If you’ve been on the fence about the Yooka-Laylee sequel, Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair, now’s your chance. Team17 and Playtonic Games have released a free demo of the game on the digital stores for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PC (Steam), and Xbox One.
The demo includes the first five levels of the full game, as well as the titular lair and a Pageie Challenge. There’s no time limit on the demo. Any progress you make will carry over to the full game should you decide to purchase it.
Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair features 40 levels of 2D platforming, along with a 3D interactive overworld map. Players can find game-modifying tonics that alter the gameplay through new graphic filters, difficulty modifiers, or just different character skins.
The story takes place after the events of the original 2017 game, Yooka-Laylee. The chameleon and bat journey to Queen Pheobee’s kingdom to free the captured Beettalion, while gearing up to take on Capital B’s ultimate challenge, the Impossible Lair.
The original game was designed as a throwback 3D platformer and spiritual successor to the Banjo-Kazooie series. It was met with mixed reviews. The 2019 sequel changed direction, creating a 2D platformer in the vein of the Donkey Kong Country series, and was much better received.
Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair is available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PC (Steam), and Xbox One. It’s rated E for Everyone.
It’s the calm before the storm as we head into 2020, with with a pair of next-gen consoles looming on the horizon from Sony and Microsoft. This year was more than an afterthought for games, however, and Nintendo continues to release smash hits for the Switch.
Gaming families had plenty of excellent choices this year, though you’ll definitely want to own a Switch if you don’t already have one – nearly half the games on our list are exclusive to Nintendo’s excellent handheld hybrid. Here is the (alphabetical) list of our favorite family games of 2019.
Doraemon: Story of Seasons
You may not have heard of classic 1970s anime and manga series Doraemon, but chances are the words Harvest Moon or Stardew Valley will excite you. Doraemon: Story of Seasons infuses the enjoyable farming gameplay of Harvest Moon (now called Story of Seasons) with the youthful characters of Doraemon, including the titular time-traveling cat and his helpful gadgets.
Platforms: PC (Steam), Switch
Dragon Quest Builders 2
Dragon Quest Builders mashed up two great tastes that taste great together – the colorful enemies of venerable RPG series Dragon Quest, with the building, crafting, and blocky world of Minecraft. The result was an instant hit. Dragon Quest Builders 2 adds online (and local network) co-op multiplayer, and is available on Nintendo Switch.
Platforms: PC (Steam), PlayStation 4, Switch
Kingdom Hearts 3
Kingdom Hearts fans had to wait an eternity for the return of Sora, Donald, and Goofy with this beloved mash-up series of Disney and Final Fantasy. While the gameplay in Kingdom Hearts 3 is still firmly rooted in its original early 2000s PS2 era, there’s an undeniable joy playing within the Disney and Pixar worlds like Frozen, Toy Story, and Pirates of the Caribbean.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Luigi’s Mansion 3
Nintendo knocked it out of the park with this excellent follow-up to the Luigi’s Mansion series, turning the haunted mansion into an entire ghost-filled hotel. Luigi is armed with more ghost-busting abilities, such as cloning himself as Gooigi, which can also serve as a family-friendly local co-op mode. On top of a fun campaign, up to eight players can play competitively or cooperatively in various multiplayer modes.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order
It’s been ten years since we last enjoyed a Marvel Ultimate Alliance co-op brawler, and The Black Order more than satisfies our need to punch, blast, fry, and zap henchmen and villains. We love mixing and matching our team of different Marvel heroes from a roster of over 30, including Avengers, X-Men, and Guardians of the Galaxy.
As a full park sim Planet Zoo is geared more toward teens and adults, but thanks to the excellent animal AI, robust creation tools, and focus on animal conservation, it makes an excellent game for families to work together to learn about animals and their complex habitat needs. A lengthy campaign help introduces the park tools and management systems while offering a wonderful variety of biomes and locations, then you can try your hand at building your own zoo from the ground up in sandbox or franchise modes.
Platforms: PC (Steam)
Pokémon Sword and Shield
There’s little doubt that a Pokémon game will grace our list of best family games. Even with the somewhat mixed results of Pokémon Sword and Shield, there’s no denying that it provides hours and hours of catching hundreds of Pokémon and battling through the UK-inspired Galar region. The free-roaming Wild Area alone is worth the price of admission for Pokémon’s eighth generation.
Super Mario Maker 2
Super Mario Maker was a phenomenal game when it released on Wii U in 2015, finally giving us the power to create our own 2D Mario levels. The Switch sequel is basically more of the same, plus tons of new features like new enemies, components, day/night and biome themes, and the Super Mario 3D World tileset. All that along with a much improved single-player campaign and online and local multiplayer makes Super Mario Maker 2 a must-have for Mario fans.
