The best games for kids on PS5
Bugsnax caught a lot of people’s attention when it was first announced, and not just because of its catchy theme song. From the developer of Octodad: Dadliest Catch, Bugsnax is a weird tale of half-bug, half-snack creatures living on Snaktooth Island. As a budding young journalist tasked with finding these adorable little creatures, you’ll soon find yourself in over your head as you discover that explorer Lizbert Megafig has gone missing! The other Grumpuses have scattered across the island, and only you can help them return to Snaxburg by finding and collecting Bugsnax.
It’s a fun game that foregoes the usual violence people are used to in favor of creature collection. To collect Bugsnax, you’ll need to lure them in with their favorite food and corral them into enclosures. It’s a gameplay loop that’s simple, so a lot of people can handle it, and it’s addicting to find and capture new Bugsnax. Bugsnax even uses the DualSense’s adaptive triggers, so when you’re taking pictures of Bugsnax throughout the world, you can feel the camera shutter when you click it.
In our Bugsnax review, we said, “It does an excellent job of walking the line between adorable and creepy, which results in a fun new experience for gamers of all ages.”
Sackboy: A Big Adventure
Following up on the success of LittleBigPlanet, Sony tasked developer Sumo Digital to make a spinoff with 3D platforming gameplay, as opposed to the franchise’s previous 2.5D. The result was Sackboy: A Big Adventure, elevating the series to new heights. The platforming should be accessible to most ages groups, so it’s not too difficult for younger players, but still challenging enough that older players will have fun. I’ve been playing it for a while now, and I can attest that it’s hard to put the controller down when you want to uncover every secret in each level. Best of all, it supports Game Help on PS5, allowing you to access quick tips and guides with the press of a button.
Unlike the LittleBigPlanet series, Sackboy doesn’t feature a level editor for user-created content. Instead, you’ll need to be content with the levels that the developer came up with. Thankfully, there are 50+ levels in the game, so there’s plenty of content to keep you occupied. Sackboy: A Big Adventure features local and online co-op with up to three other players. If you’re looking for another controller to let a friend or family member in on the fun, there are a lot of the best PS5 controllers for you to purchase.
In our Sackboy: A Big Adventure review, we said, “Sackboy is a platformer that is absolutely deserving of a place in any gamer’s library that enjoys the genre or has children and/or someone to play co-op with.”
Astro’s Playroom is free with every PS5 console, already downloaded on the system right out of the box. This isn’t a choice about whether you should buy it (it’s free!), it’s about whether you should play it, and the answer is yes. Astro’s Playroom is a great platformer that takes you through PS5-inspired levels like the SSD Speedway and GPU Jungle. And in keeping with the next-gen theme, Astro’s Playroom also works as a title to showcase the full capabilities of the DualSense controller.
For longtime PlayStation fans, there are a ton of easter eggs and collectibles to find from PlayStation’s past. If you’re a new fan, it serves as a reminder of how far PlayStation has come since it was first released in 1994. Its storied history that spans over two decades can’t be smushed into one small game, but Astro’s Playroom does a great job at highlighting some of the best games and hardware that Sony has produced.
In our Astro’s Playroom review, we said, “It’s an excellent demonstration for what the amazing new DualSense PS5 controller can do, and it’s a memorable walk down memory lane for decades of pent-up nostalgia.”
Become the eponymous slime rancher as you journey to an alien planet aptly named the Far, Far Range to farm herds of slimes. Alien planets are usual cause for concern in games, but not this time. Slime Rancher’s is a charming place full of friendly (and some not-so-friendly) wildlife you’ll be sucking up with a vacpack and depositing into corrals. Feed them the right type of food, and you’ll be rewarded with plorts that can then be sold to the market for in-game money. This is all about the gameplay loop of finding new slimes, breeding them, and earning rare plorts for money to upgrade your gear.
Slime Rancher is perfect for children and adults alike. Though it doesn’t feature co-op, it supports multiple save files so that you can create a few different farms. And if normal adventure mode is a bit too much with a few aggressive slimes, you can opt for its casual mode for a more relaxing time.
Stardew Valley is the ultimate time sink for a ton of people. When your character’s grandfather passes away, and you inherit his farm in the quiet town of Stardew Valley, you’ll begin a long adventure of building up that farm to perfection, cleaning the surrounding area, growing crops, raising cattle, and much more. There’s a whole town with NPCs to interact with and procedurally-generated caves with enemies if you’re so inclined to do some fighting.
