It can be easy to look at the world of video games and see nothing but grey futures, terrifying zombies, and bloody battlefields. But in truth, the gaming world is a wide and inclusive place, full of gaming titles to please everyone.
One gaming console in particular that demonstrates the full spectrum of gaming is the Nintendo Switch, which boast an extensive and brilliant game catalogue. Of course, it has its fair share of content aimed at mature audiences, but the Japanese giant’s bread and butter is the bold, the colourful, and the family-friendly. Take for example its mascot, one look at Super Mario and you’ll see what we mean. The chunky-cheeky plumper is about as far from the hellish landscapes seen on PS4 and Xbox One as you can get.
But it isn’t just Mario that makes the Switch the ideal console for kids. There are tonnes of titles out there that are kid-friendly. There are games from LEGO that are full of charm and adventure, remasters of classic platformer Crash Bandicoot, and Marvel superhero games all waiting to keep the kids happy. Minecraft and Fortnite are also available on the system, and no one in the year 2020 needs to be told how well these games go down with kids.
There’s so much choice in fact, that you’re going to need to some help cutting through to what’s good. With that in mind, we’ve enlisted our gaming experts to put together a buyer’s guide, listing the best Switch games for kids.
Here are our picks:
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The best Nintendo Switch games for kids
1. Super Mario Odyssey
Super Mario Odyssey is a 3D-platformer full of charm and adventure. In this outing, Nintendo's favourite plumber strikes out across the galaxy to save Princess Peach from Bowser…again. What keeps the Mario franchise feeling fresh, however, are the inventive level designs and hidden challenges which give the game extra life, as it can be revisited time and time again.
2. Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
The Crash Bandicoot series is a beloved franchise, and has been responsible for converting countless gamers into lovers of the platforming genre. How? Through perfect gameplay, hilarious characters, and amazing levels, that's how! The first three instalments have been freshened up for new audiences in this new trilogy collection, perfect for gamers of all ages.
3. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a smash hit across the board, drawing in both male and female players from all age ranges. The reason? It's a joyous and relaxing place to be. This one is for kids with a good attention span and reading age, but ultimately it's a game about various cute critters coming together to build a community. It's lovely.
4. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Mario Kart 8 might just be the best arcade racer out there, boasting over 40 racers, 48 tracks, and a selection of unique game modes, such as Bob-omb Blast and Balloon Battle, which serve as a nice addition to the standard, but still thrilling, track races. Solo, multiplayer, or online, Mario Kart always pleases. This Deluxe edition is preloaded with all the DLC, so there's plenty of bang for your buck here.
The success of Epic Games' Fortnite is…well, epic. Over 75-million players log in to try their hand at the battle royale matches. Its cartoonish design is a smash with kids of all ages, and the popularity of the game shows no real sign of abating soon. The real bonus here is that while the game is free to download, physical copies like this special edition version give players a special in-game skin.
6. Luigi’s Mansion 3
The classic charming comedy-spook franchise's Switch debut has you venture through a rickety hotel as Mario's brother, Luigi. Armed with a hoover and not much else, the world is a fun and rewarding place to explore full of memorable puzzles and encounters. A must-have for any Mario and Luigi fan.
7. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker may not have hit home with the Super Mario elite, but it's an excellent kid's game nonetheless. It's a sweet and innocent romp that sees the mushroom-headed Captain Toad head out into an array of well-designed levels hunting for treasure. It's a straight forward game that's easy to pick up, but still full of extra hidden levels and nifty features to keep players engaged for hours upon hours.
8. LEGO City Undercover
LEGO City Undercover is a family-friendly take on the crime game genre. Players take on the role of Chase McCain, an undercover cop looking to take down the criminal mastermind Rex Fury. It's a game with a huge LEGO city, plenty of cars, and loads of fun missions. Plus, it can be played two-player for twice the blocky-carnage! The adults in the house might be sneaking this one on after the kids are in bed.
This is a great way of tricking the gamers young and old into doing some light exercise. Arms is a boxing style game where punches are thrown at the player's opponent across rings on stretchy, Slinky-like arms. This distance fighting makes for a game that requires timing and skill – you won't find an experience like this anywhere else.
10. Overcooked 2
In Overcooked 2, two players are set to running a restaurant's kitchen, ensuring that everything runs smoothly. This isn't just to keep a decent TripAdvisor ranking, but to beat the evil army of The Unbread. It's a game made up of mayhem, with the kitchen being set on storm-battered hot air balloon, over a ravine, or in a gold mine. The game's silly, surprisingly tough, and endlessly rewarding. Certainly one of the best party games around.
Who knew that smashing blocks could be so much fun? Minecraft is a worldwide phenomenon, drawing in gamers of every ilk with its charming 8-bit textures and make-your-own-adventure sandbox worlds. While there's no goal or 'point' to Minecraft, its sprit is pure adventure, creativity, and imagination. A wonderful title for newcomers to gaming, and a breath of fresh air for experienced players.
12. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3
Any fan of the Marvel comics and films will be thrilled with this game. The player takes control of a superhero party to fight their way to Thanos and the Infinity Stones. The clean art style is a pleasure to behold, and the narrative feels like a genuine Marvel romp.
13. Pokémon Sword and Shield
In Pokémon Sword & Shield, players take control of a young wannabe Pokémon master. In this outing, players will be adventuring through Galar, an all-new world based on the British Isles. Here, the Pokémon are affected by the phenomenon Dynamax, which occasionally causes standard Pocket Monsters to be pumped up to gigantic proportions. It's wacky, but good wacky. You're never too young or too old to indulge in a Pokémon game.
14. Super Mario Maker 2
By mixing side-scrolling platform action with creative freedom, Super Mario Maker 2 provides hours of creatively charged entertainment. Kids can build and play custom levels, upload the creations to the cloud for others to enjoy, and download and play other player-made maps.
15. Super Smash Bros
Looking for something to keep a group of kids happy? Then look no further than Super Smash Bros. The premise is simple – players pick a loveable character and go toe-to-toe with friends on a floating platform in an all-out, chaotic, physics-defying mega-brawl. It's not clever, but it sure is brilliant. Just make sure that you've got enough controllers!