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Here are all the video game releases rated E-T by the ESRB that are releasing between September 27th and October 3rd.

Monday, September 28th

  • Undead Darlings: No Cure for Love- PS4, Switch

Tuesday, September 29th

  • Alwa’s Legacy- Switch
  • Bacon Man: An Adventure- Switch
  • Projection: First Light- PS4, Xbox One, Switch
  • Table Top Racing: Nitro Edition- Switch

Wednesday, September 30th

  • 3000th Duel: The Wise Ones- Switch
  • Commander ’85- Xbox One
  • Detective Case and Clown Bot in Murder in the Hotel Lisbon- Switch
  • Feather- Xbox One

Thursday, October 1st

  • Candy Raid: The Factory- Switch
  • Farm Builder- Switch
  • Hot Shot Burn- Switch
  • Liege Dragon- Switch
  • Nubarron: The Adventure of an Unlucky Gnome- Switch
  • Powertris- Switch
  • Smoots World Cup Tennis- Switch
  • Super Mario Bros. 35- Switch
  • Ys Origin- Switch

Friday, October 2nd

  • 103- Switch
  • Birthday of Midnight- Switch
  • Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time- PS4, Xbox One
  • Dragon Lapis- Xbox One
  • Star Wars: Squadrons- PS4, Xbox One
  • Warsaw- PS4, Xbox One, Switch

Jeff’s Pick of the Week

For my pick this week, I have to go with Super Mario Bros. 35. This is a new battle royal type game where you play original Super Mario Brothers levels against 35 other opponents. Any enemy you defeat will be sent to the other players. The last one to survive wins! I am not a huge fan of battle royal type games. I’ve played Fortnight and Tetris 99, but neither of them could hold my attention for too long. But I do enjoy platforming games. I have been enjoying another battle royal game, Fall Guys. I love the Super Mario series and I cannot wait to put my skills to the test with other players!

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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Here are all the video game releases rated E-T by the ESRB that are releasing between September 20th and September 26th.

Tuesday, September 22

  • 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim- PS4
  • Tennis World Tour- PS4, Xbox One

Wednesday, September 23

  • CastleStorm II- Xbox One, Switch
  • Orbt XL- Switch
  • Twin Breaker: A Sacred Symbols Adventure- Xbox One, Switch
  • Unrailed!- PS4, Xbox One, Switch

Thursday, September 24

  • Alluris- Switch
  • Big Bobby-Car: The Big Race- Switch
  • Breakpoint-Switch
  • Going Under- PS4, Xbox One, Switch
  • Gothic Murder: Adventure That Changes Destiny- Switch
  • Little Big Workshop- Xbox One
  • Lost Ember- Switch
  • Micro Pico Racers- Switch
  • Rivals of Aether: Definitive Edition- Switch
  • Roller Coaster Tycoon 3: Complete Edition- Switch
  • Wartile- Switch

Friday, September 25

  • Port Royale 4- PS4, Xbox One
  • Trollhunters: Defenders of Arcadia- PS4, Xbox One, Switch

Jeff’s Pick of the Week

Guillermo Del Toro is best known for his not-so-family-friendly movies. He is the film maker of Pan’s Labyrinth and Pacific Rim. In 2016 it was a huge surprise when he announced that he was going to be making a children’s animated series. Thus, Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia became a smash hit. It has gone on to have 3 seasons, and 2 spinoff series. Now, in 2020 you can play as Jim Lake Jr. and save the troll universe!

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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The traditional WWE 2K series may be taking a break this year, but all is not lost in video game land for wrestling fans. WWE 2K Battlegrounds by Saber interactive is an arcade-style party fighting game. In short, its more Super Smash Bros. than Street Fighter V.

It will be released on September 18th for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Pre-orders are available right now (and include Edge).

2K was gracious enough to give team EFG a chance to play an early build of the game so we could have a turn with the insane multiplayer action.

The Family That Brawls Together…

Anyone looking for a complex, technical fighting experience should probably look elsewhere. Battlegrounds is designed from the top down to simplify the fighting experience as much as possible. All of your attacks, throws, and special moves can be completed with a handful of button presses. This is perfect considering the game’s casual focus.

We had four players in our demo of varying skill levels and all of us felt competitive in the matches we played. It took almost no time to pick up the controls and rain down havoc on each other. It was glorious.

