Best Xbox Games For Kids: 17 Picks For Xbox Series X And Xbox One
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If you're a parent looking for age-appropriate Xbox games for your kids, you've come to the right place. While many of the most-discussed games for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S tend to feature mature themes and violence, there are still plenty of noteworthy experiences that are perfect for kids. We've rounded up the best Xbox games for kids, all of which are playable on both the Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S. From cute platformers that are ideal for young kids just starting out on their gaming journeys to action games with lighthearted tones, we think there's something on this list for kids of all ages and skill levels.
A Hat in Time
A Hat in Time is Gears for Breakfast's love letter to 3D platformers from the N64 era. This charming and silly adventure has all of the components of a collectathon while playing like a modern platformer thanks to tight controls, a great camera, and inventive worlds. Hat Girl, the star of this heartfelt story, is a captain of a spaceship that loses all of its fuel (Time Pieces) on a mysterious planet. From there, she needs to collect all 40 Time Pieces in order to continue her journey. The planet is split into four varied worlds that make great use of her nimble abilities, and each world is crawling with interesting characters and loads of collectibles that compel you to search every nook and cranny. A Hat in Time is a breezy platformer that young kids should be able to enjoy, and its foundation will look very familiar to parents who grew up playing early 3D platformers.
See our A Hat in Time review.
Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time
Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time is another game that many parents might instantly recognize. As the first new mainline entry in the well-known franchise in nearly two decades, Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time admirably nods back to the platforming prowess of its predecessors while moving the series forward in fun and exciting ways. Though technically a sequel to Crash Bandicoot: Warped, kids can play this game without any previous knowledge of the series. Crash 4 has intricately designed 3D platforming levels with a nice mix of obstacles and enemies. It relies on precision platforming and quick-witted decisions, so it may not be the best platformer for kids who don't have a lot of experience with the genre. If they enjoy Crash Bandicoot 4, remastered versions of the first three games in the series are available in the Crash N. Sane Trilogy.
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled
Racing games in general are great for kids, but nothing is as accessible to kids (and adults) of all ages than a good kart racer. Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled revives the dormant series by remastering the 1999 original with fresh visuals, quality-of-life improvements, and content from Crash Nitro Kart and Crash Tag Team Racing. All of this adds up to make the best kart racer on Xbox. With a retooled adventure mode with cinematic cutscenes and a trio of difficulty options to choose from, Nitro-Fueled works well for kids of all skill levels. Nitro-Fueled is filled with cool characters, endlessly replayable tracks, and a solid stable of modes that are fun whether you're playing solo or with the whole family.
Cuphead could be described as a playable cartoon. Designed to look and sound like cartoons from the 1930s, Cuphead's aesthetic is what initially grabs you. Oozing with style and a unique charm, it's a cozy experience that evokes a Saturday morning cartoon vibe. That said, Cuphead's actual gameplay is quite challenging, which makes it better suited for tweens or teens that have a decent amount of gaming experience. It's essentially a boss rush game starring Cuphead and his brother Mugman who are on a quest to save their own souls by procuring the soul contracts of an eclectic batch of cartoon villains, from clowns, to sentient vegetables, to candy shop owners. It plays like an old-school run-and-gun, so kids who like classic franchises such as Mega Man and Contra will feel right at home.
See our Cuphead review.
Forza Horizon 4
When it comes to open-world racing on Xbox, it doesn't get better than Forza Horizon 4. The gorgeous world is brimming with a wide variety of races and challenges to enjoy. As a spin-off series, Forza Horizon 4 relies more on arcade racing than the mainline Motorsport series, but it's designed to give players the freedom to fine-tune the experience to their preferences with a range of difficulty settings. Newcomers to traditional racing games can feel welcome, while kids with lots of racing miles under their belts (in video games, hopefully) can ratchet up the difficulty to get an experience that's closer to a simulation racing game. With a huge roster of cars, plenty of content whether you're playing solo or online, and a dynamic world with changing weather, Forza Horizon 4 is adrenaline-pumping racing at its finest. It's available on Xbox Game Pass. If they enjoy it, releases on November 9.
