SINGAPORE (May 22): With families stuck together at home 24/7, and children to entertain, it’s no wonder that family games are becoming more and more popular. This week, we bring to you some of the best kid-friendly games you can play as a family.
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, PC and Steam
Up to six players
The classic Parker Brothers board game gets a modern update, now with music and colourful 3D animation. In this version, you have the freedom to choose between the standard rules or implementing your own “house rules” as you make your way across the virtual board to buy, sell and mortgage your property, and collect rent for it. What is really nice about this version is that it has got a “live” board feature, with themes like Carnival, Haunted and Amusement Park.
It will still have you moving around the board, but the board comes alive with large, colourful, and wacky 3D visuals for each property. The board is full of animations for the streets, utilities, train stations, and has a whole host of decorations in the middle of the board. While the traditional board game may divide opinions — some say it is a hideously boring, “bored” game, and others love it for its hidden capitalist messaging — there is no doubt this video version is a fun, engaging and unique way for the whole family to play the classic game.
Lego Harry Potter (Years 1-7)
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One
The Lego series of games is, without a doubt, mostly excellent. From Lego Star Wars to Lego Lord of the Rings, the games re-create popular movie franchises into Lego form, and take you through the movies via a complicated series of puzzles which you perform by clicking on things, and putting Lego bricks together.
Based on the wildly popular series of children’s books, the Harry Potter version of the Lego games deserves a special mention for adding a lot of pure magic, as you follow Harry on his journey to Hogwarts and in defeating the ultimate evil baddie, Lord Voldemort. The genius of the Lego games is that everything is Lego, and despite not saying a word, all the characters are able to express themselves with some artful eyebrow-raising. The puzzles are tricky and fun, and will definitely force you to think out of the box. It is great family fun and perfect for younger and older children, as well as the occasional “kidult”.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, macOS, Microsoft Windows, Linux
What if you could play soccer … but with cars? Ridiculously jacked-up, high-powered, flying cars? And the aim is not only to score as many goals against the opponent, but to also collect different modifications, scattered around the arena, for your car to make it go superfast, or defy the laws of physics and gravity.
Part demolition derby, part soccer, part car-racing game, Rocket League is ridiculously good fun and simple to play. The point of the game is simply to score more goals than your opponent by using your car to “kick” the ball. How you do that is entirely up to you, but you will surely have an uproariously good time doing it.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
This beautiful, unique game developed by Swedish studio Coldwood Interactive (which also co-developed the excellent Battlefield: Bad Company 2 first-person shooter game) is a sequel to the original puzzle platformer, Unravel. Now with a local co-op multiplayer option, Unravel 2 follows the journey of two “Yarnys”, which are small anthropomorphic creatures made of yarn. Players will solve puzzles and move through the world, overcoming obstacles and defeating various enemies. Its excellent visuals and compelling gameplay make it more than just good fun; it is also good storytelling.
Super Mario Party (Nintendo Switch)
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Up to four players
The much-loved Super Mario Party games need no introduction, and this refresh for the Nintendo Switch is yet another fun-filled and kid-friendly family game for up to four players to enjoy. Based on the original party video-game series, and featuring characters from the Mario franchise, this adventure puzzle game is interspersed with puzzling and fun mini-games as you make your way across the virtual board, collecting stars and coins. It is a no-brainer choice to play with the kids on weekends, and its puzzles and mini-games are enough to keep adults engaged.
Overcooked! and Overcooked! 2
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC
Have you ever tried to put together a burger on the back of a moving truck? And what if that moving truck also tries to spit you out onto the road by moving erratically back and forth occasionally? And, inexplicably, there are mice on the truck that eat the ingredients you leave out on the counter for too long. Did I mention the counters move, too? Oh, and there is a timer that limits how long you get to put lettuce, tomatoes, meat and buns together.
If your answer is “yes” to all of the above, then you’ve played Overcooked! and you are this close to chucking your console out of the window. If your answer is “no”, well, ponder if it is worth potentially ruining your relationship with your children forever, over this.
I joke, I joke. Overcooked! is probably the most hilariously funny and yet devilishly tricky game you will ever have the pleasure of playing. A game of co-operation that forces you to work together seamlessly to assemble and serve food to imaginary customers, Overcooked! (and its sequel, Overcooked! 2) is a whole lot of fun, if you can stop yelling at each other to “chop the onions!” long enough to serve it up before the time is up.
Even though it is a two-player game, all the family can get involved by shouting out helpful (and unhelpful) advice on how to complete the mission and serve enough food (that gets more complicated as you make progress up the levels) to customers. Ultimately, however, it is a fun and challenging game that will teach your kids the value of teamwork, and excellent hand-eye co-ordination.