These four video games are fun for the whole family

Facing indoors again for the winter, and with the option to spend more time with loved ones this year, our team was thinking about what we would recommend for people looking for video games to enjoy with their kids, cousins. , nieces, nephews, and grandchildren of all ages. It’s hard to know which games will appeal to a variety of ages, skill levels, and attention spans.

We’ve put together a list of four games that we believe meet a range of different needs for different families: a classic board game for groups with varying experience levels, a cooperative adventure for up to four players, a competitive, non-violent shooter for kids with some alone time and hilarious gameplay for the slightly older members of your family.

A must for family game nights: Mario Party Superstars

Screenshot: Nintendo

Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Price: $ 60 at time of posting
ESRB Rating: E

Mario Party Superstars belongs to everyone’s Switch library because it’s one of the best ways to entertain a group of people whose attention spans, temperaments, and experience levels usually don’t match. With its straightforward controls and straightforward gameplay, any combination of people can come together and enjoy – or at the very least, survive – a night of family play.

In Mario Party Superstars, up to four people roll the dice to run around a board and participate in different mini-games between turns. While there are two Mario party games available for the Switch only, we like Superstars because it is a compilation of the best boards and mini-games offered by the series since the 90s. Veteran players will be transported into the N64 days with mini-games like Bumper Balls and Hot Rope Jump, where everyone times his character’s jump on a flaming skipping rope to be the last one standing. But the players who are new Mario party or video games in general won’t feel out of place either: the controls are basic enough that even your most clumsy parent can master them, and each mini-game begins with a practice lobby that gives players a lot time to prepare before the real game begins.

Even if you have a pro player in your party, there is no guarantee that they will win every time. Many unpredictable events occur in the game, including in the final leaderboard, where players can be awarded bonus points for random distinctions such as landing on redder spaces or moving less far. You can also customize the gameplay in almost any way, tailoring the mini-game selection, rules, and even match length to your family’s preferences.

Adventures for up to four people: Minecraft Dungeons

Screenshot of Minecraft Dungeons with a main character and many villains
Screenshot: Mojang Studios

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Price: $ 20 at time of posting
ESRB Rating: E10 +

The cooperative gameplay of Minecraft dungeons is perfect for families who like to go on an adventure together rather than fighting against each other. Although it takes place in the same universe as Minecraft, the breaking and building themed craft game with blocks, Minecraft dungeons is much different. It has the same cute, blocky art style, but abandons the construction aspect in favor of a more traditional formula, where the goal is to explore colorful realms, battle monsters, and collect treasure. Simple controls, relaxed story progression, and bite-sized missions make this game easy for people of different skill levels and free time to have fun together.

The game is engaging enough to keep every player occupied, and it has a lightweight combat system that’s neither bloody nor graphics – we believe the graphics and gameplay will appeal to a wide range of ages. Dungeons is divided into short, stand-alone missions where players travel to different biomes to accomplish small objectives like freeing captured villagers or defeating miniboss. An overall story gives context to these missions, but it’s pretty insignificant – the meat and potatoes of the game lie in finding new weapons and armor to spice up combat and suit your own style.

Each player starts out with a standard sword and bow, but more weapons and special items quickly become available. I love close-range weapons and maximizing my character’s speed, so I was delighted to find a set of dual-wielding sickles and a pair of speed-boosting sneakers early on in a treasure chest. My teammate, meanwhile, opted to add special abilities to his bow, strengthening it to shoot five arrows at the same time and knock back enemies. This personalization made it easy for each of us to play our favorite ways while working together in wacky and wonderful worlds.

Because Minecraft dungeons can also be played solo, it is an ideal game for families where some members have more free time than others. The controls are easy enough for most people to pick up and set down without worrying about forgetting everything, and you can replay any level for new rewards.

Kid-Friendly Action: Splatoon 2

Splatoon 2 screenshot
Screenshot: Nintendo

Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Price: $ 60 at time of posting
ESRB Rating: E10 +

Splatoon 2 is a Switch game that encompasses all the fun parts of a competitive shooter, but leaves out the violence and mature content. It’s a healthy alternative that replaces colorful ink and squid with bullets and blood, and it’s a blast for all ages – you may even find yourself sneaking around a few laps once your kids have had them. abandoned the controller.

Instead of machine guns and chainsaws, the players Splatoon 2 battle yourself with different types of paint guns and melee weapons in a variety of game modes. Keep in mind that Splatoon 2 is most suitable if you are looking for a game for your child to play on their own. It doesn’t have a split screen option, so you’ll need a Nintendo Online membership to participate in multiplayer modes. This also means that two children who want to play together will need two copies of the game and two Switch consoles.

My favorite mode, Turf War, asks players to splash as much as possible on the ink card before the time runs out. While some of my teammates that I play with in online multiplayer run to cover the ground effectively with their paint rollers, I do my best to hinder the other team by stalking them with my standard Splattershot pistol. It’s a good, chaotic time to take on other players and dabble in some shiny paint, and the competition generally feels healthy and friendly.

A game for adults: the Jackbox Party trilogy

Screenshot of the game Jackbox Party Drawful
Screenshot: Jackbox Games

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Price: $ 60 at time of posting
ESRB Rating: T

If you want something the adults can indulge in after the kids have fallen asleep, or if you don’t have kids at all at your family gatherings, we recommend pulling out one of the packs of Jackbox party. They’re full of hilarious mini-games that get players to step in on their own mobile devices by drawing silly pictures, typing in random sentences, or answering trivial questions. We love them because they’re absurd, easy to learn, and a breath of fresh air compared to other competitive games that cause tension (we’re looking at you, Monopoly).

There are eight different party packs available, but we like The Jackbox Party trilogy because it brings together three packs for a wide variety of mini-games. These mini-games can accommodate up to eight players at the same time, but if you need space for a few more, some of the newer packs can accommodate up to 10 people. And some of our favorite games, like Pulling and Fibbage, are also available for purchase as standalone titles if the pack is too much for you.

If your family can’t get together in person, Jackbox games are also great for virtual outings. As long as someone owns a copy of the game, it can be shared on a screen during a Zoom call or through the Discord app. While they’re designed for teens and older people, the content isn’t that outrageous that you have to worry about hiding it from kids, but we think it’s more fun when you don’t worry about it. the games are suitable for young ears. .

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