See our Forza Horizon 4 review.
It Takes Two
It Takes Two is a remarkable co-op platformer from Hazelight Studios, the team behind A Way Out (not as great for kids). It should be noted that It Takes Two deals with a difficult subject matter. When Rose overhears her parents discussing divorce, she consults a book about relationships. Her tears drop on dolls resembling her parents, which then transports their consciousness to the tiny dolls, sending them on a startling adventure in and around the family home. While the themes may be hard for some kids to wrestle with, It Takes Two handles the subject in a really graceful manner. Plus, the platforming and puzzles, which rely on constant teamwork, make for one of the most inventive co-op games in recent years. To be clear, you have to play It Takes Two with a partner, either split-screen or online (only one copy of the game is needed), so this is a great game to play with your kid.
See our It Takes Two review.
Lego Marvel Collection
This wouldn't be a best games list for kids if it didn't include a Lego game. Traveller's Tales Lego series has been a great pick for kids for more than 15 years. Any of the Lego games would be great, but we're highlighting Lego Marvel Collection here, in large part because it comes with three titles, including two of the best Lego games: Lego Marvel Super Heroes and Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2. It also includes Lego Marvel's Avengers, which isn't as good but is still fun for those who like the Avengers movies. All three games feature local co-op, so the whole family can pick their favorite Marvel hero and jump in for some breezy and lighthearted fun. Lego Marvel Collection is a solid choice for all ages, but it's especially good for new gamers and young children.
Even parents who aren't plugged into games at all have heard of Minecraft. Chances are, your kids have heard of it, too. After all, Minecraft is only the best-selling game...ever. As such, it's certainly possible the kids in your life already play the iconic sandbox game. But if your kids are just starting to get into games, Minecraft is a wonderful entry pointt. It's essentially an imagination simulator that allows you to build worlds from the ground up. Kids who like Lego and building things will find much to love with Minecraft. If they get hooked, Minecraft offers limitless replay value, and it's also a fairly good educational tool.
See our Minecraft review.
Minecraft Dungeons is a thoroughly engaging spin-off that will appeal to both fans of Minecraft and those who haven't played it at all. It's an action-RPG played from an isometric perspective. Basically it's Diablo if Diablo were appropriate for kids. Minecraft Dungeons has an easy pick-up-and-play mentality that features simple mechanics and a massive loot system that makes running through its enemy-riddled levels a joy. You don't need to be an action game aficionado to have fun with Minecraft Dungeons, but the game's fast-paced style and wide variety of weapons and abilities will make you look like a master of the genre regardless, which can be an appealing thing for newcomers.
See our Minecraft Dungeons review.
New Super Lucky's Tale
New Super Lucky's Tale is possibly the cutest game on this list. Who doesn't want to play a game as an adorable little fox? New Super Lucky's Tale greatly improves on the original (hence the "new" title), offering players full control of the camera as well as spicing up the variety with some auto-runner levels. Much like the aforementioned A Hat in Time, New Super Lucky's Tale nods back to early 3D platformers with its collectathon gameplay, cutesy characters, and relentlessly enthusiastic tone. Though it may be a tad boring for older kids who are used to platformers with some challenge, it's extremely approachable for young kids just getting into games.
Ori: The Collection
Moon Studios' Ori series is an absolute delight, which is why we decided to include both games on this list. With gorgeous worlds and melancholy stories told through their atmospheres and characters, Ori and the Blind Forest and Ori and the Will of the Wisps couple stirring presentation with tough platforming to create well-rounded experiences. This is another one of those recommendations for tweens and teens, but younger kids with significant platforming experience will likely be fine here, too. Ori and the Blind Forest is the easier of the two, as it mainly focuses on platforming. Will of the Wisps throws more action into the mix, giving Ori a slew of new mechanics that make it even more compelling than the impressive original. These are two of the very best side-scrollers on Xbox.
Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville
Any Plants vs. Zombies game is ideal for kids, but Battle for Neighborville is the best shooter on Xbox that's appropriate for kids of all ages. Battle for Neighborville is a third-person shooter with a nice variety of content to play cooperatively or competitively either split-screen or online. Though Battle for Neighborville is a cartoonish game featuring sentient plants and silly zombies, it has a lot of depth thanks to richly diverse characters with unique abilities, a stable of game variants, and loads of customization features. It's a zany over-the-top experience that doesn't take itself too seriously, which makes it a nice pick for kids who are looking to get into competitive multiplayer games.
Rayman doesn't get the same level of fanfare as some other video game mascots, but Ubisoft's limbless hero stars in some seriously good platformers, the best of which is undoubtedly Rayman Legends. Rayman Legends has it all: vibrant visuals, inventive levels, oodles of secrets, a mix of cool playable characters, and a wonderful soundtrack. Rayman Legends' tight platforming mechanics are bolstered by a fun mix of puzzles, which makes for a robust adventure that never tires over the course of its 120-plus levels. You can play through Rayman Legends with up to three other players, so this is another game that's good for the whole family.
See our Rayman Legends review.
Sonic Mania Plus
Sonic Mania pays homage to the entries in the series from the Blue Blur's heyday, delivering a nostalgic adventure that feels both retro and modern. Sonic Mania has 12 zones, eight of which are remixed versions of popular levels from Sonic history. With throwback visuals and quality-of-life improvements that make the fast-paced gameplay more smooth, Sonic Mania is arguably the most impressive entry in the entire franchise. We're recommending Sonic Mania Plus here, as it features two additional playable characters (bringing the total to five) as well as a new mode that switches up the levels to offer more replay value after you're done with the main adventure.
See our Sonic Mania Plus review.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy
Spyro Reignited Trilogy is an example of a remastered collection done right. Not only does it compile the best three games in the platforming series, but it gives them noteworthy makeovers that make them look and feel decidedly modern. Spyro Reignited Trilogy is easily one of the best collections to recommend for young kids thanks to its accessible controls, lighthearted demeanor, and fun combat that doesn't ask too much of the player. All three games are collectathons of sorts, which means each of the big levels are ripe for exploration. Spyro also happens to be very cute, and the modernized animations make the world and the characters who inhabit it really shine.
See our Spyro Reignited Trilogy review.
If you don't have a Nintendo Switch in your house but your kid really wants to play Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley is a truly excellent choice that scratches the same life simulation itch. In Stardew Valley, you move from the fast-paced city life to a cozy and idyllic rural town. Stardew Valley is essentially a farming sim, tasking you to tend to crops and manage resources. That said, it's not necessarily a solitary experience. Over the course of your journey in Stardew Valley, you'll cultivate friendships with the vibrant NPCs, explore the mines, and discover secrets even after dozens of hours of playing. Mechanically, Stardew Valley is a simple game, though kids do have to know how to read to really enjoy it. While it might be lacking the action that some kids are looking for, it lets them build up their own little community and offers a tantalizing experience that can be enjoyed in short spurts every single day.
See our Stardew Valley review.
Two Yarnys are better than one. In Unravel Two, the cute yarn creature from the original gets a pal to adventure alongside--literally. The pair of adorable creatures are tied together, which creates the central mechanic for solving the side-scroller's platforming sequences and clever puzzles. Players must work together to venture across the beautiful and scenic world. Success requires great teamwork, which makes it similar to It Takes Two in this regard. While Unravel Two can be played solo, you have to switch back and forth between the two characters, which can get a tad cumbersome at times. Unravel Two's co-op is limited to local play, but it's a great option to enjoy over the course of a weekend. At only around five hours, Unravel Two doesn't overstay its welcome.
See our Unravel Two review.