Let’s Get Bananas

I’ve played a lot of wrestling games in my time, and all of my favorites have been the games that lean into the absurdity of WWE programming. I knew that this was going to be a good fit as soon as my sun button-mashed and inadvertently tossed me into an alligator’s snapping jaws.

Every match we played included at least one improbably insane moment. My wife played as the Rock (because OF COURSE she did) and threw me under a car that had been lifted, only to knock it down on my Xavier Woods. I was also reminded that Stephanie McMahon uses the Pedigree as her finisher when she caught me on fire while using it.

The final version of the game will include both more crazy levels and more superstars so I’m certain that the madness doesn’t stop here (and we can’t wait).

Game Modes

The full game will be loaded with different game modes, but our preview included two of them. We got a chance to play the Fatal Four Way and the 2v2 Cage Match.

Our favorite between the two of them was the Fatal Four Way. It was partially because of the wild shenanigans that we could all pull while fighting three different players.

The cage match was a bit of a different story. In “real” WWE a cage match awards the victory to whoever climbs out of the cage first. That wouldn’t make sense in a non-scripted competition. Saber Interactive makes up for that by having you try to fill up a “money” meter to earn your way out of the ring. We struggled because of the need to escape. It disincentivizes fighting. and forces us to try and escape combat whenever possible (which is complicated in a game without a ton of movement options inside the cage).

Our Not-So-Final Final Conclusions

We haven’t played anywhere near enough of the game to review it. But, we have played enough that we think there is something here. WWE fans that love to laugh while they throw their friends around a digital ring will definitely want to keep an eye on this one.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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Here are all the video game releases rated E-T by the ESRB that are releasing between September 6th and September 12th.

Monday, September 7th

  • Circuit Dude- Switch
  • Shaolin vs. Wutang- Switch

Tuesday, September 8th

  • AVICII Invector- Switch
  • Meganoid- Switch
  • OkunoKa Madness- Xbox One, Switch
  • RPG Maker MV- PS4, Switch
  • The Sims 4 Star Wars: Journy to Baatu- PS4, Xbox One

Wednesday, September 9th

  • CarX Drift Racing Online- Xbox One

Thursday, September 10th

  • Adventures of Pip- Switch
  • Bake ‘n Switch- Switch
  • Bounty Battle- PS4, Switch
  • Death and Taxes- Switch
  • Deleveled- Switch
  • Hidden Through Time: Legends of Japan DLC- PS4, Xbox One, Switch
  • Hotshot Racing- PS4, Xbox One, Switch
  • MO: Astray- Switch
  • Space Robinson- Switch
  • Tamarin- PS4
  • The Snake King- Switch
  • Tin & Kuna- PS4, Xbox One, Switch
  • Tomoyo After: It’s a Wonderful Life CS Edition- Switch
  • Wintermoor Tactics Club- PS4, Xbox One, Switch

Friday, September 11th

  • Doodle Derby- Switch
  • Firework- Switch
  • Inertial Drift- PS4, Switch

For the Grown-Ups

  • The Outer Worlds: Peril on Gorgon DLC- PS4, Xbox One (Wednesday, September 9th)
  • Tell Me Why: Chapter 3- Xbox One (Thursday, September 10th)

Jeff’s Pick of the Week

After last week’s big week with The Avengers, I decided to choose a simple platforming game for my pick of the week for this week. The goal of the game is to rescue Tin as the armadillo-like creature Kuna. You gain new abilities as you progress through the game. Put your platforming and puzzle skills to the test!

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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Here are all the video game releases rated E-T by the ESRB that are releasing between August 30th and September 5th.

Monday, August 31st

  • Pocket Circuit- Switch

Tuesday, September 1st

  • Ary and the Secret of Seasons- PS4, Xbox One, Switch
  • Marvel’s Avengers- PS4, Xbox One
  • MX vs. ATV All Out- Switch

Wednesday, September 2nd

  • Batu Ta Batu- PS4, Xbox One, Switch
  • CD-Run- Xbox One
  • Mask of Mists- Xbox One, Switch
  • Piffle: A Cat Puzzle Adventure- Switch

Thursday, September 3rd

  • Connection Haunted- Switch
  • Good Pizza, Great Pizza- Switch
  • Here Be Dragons- Switch
  • Jelly Champs!- Switch
  • Niche: A Genetics Survival Game- Switch
  • Perfect Traffic Simulator- Switch
  • Spinch- Switch
  • The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters- Xbox One
  • Touhou Luna Nights- Xbox One
  • Under the Jolly Roger- Switch

