The levels are open and friendly. The game can be played with simple controls but hides a fair amount of depth for experts. Most importantly, Super Mario 3D World is designed from the ground up for cooperative play. Some games have co-op tacked on, but everything about this game is designed to suit people playing together.
If you're looking for a game to play as a family, this is the one.
For the most part you'll want to steer your children away from online shooters, but Splatoon 2 is the exception. It's wholesome, but also cutting-edge and kinda cool.
It's perfect if you want to give your kids something a little more obviously "kiddy" without sacrificing them at the altar of the almighty Fortnite. Playing online is also relatively safe compared to most shooters.
Not only is Rayman Legends endlessly inventive, gorgeous and disarmingly hilarious -- it also has co-op play!
It's difficult in parts, but also has a perfectly pitched difficulty curve. My own children are obsessed with this game. You can either play together or take turns on some of the more difficult levels.
Breath of the Wild is a miracle of a game, but I never imagined it as a game my children would enjoy. Action-RPGs are typically a bit impenetrable for young kids, but this game caters to all levels, mainly because its core mechanics of combat and exploration are accessible to all.
My son had an absolute blast just pottering around in this brilliantly constructed interactive world. Yours will too.
The granddaddy of them all. Lego for a new generation.
Minecraft is so good for kids that it gets used in schools to help with creativity and problem solving. Watch out for that time sink, though. If you're trying to limit screen time, you'll have an uphill battle with Minecraft!
Published:Caption:Mark SerrelsPhoto:Screenshot by Lori Grunin/CNET
TowerFall is a top-notch same-screen multiplayer game. It's simple with a surprising amount of depth. Get your family around a single TV and you're going to have a blast. Simple as that.
At first I wasn't convinced Mario + Rabbids -- which is essentially a real-time strategy game -- would work for my 5-year-old son. But it did.
Familiarity with the characters, the humor... that contributed, but it's the deliberate pace of the game that makes it work perfectly for kids. Sure, the game ramps up the difficulty in later levels, but kids will love those opening hours of Mario + Rabbids.
Portal 2 makes this list for a number of reasons. First, it's one of the best games ever made. Second, it has a largely underrated co-op mode. Third, it's a mind-bending puzzle game that forces children to test the limits of their spatial reasoning.
Absolutely must-play for parents and children alike.
Snipperclips is a largely underrated same-screen co-op game that's perfect for parents and their children. You'll be screaming instructions at each other, laughing hysterically and high-fiving as you snip (and possibly clip) your way through some seriously inventive levels.