When it comes to farming and life simulations like Harvest Moon or Animal Crossing, this is one of the best. Updates over the years have added new items, features, multiplayer, and a beach farm area on PS5. Once you start Stardew Valley, it’s difficult to put down the controller, and it’s a nice way to teach kids about farming and management.
Minecraft should need little introduction at this point. It’s one of the best-selling video games in existence, with over 200 million copies sold worldwide. It has a dedicated scene on Twitch and YouTube, partly because of the personalities that stream the game and because you can do just about anything in it. It’s almost like Lego in that sense. You can build up all sorts of structures with different kinds of blocks, and there’s even a peaceful mode so that the monsters won’t spawn at night anymore.
The game also offers a ton of user-created content and a marketplace where you can download new skins, maps, features, and a lot more. A lot of the popular content tends to be free, but some do need to be purchased with Minecoins, which are purchased with real money. Still, there’s so much to do in Minecraft even without looking at the marketplace that you shouldn’t grow tired any time soon.
Fall Guys took the internet by storm after it released and hasn’t slowed down much since. With Wipeout-inspired obstacle courses, players compete against up to 59 others as the challenges get harder and harder the further you progress. To win the full round, you’ll need to be the last man standing and get the crown. New seasons of content hit frequently, as well as new costumes.
It doesn’t hurt that the developer is incredibly active on Twitter and constantly keeps fans in the loop regarding upcoming content and updates. Sometimes fan requests, like new costumes and such, even make it into the game. Getting into the community is worth it for the memes alone.
I’m not usually someone who plays multiplayer games. I tend to find them more frustrating than anything, and I enjoy single-player games more than 99% of the time. I also spent a good chunk of August this year playing Fall Guys after it came out because it was just so fun. Once you play one round, you need to play more. Good luck winning those crowns!
Immortals Fenyx Rising
Some humor here’s more appropriate for teenagers (hence why it’s rated T), but it’s still kid-friendly enough to include it on this list. If you’re looking for a game that provides plenty of action and needs some good puzzle-solving skills to get through, this is the game you want.
Immortals Fenyx Rising is a Greek epic that combines the best parts of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey along with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. When Typhon, one of the deadliest and formidable Greek beings, escapes Tartarus and destroys the veil between it and humanity, it’s up to you (with the help of the other gods) to save the day.
Overall, the story is about 20+ hours, but there’s plenty to do after you beat the game. Not only do you get to encounter some of the coolest mythical creatures (griffins, minotaurs, cyclops, to name a few), but there are also platforming challenges and puzzles to solve throughout the world to keep you occupied. Combined with a beautiful art style, it’s easily one of my own favorite games this year.
In our Immortals Fenyx Rising review, we called it “a late contender for Game of the Year” and an instant classic imbued with a lot of humor.
Overcooked: All You Can Eat
For all of those aspiring chefs out there should give Overcooked: All You Can Eat a try, compiling the first two games along with brand new levels. Though it’s described as a “cooking simulation” game, don’t expect realism to be the goal. Overcooked takes a wackier approach to cooking, tasking players with creating meals in increasingly absurd situations. Ever wanted to bake in a hot air balloon? Well, now you can. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg for where Overcooked will take you.
It supports up to four players in co-op so that you can play alongside family and friends. Follow the recipes without causing too much chaos, and you’ll be rewarded. Ever since its release, it became a popular game online. Given its nature and cartoon-like graphics, it definitely earns a spot on our list of the best kids games for PlayStation 5.
Not to be outdone by its older sibling, Minecraft Dungeons is a spin-off of the main game and is more of a hack-and-slash dungeon crawler. Using an isometric perspective (think Diablo), players will make their way through procedurally generated levels full of monsters, traps, and loot. There’s no mining or building to speak of, which truly sets it apart from the Minecraft that most people are familiar with. It even has a story campaign starring the playable character on a quest to defeat the Arch-Illager, a magical menace who was outcast from society.
If you hop into Minecraft Dungeons and just can’t get enough, then you’ll be pleased to know it also features six expansions in entirely new locations, two of which are the Nether and the End. It supports four-player local co-op and online co-op, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding people to play with.