Friday, September 4th

  • Doraemon: Story of Seasons- PS4
  • Fantasy Tower Defense- Switch
  • NBA 2K21- PS4, Xbox One, Switch
  • Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2- PS4, Xbox One
  • WRC 9 FIA World Rally Championships- PS4, Xbox One

For the Grown-Ups

  • Tell Me Why: Chapter 2- Xbox One (Thursday, September 3rd)

Jeff’s Pick of the Week

My pick of the week has to go to Marvel’s Avengers. I am excited to eventually be able to play this game. You can play as Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, and Ms. Marvel. Also announced have been Ant-Man and Hawkeye coming sometime post launch. Now to talk about the elephant (or should I say spider) in the room. Spider-Man will only be available for people who buy the game for PlayStation 4. It is unsure if Microsoft will have a deal come out too, but as of now he is the only character that is trapped on one system. So, take up Mjolnir and Hulk Smash when Marvel’s Avengers comes out on September 1st!

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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The Free Summer update – Wave 2 will come to Animal Crossing: New Horizons on July 30th. It will include fireworks and a new “dreaming” mechanic, but (most importantly) it will also include the ability to backup and restore your island so long as you are a Nintendo Switch Online Subscriber. Take a look at the details below!

Baby You’re a Firework!

I had a feeling this was coming when the first wave of summer DLC didn’t include fireworks. I can’t wait to see videos and pictures of the fireworks displays in our various towns.

Enjoy atmospheric fireworks lighting up the sky above your island every Sunday in August at 7 p.m. Get in the spirit by redeeming Bells for raffle tickets in the plaza to get various festive items that you can use. Put your personal spin on the fireworks display by using your own custom design pattern to see it shot in the air as a firework in the sky!

Sweet Dreams!

Players will be able to use a new Dreaming mechanic to visit other players islands or allow other players to visit theirs. The big difference between dreaming and visiting via the airport is that nothing you do while visiting in dreams will be permanent. It is, quite literally, a “dream.”

You can now choose to take a nap in any bed placed in your home.** While dozing off, you may find yourself in a strange realm where you’ll be greeted by Luna. Luna offers visits to other islands as a dream, and with her help, you can share your island as a dream with others too.*** She will grant those who share their island a “Dream Address” which players can exchange and use to visit each other’s island in a dream. In dreams, nothing is permanent because nothing you do is saved, so explore to your heart’s content.

The Island Backup & Restoration Service is FINALLY here!

The most important part of this update is Island backups. Nintendo Switch Online members will have their island data uploaded to the cloud periodically. They can then contact Nintendo Support to have their island reinstated in the event of a damaged Switch.

You cannot, however, transfer the island to another Switch. That ability will be added in an additional patch later this year.

Nintendo Switch Online members can enable the new island backup service, which automatically uploads island and user save data to the internet at certain times. If your Nintendo Switch system is lost or damaged, you may be able to recover your island paradise as long as you’ve enabled island backup. In the event of loss or damage, contact Nintendo Consumer Support about restoring the island and user save data on your new or repaired Nintendo Switch system. After your island data and individual player data is restored, you can get back to building your island community!**** Additional details can be found on the Nintendo Consumer Support page when the update goes live. The island backup feature is separate from the Save Data Cloud functionality offered for select Nintendo Switch games through Nintendo Switch Online. A function specific to Animal Crossing: New Horizons to move users and save data to another system is planned for later this year. Details will be announced in the future.                                                                         

The video also teased a fall update at the end. The teaser icon is a pumpkin and I can’t wait for the autumn season shenanigans!

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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Here are all the video game releases rated E-T by the ESRB that are releasing between July 26th and August 1st.

Tuesday, July 28th

  • Ageless- Switch
  • Cubers: Arena- PS4, Xbox One, Switch
  • Destroy All Humans!- PS4, Xbox One
  • Escape Game: Fort Boyard- PS4, Switch
  • Grounded- Xbox One
  • Megadimension Neptunia VII- Switch
  • Rugby Challenge 4- Switch
  • Samurai Shodown NeoGeo Collection- PS4, Xbox One, Switch
  • Skater XL- PS4, Xbox One
  • The Sims 4: Nifty Knitting DLC- PS4, Xbox One

Wednesday, July 29th

  • Lost Wing- PS4, Xbox One, Switch
  • Nowhere Prophet- PS4, Xbox One, Switch
  • They Breathe- Switch

