Best Christmas Gifts for Kids: Top 5 Kids’ Video Games

kids games

Rayman Legends and LittleBigPlanet 3 are two of the games we recommend for your kids.

Shopping for special Christmas gifts for your kids can be difficult, especially if you’re an outsider to the wonderful world of gaming. You want to buy that special someone a game they’ll want to play, but at the same time, you don’t want the game to contain inappropriate content. Some games may look like they’re for kids and appear to be harmless, but contain graphic content that could scar a child for life (I’m looking at you, Battleblock Theater). You could always use the ESRB ratings as a guide and find a game that is rated E for Everyone, but then you risk unknowingly picking up a real stinker (like Ubisoft’s latest TMNT game … AVOID IT LIKE THE PLAGUE).

But, we’re here to help you find the balance between being age appropriate while still being a genuinely fun game. Without further ado, here are the top five best video games for kids released in 2014.


1. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes

Earlier this year, the LEGO franchise made its Xbox One and PS4 debut with LEGO Marvel Super Heroes and was met with a great deal of success. The game was heralded as the best LEGO franchise game yet, with many reviewers praising its large roster of Marvel superheroes to choose from. Sure, the most popular Marvel superheroes make an appearance, such as Wolverine, Deadpool and Spider-Man, but there are also many obscure heroes that pop up within the game, including Squirrel Girl and Howard the Duck. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes’ witty humor will appeal to grown-up and child alike, and gameplay will also be enjoyed by both.

Price: $19.99 (33 percent off MSRP)

Buy LEGO Marvel Super Heroes for PS4 here.  |  Buy LEGO Marvel Super Heroes for Xbox One here.


Pros:

  • Huge character list
  • Contains obscure characters
  • Witty dialogue
  • Fun gameplay
  • Incredible presentation

Cons:

  • Story too all-encompassing
  • Flying mechanics are wonky
  • Lacks in-game directives at times
  • Mind control missions are tough
  • Can get repetitive after awhile

Find more LEGO Marvel Super Heroes reviews and information here.



 

2. Rayman Legends

Holding a 90 Metacritic rating on both the PS4 and Xbox One is Rayman Legends, an updated take on the classic Ubisoft franchise. Rayman Legends is arguably the best platformer currently available on the new group of consoles, and brings four-player co-op to the franchise for the first time ever. Rayman, Globox and the Teensies are all making their way through an enchanted forest in a whimsical tale that will have your child laughing for its entirety. Rayman Legends’ only flaw is that Ubisoft hasn’t announced a sequel for it yet.

Price: $29.30 (27 percent off MSRP)

Buy Rayman Legends for PS4 here.  |  Buy Rayman Legends for Xbox One here.


Pros:

  • Fantastic gameplay
  • 4-player co-op
  • Online challenges
  • Bright colors

Cons:

  • Light on number of modes
  • No online co-op
  • Loses appeal when playing solo (although still good)
  • Tough platforming for those with poor coordination

Find more Rayman Legends reviews and information here.



 

3. Just Dance 2015

With each installment, the Just Dance franchise continues to get better, and Just Dance 2015 is no exception. The latest iteration brings new moves and game modes to more than 40 of the top pop hits, including Jessie J’s “Bang Bang,” Maroon 5’s “Maps,” and even a Nicki Minaj track or two (don’t worry, it’s not “Anaconda”). And, most importantly, it contains a certain popular hit from a certain popular Disney movie that exploded in popularity this year (“Let it Go” from Frozen). Just Dance 2015 also brings back online multiplayer, which will allow you or your child to dance with anyone anywhere in the world. Even if your child isn’t the world’s best dancer, they’ll still have a blast learning new moves while playing with the family.

Price: $49.99 for PS4, $48.30 for Xbox One

Buy Just Dance 2015 for PS4 here.  |  Buy Just Dance 2015 for Xbox One here.


Pros:

  • Great presentation
  • Fantastic graphics
  • Contains the latest hits as well as classics
  • Online multiplayer mode returns

Cons:

  • Some slightly risque dance moves
  • No individual dancer cards
  • Doesn’t bring much new to the franchise
  • Inconsistent scoring

Find more Just Dance 2015 reviews and information here.



 

4. LittleBigPlanet 3

There was one game notably absent from the PS4 launch lineup: LittleBigPlanet 3.  This game will not only bring about the return of Sackboy, but will also introduce three new characters to the series. Oddsock, Swoop and Big Toggle are the additions, who will also bring new gameplay options to LittleBigPlanet. Creativity is the name of the game here, as players will be able to create and share an unlimited number of unique levels that only their little imaginations could dream up.

Price: $59.99

Buy LittleBigPlanet 3 for PS4 here.


Pros:

  • New tools and power-ups
  • New characters
  • Incredible graphics
  • Sparks creativity

Cons:

  • Learning curve
  • Not a game for non-creative types
  • PS4 exclusive (sorry, Xbox One owners!)
  • Full price

Find more LittleBigPlanet 3 reviews and information here.



 

5. The Pinball Arcade

If you’re like me, you spent countless quarters on pinball machines throughout your childhood, and now those machines will be right in your living room — without taking up a ton of space! The Pinball Arcade contains some of the best tables of all time for your child to compete on, with the new age addition of online leaderboards to prove his/her pinball prowess.

Price: $39.36 (2 percent off MRSP)

Buy The Pinball Arcade for PS4 here.


Pros:

  • 3D capability
  • Impressive graphics
  • Painstakingly emulated pinball machines
  • Online leaderboards

Cons:

  • No quarters required
  • Some physics are wonky
  • Occasional game crashes
  • No family fun

Find more The Pinball Arcade reviews and information here.