Now more than ever, it is harder and harder to find people who don’t play some sort of game, whether it be on PC, consoles, or just their phones. Kids in particular have always been one of the major target audiences for games, but now that they’ve been around for so long, there are just as many games aimed at adults that are not well suited for younger players. The PlayStation 4 is one of the most popular systems on the market right now, with hundreds upon hundreds of games to choose from ranging from kid-friendly to ones you might want to avoid.
Gaming can be an amazing experience for kids, especially if they share it with friends and family, but finding the perfect game for younger players can be a little daunting if you’re unfamiliar with the medium. Unfortunately, most of the games that get the biggest marketing push are the ones intended for teens and older gamers, with less focus on the younger audience outside of Nintendo. If you have a PlayStation 4 and are thinking about introducing games to a kid, these are the best ones to try.
Let’s face it, there’s a good reason for Minecraft‘s almost unbelievable popularity. Even people who never touch video games have heard about this gaming phenomenon. The reason is simple: Minecraft is all about self-expression and creativity. The game can be as deep or as simple as your child is ready for, offering a creative mode where they are free to fly, place infinite numbers of any block they want with no danger whatsoever, to hardcore modes where they have to manage their food and resources carefully. Because of the blocky art style, everything is cute and cartoony, including the enemies that can appear. It is the perfect game to play together as well. Design your own home, farms, towns, or basically anything. The only limit is the player’s creativity. Considering Minecraft has also gotten an educational version to be used in schools, it’s hard to argue that this game isn’t worth a look.
Sackboy: A Big Adventure
A new title that just released on both the PS4 and PS5, Sackboy: A Big Adventure takes the titular character from the LittleBigPlanet game and puts him in a more Mario-style platforming adventure game. Sure, PlaySation doesn’t have their own Mario, but Sackboy is a worthy substitute for a cute, colorful, and all-around fun game.
Unlike the series he started in, Sackboy is a 3D platformer, as opposed to a 2D one, and jam-packed full of levels to explore and find secrets in. It isn’t too long or challenging, but the homemade, arts and craft aesthetic make it visually appealing from beginning to end, and well worth replaying. This game also supports up to four-player co-operative play to team up and take on new levels that don’t show up when playing alone.
For some reason, the character of Rayman never really hit high levels of popularity despite having some fantastic games. Once Rayman: Origins hit, introducing the new art style that made playing the game look like playing a cartoon, people finally started to take notice. Fast forward to the sequel, Rayman: Legends, and we got a game that can rival Mario and Sonic for the crown of best 2D platformers.
There are tons of levels (over 150, including 40 from Origins) with bright, colorful, and bouncy characters to explore that are never too demanding, extra characters to play as, or within co-op, extras to unlock, and even a suite of competitive mini-games. The level design is tailored to guide players along the right path so even new gamers can make it through. Older players will enjoy going after all the secrets and getting high scores, making it a great choice for a wide range of ages.
Read our full Rayman: Legends review
There are a ton of Lego games to choose from, and you really can’t go wrong with any of them. They all play similarly and are age-appropriate for kids and adults. If your kid has a specific love for Lord of the Rings, Marvel, Star Wars, or another big franchise then by all means pick that title for them. There are also original Lego games like Lego City Undercover and The Lego Movie Video Game. But, as an all-around fun adventure that features a whole host of popular characters from different familiar franchises, Lego Dimensions is a perfect fit. The game can also grow thanks to being a toys-to-life game, as will the next recommendation, where new characters and levels can be added to the game by purchasing select Lego sets. What kid wouldn’t love to bring their favorite Lego set into a video game?
The other toys-to-life game worth looking at is Disney Infinity. While the game has stopped having new content added to it, that only makes now the best time to dive in. All the figures used to bring characters into the game are much cheaper now, and there’s a ton of them to pick from. Each character and playset you purchase, aside from doubling as a fun toy on their own, unlocks that character to play as in the game just like in LEGO Dimensions. This time featuring all the best Disney, Marvel, and Pixar characters, each one has its own abilities, worlds, activities, and stories to play. If your child would love to see Luke Skywalker team up with Spider-Man and Captain Jack Sparrow, there’s no other game on the market that could fulfill that wish.