Thursday, July 30th

  • Buried Stars- PS4, Switch
  • Hellpoint- Xbox One
  • Kingdom Rush- Xbox One
  • Locomotion- Switch
  • Merchant of the Skies- Xbox One, Switch
  • Sentinels of Freedom- Switch
  • Spiral Memoria: The Summer I Meet Myself- Switch
  • The Touryst- Xbox One

Friday, July 31st

  • Castlestorm II- PS4, Xbox One, Switch
  • Cat Quest + Cat Quest II: Pawsome Pack- PS4, Switch
  • Dodo Peak- Switch
  • Fairy Tail- PS4, Switch
  • FootGoal! Tiki Taka- Switch
  • Hamster Bob- Switch
  • Heroes of Hammerwatch: Ultimate Edition- Xbox One, Switch
  • Naught- Switch
  • Nicole- Switch
  • Paint Your Pet- Switch
  • Swim Out- Xbox One
  • Tiny Racer- Switch

Jeff’s Pick of the Week

As a fan of Honey I Shrunk the Kids, the 1989 comedy where Rick Moranis accidentally shrinks his children down to a minuscule size, I was very excited when this game was announced. Grounded is a first-person survival adventure game where your character has been shrunk down like the movie referenced earlier. You and your friends must defend against the creatures that live in the backyard, such as spiders, ants, and other bugs.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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STONKS AND TORNPS

Playing the actual stock market is a magnanimous task and, quite frankly, isn’t really for kids. But hey, since the Fire Nation is currently attacking the world at large, it’s a great time to understand microeconomics and how investing works… but on a much, much smaller scale. After all, how else are you going to pay off Tom Nook’s multiple home loans in Animal Crossing if not by gaming the system?

Let’s begin!

What is the Stalk Market in Animal Crossing: New Horizons?

Once your island reaches a place where your Resident Services is no longer operating out of a tent and is, in fact, in a proper building, in addition to Nook’s Cranny moving into a building of its own, the stalk market will open up. Every Sunday morning, from 5am and 12pm, Daisy Mae (sounds like Fanny Mae, for those of us who remember that nonsense) will visit your island and sell turnips for anywhere between 90 and 110 bells. 

You’ll be able to spot Daisy Mae by the turnips on her head. She’ll wander your island from early morning until noon. 

After you’ve purchased your turnips for the week, the Nook boys, Timmy and Tommy, will buy them for you for a wide range of bells (I once sold my turnips for 560 bells per stack of 10). If you’re looking to store your turnips, you can put them in your house (in stacks of 10) or somewhere on your island, but it will affect your island rating as turnips count as “random” items. 

They will rot on Sunday morning, if you don’t manage to sell them by then. Or, if you decide to “time travel” and artificially move time forward to a week (or more) in the future.

What’s the purpose of the Stalk Market?

Put simply: to earn some bells and pay off your Nook island mortgage(s), in addition to putting money away for island infrastructure (bridges, inclines, and decorations). Beyond that, it’s a “push your luck” kind of mini-game that teaches folks to pay attention to patterns in turnip prices on your island. 

How do you know when to sell your turnips?

There are a few different ways to determine when is the best time to sell your turnips. If you’re curious about how the turnip price patterns may work on your island, Polygon has an excellent guide to understanding what turnip trends are in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

If you’re looking to track turnip prices on your island, you can use Turnip Prophet. Turnip Prophet allows you to input your turnip prices throughout the week and will help you to better understand the Stalk Market patterns on your island. There’s a graph with labels on what every data point means, too. 

If you’re looking to branch out and look to other people and their islands for turnip prices, both for purchasing and for selling with the Nook boys, you can use Turnip Exchange. Hosts open their islands with Dodo Codes — special codes that you type in to visit people who aren’t on your Animal Crossing friend list — and you can join a queue to visit and sell at a higher price than what you might be able to sell on your own island. 

What’s the purpose of being a “turnip host”?

If your turnip prices spike, opening up your island to family and friends is kind of a no-brainer. Share the wealth and everyone ends up happier as a result. Opening up your island to strangers is a bit more of a risk, especially if you don’t want people harvesting your fruit or you don’t have it set up with fences to funnel people where you want them to go. 

And. 

Sharing the wealth often means that folks will leave you tips in bells, which means that when they sell for big money, you may get a slice of that. It’s really up to the folks that are visiting. 

What happens if the turnips “go bad”?

