What is the one thing most kids want for Christmas? You guessed it—video games. I must admit, I’m quite conservative when it comes to which video games my kids play and how much time they spend playing. I prefer games that are not too violent or crude. In buying video games, I try to be frugal, but I also know that usually, you get what you pay for. If a game is sure to be good, clean fun that my kids won’t tire of right away, I am willing to shell out the money for it.
Here are some of the best new kids’ video games for 2017. I love that so many of the games on this list are new versions that were available as games or toys when I was growing up.
Super Mario Odyssey
The Mario games take me back to my childhood when I was first introduced to video games. I love that the classic Mario storylines and elements are still the basis to Mario games, but the improved graphics and effects are amazing. My kids have been anticipating the release of Super Mario Odyssey for a while now. Fans have been chomping at the bit to get another 3D Mario Game. Like most Mario games, Super Mario Odyssey has many new and exciting worlds for you to explore. It also has fun new costumes for Mario to wear. One thing kids love is the new character Cappy, who is Mario’s hat. Cappy has exciting moves, and he is able to control different objects as well as controlling his enemies.
The object of the game is to save Princess Peach from Bowser, all while exploring New Donk City. Even after Princess Peach is saved, there are plenty of side quests to enjoy. Available on Nintendo Switch, Super Mario Odyssey is a game your kids will enjoy for years to come. It is full of new surprises. This game is appropriate and fun for kids of all ages.
Pokémon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Ultra Moon
Pokémon was all the rage when I was young. I never imagined it would be popular again when I had children, but here we are. My kids have enjoyed collecting and playing with Pokémon cards, and the video games have become a favorite as well. Pokémon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Ultra Moon have been highly anticipated games nationally.
These are two separate games following in the footsteps of Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon. The Ultra versions have new Pokémon, new trials, and new enemies. There are over 400 Pokémon, some which are only in Pokémon Ultra Sun and some only in Pokémon Ultra Moon. Two new ultra beasts, UB-Burst and UB-Assembly, make for even more exciting battles. As in the original versions of these games, Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon have island trials. There is also a new kind of trial under the direction of Poni Island Captain Mina.
In addition to the trials and battles are some new fun adventures. When in photo mode, the Alola Photo Club allows players to take pictures of the characters with their Pokémon. These photos can be embellished with frames and stickers, and players can share these photos with their friends. Mantine Surf is sure to be a favorite among players. This mode allows players to surf between islands by riding a Manta Pokémon. The object of Mantine Surf is to perform exciting tricks. The better the trick, the more points you earn.
As an incentive, if you purchase either game by January 10, 2018 Nintendo will give you a free Rockruff which evolves into Dusk Form Lycanroc!
Star Wars Battlefront II
Star Wars and video games—could there be a more exciting combination for kids? Around my house, second only to the movie “Star Wars: the Last Jedi” coming out is the new Star Wars Battlefront II game. It is a hot topic with all of my boys (including my husband).
So what is new with this installment of Battlefront? Several things. There is definitely more strategy involved. You use battle points to buy heroes and units to complete the current task. You can use your points early on to buy something less expensive or save up for something better later on. Battle points expire at the end of the game, so you have to budget your points accordingly. In multiplayer mode, your team is very important. You’ll want to purchase different units and vehicles than your teammates in order to have the most success in tasks. Weapons are locked behind different milestones, so you get stronger as the game progresses.
Battlefront II has several different modes. You can play multiplayer with a team, you can play single player, or opt to play arcade mode against AIs. This game is good for players of different skill levels. I like that kids can play on teams and have to communicate and work together to achieve success. It is also fun that the Star Wars music, characters, and scenes are part of this game. It makes it feel as though you are actually there.
Star Wars Battlefront II is available for Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows.
Just Dance 2018
When it comes to dancing in public, I am usually a wallflower. However, turn on Just Dance and I turn into a dance machine. The same can be said for most of my kids. We love having dance parties on a
Friday night in our basement. There is always the inevitable remote control to the face because kids are dancing too close to each other, but we have a great time anyway. Some of the previous versions of Just Dance haven’t been my favorite, but Just Dance 2018 has some great songs as well as some new features. There are 40 songs from artists including Bruno Mars, Katy
Perry, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, Beyoncé, and more. I love the mix of new hits with old favorites and even some classical music mixed in!
Just Dance 2018 features 9 kid song options as well. One of the favorites for my kids is “Beep Beep I’m a Sheep”. It is a hilarious song with animal dance moves. Your kids will be singing this song non-stop, even after the dancing is over. Consider yourself warned!
One of the new features is the online “World Dance” option. It allows you to compete against other people around the world. There are also some fantastic exercise options which you can do for 20, 40, or
I love that Just Dance 2018 is a game my entire family can enjoy together. We can play it at large family gatherings or I can use it by myself as an exercise option. The songs are exciting, and there are new modernized dance moves that’ll keep you on your toes! Even if you are less coordinated (like I am), Just Dance 2018 is a fun way to get moving and enjoy dancing without feeling like everyone is watching.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the latest in the Legend of Zelda family. Like other Zelda games, the object of this game is to rescue Zelda, but there is much more as well. There are many side
quests to play, so even after rescuing Zelda there is much more fun to be had. Added voice acting makes this game even more fun to play.
Unlike some other video games, Breath of the Wild allows you to choose your own path. There are consequences for your choices, however. You will encounter towers, mountains, and wilderness, and each has its own challenges to face. There are 100 shrines of trials. These can be conquered in any order. When the trials are conquered, the player earns rewards or other items to help on the journey. Breath of the Wild is full of challenging puzzles which require thinking, but they aren’t impossible. There are many possible correct answers. It is fun for kids to work together to solve the puzzles (or have a competition to see who can solve a puzzle first).
Players have to live off the land. They are required to find food by hunting wild beasts, make elixirs from plants, as well as find weapons and armor. Some of the clothing even has special powers. For example, it could make a player faster.
Enemies are lurking everywhere and can emerge unexpectedly. Players must prepare themselves by finding good weapons and learning how to use them to defeat their enemies.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has amiibo capability. The Wolf Link amiibo (from Twilight Princess HD) will attack enemies on his own and help players find items they need on their quest. Breath of the Wild is available on Nintendo Switch and WiiU.