2017 has been an amazing year for video games across all platforms, but with the likes of Destiny 2 and Assassins Creed: Origins being big hits with all the attention, it is sometimes hard to see which games released this year are suitable for children.
Kids this year have been spoilt for choice, both from AAA developers as well as indies. Whether it is platformers or puzzlers, there have been some great titles released this year for younger gamers.
Being a parent of young children, I know what kinds of games my kids and their friends like, so based on this, I have selected 10 PC games that I think your kids will love as well. These are games that will test and excite younger and older kids alike, so there is something for everyone!
Released early in 2017 was beautiful physics-based puzzle-platformer Snake Pass from British developer Sumo Digital. In Snake Pass, you play as a snake called Noodle, and with the help of his hummingbird friend, Doodle, you need to move around various locations collecting gate gems to progress to the next level. That's it. The premise of the game is to collect items to move on.
There are no enemies, no fighting, no dialogue, and no other characters to interact with. This makes it an ideal game for kids because they just get to complete the puzzles and get instant gratification in doing so. Yes, the movements might be a bit taxing for younger players, but once they start thinking like a slithering snake, it makes it easier to move.
In addition to being available on PC via Steam, Snake Pass is also available on PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
We couldn't have a list of great PC games for kids without having a building game on the list somewhere. Since the obvious one has been out for many years now, it couldn't be included, so we turn to the ultimate building franchise for this slide.
LEGO Worlds was released at the beginning of the year and brings everything you'd expect from a LEGO building game. The game features an open world with procedurally generated environments that you can fully manipulate. Kids can build whatever they can imagine by either moving things brick by brick or by using a prefabricated building and then customizing it.
LEGO Worlds is currently available on Steam for PC as well as on PS4 and Xbox One.
What do you mean I can't include Cuphead on a list for kids? Alright, it isn't really suitable for younger kids, but I still think it is OK for older ones. I agree that it isn't an easy game. Having put in numerous hours and still not really gotten anywhere, I can attest to its difficulty, but as with anything, practice makes perfect and, yes, I think older kids can get to grips with it.
The animation in the game is amusing and very well done, and if kids watch retro cartoons on certain kid's TV channels, there is nothing really that they haven't seen before.
Cuphead is currently available on Steam for PC and also available on Xbox One.
As the cover slide suggested, Yooka Laylee was going to appear on this list somewhere. It was one of the most anticipated games of the year -- how could it not be?! All the beautiful animation and quirky characters make this very much suitable for kids.
Of course, today's kids probably won't know about the game's predecessor, Banjo-Kazooie, so they will be going into it with no expectations or thinking that it has anything to live up to. Whether they just want to explore or go straight into collecting, this will keep kids occupied for ages. Younger players might have a little bit of trouble getting the hang of all the controls, but once they've mastered them, they will love playing this game!
Yooka Laylee is available on Steam for PC, Mac, and Linux and also available on PS4 and Xbox One.
This little gem of an indie fighting game is a fun way of bringing the genre to kids. While consoles have had a cartoon-type fighter for many years, there don't seem to be many out on PC, so Brawlout is a welcomed addition.
The concept of a fighting game is pretty self-explanatory, but this game adds platforms to the mix, making the gameplay a bit more dynamic and fast-paced. Each character has its own unique playstyle such as a Nordic-looking Walrus-type character who uses ice attacks to freeze people in place or a Porcupine character who uses electric shocks to stun.
Brawlout is currently available on Steam for PC.
There have a number of Sonic releases this year, but for this list, we are recommending the most recent, Sonic Forces. The titular character has long been one of the characters associated with games, and kids love him! In this new game, you and Sonic have to save the world from Dr Eggman and a new villain called Infinite by bringing together an army to defeat them.
Sonic Forces brings back the much-loved platforms mechanics from previous games as well as adding some 3D action in for good measure. One of the big drawing points of the game is the fact that players get to create their own character to join Sonic on his missions.
The game is currently available on Steam for PC but is also available on PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
Since its release in October, A Hat in Time has done incredibly well, gaining an overwhelmingly positive reception on Steam. Just from looking at the animation and storyline, you can see that this is a good game for kids! Plus, a game that has a kid as its main character is a nice way of getting kids interested in the game. If it weren't for a couple of cases of bad language, this game would have a universal rating.
The game follows the adventures of a space-traveling little girl who has a love of hats. As she explores new worlds in order to retrieve some missing items, she gets to craft new hats with different abilities to help her out such as a witch's hat that allows her to cook potions.
A Hat in Time is currently available on Steam for PC and Mac.
So far, this list has been missing an RPG, so here comes Portal Knights to fill that spot. This sandbox action-RPG is fantastic for teaching kids about teamwork and team dynamics.
In Portal Knights, you take on the role of a Warrior, Mage, or Ranger who must travel to different worlds to lots of different islands to combat the effects of the great Fracture. Each island is randomly generated and offers a variety of unique environments, creatures, and resources for crafting. The crafting and gathering side of things is a nod to Minecraft, while the look of some of the land and characters themselves are quite reminiscent of LEGO.
This game caters very well to two types of players -- the first being younger players who will enjoy mining and crafting items as well as the farming aspect of the game; the second being older kids, who may enjoy a more in-depth combat system.
Portal Knights is currently available on Steam for PC, but it is also available on PS4 and Xbox One.
Even though Ben 10 has just been released, it would be hard not to include it on a list of games for kids. From its humble beginnings as a kids cartoon, the Ben 10 franchise just keeps on growing!
This latest addition is an action-adventure game, and once again you play as Ben as you try to save the world from some of the series' most famous villains, including Queen Bee, Zombozo, and the Weatherheads. As usual, there are 10 alien creatures to transform into, so kids are going to enjoy exploring new abilities and the looks of these new forms.
Ben 10 is currently available on Steam for PC and also available on PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
Everywhere I've been on the internet while looking for great kids games of 2017, I've repeatedly seen Yonder: The Cloud Chaser Chronicles mentioned, and if you are familiar with the game, then you will know why.
This beautiful adventure game focuses on exploration and crafting as its staple theme. There is no combat in the game, which makes it ideal for younger children and makes the game very relaxing and easy going. As you explore the island of Gemea, you befriend and train animals, gather fruit and resources, and then build your own farm to help generate food and resources for the inhabitants of the island.
Yonder is out on Steam now for PC and also available on the PS4.
Do your children play any of the games on this list? Maybe they play something else? If so, please let us know which games your children play so that we can check it out as well!