Read our full Disney Infinity 3.0 review
Spyro: Reignited Trilogy
Sometimes you can’t beat the classics. This remaster of the beloved PlayStation 1 trilogy of games came along with a few other classics getting a new lease on life, such as Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. The reason we pick Spyro over Crash is just down to difficulty. Spyro is all about a cute, yet determined and capable, purple dragon jumping, gliding, and collecting gems as he tries to save the other dragons.
Not only does the remaster take the sharp and somewhat rough visuals of the original and turn them into yet another playable animated movie, but puts all three games together for a long-lasting experience. The games all build on one another, without ever getting too difficult, and add in more fun locations, new playable characters, and plenty of items to collect. Many older games would be great for kids today but just aren’t accessible due to being on older hardware. This trilogy proves that, decades later, Spyro can still be a hit with the kids.
A Hat In Time
If you’re looking for an alternative to the 3D Mario games, look no further than the indie darling A Hat In Time. This game was one of the early Kickstarter successes and is not at all shy about wearing its Mario inspirations on its sleeve. You play as a girl simply known as Hat Kid on her quest to collect all the missing Time Pieces that are scattered through different worlds that all take place in different time periods. Even for younger kids who haven’t played many games before, the story is simple enough, the characters endearing, and most importantly the game is just fun to play. Not knowing where to go, or what to do, is almost never frustrating because of how fun running and jumping around these creative and diverse worlds are. This is one not many have heard of, but shouldn’t be overlooked.
If this game sounds a little familiar, it should. Made by former Rare developers, responsible for Banjo-Kazooie, Yooka-Laylee is the spiritual sequel to those classic Nintendo 3D platformers/ collect-a-thons. The two new leads, a chameleon and bat, as well as all the side characters, enemies, and even objects, are full of whimsy and charm. The entire world seems to bounce with personality thanks to bright colors and a catchy soundtrack. There are plenty of new abilities to get, power-ups to play with, puzzles, challenges, and of course collectibles to search for. The co-op mode allows a second player to help by stunning foes for the main player so even younger kids can enjoy the game. Plus, if there are more people who want to play, the game also has eight mini-games that can be played with up to four players for even more fun.
Read our full Yooka-Laylee review
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled
Here we have another game overshadowed by the massive domination Mario Kart has on the kart racing genre. For those that played Crash Team Racing back in the day, or for the first time with this remaster, they found a racer that can give Mario a run for his money on the track. Featuring all the fun and personality-filled characters from the Crash Bandicoot series, this kart racer has all the ingredients for a fun time for gamers of all ages. Even without any attachment to the original franchise, the tight controls, satisfying power-ups, sense of speed, and overall chaotic nature of this racer is enough to keep players coming back. It is simple enough for anyone to pick up and get into the race, but with enough depth that older players will want to hone their skills for the best times. Play with up to four players on a ton of tracks and unique game modes.
Next is another car game, but a sports game instead of a racer. Imagine strapping rockets to a set of RC cars, putting them in a cage with a ball, and using them to play soccer. That’s what Rocket League is and it is just as fun as it sounds. The simple idea for this game ends up being just as addicting as it is vibrant. Even more so than Crash Team Racing, Rocket League is about as easy to start playing as you can get. As long as you know the rules of soccer and how to move your car, that’s all you need to get started. From there more advanced movements can be learned, like jumping, using rocket boosts to fly, doing flips, and plenty more. None of those moves are necessary, though, and for most players, the game is a nail-biting bundle of chaos as the ball bounces around the arena. Most of the time things happen by accident, but nothing beats the thrill of scoring a goal or making a last-minute save. If they’re a fan of cars, kids will also love how many types there are and all the ways they can customize them with colors, wheels, flags, and more.
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
If Rocket League was just soccer with RC cars, then Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is Wipeout in a battle royale. Unlike the majority of battle royale games, which focus almost exclusively on shooting to eliminate other opponents, Fall Guys pits a group of wobbly little peanut men against each other in various races, obstacle courses, and competitions until one player reaches the crown. The game is as unpredictable, zany, and hilarious as it sounds. Anything and everything can happen on the course, and even when you lose you still have a smile on your face. You can also unlock dozens of clothing items and skins to personalize your little competitor before taking on the competition. It never takes long to find a match, and new content is still being added for free to keep the game fresh.
Read our full Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout review
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