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart
When a surprise for Ratchet goes horribly wrong, it’s up to him and Clank to save the universe from Dr. Nefarious — with some help from friends. The dimensions are being torn apart, and players can control Ratchet and a female Lombax named Rivet as they hop between alternate universes and attempt to rebuild the Dimensionator. This 3D action platformer has a ton of heart and is loads of fun to play.
In our review, we said, “Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart is this year’s summer blockbuster on PS5. Taking players through diverse and gorgeous worlds with excellent combat and platforming, Rift Apart is a ton of fun to play.” It’s one of the best games to come out this year and is well worth anyone’s attention. It takes full advantage of the PS5’s ultra-fast SSD to load everything almost instantaneously.
Crash: Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time
Crash Bandicoot is a classic franchise, and Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time is the perfect way to introduce your kids to it. Prepare to travel through the multiverse as Doctor Neo Cortex and Nefarious Tropy attempt to take it over once more. Players can control Crash, Coco, Tawna, Dingodile, and Neo Cortex himself, the latter three of which have their own gameplay and levels. With the four Quantum Masks, you can control some neat reality-bending gameplay mechanics.
While Crash was a notoriously difficult series, this one has been made more accessible for new and younger fans. In addition to a Retro mode, for anyone feeling masochistic, you can play in Modern mode, giving players an unlimited amount of lives and a generous checkpoint system so that they never have to restart a level from scratch.
In our Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time review, we said, “it’s a reminder of how good platformers can be when in the right hands,” and the Quantum Masks are some of the best new gameplay additions to the series in a long time.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy
Spyro is another blast from the past that publisher Activision decided to remaster, taking the first three games in the series and updating them to coincide with the franchise’s 20th anniversary. The graphics were completely overhauled to stand up to today’s standards. While they remain faithful to the original, the developer took some liberties to embellish or add detail when necessary.
The Reignited Trilogy revamps the gameplay, too. Old platformers can sometimes be clunky, with less precise and satisfying controls. Though the source code from the originals games was not available, the studio was able to recreate it in a way that preserved the feel of the original while once again ensuring it could compete against modern-day platformers.
In our Spyro Reignited Trilogy review, we said that it’s “an excellent remake of the originals” and that it’s a lot of fun to play.
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
There’s no shortage of great Lego video games out there — we just think LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is one of the best ones. Because it’s a newer release in the Lego franchise, cutscenes feature actual dialogue instead of grunts, making the story more interesting and accessible for fans. If you prefer, you can play the game with grunts included. The game is rich in detail and includes all 9 mainline entries in the Star Wars franchise, with each one able to be played in co-op if you fancy gaming with your child.
Like previous Lego games, this one features dozens of levels primarily focused around puzzle-solving and combat. The game features an impressive 380 playable characters, many of which have their own unique moves and abilities. It is also packed with tons of side content and collectibles, making LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga one of the biggest lego games to date.
Hot Wheels Unleashed
Not only one of the best recent racing games for kids, but one of the best racers of 2021 in general, Hot Wheels Unleashed is a joy to play. With a fantastic sense of speed that few games of its type can match as well as great track design, your kid will be playing race after race, unlocking more hot wheels as they progress. Each car features different stats giving the player a reason to experiment, while some pop culture related cars such as the Batmobile and even Snoopy’s doghouse will likely resonate with both you and your child.
The game also features lots of modes to try, including a robust career mode called Hot Wheels City Rumble. There are over 100 races in this mode to keep your child entertained. The track builder mode is another highlight and allows the player to create a track using Hot Wheels track pieces. This is useful if your child is already into Hot Wheels, or if they are particularly creative.
Plenty of choice
There are many great games on PS5, and there is no shortage of kid-friendly options. One of the most recommendable games on the list is the Spyro Reignited Trilogy, giving a new lease of life to a trio of games that resonated with a generation of children when they originally released on the PS1. Beautifully remastered, the trilogy looks and plays extremely well, and you may also get some enjoyment from it, especially if you have nostalgia for the originals.
If you’re looking for a PS5 game that the whole family can join in, Overcooked: All You Can Eat is a great option, featuring addictive gameplay and a huge amount of content. Although fast and chaotic, the heavy lifting during tougher levels can be managed by other family members, giving you the ability to make the experience easier for your child if they are struggling with the pace. If pop culture is more of interest to your child, LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is well worth a look. With humorous takes on all 9 mainline movies and a slew of characters to unlock, the game is extremely fun, backed up with a level of polish and graphical fidelity not seen before in a Lego game.