Untitled Goose Game
The official tagline nails this quirky indie game’s description: It’s a lovely morning in the village, and you are a horrible goose. Play as a goose in Untitled Goose Game with a checklist of hilariously mischievous tasks such as stealing from a store, knocking over vases, hiding in boxes, and causing light-hearted mayhem for these poor townsfolk.
Platforms: PC (Epic Games Store), PlayStation 4, Switch, Xbox One
Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair
Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair is a much improved spin-off of the 3D platformer series that combines 3D overworld travel with 2.5D level designs, starring the chameleon Yooka and his bat companion Laylee. The result is a satisfying spiritual successor to classic 2D platformers like Donkey Kong Country.
Platforms: PC (Steam), PlayStation 4, Switch, Xbox One
Every year is seemingly the best game ever for gaming. But 2017 will give us a new Mass Effect, new Zelda, and new Nintendo console with the Nintendo Switch. That’s an incredible lineup, and there’s even more to come, like Super Mario Odyssey, Red Dead Redemption 2, and Horizon Zero Dawn. Indie titles continue to generate huge buzz as well, with games like Yooka-Laylee, Tacoma, and Night in the Woods coming this year.
Read on for our 30 most anticipated games of 2017.
Cuphead has been in development for years and delayed several times. But it’s looking like 2017 will finally let us play this unique side-scrolling shooter set in a striking world of retro animation.
Mid-2017 (PC, XBO)
Deformers looks like someone took a goofy ’90s toy line and turned it into a physics-based arena brawler. Super Smash Bros. with balls?
The Legend of Zelda is one of the most beloved franchises in all of gaming, and Breath of the Wild is set to shake up the standard formula in some stunning ways. The biggest new addition is a true open world for Link to explore.
March 3 (Switch, Wii U)
It’s LEGO meets Minecraft in this multiplayer build ’em up. It’s been on Steam Early Access since June of 2015, and finally getting a proper release date this February.
February 24 (PC, PS4, XBO)
Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World
If you missed the excellent Wii U version, Yoshi’s Woolly World is coming to Nintendo 3DS. This edition is optimized for the 3DS, and includes new bonus levels featuring Yoshi’s new adorable sidekick Poochy.
February 3 (3DS)
A sequel to one of the Wii U’s best games was announced during the Nintendo Switch Presentation. Splatoon 2 is very a much a sequel – retaining the solid paint-shooting, team-based battles with more weapons, stages, outfits, etc.
Summer 2017 (Switch)
Super Mario Odyssey
With a new Nintendo console comes new Mario games. Super Mario Odyssey will give us a proper follow-up to the more free-form 3D Mario games of the Nintendo 64 and Gamecube eras. Mario’s hat has become a power-up that lets him reach new heights.
Holiday 2017 (Switch)
Billed as a spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie, Yooka-Laylee looks to capture the friendly fun of 3D action-adventure platformers. The Wii U version was recently canceled, but now it’s coming to Nintendo Switch in addition to other platforms.
April 11 (PC, PS4, Switch, XBO)
For Older Kids and Teens:
Below is another game that’s been in development for years, originally announced in 2013. It’s an adventure set on a mysterious island, and developed by the makers of Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery.
2017 (PC, XBOX)
Cosmic Star Heroine
One of my personally most anticipated games is this pixelated RPG that takes its inspiration from 16-bit classics like Chrono Trigger. Zeboyd Games has crafted some excellent indie RPGs. Cosmic Star Heroine stars a sci-fi bounty hunter on an intergalactic adventure.
2017 (PC, PS4, Vita)
Halo Wars 2
The sequel to 2009’s Halo Wars looks to recapture the rare magic of a real-time strategy game that works well on consoles. Halo Wars 2 returns to the sci-fi Halo universe, and introduces a new villainous alien faction called the Banished.
February 21 (PC, XBO)
Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn is a 3rd person action-RPG set in a sci-fi world filled with crazy robot dinosaurs. Heroine Aloy is a post-apocalyptic hunter who can hack these creatures to gain powerful allies as she explores the world.
February 28 (PS4)
Injustice 2 continues the dark, alternate timeline from the first game that featured Superman as a tyrannical villain. New fighters include Supergirl, Gorilla Grodd, and Deadshot.
