GAMES FOR THE FAMILY
Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)
Relive the classic SNES/Genesis games reborn for a new generation with modern improvements like enhanced graphic, customizable controls, save points, and a rewind feature. These games were known for being punishingly hard when they first released, but with these improvements, you can enjoy the experience without frustration whether you played them as a kid in the 90’s or are finding them for the very first time. (Rated E10+)
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (Nintendo Switch)
This remake of the Gameboy classic features a charming story, a wonderfully cute visual overhaul, and the classic Zelda gameplay that we’ve come to know and love. It’s also refreshing to play a Zelda title that doesn’t take 60 hours to complete for those of us with busy lives (it’ll probably take you around 12-14 hours). Whether you’re a fan of the original or it’s a new experience to you, there’s plenty to love in this adventure. (Rated E)
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games: Tokyo 2020 (Nintendo Switch)
Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog are at it again, competing in over 30 events from Wall Climbing to Karate. This newest installment of the series also includes an all-new story mode that sees the heroes sucked into a retro game console where they must compete in a series of 8-bit competitions to escape. Perfect for game night with the entire family. (Rated E10+)
Pokemon: Sword/Shield (Nintendo Switch)
The Switch is the most popular gaming console in the universe, and now Pokemon fans can experience the first, fully realized Pokemon game to play either at home or on the go. A new region to explore, new Pokemon to discover, and new ways to evolve your Pokemon with “Dynamax” and “Gigantamax” forms. We’re trying really hard to sound like we know what we’re talking about, but take our word for it, kids are gonna love it. (Rated E)
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order (Nintendo Switch)
If you’re a Marvel junkie like us, you’ll be bouncing off of the walls for this beat ’em up starring all of your favorite heroes. Iron Man, Wolverine, Miles Morales, Captain Marvel and many more join forces to take down Thanos and his army as they try to collect all of the Infinity stones. The gameplay is simple enough for younger players but has depth with customizable powers and stat boosts, and the couch co-op means that the family can play together as you try and save the world. Fans of both the comics and MCU films will have a blast. (Rated T)
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC)
This holiday season is full-on Star Wars nirvana. With the recent release of The Mandalorian series on Disney + and the upcoming Episode 9 hitting theaters, there’s not much more a fan could ask for. Well, how about a big budget, action-adventure set between the events of Episodes 3 & 4 that tells the story of one of the last Jedi who’s on the run and trying to rebuild the Jedi Order? Yeah… we thought you’d like that. Oh, and it’s also from the developers of Titanfall and Apex Legends, so you know it’s gonna be fun. (Rated T)
GAMES FOR MOM AND DAD
Control (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC)
From the creators of Alan Wake and Quantum Break, this mysterious action game has players unraveling the secrets behind the Federal Bureau of Control, a government agency tasked with monitoring and containing supernatural events around the world. As you progress, you’ll gain increasingly powerful abilities that by the end of the game has you decimating enemies with your powers of flight, telekinesis, and more. Combine the weirdness of Twin Peaks with the government conspiracies of The X-Files and the powers of a Jedi master and it’s easy to see why Control is one of the best games of the year. (Rated M)
The Outer Worlds (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC)
A sci-fi adventure from the creators of Fallout: New Vegas, this game features vibrant and colorful planets to explore, unique and powerful abilities to unlock, and a strange cast of characters to meet. The gameplay will be instantly recognizable for fans of the Fallout series, but a few new additions to the formula and some great writing make this game stand on its own. The ability to recruit new crew members for your ship and select which ones to take planetside for each mission also gives this game a decidedly Mass Effect vibe (which is never a bad thing). The streamlined story also makes this a great choice for players who don’t have the time to invest 100+ hours into an RPG anymore. (Rated M)
Ring Fit Adventure (Nintendo Switch)
There have been many video games over the years that have made promises to get you in shape (I’m pretty sure I still have a Wii Balance Board in a closet somewhere), but Nintendo has come across a formula that just might have you burning away the calories after all. By strapping one Switch Joy-Con to your leg and attaching another to the included Pilates ring, Ring Fit Adventure manages to combine the thing you hate (exercise) with the thing you love (video games!) to create an RPG that’ll have you lunging, squatting, and squeezing to defeat the baddies. The workouts are intense and the game is fun, meaning this is one workout you may actually stick to! (Rated E10+)
OTHER GAME RECOMMENDATIONS
Yoshi’s Crafted World (Nintendo Switch – Rated E)
Yooka Laylee and the Impossible Lair (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC – Rated E)
Luigi’s Mansion 3 (Nintendo Switch – Rated E)
Zumba Burn It Up! (Nintendo Switch – Rated E)
New Super Lucky’s Tale (Nintendo Switch – Rated E)
Terraria (Nintendo Switch – Rated E)
Resident Evil 2 (PlayStation 4, Xbox One – Rated M)
HARDWARE AND ACCESSORIES
The PSVR has been around for several years now, but it’s taken until recently to build up a library of games that makes it an easy recommendation for those looking to get into the VR scene. Games like Astro Bot, Beat Saber, and Tetris Effect are unique experiences that will thrill you and your family. This holiday you can find great bundles starting at around $199 but be aware that many games either require or recommend a pair of Move controllers which many times don’t come included in the bundles. We suggest you hunt down a second-hand pair to cut down on the cost.
Xbox Design Lab/Elite Series 2 Controller
The Xbox One controller is widely regarded as the best gaming controller of all time, and Microsoft has a couple of great options to make it even better. The new Elite Series 2 controller offers unmatched customization options so you can tweak everything just the way you like it, the price tag of $179.99 is steep but you get what you pay for. Beginning at $69.99, a Design Lab controller is a more affordable option and it lets you design your controller with custom colors, thumbsticks, triggers, and engraving options. Plus all Xbox One accessories are compatible with next year’s Project Scarlett!
Nintendo Switch Lite
The Switch is the hottest thing in gaming again this holiday season and the newly released Switch Lite offers gamers a sleeker, slimmed-down version of the device. With a smaller design and longer battery life, the Lite is ideal for gaming on the go. It’s perfectly suited for youngsters or as something to keep in your bag for the morning commute. A couple of important things to keep in mind though: the Joy-Cons do not detach meaning some games won’t be compatible with the device and you can’t connect the Lite to a television, meaning this device is strictly for handheld play. If you’re fine with both of those limitations, the Switch Lite is a great choice for taking your favorite games with you everywhere.
GIFT GIVING TIPS
- If you’re giving a gaming console this holiday it might be a good idea to hook it up and get all of the system updates out of the way before wrapping it. The same goes for the games themselves. Most modern games need to be installed first and depending on your internet that could take a couple of hours! If your kids are going to want to play right away, you best get ahead of the game and start installing early.
- If you’re looking for a gift for a gamer but don’t know (or can’t decide) exactly what to get them, don’t guess… gift card! Not all games are created equal and it’s a bummer when they get something they don’t want. Also, there are a lot of amazing games that are digital-only so they’ll have plenty to choose from when they spend their digital bucks.
- Video games aren’t the only things that will make the gamers in your house happy this year. Stores like Target and GameStop have stocked up on gifts and collectibles that will put a smile on any gamer’s face. Everything from puzzles, books, Amiibo, and action figures. There are loads of options out there for awesome stocking stuffers.