[dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]he Xbox is not synonymous with child friendliness. It’s had it’s fair share of Lego games and games that appeal to both adults and older children, but overall, the choices for young children and toddlers is very limited. Nintendo has always attempted to cover this market, and for the most part, they have covered it well. However with the current failure of the Wii U with its less than next gen graphics, severe lack of any decent games and limited online capabilities, gamers are looking for something for both themselves and their children.
The iPad showed both the industry and families that simple games that appeal to toddlers and young children is a growing market and despite Leapfrog’s best attempt to address this audience, the iPad is dominating the market. Other more affordable tablets are being released everyday in order to appeal to this growing younger market.
I ran a story a few months back looking at toddler friendly games. There I struggled to find many and had to settle for Fireworks HD and Aquarium HD as these had limited controls and no real goal. Either way, my girls love them and it was their first introduction to the Xbox 360 controller. The Kinect is better for small children, which is why I am so excited about the possibilities of the Xbox One. With this in mind I wanted to look at the current ‘known’ games for children on the upcoming Xbox One:
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes
The Lego brand games of recent times have never failed to disappoint. The are all pretty solid games with an over arching sense of fun. Although they are becoming all too frequent, don’t let that fact stop you if you haven’t played one in a while. This one promises more superheroes than you can shake a magical hammer at boasting over 100 marvel characters. These games work on so many levels that young children can get just as much fun out of it as parents. Also, the two player co-op means that if your children are struggling on a level or puzzle, it’s easy for you to jump in and play without disrupting your child’s enjoyment.
Minecraft (Xbox One)
Mine craft is the Lego of the digital generation and just as addictive. You and the family can lose hours building castles and shaping the world around you. Up to four players can player simultaneously and you can jump into others games quickly and easily. The best thing is that there are no quests or end to the game, only creatively and some very simple rules.
Just Dance 2014 (Xbox One)
The latest itteration of this popular dance game has over 40 tracks to choose from and has Ubisoft extremely excited due to the advanced movement tracking capabilities of the Kinect 2. This will be the first game to be able to track six players at one time means the children could have an entire dance party in the living room. So get your camcorders ready as hilarity is highly likely.
Fantasia: Music Evolved
If you prefer you music by the likes of Vivalidi instead of One Direction then its worth exploring Fantasia. This game mixes motion controlled conducting with the exploration of a 3D world. Players can search and manipulate a colorful world filled with creatures that you can interact with before launching into classical tracks. With over 30 tracks and a ‘remix’ mode we are looking forward to seeing Harmonix’s vision of music games on the Xbox One.
Kingdom Hearts 3
Kingdom Hearts 3 is the third game in the loved RPG franchise and features an older Sora who sets off on an epic adventure with Mickey, Donald and the awesome Goofy through a slew of new and classic Disney worlds. This game has all the ingredients of a child-friendly game, classic Disney characters with a strong RPG calibre behind it. The previous games were great but the second one did get decidedly harder, so I hope that the latest game has address that balance and has re-focused on the children that hope to play it. The visuals look stunning and if the story is anything like the previous games then we are in for a delight.
Kinect Sports Rivals
This one has me most excited, not only because of the calibre of the studio behind it (Rare) but also because it seems to be inclusive to children. Every player can create their own superstar avatar and compete in a range of events from rock climbing to jet skiing. This has the making of being a real family crowd pleaser and if the game manages to balance children versus adults then this will be A LOT of fun.
Zoo Tycoon (Xbox One)
Zoo Tycoon mixes the strategy and thought of a simulation with an interactive third-person zookeeper mode meaning you can not only build a living breathing Zoo but also see it come to life at the ground level. Whilst children might find it difficult to manage the building and running of the Zoo, they are sure to enjoy see the 100+ animals available, feeding them, washing then and giving them toys to play with. As the game can be controlled by both the controller and Kinect, it means that parent an child can work together to create a Zoo that can be shared and enjoyed by others.