We’ll bite: in a sea filled with ambiguously Teen and Mature-rated games, it’s hard to find a great game you can play with your kids without having to worry about inappropriate adult content.
Look deep enough, however, and you’ll find a small-but-meaty trove of titles that are not only accessible for even the most casual of audiences, but does not need a whole lot of setting up too. Whether they’re brand new or a few generations old, here’s a list of ten games (in no particular order) that puts the “F” into full family fun.
#10: Rock Band 4 (PS4, Xbox One)
Let’s kick off the list with the most recent party game entry. Rock Band 4 is what you would expect from a music rhythm game: each player pulls out a plastic instrument tuned to the game, then hit the oncoming notes on-screen in sync with the tune to get a high score.
Once you solve the problem of getting all the equipment in one room (two Rock Band guitar, drum set, and a mic), you and your folks are good to go to rock out all night long.
#9: Disney Infinity 3.0 (PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC, Wii U)
When you want the best in 3D action platforming that’s fun for all ages, no one else can top Disney Infinity 3.0 in that regard. Why? Apart from the toys-to-life game concept being made better because of Disney’s ludicrous hold on the Star Wars and Marvel franchise, the game is easy to pick up and play.
Got a Luke Skywalker or Yoda figure from your local toy store? Just put in on the Disney Infinity base and experience either a few themed adventures or the create-your-own-gameplay Toy Box mode. Slight warning: you may need to prepare a few extra Disney Infinity figurines to accommodate your family head count.
#8: Just Dance 2016 (PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U)
What’s better than playing with toys? Dancing around like there’s not a care in the world. And what better way to do this than with the hugely-multiplayer Just Dance series?
The latest version of this dance simulator -you look at the screen and follow the moves on-screen for points- features a multitude of co-operative and competitive modes as well as an eclectic selection of offbeat songs. Would you dance to the beat of “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’” and “Under The Sea” from that Disney classic The Little Mermaid? Of course you would!
#7: Dance Central Series (Xbox 360)
If you and your family want to take your dance skills to another level, there’s the Dance Central series. While not as party-friendly as Just Dance, the game is more focused on getting technical with its structured gameplay. The songs are still catchy though, and the on-screen avatars and aesthetics are more stylized and refined than the simple doodlings of Just Dance. Plus, you learn the names of each real dance move used in the game.
You may need extra space in your room to have two people dance well to the cues on-screen, but it’s worth it if you want to have fun with a dance game with a bit more individuality and character to it.
#6: SingStar Series (PS3)
Why pay a lot for an overpriced karaoke mic when you have a PS3 handy? Go search for any of the SingStar games on PS3, get the mic that’s bundled with it, and go nuts with the singing.
The playlist for any karaoke game matters too. Each SingStar offering has an eclectic number of tunes from David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” to Outkast’s “Hey Ya”. It doesn’t matter whether you pick SingStar Volumes 1 to 3 or SingStar Dance/Guitar: the only constant is the ability to sing and pass the mic around in harmony.
#5: Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)
Face facts: you cannot go wrong with Nintendo if you want a family fun title in the mix. And who better to bring families together through gaming than with the fat jovial plumber who fights off enemy mushrooms and turtles on a yearly basis?
This Wii U exclusive title allows up to four players to play as either Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, and Toad to play through 8 worlds filled with cleverly-designed levels that require an iota of teamwork. The cheery backdrop and easy-to-learn controls make the quest more fun than a chore. Just remember that your old Wii controllers can work with this game.
#4: Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)
Continuing on with the Mario madness of games is the latest Nintendo-branded go-kart extraordinaire. Up to four players can race against each other in physics-defying shell-tossing racing competition.
You have 32 courses, 36 drivers with different stats and weight classes, and a messload of customizable vehicles to pick from. You’d have to be bonkers to think that there aren’t insane levels of four-player replayability with that combination.
#3: LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham (PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC)
Everyone loves Batman. Okay, maybe his current comic book run is for teens, but the LEGO version of Batman is fun for all ages and recaptures the spirit of the 60s Adam West show. LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham not only ropes in Batman’s Gotham City friends and rogue’s gallery, but also the ENTIRE DC Comics hero and villain roster like Wonder Woman, Superman, and most of the Green Lantern Corp.
With simple controls, little to no penalties for dying, and easy puzzles and action segments, families and siblings can pass the controller around to unfold this Bat-tastic tale from start to finish.
#2: Rayman Legends (PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC, Wii U)
Four players + A boatload of levels big and small to run through = a ton of fun for all. Rayman Legends’ slapstick humor and colorful aesthetics will keep the young ones’ attention at bay, while its fluid and tight controls will keep everyone else entertained.
And if the 2D platforming action isn’t enough, there’s even a 2D variant of four-player soccer in-game to change things up.
#1: Peggle 2 (PS4, Xbox One)
Who knew that combining the best bits of Pachinko and Western-style pinball could yield such addictive results? That’s Peggle 2 in a nutshell: you launch a set number of balls one at a time to clear circular “Peggles” for high scores and bragging rights. You have different power-ups that either boost your ball-bouncing abilities or even have multi-balls flying around.
Regardless of how you approach each stage, the game is fun and simple enough for a family to interact with, either by working together or being competitive with one another.