For kids between the ages of 10 and 15, I’ve put together 10 of the best games. It doesn’t matter how much fun it would be to disembowel your enemies, because none of them are M-rated. Each one has some good lessons to teach, from patience to pondering your own mortality. Oh, and there’s one that has you taking a talking potato clock around. Because the games you own say a lot about you, and talking to a talking potato clock is a great way to get to know people. This is why. It’s important that you buy someone who isn’t old enough to play games where you use someone’s decapitated head as a football something that they’ll be able to look back on. This is what we think is worth your money.
Play it on: Xbox One, PC
ESRB rating: E (Everyone) 10+ – Fantasy violence, mild language, use of alcohol and tobacco
Best for someone who: Likes old-school platformers like Mario, enjoys challenging themselves…and doesn’t mind trying the same level over and over and over until they get it perfect.
Cuphead is a game that’s fun for people of all ages. It’s based on old cartoons like Steamboat Willie and Betty Boop. It’s also a good lesson in waiting for things to work out the way you want. Because you’ll die a lot to start with. Cuphead, on the other hand, is undeniably fair. It rewards perseverance with tough tests of jumping and shooting skill that take you from the woods to casinos to theatre matinees, and it doesn’t stop there. All of the animations are drawn by hand, and the game has some of the best boss fights ever. The bosses are led by smiling sunflowers and melodramatic dancers that warp and stretch into slightly terrifying monsters as you get closer to killing them. To get to the “KNOCKOUT!” screen, you have to spend a lot of time learning how to avoid the attacks of higher-level baddies. It will almost be an aphrodisiac by the end of your playthrough, so don’t worry about it. Plus, it’s co-op, so you can play with a friend on rainy days to get through its levels.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
Play it on: PS4
ESRB rating: T (Teen) 13+ – Alcohol and tobacco reference, blood, mild language, mild sexual themes, violence
Best for someone who: Likes openworld games with fighting and shooting, science-fiction, anything to do with robots, and has a burning curiosity.
Do you look at all kinds of machines and wonder how the hell they do it, then? It sounds like I’m hearing “yes.” If you like Horizon: Zero Dawn, then you’ll love this movie, as well. Aloy is a tough outcast who hunts animal-like robots with bows and arrows as she tries to figure out what happened to the technologically-advanced civilization that came before and fights the mysterious threat that’s making the robots do bad things. The world is so big that you’ll spend hours wandering around and taking pictures with the camera mode. It touches on a lot of mature topics, like slavery, the apocalypse, and extinction, so it’s likely to make you think. But there are also robots, so that’s another thing to think about. A group of robots that kill. T-Rex robots that can kill you. No, I don’t think so.
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Play it on: Nintendo Switch
ESRB rating: E (Everyone) 10+ – Fantasy violence, mild suggestive themes, use of alcohol
Best for someone who: Likes openworld adventure games where they can do what they want and is happiest when they’re doing their own thing (and isn’t particularly fond of rules).
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s main character is Link. Anyone who can’t stay still is sure to find a friend in Link. Almost from the start, you can go almost anywhere in the whole game. It’s up to you whether you do a lot of quests, go straight for the most difficult enemy in the game, or just wander around the beautiful landscape with a bow in hand and see what you can find to cook. Yes, you can cook. You won’t only be fighting and exploring in this game. There are puzzles and characters that you won’t soon forget (like a giant parrot who plays the accordion), as well as secret places that you’ll find even after you’ve been playing for hours and hours and no matter what your age is.
Play it on: Xbox One, PC
ESRB rating: Not yet rated (likely T – Teen, 13+)
Best for someone who: Likes story-heavy games, preferring enthralling plot to fighting – especially if they’re to do with space.
A space station has been cut off from the rest of the world because of an unknown explosion. Isn’t it a bad start to a video game? Sure, but what it does mean is that you have the whole city of Tacoma to yourself as you search for the missing crew and figure out what happened to them. When you visit Tacoma, you won’t see any fights, but there’s an eerie undercurrent that will make you want to open all of the lockers and watch all of the surveillance footage again to make sure you didn’t miss anything. When you read Tacoma, you’ll find a lot of personal stories and mature revelations that younger kids might not be able to understand.
Play it on: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch
ESRB rating: E (Everyone) 10+ – Fantasy violence, mild blood, mild language, simulated gambling, use of alcohol and tobacco
Best for someone who: Prefers farming simulators to anything to do with guns and enjoys calm, pleasantly-repetitive routines that take place in a charming world.
It would be a good word to use to describe Stardew Valley if there was only one. Overwhelmingly good, in fact. Over time, your farm grows from a dilapidated ruin to a thriving homestead in this world of farmers with rosy cheeks and mysterious forest magic. There are a lot of options for farmers with rosy-cheeked faces. You can grow fruit and vegetables or even own your own livestock that you name and feed. If you have a farm, Old MacDonald would be jealous. Shear sheep, milk cows, harvest your ripe crops, and sell them all to buy bigger and better farming tools. Before you know it, you’ll be rolling in money, no matter what age you are. Farming isn’t the only thing you need to do. If you want to, you can spend your days talking to the villagers and making new friends in a healthy way, or you can go into the dangerous caves and fight the monsters there.
Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
It’s good to know that your kids can play Crash Bandicoot games on the PS4 as well. (You may also be surprised by how quickly and quickly time moves, so be warned.) The Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is a collection of the first three games in the series. It has better graphics and smoother gameplay than before.
While the games can be hard, they’re also bright, colourful, and fun. In Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, your child might have a small advantage because Crash shows up in a memorable level of that game.
Hot Wheels Unleashed
Kids love racing games, and they also love die-cast cars, so this is a good thing. In Hot Wheels Unleashed, you play a fast-paced arcade racer that can get very complicated. With a robust track editor, you can make your own levels and race against other people’s toy cars. You can also learn how to drive and build up your skills in a single-player campaign.
Because it is based on real-life toys, some of your child’s favourite cars might be in it. If you play with friends on the same screen, parents can also drive!