Fun for all the family
IN THESE strange and worrying times, it’s more important than ever to keep our spirits up. With darker nights, and cooler weather closing in, and many of us living under restrictions aimed at beating the coronavirus pandemic, the next few months are offering us little, in terms of getting out and about.
And then there’s the small matter of keeping the kids entertained during the upcoming half-term.
However there is a wealth of great games out there for younger players, from little ones just falling in love with gaming, to teenagers you have to pry away from the console.
There are also great titles the whole family can enjoy, because why should your kids get to have all the fun?
Here’s our pick of some of the best.
ANIMAL CROSSING: NEW HORIZONS
(PEGI 3) Switch
IN uncertain times, a hero will emerge to save our sanity – and a cute hero at that.
It’s hard to believe the Animal Crossing series has been around for nearly 20 years, and it is more popular than ever.
The latest title, New Horizons, sold more than 22 million games in its first six weeks, eclipsing the lifetime sales of all past instalments.
This social simulation video game uses a real clock system, so that your game’s environments change with the time of day – but also the season.
It’s a wonderfully gentle way to pass the time, creating an island utopia, bursting with life.
And right now there’s a Halloween event on, so you can grow pumpkins, meet the Pumpkin King and hand out virtual candy, because there’s no way that will be happening in real life this year.
New Horizons is only available on Switch.
Buy it: £39.99 from currys.co.uk
MARVEL’S SPIDER-MAN (PEGI 16) PS4
IT was sadly not the case when I was a kid, but superheroes have never been cooler.
The problem is that when they cross over into the world of gaming, they’re often aimed at a more adult market.
Rockstar’s Batman: Arkham series may have started out fairly cuddly, but by the end there was no way little hands were getting a go on those games.
Marvel’s Spider-Man changed all that. This open-world adventure shows you Spidey as you’ve never really seen him before on screen.
It’s a more experienced Peter Parker, eight years into his stint as the city’s Friendly, Neighbourhood Spider-Man.
This experience shows, in that he’s faster and has much sharper detection skills, making him a better crime fighter.
The environments in this game are stunning. Beautifully rendered skylines, textured rivers and bright, neon lights combine to create a city so real, you feel like you’ve actually been there.
And if the kids fall in love with it, then there’s good news. The follow up, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, is out next month.
Buy it: £19.99 (pre-owned) from game.co.uk
CRASH BANDICOOT: N. SANE TRILOGY
(PEGI 7) PS4, XBOX ONE, PC, Switch
FOR an old Bandicoot, Crash is enjoying a bit of a resurgence.
The Mutant Marsupial’s new game – About Time – is currently enjoying a modest success with gamers. But there’s a better way to introduce newer gamers to the world of Crash.
Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy takes Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back and Crash Bandicoot: Warped and wraps them up into one, beautiful little package.
It’s a wonderful wave of nostalgia for older players, and a rude awakening for younger ones as they realise just how hard games used to be. This is a great way to relive Crash’s glory days, and keep the whole family entertained for hours.
Buy it: £21.99 from cdkeys.com
POOCHY AND YOSHI’S WOOLLY WORLD
(PEGI 3) 3DS, Wii U
IF there’s a character more adorable than Nintendo’s Yoshi, I’ll eat my cookie dough hat.
This title sees the chubby little dinosaur, and his pal Poochy in a world made of wool.
Having seen the villainous Magikoopa Kamek reduce Craft Island’s Yoshi population to bundles of yarn, the remaining Yoshis must work together to track their friends down and knit them back together again.
Weave yourself platforms to scale hard-to-reach places, bend pipes to clear your route, and pull loose threads to unravel walls and uncover secret areas.
Warm, colourful, cuddly and fun-packed – you can add a further dimension to the game with a woolly Poochy amiibo, and bring the game to life.
■ Bargain Buy: amazon.co.uk £22 from
THE LEGEND OF ZELDA BREATH OF THE WILD
(PEGI 12) Wii U, Switch
IF there’s one experience which will make kids fall in love with gaming, it’s Zelda.
This is a game brimming with beautifully realised landscapes, taxing puzzles, mysterious landmarks and hidden treasures.
Take our hero Link on a voyage of discovery across fields, through forests and up mountain peaks and discover what has become of the ruined kingdom of Hyrule.
This is the first open-world adventure for Link, and it boasts a map 12 times larger than Twilight Princess. It also offers different environments, for which you’ll have to dress Link accordingly to shield him from them.
Explore at your own pace, complete dungeons in whichever order takes your fancy and you can create waypoints and investigate enemy stats. The game also supports multiple Amiibo figurines that can alter elements of gameplay.
Bargain Buy: game.co.uk £47.99 from