May 16 (PS4, XBO)
Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite
Fans have been begging for a new Marvel vs. Capcom title for years. The fighting game series has an incredibly large roster from two major franchises, and a signature tag-team battle system – though Infinite will feature two on two instead of three on three.
2017 (PC, PS4, XBO)
Night in the Woods
Night in the Woods is a successful Kickstarter indie game due out in early 2017. Don’t be fooled by the graphics and anthropomorphic characters. The game explores some heavier themes as you return to reconnect with small town life. It’s also really funny.
February 2017 (PC, PS4)
After Bastion and Transistor any new release from Supergiant Games should cause you to stand up and take notice. Pyre is a party-based action-RPG set in an underworld that you try to escape. The team-based combat is reminiscent of a soccer match and features local multiplayer.
2017 (PC, PS4)
Star Wars: Battlefront 2
A sequel to 2015’s generally well-received Star Wars Battlefront is coming this Fall. It will feature content from the new Star Wars movies, and probably feature a full single-player campaign in addition to the large-scale multiplayer.
Fall 2017 (PC, PS4, XBO)
Detroit: Become Human
David Cage and Quantic Dream have established a fun niche of story-heavy adventure games featuring motion capture. Detroit: Become Human tackles issues of artificial intelligence in the near-future city. Characters can live or die based on your complex choices.
A unique medieval fantasy setting throws vikings, samurai, and knights into an all-out war. For Honor features large battles as well as one-on-one duels. It will include a single-player campaign as well as multiple multiplayer modes and maps.
February 14 (PC, PS4, XBO)
God of War
A new non-numbered God of War is the long-awaited sequel to 2010’s God of War III. Kratos returns (sans chain-swords), now accompanied by his son as they explore a new world based on Norse mythology.
Mass Effect: Andromeda
You may have heard of sci-fi RPG series Mass Effect. Mass Effect: Andromeda is the first in the series since 2012’s Mass Effect 3, and the first to star a different protagonist. Andromeda takes place hundreds of years after the original trilogy, in an entirely new galaxy.
March 21 (PC, PS4, XBO)
Spinoffs from the Shin Megami Tensei series, the Persona games are one of the most beloved modern JRPG series. Persona 5 continues the story and gameplay of navigating an anime high school while making friends and battling monsters.
April 4 (PS3, PS4)
Prey is an all-new first-person shooter developed by the makers of the Dishonored series. It looks a bit like Dishonored in space, as you’re stuck on a space station with hostile aliens. You’ll be able to choose between a male and female version of the main hero, Morgan Yu.
2017 (PC, PS4, XBO)
Red Dead Redemption 2
The trailer above has nearly 10 million views, in case you’re wondering about Red Dead Redemption’s popularity. We know almost nothing about this long-awaited sequel. This Grand Theft Auto Western is easily one of the most anticipated games of the year. It’s also the most likely to be delayed into 2018.
2017 (PS4, XBO)
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
The long-running action-horror franchise is looking to go much more horror than action this year. Biohazard is the first main-series Resident Evil game to feature first-person gameplay. It’s aiming to return to its roots of solving puzzles and exploring a spooky house.
January 24 (PC, PS4, PSVR, XBO)
South Park: The Fractured But Whole
South Park: The Stick of Truth was a surprisingly fantastic RPG that recreated the art and characters of the long-running adult cartoon. The Fractured But Whole adds a satirical superhero theme that was introduced in later seasons of the show.
2017 (PS, PS4, XBO)
Gone Home stunned many with its environmental storytelling. Fulblright’s next game is called Tacoma, named after the space station the game takes place in. Players must piece together what happened to its residents by exploring the station.
2017 (PC, XBO)
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands
The Ghost Recon series returns to a more modern-day setting in the large open world of Bolivia. The third-person shooter will feature four-player cooperative multiplayer.
March 7 (PC, PS4, XBO)
Torment: Tides of Numenera
Planescape: Torment is one of the most cherished tactical cRPGs in history. This spiritual successor enjoyed a multi-million dollar Kickstarter campaign and Steam Early Access, and is finally set to release this year. Torment takes place in the Numenera tabletop RPG setting, set on an unrecognizable Earth one billion years into the future.
In honor of the upcoming event this Saturday, Double Fine has put together a special Day of the Devs Humble Bundle of indie favorites. Day of the Devs is an event hosted by Double Fine and iam8bit that brings together both developers and gamers in appreciation of indie games. The festival features a variety of playable games – some for the first time – as well as live musical performances. Attendees will be able to get their hands on Yooka Laylee, Moblets, and Knights and Bikes before anyone else all while rubbing shoulders with the creators of these games and many more. Read More