Gaming

Coronavirus UK: best video games for kids during lockdown


Fun for all the family (Pic: Nintendo)

Trapped inside your home because of the coronavirus and need to keep the kids entertained? These games may help with that.

We’ve already recommended some great games to play during the coronavirus lockdown, but not all of them may be suitable or interesting for young children.

Would you let your child play something like The Last Of Us or Red Dead Redemption 2? (The answer should be no.)

So, we’ve compiled a list of games that the little ones can get lost in and that you can play alongside them.

This one’s a no-brainer. You can never go wrong with a bit of Mario Kart, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is not only the most recent, but also possibly the best entry in the series to date.

It offers a simple control scheme, plenty of characters and courses, a battle mode should the kids get tired of the racing, and even some extra options to make things a bit easier for struggling players, like auto-accelerating and smart steering.

There’s also Mario Kart Tour for mobile, which recently added multiplayer and is even simpler to play with its touchscreen controls. Although it’s not nearly as good.

Angry Birds (iOS, Android)

Angry Birds used to be everywhere a few years ago, and while it doesn’t seem to be at the peak of its popularity anymore, the original game reminds us why it achieved mega stardom in the first place.

The premise is simple. Fling a bunch of disgruntled feathered creatures at the enemy pigs’ fortresses and destroy them. With so many different sequels, iterations, and spin-offs, this series alone can probably keep the kids busy till the lockdown ends. Just be wary of in-game purchases and the like.

We could probably recommend any of the Kirby games, since they’re all relatively easy to play and suitable for young children, with the hardcore challenges mostly reserved for side-modes.

Kirby Star Allies is the most recent and while it’s certainly not the best entry in the franchise it is probably the easiest. Plus, it has co-op multiplayer, so little Billy and Timmy can play together without arguing over whose turn it is. Plus, you can join in on the fun too if they need a helping hand.

Crash’s successful return to mainstream gaming showed that he was able to win over a whole new audience and didn’t have to solely rely on the nostalgia of his established fanbase.

This collection has three full games so it’s immediately good value for money, even if you’re buying it brand new. They might pose more of a challenge for the little ones, but the satisfying gameplay and cartoony visuals will keep them coming back.

If an orange marsupial doesn’t appeal to your kids, maybe a purple dragon will fare better? After all, who doesn’t love dragons? And much like the Crash collection, this is another fantastic remastering of a classic(-ish) trilogy of games.

The first game is pretty simplistic, but kids are show to love Spyro’s go-getter attitude and draconic abilities, like gliding and breathing fire. And then from the second game onwards, there are even more likable characters and varied worlds to discover.

Be prepared to come over and help them out every once in a while with some of the more notorious challenges though.

Plants Vs. Zombies

Plants Vs. Zombies came out the same year as Angry Birds, and though both quickly rose in popularity, Plants Vs. Zombies never seemed to be able to keep up. A shame really, as it’s a great introduction to the tower defence genre.

Plants Vs. Zombies 3 soft launched only a couple of months ago so now seems like a good excuse to check it out if you haven’t already on iOS and Android.

But spin-off Plants Vs. Zombies: Battle For Neighborville, on consoles and PC, is also surprisingly good and one of the few online shooters that is family friendly and features no realistic violence. The only other real alternative being the excellent Splatoon 2 on Switch.

We did recommend that you actively avoid playing this one during lockdown if you’re on your own but with other people it’s one of the finest multiplayer titles available.

The easy to understand concept of moving around a board to gather stars, and the simplistic mini-games, means the whole family can take part, and there are quite a few side-modes that can take up an evening session.

Plus, victories are decided by luck as well as skill, so even the newbies have a chance of scoring a come-from-behind win.

It may have been derided by some when it was first announced but many of us would’ve loved something like Nintendo Labo when we were kids. For the uninitiated, Labo is a series of games that can only be played with custom-made kits that you put together yourself.

Helping your kids with building a functioning cardboard piano or fishing rod will make for a good bonding experience, and then you’ve got a quaint little game for them to play as well once it’s finished.

There are four kits available and roughly 15 different Toy-Cons to build; more than enough to eat up a week or two – and that’s before you set about customising them for yourself.

Lego games (Xbox One, PS4, Switch, PC)

There’s a high chance you already own at least one of the Lego video games. There are tons of them right now and your little ones are guaranteed to have a fun time with almost any of them, especially if they’re a fan of a specific movie franchise.

Marvel, Harry Potter, Lego Star Wars (there’s even a new Skywalker Saga Lego game coming out this year); these are only a few examples and they all offer functionally the same thing. Fun platforming, a ridiculous amount of different characters to play as, humorous takes on the source material, multiplayer-co-op, and so much stuff to collect.

Sonic Mania (Xbox One, PS4, Switch, PC)

Kids finding the other platformers on this list ‘too slow’? Then it is time to introduce them to Sega’s blue blur with attitude, and Sonic Mania is a fantastic starting point. Even if it is generally harder than most of the other games in this list.

Even the usually split fanbase seems to collectively agree that it’s the best Sonic game in years, decades even. It’s stuffed to the gills with nostalgic throwbacks and some original level designs and mechanics that keep it from feeling too much of a carbon copy of the original games that first made Sonic an icon.

Roblox (Xbox One, PC, iOS, Android)

Thank goodness those rumours of Roblox shutting down weren’t true because we need it now more than ever. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s an online multiplayer/game creation tool that, thanks to its millions of users, has a mountain of unique games for you or your kids to play.

There are parental controls as well so you can get it nicely set-up to keep the kids safe while they browse for new games, or you could use it yourself to make games for them. Or maybe it’ll be the spark they need to come up with their own ideas.

And if that’s not enough incentive, it used to be more popular than Minecraft at one point, and that is no easy feat.

For the PlayStation households looking for a game creation tool, Dreams has quickly grown to feature a ton of different games to download and play.

And much like Roblox, the more creatively inclined among your household can create your own games, making new assets or downloading ones from other users. Dreams also provides plenty of incentive to create, with themed contests being held every few weeks. Unlike Roblox, there are no microtransactions, so you don’t need to worry about having to pay up for custom games and assets.

It may sound hyperbolic, but Dreams’ potential really is endless and could be the only thing your kids need to play until lockdown is over.

Email gamecentral@metro.co.uk, leave a comment below, and follow us on Twitter.

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