Published on December 20th, 2012 | by Xalaga5
A Holiday Videogame Buyers Guide for Kids
There are so many games out there and most parents get lost in between the new titles, the most advertised games and their kids constant complaining/nagging about a specific game that inevitably will change their minds by the end of the week when the new AWESOME game comes along. What about Aunts and Uncles? Cousins? The rest of your family that perhaps would like to enrich a child’s gaming library but always hit a wall. Usually it sounds like this: “I want to get Timmy/Annie a video game for Christmas since they love to play, but I am SURE they already have [insert name of newest game here].”
Most people don’t realize how daunting staring at a hallway filled with games can be for a non-gamer, or someone that might not stay in touch with what the kid wants or has. This experience becomes even more perplexing when you visit retailers like Toys R us that has a whole section of the store devoted to the electronic gaming child in all of us. This is by no means exclusive to just getting games for kids either; but lately, my friends, Co-workers, and most people that know me has at one point asking recently “what good games do you recommend for my kids?” I consider myself a well rounded gamer, who in one second is killing every enemy in sight on Halo 4, and then turn my Wii U to make the hard decision whether to thin or paint every level in Epic Mickey 2. I realized that besides the obvious answer of “SKYLANDERS” for kids of any age, the question needed a much further look into. So as Barney Stetson in “How I meet your mother” would say, I stand in a heroic pose and speak the words…
I gather the The Geek Link Radio staff and we all set out to find games, not necessary new which makes them affordable for all types of budgets, that most kids between the age of 4 to about 10 would enjoy!
My pick would be the Lego series, but more specifically, the first Lego Batman game. While rated E10+, kids from 4-6 would get just as much enjoyment out of it. The simple beat ‘em up gameplay is perfect for the younger audience, as they will be able to catch on quickly. Fear not though, the Lego style “violence” isn’t something parents need to be afraid of their children seeing. The fact that it is Lego and Batman combined, two very popular forms of entertainment for all ages, is just icing on the cake.
I would choose Lego Batman over most of the others, especially Lego Batman 2, simply for its more simplistic nature. For children under the age of 10, an open world and missions with unlockables may seem a bit daunting, but the linear, adventure, beat ‘em style of Lego Batman is sure to give most kids enjoyment.
Trying to stay away from the obvious titles and one that you might not have thought of, Disney Universe came to mind. This game, besides having the Disney name attached to it which automatically makes it cute and child like, packs a punch in gameplay. With tons of stages and a competitive aspect when you add a co-op partner is guaranteed to keep any kid entertain for hours. Collecting all the custom objects for your Mii like characters, getting perfect in all the levels, or just making your co-op partner miserable by playing against him/her instead of with him makes Disney Universe a good purchase for the little ones.
My first choice is Super Mario 3D Land for the 3DS. Up until I introduced my son to the Lego games, this was his favorite game by far. The easy to grasp platforming combined with the variety of power ups make completing the different levels fun while still providing a challenge. The sheer amount of content will keep little ones entertained as there are several levels to complete along with a variety of alternate tasks such as collecting the large gold coins or getting one ups on all the flags. The only problem is that with kids under the age of 8 the use of the 3D is not recommended, but turning the 3D slider down will fix that. There are also a few puzzles that need the 3D to complete so you may need to help them with those, but there are only a couple total in the entire game.
Lego Batman 2 for the 3Ds is my other recommendation. I chose this one in particular because unlike its console counterparts it doesn’t have the open word that can leave kids lost looking for the next task to complete. It is a straight forward Lego game that has Batman and Robin teaming up with various members of the DC Comics stable of super heroes to fight the Joker and Lex Luthor. The smash and collect fun of the Lego franchise is all here and so is, for the first time, a fully voiced cast. The games story mode isn’t the longest, but the replayability is high if you want to unlock all the characters and see all the bonus content the game offers. My son and I have over 30 hours into it and we haven’t unlocked everyone yet. Like Super Mario 3D Land, if you are getting this for a younger child it is recommended you turn off or lock the 3D feature as this game has no content that the 3D is a necessity to play. There is also a version available for the Nintendo DS without the 3D features if you so choose.
Skylanders : This is the game that will surpass Pokémon someday. Kids collect the monsters they want and then level them up to complete the game. Unlike Pokémon (which forces you to play through every game in the series to catch them all), kids actually can collect the ones they want and power them up however they wish. This game goes over well with adults as well as kids. Gotta love anything that involves collecting monsters.
Jak & Daxter and Ratchet & Clank Collections : It’s a shame I’m the only PS3 guy because a few of the PS3 goodies are overlooked, and these games are a prime example. The games involving these duos have some of the best gameplay and stories ever. Plus, the stories and characters are a lot of fun. Plus, with the collections, you’re getting 3 awesome games for under $30. That’s a heck of a deal.
Mini Ninjas : This one is a lesser known game as you control multiple ninjas who use various ninjitsus to over come evil. Mini Ninjas is a very fun game that kids would love because…ninjas. Plus mastering all the ninjas will give them plenty to do.
Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale : Best are the games that you can play with your kids. All-Stars is a fun fighting game that’s not too complicated so they can follow easily. Plus it’s a great introduction to the Playstation’s rich library of characters in a way that’s not going to overwhelm them.