Spend even a few minutes in stores or browsing lists of games on your console and you’ll find a bewildering array of gaming choices.
While children will inevitably be drawn to the big budget games with large advertising budgets, there are many lesser-known gems that are great for families to play together or as an alternative to Fortnite.
As I discuss in my upcoming Taming Gaming book, an important way for parents to keep gaming healthy is to find games they can play with their children.
Finding alternatives to the same old favourites can also help develop a varied diet of play.
Here are some recent games that I’ve enjoyed in my family, that are worth checking out if you need something new to play with your kids.
Yoshi’s Crafted World PEGI 3+ Switch
After the Wii U classic platform conversions, this is a brand new Yoshi game. Along with the usual exploration and jumping, this time you can explore each stage backwards on the reverse side of the level.
There’s also a fun 2-player mode where you can work separately or team up together to progress. It’s a game that stands out for the fun you can have, but also the way it looks — as if each level is a hand made construction.
Feather PEGI 3+ on PC, Switch
It’s not often that a game leaves you feeling calmer after play it. Feather does just this with its island playground through which you saw as a bird of prey. The action is kept to a minimum but there’s more to do than first appears.
The sun rises and falls as other players join you to soar in the winds over the mountains. It’s a unique experience and a great one to share as a family.
Kingdoms Two Crowns PEGI 7+ Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Kingdoms is a side-scrolling strategy game where you must build up your village to defend against attacks that come at night. Along with unique 8-bit visuals, what sets Kingdoms apart from similar games is the trial and error required to work out how best to proceed.
It encourages experimentation with what and when to build. This new version, Kingdoms Two Crowns, adds co-operative play into the mix and is ideal for parents and children to play together.
Stormbound – PEGI 7+ iOS, Android
This is a game where you collect playing cards to build an army of different characters and abilities.
What’s different to other deck building games is that you battle on a chess-style board.
This means you have to think about movement as well as sheer power and strength. What evolves is a really clever and strategic battle game that families can play against each other or online.
Wordhunters – PEGI 3+ PlayStation 4
This is a globe-trotting spelling game that is much more fun (and educational) than similar games. You play with your smartphone on PlayStation 4 which means you don’t need loads of controllers. As the game progressed you can choose which country you visit and solve word puzzles along the way.
Each player is trying to construct a word by winning letters from the current city location, which adds a nice layer of strategy. Like the other PlayLink titles, it’s simple quick fun, that you will come back to again and again.
Fe – PEGI 7+ Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC
Fe is a game many families missed when it was first released. You play a small creature exploring a beautiful landscape. As you traverse the rivers, valleys and trees you discover other creatures to befriend.
Each new acquaintance grants you new powers and different ways to explore.
What starts as a simple game of jumping around a landscape, opens up into a beautiful journey into the distant hills. It’s charming to play and is suitable for children of all ages.
Labo VR – PEGI 3+ Switch
The idea of VR can be a bit impenetrable for families.
It’s bad enough having kids sat with headsets on, never mind full head-goggles as well. But in true Nintendo form, Labo VR adds real creativity and fun into the virtual worlds you explore.
It’s the fourth in the Labo series where you build things out of cardboard that then interacts with the Switch hardware.
Here you can battle an alien invasion or swim in a beautiful ocean. There are even special Mario Odyssey and Zelda Breath of the Wild content to enjoy.