You lose them. They’re gone. You make no money off of them. 

The most important thing to remember is it’s better to take a major hit to your investment than for you to make zero return on your investment. So, when it comes to Saturday afternoon, make sure that you sell your turnips for something, rather than let them rot in your inventory or your house.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts and strategies!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

Looking for information about how multiplayer works in Animal Crossing? Check out our guide here!

Our new player tips for Animal Crossing are here!

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Crosscode is a twin-stick shooter RPG that is currently available on PC (Steam), Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Xbox One. You play as Lea in the VRMMO Crosscode. Your goal is to follow the path of the ancients, which is the format the in-game VRmmo uses for progression.  It has a skill tree based leveling system that goes very in-depth. Crosscode also has Zelda-like dungeons and complex puzzles. The story is also amazing and easy to follow. 

This is an amazing game with a couple of elements that make it frustrating at times. First, the combat system is fleshed out, with many ways of tackling every fight. You can use your melee weapon, your ranged weapon using a  twin-stick shooter style of aiming and moving, or you can be defensive with your shield. One challenge with the combat is the menu for communicating with your teammates to determine who to attack. There are three choices: attack my enemy, attack other enemies, or attack random enemies. If you have other enemies selected but there is only one enemy left, they don’t fight, at all. 

The second challenging component is the puzzles. Most puzzles use the Twin-stick ranged weapon. The challenge is that the puzzles are very precise, they have no margin for error. For example, with one challenging puzzle I had to shoot ice into a furnace to send steam down a path. The issue was I was one level higher than the ice and had to use a weird aiming system to hit it. Unfortunately, if I hit it slightly off, I had to reset the puzzle. Many times the solutions of the puzzles are not obvious. Once you figure the solution out, it still will take many tries. 

Can a kid play this game?

Yes and no, it greatly depends on the age and skill level of the player. The puzzles are hard without a guide and can get frustrating. The combat is also challenging at times. Luckily, Crosscode a  large number of assist features. You have three main options for the assists.

  • Puzzle speed: which changes how long things stay. For example: how long the platforms that are timing-based stay up, or how long until bombs explode
  • Damage taken: how much damage you take.
  • Enemy attack frequency: which changes how often enemies attack

You can change all of these on a percentage slider. I for one played with everything at 80% and still had trouble, though if you set everything to 20% it gets considerably easier.

Should a kid play this game?

Crosscode is rated T by the ESRB.

The rating summary is as follows:

This is an action role-playing game in which players assume the role of a fighter playing an MMORPG as she tries to regain her memory. From a ¾-overhead perspective, players traverse platforms, solve puzzles, and battle various enemies (e.g., rival players, robots, creatures). Characters use blaster-like weapons and melee attacks to defeat enemies; one-on-one fights and boss battles can be frenetic, with explosions and over-the-top special attacks. The word “sh*t” appears in the dialogue.

ESRB

Conclusion

All said and done Crosscode is a great game that thought is challenging makes for a fun time. The mechanics are fun to use. The puzzles are hard but fair. The game is very immersive and keeps you engaged the entire time. This is a great purchase if you like 2d Zelda games.


What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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The Engaged Family Gaming team has the mission to provide information and support families who want to play video games with their kids (and board games too). We work hard to provide parents with the tools they need to make informed decisions about their children’s gaming. To facilitate this, we help parents who might not be “gamers” themselves learn to understand the games their children are playing and help them find great video games for their kids.

The “EFG Essentials” is a core collection of games we frequently recommend across different genres. The purpose of these essentials is to provide a starting point for families to engage with high-quality games. Below are our EFG Essential games for kids on the Nintendo Switch.

Minecraft

  • ESRB Rating: E 10+
  • Survival
  • Also Available On: PS4, Xbox One

Minecraft is one of the best selling games of all time, and one of EFG’s family games of the last decade. It is so well known that I questioned whether or not to include it here. But, it is too important of a game to leave off. 

Minecraft holds a special place in a lot of kid’s hearts because it is so flexible. It can be so many different games for so many different people. It can be a survival game, a creative outlet, a multiplayer battle game, and more. It even ends up being the equivalent of a popular TV show considering how many hours of the game are consumed globally each month (Hint: It’s a lot.)

