U) features a wide range of characters from Batman to Bart Simpson. Dimensions does a fantastic job of bringing the family together thanks to its figures that will delight all ages If you’ve played any of the previous series, you’ll feel right at home as the gameplay heavily borrows from the series past. But the opportunity to combine Doctor Who and the Wizard of Oz? Now that’s something new.
But if your home is already littered with lightsabers and blasters, there’s really only one option. Disney’s Infinity series has taken the trip to a galaxy far, far away in Disney Infinity 3.0 (PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Windows, Apple TV, Android, iOS). Yoda, Luke Skywalker, and Han Solo do battle against the evil empire in their classic trilogy renditions. While the previous toys won't be able to join the fight in the main campaign, all of the previously released Infinity figures are compatible in 3.0’s Toy Box mode. Finally, Darth Vader and Wreck-It-Ralph can bro out in your very own created stages.
Board Game Night
Though most core video game fans rolled their eyes at it’s release, Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival (Wii U) retains all the fun of a traditional board game with colorful graphics and catchy music. The set comes with 2 amiibo figures and 2 amiibo cards (parents, let your kids have the figures) which function as your game piece and dice. Special events including a surprisingly fun vegetable selling sections and having your fortune read by the mysterious Katrina. Yes, it’s pretty much your standard board game, but it’s inspired devotion to tradition may encourage your children to give Monopoly and Life a chance.
Let’s face it, most popular online multiplayer games can feature some rather graphic violence. Thankfully 2015 saw a couple of extremely fun and family friendly alternatives.
Combining the best elements of Call of Duty and Saturday morning cartoons, Nintendo’s Splatoon (Wii U) provides all of the action without any undesirable gore. Teams of four are pitted against each other in an all out paint battle. Instead of the familiar deathmatch mode seen in many online shooters, Splatoon tasks players with cover their surroundings in their team’s ink. It’s fast, it’s fun, it’s silly. How silly? Did we mention you're playing as squids? And the judge of every match is fat cat? Splatoon is the puuurfect alternative for youngsters with itchy trigger fingers.
Kids like sports. Kids like cars. Kids like video games. Rocket League (PlayStation 4, Windows DOWNLOAD ONLY) is a video game where cars play soccer with a giant ball. While the concept is a surefire hit with children, it’s focus on teamwork and patience make it one of the best games of the year. It’s simple driving mechanics make it easy for all ages to pick up and enjoy but the added depth in the unique jumping and boosting abilities encourage players to experiment. Best of all, developer Psyonix will release a free hockey mode later this month. Sports. Cars. Video Games. You’re kids are sure to love it.
It may be hard to believe but Mario has entertained adults and children alike for over three decades. Finally fans can design their very own Super Mario levels in Super Mario Maker (Wii U). Utilizing the Wii U touchpad, players drag and drop blocks, koopas, and power ups to create a unique Mario masterpiece. From Mario’s original 8-bit incarnation to his more modern 2D adventures, players of all ages can relive the joy of their childhood Nintendo experiences. If that’s not enough, thousands of free user created stages are available to play at the tap of a button. Who knows? Your child might become the next great video game designer.
On The Go
Pokemon is just as popular as ever in the United States, but Japan has been enjoying Yokai fever for over two years. Nintendo finally released Yokai Watch (compatible with all Nintendo 2DS and 3DS systems) alongside an animated series on Disney XD. Pesky Yokai’s are causing chaos around a small town! What are these terrible deeds? You ever keep snacking all day even when you aren’t hungry? Yep, that was a Yokai at work. This quirky RPG features of colorful world and cast of characters as well as a simplified battle system for children. If the Japanese sales are anything to go on, it won't be long until you start to see the likes of Tattletell and Jibanyan on your child’s clothing.
Blast From The Past
The Xbox One isn’t home to many family friendly exclusives but thankfully Rare Replay (Xbox One) packages 30 classic games for the low price of $30. From Banjo-Kazooie, RC Pro Am, Viva Pinata and more, each game has been lovingly ported to Microsoft’s latest console. While the graphics might not match the current generation of hardware, children are sure to love the adorable characters and vibrate locations featured throughout Rare’s 30 year legacy. Just make sure to keep your kids away from Conker. No really.