In the pilot episode of our new podcast, Gaming With the Moms, Nicole Tanner (of the beloved podcast Girlfight & Pixelkin’s managing editor) rounds up Pixelkin staffers to talk about video game news of interest to moms…and dads, and sons, and daughters. We’ve got you covered, people!
There are dozens upon dozens of games available to download for the PlayStation 4. This includes many digital exclusives that are much cheaper than their disc-based counterparts. We’ve gone through our favorites and picked six downloadable PlayStation 4 games under $20. All of these games are family-appropriate and designed for two or more players. Some let you work together, while others create competitive scenarios that families can enjoy together. Whatever the case, these games will get you playing together in a hurry without huge expense. Read More
Got an itch to play a game with your family, but don’t have anything new or exciting to pop into your Xbox One? Luckily, you don’t have to run to the store—and better yet, you don’t have to spend a lot of money.
The Xbox Live Marketplace has dozens of digital games you can purchase and download straight to your console within minutes, and while some are merely disc-less versions of the $60 games you see in stores, there are several low-cost games that are a great fit for local multiplayer fun. Here are six Xbox One games that cost less than $20 apiece and can provide hours of cooperative (or competitive!) fun for your family.
Minecraft: Xbox One Edition
ESRB Rating: E10+ Content Descriptor(s): Fantasy Violence Publisher: Microsoft Price: $19.99
If you’ve encountered Minecraft on any other platform—and chances are you have, with more than 50 million copies sold—then you know what to expect here. The Xbox One version uses a controller rather than a mouse or touchscreen, but the core experience remains intact: you’re a little block guy in a big block world, and you can manipulate your surroundings to build structures, try to survive amidst peril, or just have creative fun together.
What’s especially great about the game on Xbox One is that it offers four-player split-screen action, which means each player gets to control a character in his or her own section of the television image. You can then team up to concoct even more amazing-looking buildings, or protect each other as you dig down into the uncertain terrain below. You’ll create your own fun in Minecraft, and you can do it together.
ESRB Rating: E Content Descriptor(s): Mild Fantasy Violence Publisher: Frima Studio Price: $14.99
Here’s a two-player game that you can play with your son or daughter—and it won’t be time spent silently staring at a screen. Chariot tasks a young woman and her fiancé with guiding her royal father’s remains to a final resting spot. Only his ghostly visage has deemed your initial choice unsatisfactory, and thus you’ll need to maneuver his rolling casket to a new home.
It’s sort of a grim premise, but Chariot handles it with a lot of humor and charm, not to mention really stunning visuals. But where the game really shines is with the cooperative gameplay: you’ll need to work together to push the casket or pull it along with ropes, and naturally the levels aren’t just flat plains. You’ll nudge it over inclines and yank it across gaps, and you’ll need to communicate to figure out strategies along the way.
ESRB Rating: E Content Descriptor(s): None Publisher: Vector Unit Price: $4.99
If anyone in your family has fond memories of Wave Race 64 from the Nintendo 64, then you’ll probably have a lot of fun with Riptide GP2. This jet-ski racing game was actually ported over from phones and tablets, but the move to your television screen has brought an appealing new multiplayer option—and it still offers a tiny price tag at just $5.
Most multiplayer racing games top out at four players per screen, but Riptide GP2 goes the extra mile by letting up to six players compete at once. Granted, you’ll need a lot of controllers, but if you have a big family—or you’re having friends over—it’s an easy-to-learn experience that delivers a lot of communal fun for very little cash.
ESRB Rating: E Content Descriptor(s): Comic Mischief Publisher: Electronic Arts Price: $11.99
While the latest mobile version of PopCap’s amazing casual hit made an awkward transition into free-to-play shenanigans, the Xbox One entry lets you pay once for another great, premium experience. As in previous entries, the goal of Peggle 2 is to launch a ball from the top of the screen and try to hit and clear all of the orange pegs below within a certain number of shots.
It’s a one-player-at-a-time kind of experience, but Peggle 2 lets you compete for the highest score by taking turns and comparing the results. While you may not control the ball after it’s launched, there’s still plenty of strategy in where you aim, when you fire, and how you utilize special abilities. But it’s so simple and easy to pick up that even complete video game newcomers can have fun.
Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna)
ESRB Rating: T Content Descriptor(s): Violence Publisher: E-Line Media Price: $14.99
Never Alone‘s title should be taken to heart: you shouldn’t play this charming indie game on your own, because it’s not nearly as enjoyable. Truly, this side-scrolling platform-action game ought to be played by two people, with one person controlling the young Alaskan native girl and another guiding her companion fox. You’ll work together to solve environmental puzzles, evade pursuing enemies, and attempt to discover what’s causing the blizzard that’s harming your people.
It’s a game unlike any other, infused with the spirit and culture of the Inupiat people and even interspersed with optional documentary-style videos that offer a window into Inupiat heritage and traditions. While short, it’s memorable and quietly atmospheric, but it’s not for younger kids—one scene of animal violence during the quest is particularly disturbing, even if the creature lives on as a spirit companion.
Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition
ESRB Rating: E10+ Content Descriptors: Fantasy Violence, Mild Blood, Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol Publisher: DrinkBox Studios Price: $14.99
Don’t let all of those content descriptors above scare you off: while Guacamelee! is perhaps best suited for pre-teens and older, it’s a great game to play with a child if you’re seeking something that challenges and forces you to work together. This side-scrolling action game stars a slain professional wrestler who comes back to life to avenge his death, and it bursts with colorful locales and enemies alike.
It’s playable individually, but a second player can jump in for cooperative gameplay, which means you’ll both explore the world, battle super-powered boss characters, and find a way to overcome difficult obstacles in the world. You’ll need solid gaming skills, and it’s a game that’ll probably take several sittings to complete—but if you can persevere together, the result should be very gratifying.
The holidays are almost here, and one of the most commonly requested gifts for kids of all ages is video games. If you aren’t a gamer yourself, you might be unsure of what to buy. We’ve collected a list of our favorite games released during the entire year and broken them down by ESRB rating to make it easier for you to make smart decisions about your purchases. No matter what your chosen platform or preferred rating is, you’ll find some game recommendations right here. Clicking the Buy buttons in our guide helps to support Pixelkin.
This holiday season has been bursting with new game releases. We here at Pixelkin have played a ton of these games and have chosen our 10 favorites that we feel would be great for kids and families to enjoy together. Read More