Super Mario Odyssey

  • ESRB Rating: E 10+
  • Platform Game
  • Exclusive

Super Mario Odyssey is a great Mario game that just about anyone can play and enjoy. In this edition, you can throw your hat at enemies to take control of them and you take over their bodies to use their powers. There is plenty of content here and collecting all 999 power moons is a challenge that does not get old. This is a must-buy for all Nintendo Switch owners

Super Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Racing
  • Exclusive

The Mario Kart series has slowly grown to be the biggest game in their stable of exclusives. Ever iteration is met with thunderous excitement and delivers fun that the entire family can enjoy! Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the definitive version of the very best that the franchise has to offer.

Every track is masterfully created (or recreated) and the music is jazzy and fun in all the right ways! Not only that, but the deluxe version includes the DLC that introduced Link and Isabelle to Mario Kart and made the case for the next game to just be called, “Nintendo Kart.”

This is the first game I recommend to families who buy the Nintendo Switch. It is an absolute must own.

Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild

  • ESRB Rating: E 10+
  • Action Role-playing
  • Exclusive

Long time EFG fans will know that this is one of my favorite games of all time and that means that the games above it have to be pretty significant in order to leave Breath of the Wild in the 4th spot. That isn’t to say that this isn’t one of, if not THE, best video games Nintendo has ever made though.

Breath of the Wild was our game of the year in 2017 and it faced stiff competition from Horizon: Zero Dawn.

It earned its place because it took the Legend of Zelda franchise in a bold new direction by eschewing the linear path of item collection and temple dungeon completion in favor of an open world that could be tackled in any order. Open world games are by no means new, but this was a welcome addition to Zelda and I can’t wait to see where they take it next.

Captain Toad Treasure Tracker

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Puzzle Game
  • Exclusive

Captain toad Treasure tracker is a simple puzzle game that can be challenging but is very accessible. This was originally a minigame in Super Mario 3D World that was so in-depth they made it into a full game. We love spending time solving these puzzles.

It’s a top-down puzzle platformer without a jump button. Your goal is to get to the star usually at the top of the level, so you have to figure out how to get to the top. Definitely a fun time for all Puzzle game fans.

Super Smash Brothers Ultimate

  • ESRB Rating: E 10+
  • Fighting Game
  • Exclusive

The phrase, “Let’s settle it in Smash!” is very common in our house, and I can’t imagine that it is uncommon elsewhere.

The Super Smash Bros. series has been around since the Nintendo 64 era and it continually grows in scope and in popularity. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate lives up to his name and its fan base is huge as it is the best selling fighting game of all time. There are obviously members of the Super Smash Bros. community that prefer earlier games like Super Smash Bros. Melee. But, as far as we’re concerned it is the best game in the series.

It’s often difficult to recommend fighting games to anything other than fighting game fans. Smash is the exception I can recommend this game to anyone that owns a Nintendo switch and feels comfortable that they will enjoy it.

Super Mario Maker 2

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Platformer +
  • Exclusive

Super Mario Maker 2 is one of the best creative tools for young and adult gamers alike. This game lets you create Super Mario levels using art styles and mechanics from across the history of Nintendo. It has a well-made tutorial that offers plenty of new ideas. Players can browse player-made content by individual creators or select an endless mode that selects levels based on difficulty. Super Mario Maker 2 is easily the best level creation experience for the Nintendo Switch.

Pokemon Sword and Shield

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Role-Playing
  • Exclusive

Pokemon Sword and Shield are great Pokemon games and are great RPGs. With a team of six Pokemon, you will travel the Galar Region on your quest to become the champion. Though the campaign is short the post-game content is enough to last hundreds of hours. You can catch all the Pokemon, make a competitive team, and participate in online tournaments, or you can battle your friends. 

Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Platform Game
  • Exclusive

Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze is one of the best 2d platformers available on the Nintendo Switch. This is actually a rerelease of the original game that was available on the Wii U. It has been polished, and a new gameplay mode featuring Funky Kong has been added to help make the game more accessible to newer/younger players. Funky Kong moves through levels on his surfboard so he doesn’t take damage from spikes and can hover while he comes down from jumps. 

New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Platform Game
  • Exclusive

The 2.5D side-scrolling port of the Wii U original has been updated for HD and includes all the original maps and the New Super Luigi U DLC.  Nintendo has also included a new playable character, Toadette, for the Switch version. This is a hidden gem because so few people bought a Wii U that the original game went unnoticed to all but the most hardcore of fans. It is definitely worth a look.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Simulation
  • Exclusive

Animal Crossing New Horizons is a life sim game where you move to a deserted island with a group of animals. The goal is to spend time on your island making it beautiful, befriending other animals on the island, and earning money (bells). The available tasks change with the seasons, but there is always something to do. This is a must-have for Switch owners looking a relaxing game.

