I realize that when it comes to 2013 video game releases, the best may be yet to come. But even if you leave out the next gen console releases, it’s been the one of the best years in recent memory for game releases. If you thought the soon-to-be obsolete consoles were already dead, definitely think again: some of the most amazing games this year saw the inside of a PS3.
With innovation, playability, top notch graphics, level and art design (and plain old fun) as the criteria, here are our top ten favorite kid-friendly games of 2013.
Tired of the same old side-scrollers? Yeah, me neither, but it’s still fun to see our medium of choice soar to innovative heights like it does with Puppeteer.
Quirky and dark, this game is what Coraline would be like if her animators ate some magic brownies. Set in a puppet show where all the puppets are children who are trying to get their souls back, your hero can switch and swap body parts to best address the task at hand as you fling around the beautiful, creepy puppet stage.
Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (PS3 and Nintendo DS)
Ni No Kuni came out early in one of the biggest gaming years in recent memory, but it still held its place as one of the most outstanding games of 2013.
Studio Ghibli (of the beautiful Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away and Ponyo animated films, to name a few) has brought all of their creative talent to this gorgeous game. Combine that with Level 5’s slick mechanics and you have yourself an insanely immersive gaming experience.
Pikmin 3 (Wii U)
For those of you who purchased a Wii U and won’t be purchasing another console this year, we’re sorry, but the next few months are going to be a little rough.
Fortunately for you, there’s Pikmin 3. Stunning graphics and varied gameplay as well as the challenge of utilizing and protecting the different Pikmin (Picmins? Picmi?) in your charge make this game one of the best of the year. It was originally a Wii game that was upgraded to Wii U graphics, but you’d never know it. You can use any number of combinations of Wii controllers and nunchucks to find your perfect playstyle as you solve puzzles and save your race from starvation.
Scribblenauts Unmasked (Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, PC)
In this quirky and fun blank-slate puzzle game, you play as a kid who can summon any weapon he likes by writing its name in his handy-dandy notebook. The Scribblenauts franchise isn’t exactly new, but its partnership with DC Comics sure is. The novelty of creative puzzle-solving in the DC Universe alongside DC heroes is just too delicious.
Rayman Legends (Wii U, XBox 360, PS3, Vita, PC)
Unlocking abilities, playing in co-op mode, and whizzing through levels are hallmarks of the side-scroller genre. What makes Rayman Legends unique is how stunningly unique each level is, and how well this game utilizes design and technology to push the modern platformer genre forward. This one definitely manages to give a few nods to its origins while remaining fresh and captivatingly fun.
The Wonderful 101 (Wii U)
The Wonderful 101 may not be as graphically stunning as some titles here, but it makes up for it in pluck and originality. Its sometimes unforgivable level of challenge may make it a better fit for older kids, but your ability to recruit citizens, assign them superpowers, and use them to fight bosses make this game sound like it might be worth breaking the controller over.
Still to Come
The next few kid-friendly games have yet to be released, but it’s pretty safe to say they’re going to be amazing.
- Lego Marvel Super Heroes (Playable virtually everywhere there’s a monitor or TV)
- Knack (PS4)
- Tearaway (PS Vita)
- Broken Age (Mac, PC, iOS, Android, Linux)