Adventure Pals

  • ESRB Rating: E 10+
  • Platform Game
  • Also Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC

The Adventure Pals from Armor Games is an absurd jaunt through a bizarre world where almost nothing makes sense. Turtles can do backflips. Whales complain about “hashtag body shaming.” The hero’s best friend, Sparkles the giraffe, can use his tongue like a propeller to slow their collective fall. The villain wants to turn everyone into hot dog monsters. Every single one of those sentences is true. And here’s one more: This game is just as fun as it is ridiculous.

Shovel Knight Treasure Trove

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Platform Game
  • Also Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Wii U, 3DS

This wily Kickstarter from 2013 is still alive and kicking. Shovel Knight does an amazing job of taking all of the things that we love about old school platformers like Mega Man, Duck Tales, and even Castlevania and smashing them together into a wonderful, cohesive whole.

Shovel Knight is a fun protagonist whose adventures are silly more often than not, but packs some serious challenge. The other games in the treasure trove are all wonderful and feature different knights from the first game in their own wild adventures; each with their own mechanics and stories.

It’s hard to find a better value than Shovel Knight Treasure Trove and it is easy to recommend it to anyone, especially folks looking for an old school challenge!

Super Mario Party

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Party Game
  • Exclusive

The most recent update to the Mario Party franchise brings back to 4-player board game mode that has been so beloved as well as introducing a 2 vs 2 mode with grid based maps.  You can test your skills against the others in your living room as well as see how you stack up against others across the globe in the new Online Marathon feature.  Nintendo has also leveraged the ability to link two Nintendo Switch systems side by side on a table to play arena games or mini baseball.  This is going to be the party game that you want for game night.

Snipperclips

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Puzzle Game
  • Exclusive

Snipperclips is a two-player puzzle game where players each take on the role of different shapes. The goal is to overlap parts of each other’s “bodies” and “snip” off the overlapping pieces. This will let you complete challenges like creating a bowl-like shape to carry a ball across a playing field. This is a fully cooperative experience that is unlike anything else that you’ve seen before. 

Rocket League

  • ESRB Rating:E
  • Sports game
  • Also Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Rocket League is, quite literally, soccer as played by rocket-powered vehicles. It launched in in 2015 to great fanfare and has only grown as they added more game-modes like “hockey” and “basketball”

This is a great game to play (and watch) because of how wild the matches can be. There is just something exciting about watching race cars flying around a track and crashing into a massive steel ball and trying to score a goal. 

The Messenger

  • ESRB Rating: E 10+
  • Platform Game
  • Also Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Simply put… The Messenger is a modern response to the Ninja Gaiden series from the NES era. Sabotage Studio is a team full of people who love that game and have gone out of their way to show their reverence in game form.

It isn’t an easy game, but the experience is well worth the effort. The soundtrack alone is worth spending time with the game. But, exploring the different levels AND playing with time travel mechanics are rewarding.

This is definitely a game that needs to be on your radar.

Stardew Valley

  • ESRB Rating: E 10+
  • Farming Simulator / RPG
  • Also Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Mobile
Click the picture to purchase on the online Switch Store.

Stardew Valley is a remarkable game. It is a farming and life simulator where you play as a younger person who inherits a relative’s run-down farm. You need to build it up, explore the surrounding wilderness, meet people, get married, etc. It is a wildly engaging game that has been a sensation since it’s release. This is a great game to relax with. 

Tetris 99

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Puzzle Game
  • Exclusive

Tetris is an all time classic, but Tetris 99 surprised us by adding in a HECTIC battle royale mode. You play Tetris against 99 other players in a frantic race for survival. 

I have spent hours playing this game and building my Tetris skills. Everything moves at a desperate pace so the games move very quickly as well. Its definitely worth a look. 

Dragon Quest Builders 2

  • ESRB Rating: E 10+
  • Role-Playing
  • Also Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC

The Dragon Quest Builders series paints itself in a much lighter tone than the Dragon Quest series.  Specifically, Dragon Quest Builders 2 integrates co-op multiplayer that shows promise for both epic exploration, combat, and construction to put it in league with Minecraft in terms of its possibilities. Unlike Minecraft though, the story of Dragon Quest Builders 2 is meant to also serve as a tutorial and narrative focus for its block based construction.  This is in contrast to the much more open world that is traditional Minecraft. The play dynamic will give some structure to keep the sprawling options presented in a meaningful way and keep the more casual fan engaged in the gameplay.

Kirby Star Allies

  • ESRB Rating: E 10+
  • Platform Game
  • Exclusive

Kirby Star allies is a simple platformer that anyone can enjoy. The game is fun to play, and if you want to 100% the game then you will have plenty of things to do, with many hours of play. Plus with the ease of access to local play and with controls that work well with all control schemes, it makes a great multiplayer game for all ages. A must-have for all switch owners.

Sonic Mania Plus

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Platform Game
  • Also Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Sonic Mania is a fast paced action/platformer that brings modern polish to a nostalgic classic. Sonic Mania is features Sega’s iconic Sonic, Knuckles, and Tails (with additional characters in its most recent rerelease) battling their oldest foe Dr. Eggman. 

This game features levels that are blend of remixed classic Sonic from the Sega Genesis Era, and original locations built to make the 12 zones as a whole feel like breaking new ground while keeping it harmonious with the classics. Sound track and Art style are deeply inspired by the 16 bit era, but benefit from complex remixes and smooth flashy animation thanks in part to modern processing power. Controls differ depending on which character you play, everyone has ‘gotta go fast’, but each features different movement options to make each character’s traversal through the levels a distinct experience. 

Sonic Mania has a very robust local multiplayer experience, with available game modes that allow for cooperation and competition. It’s multiplayer only lacks in its ability to be bring all of its fully online. 

Sonic Mania Plus, Sonic Mania’s most recent release, solves some of the imbalances during gameplay by rebalancing boss difficulty and turning Bonus Stage content from a counterintuitive 3D experience to a send up of Sonic Pinball.  The Plus Edition also introduces “Encore Mode”, a new game plus style experience where both art and item placement have been remixed to provide a newer experience. 

Sonic Mania Plus is an EFG Essential for anyone looking for the perfect modern Sonic Experience.

Yoshi’s Crafted World

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Platform Game
  • Exclusive

After Yoshi’s Wooly World, Nintendo has done it again and added a cute aesthetic to a Yoshi’s Island game. This time around the levels look like a child made them out of craft supplies including cardboard, paperclips, paper cups, and tape. While you traverse the levels, there are the typical Yoshi collectibles, hearts, flowers, and red coins. The collectibles are what really make this game a challenge. You can go through the levels, or you can try and collect everything. At certain points during the game, you will need to replay levels to search for certain items in the background and foreground. Each level also has an opposite view where you much search for a Poochy puppy. While the game can be tedious with replaying levels, sometimes multiple times with different objectives, this is a great stepping off point for your young children to play a platformer.

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age Definitive Edition S

  • ESRB Rating: T
  • Role-Playing
  • Also Available On: PS4, PC

Dragon Quest XI is the most recent edition to an ongoing series of role playing games by Square Enix. The series is known for the art style of Akira Toriyama, the creator of Dragon Ball.  Dragon Quest is a series that consistently comes out with a reliable turn-based combat system that has seen nothing but simple improvements. 

Its place as an EFG essentials is based on its ease of entry in an ongoing, fantasy story. The fantasy elements that many other games work off of got their start here with a chosen warrior of light and a band of friends and heroes rally to fight the darkness. 

Dragon Quest has had a consistent following in Japan since its first incarnation on the NES in the 1980’s. That following was earned by creating a game as much storybook as turn/quest based game.

Luigi’s Mansion 3

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Action Adventure
  • Exclusive

Luigi doesn’t get the spotlight very often. That honor is normally reserved for his brother Mario. The Luigi’s Mansion series is the exception. These spooky adventures feature Luigi while he tries to rescue his lost brother from King Boo. Luigi’s Mansion 3 and includes a lot more variety in the environments than previous editions because it takes place in a massive haunted hotel. This will be a great game for kids who love to explore and solve puzzles. (Note: This game is definitely more silly than it is spooky so don’t be super concerned about kids getting scared.)

Addendum: Fortnite

At this point almost every kid on Earth has played Fortnite. But, we wanted to include it here for the sake of completion. It is a worthy recommendation though. Fortnite is huge. It is a great alternative for more mature shooters since it there is no blood and most of the action is over the top and silly as opposed to violent.


The EFG Essential Guide Collections

Check out our other Essentials Guides for great collections of games!

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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