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The holidays are coming up fast and if you’re like me, you still have no idea what to get your friends and family. Well, never fear, because I’ve put together the Official Engaged Family Gaming Holiday Gift Guide! This guide is packed full of video games that will make any gamer happy. Whether your loved one is a seasoned pro or just starting out in the gaming world, I’ve got you covered. So sit back, relax, and let me help you find the perfect gift for the gamers in your life!

The EFG Holiday Gift Guide For Video Games

Below are recommendations for video games across all three major consoles.

Nintendo

Discover the magic of gaming on the go with the Nintendo Switch! This versatile console, beloved by families worldwide, offers a fresh wave of titles this year, perfect for both home and on-the-move play. Whether you’re diving into enchanting worlds, or solving intriguing puzzles, our recommended Switch games for 2023 are sure to delight players of all ages.

Metroid Prime: Remastered

  • Release date: May 26, 2023
  • Platform: Nintendo Switch
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • MSRP: $39.99 USD (you can purchase this on Amazon here.)
  • ESRB rating: T (Teen)

Metroid Prime: Remastered is the perfect escape this holiday season! With enhanced visuals, textures, and lighting, as well as modernized controls and gameplay, it’s a treat for both new gamers and anyone with nostalgia for the GameCube era! 

Embark on an adventure with the renowned bounty hunter Samus Aran as she unravels the mysteries of planet Tallon IV and thwarts the Space Pirates from wielding the Chozo Artifact, a formidable force that threatens the cosmos!

Whether you’re a seasoned gamer or new to the Metroid universe, Metroid Prime: Remastered promises hours of immersive gameplay and a captivating narrative. It’s the ideal gift for those looking to lose themselves in a visually spectacular and thrilling world this holiday season.



Bluey: The Video Game

  • Release date: November 17, 2023
  • Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and PC
  • Publisher: Outright Games
  • MSRP: $39.99 USD (Buy it on Amazon Here)
  • ESRB rating: Everyone

Delve into Bluey’s whimsical world in this family-friendly sandbox game. Explore iconic scenes, including Bluey’s home, in an interactive adventure filled with fun activities drawn from the show and a new storyline created alongside Artax Games and BBC Studios. With a four-player mode, take on the roles of Bluey, Bingo, Mum, and Dad, and enjoy mini-games like ‘Keepy Uppy’ and ‘Magic Xylophone.’ This is a delightful holiday gift for families seeking playful adventures together.

Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe

  • Release date: February 24, 2023
  • Platform: Nintendo Switch
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • MSRP: $59.99 USD (You can buy it on Amazon here.)
  • ESRB rating: E10+ (Everyone 10+)

Looking for the perfect holiday gift for your young gamer? Dive into the whimsical world of Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe! This revamped version of the beloved Wii game, Kirby: Return to Dreamland, has enhanced graphics and updated gameplay controls, making it even more delightful for today’s generation.

Your child (or YOU!) will embark on an enchanting adventure as Kirby, the adorable pink sphere (I dunno, Is he a ball? A puff?  We can just go with it) with the unique ability to mimic his foes’ powers. Alongside Kirby are his trusty pals, King Dedede, Meta Knight, and Bandana Waddle Dee, as they join forces to assist a mysterious alien. 

Not only is Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe a vibrant and easy-to-play platformer suitable for kids and parents alike, but it also introduces a fresh character, Magolor, for added fun. Plus, the “Merry Magoland” mode offers a delightful assortment of minigames and challenges, ensuring hours of entertainment. Make this festive season memorable with a game that’s bound to be a hit!

WarioWare: Move it!

  • Release Date: November 3rd, 2023
  • Platform: Nintendo Switch
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • MSRP: $49.99 (You can buy it on Amazon here.)
  • ESRB Rating: ESRB 10+

Dive into the hilarity with “WarioWare: Move It!” this holiday season. It’s an ideal pick for family game nights, offering over 200 quick and quirky microgames that prompt players to shake, dance, and laugh together. Simple enough for all ages, it’s a game that gets everyone off the couch and into a fit of giggles with its rapid-fire, silly challenges.

The game’s lightning-fast pace ensures that everyone gets a turn quickly, making it perfect for lively parties. The sheer variety of activities, from mimicking a curtsey to virtual jailbreaks, guarantees a fresh experience every time.

“WarioWare: Move It!” is the gift of endless fun and togetherness for families, a delightful addition to any holiday celebration.

Octopath Traveller 2

Octopath Traveler night time
  • Release date: February 24, 2023
  • Platform: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • MSRP: $59.99 USD (You can buy it on Amazon here.)
  • ESRB rating: Teen

Dive into the magical world of Solistia with Octopath Traveler II. This T-rated role-playing game lets players pick from eight enchanting characters, each boasting their own special tale and skills. Journey together through mesmerizing landscapes, tackle challenges in strategic turn-based battles, and get lost in the game’s stunning HD-2D visuals and heartwarming melodies.

Octopath Traveler II is a delightful pick for families who love immersive stories and bonding over game nights. A treasure trove of adventures awaits!

Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

  • Release date: May 12, 2023
  • Platform: Nintendo Switch
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • MSRP: $59.99 USD (You can buy it on Amazon here.)
  • ESRB rating: Teen

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is the sequel to the critically acclaimed Breath of the Wild. It takes place in the same world of Hyrule, but with a new story and new gameplay mechanics. Players will take on the role of Link once again. This time you get to use a whole new set of powers including Fuse that lets you combine objects in the world together and ultrahand that lets you build everything from vehicles to platforms!

This is one of our favorite games this year and will be a great gift to put under the tree for any fan looking for an adventure!

Super Mario Bros. Wonder

  • Release date: October 20, 2023
  • Platform: Nintendo Switch
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • MSRP: $59.99 USD (You can buy it on Amazon here.)
  • ESRB rating: Everyone

Super Mario Bros. Wonder is a return to form for the Super Mario series, featuring classic 2D platforming gameplay with new twists and surprises. Players can choose between Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, and a host of other characters as they travel through the Flower Kingdom, and find new power-ups like the elephant fruit and Drill form.

Every stage has a Wonder seed that, when collected, changes the world for a brief period of time and changes the gameplay significantly. These events are unpredictable, exciting, and sometimes hilarious. 

Super Mario Bros. Wonder is the first brand-new 2D art style for Mario in the last decade and should definitely be on your shopping list this year!

Disney Illusion Island

  • Release date: July 28, 2023
  • Platform: Nintendo Switch
  • Publisher: Disney Interactive Media Group
  • MSRP: $39.98 USD (You can buy it on Amazon here.)
  • ESRB rating: Everyone

Disney Illusion Island is a cooperative platformer (We call them Matroidvania’s here) game in which players control Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy as they embark on an adventure to save the mysterious island of Monoth. Players can explore the island’s varied environments, solve puzzles, and battle enemies using a variety of platforming abilities. 

The game features hand-drawn animation, a fully orchestrated score, and authentic voice acting. In short? It’s a Disney cartoon come to life! It is a great way to experience the magic of Disney with your family this holiday season!

PlayStation

Sony-Playstation-logo

Step into the gaming future with PlayStation 5’s 2023 releases. Sony’s cutting-edge console continues to push boundaries, offering families a gateway to explore vibrant new worlds, face thrilling challenges, and immerse themselves in captivating narratives. With a curated selection of this year’s standout titles, the PS5 ensures that every gaming moment is unforgettable.

Sonic Superstars

  • Release date: October 17, 2023
  • Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC
  • Publisher: Sega
  • MSRP: $59.99 USD (You can buy it on Amazon here.)
  • ESRB rating: Everyone

Looking for the perfect game to enjoy with your kids this holiday season? Dive into the world of “Sonic Superstars”! This game is a delightful tribute to the beloved Sonic the Hedgehog series, blending classic gameplay elements with fresh twists that will keep both new and seasoned players engaged.

Guide Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, or Amy as they dash through new levels that will hit you right in the nostalgia feels . Along the way, collect rings, tackle foes, and discover exciting power-ups. But here’s a special treat: as you journey, gather the elusive chaos gems to unlock incredible platforming powers that will elevate your gaming experience!

Whether you’re introducing your kids to the magic of Sonic or reliving cherished memories, “Sonic Superstars” promises hours of fun and adventure. It’s the ideal blend of classic Sonic charm with a contemporary spin, making it a must-have for your holiday game collection.

Minecraft Legends

  • Release date: April 18th, 2023
  • Platform: (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)
  • Publisher:Microsoft
  • MSRP: $29.99 (included on Game Pass)
  • ESRB rating: E 10+

Minecraft Legends is a new action-strategy game set in the Minecraft universe. Players lead an army of mobs to defend the Overworld from a piglin invasion. The game has the same voxel art style of the original Minecraft that we all know and love, but plays from a different perspective. The camera is higher up and farther back to give you a wider view of the world you are moving around and to make it easier to see your growing army. Minecraft Legends is a great choice for fans of Minecraft who are looking for a new challenge.

Disney SpeedStorm

  • Release date: April 18th, 2023
  • Platform: (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)
  • Publisher: Gameloft
  • MSRP: Free to Play
  • ESRB rating: E

Disney SpeedStorm is a free-to-play kart racing game featuring characters from Disney and Pixar films. Players can race as Mickey Mouse, Lightning McQueen, and other iconic characters on tracks inspired by Disney and Pixar movies. Put simply, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe isn’t available on PS5 or Xbox, so this is one of the best alternatives, especially for Disney fans.

Octopath Traveller 2

  • Release date: February 24, 2023
  • Platform: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • MSRP: $59.99 USD (You can buy it on Amazon here.)
  • ESRB rating: Teen

Dive into the magical world of Solistia with Octopath Traveler II. This T-rated role-playing game lets players pick from eight enchanting characters, each boasting their own special tale and skills. Journey together through mesmerizing landscapes, tackle challenges in strategic turn-based battles, and get lost in the game’s stunning HD-2D visuals and heartwarming melodies.

Octopath Traveler II is a delightful pick for families who love immersive stories and bonding over game nights. A treasure trove of adventures awaits!

Bluey: The Video Game

  • Release date: November 17, 2023
  • Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and PC
  • Publisher: Outright Games
  • MSRP: $39.99 USD (Buy it on Amazon Here)
  • ESRB rating: Everyone

Delve into Bluey’s whimsical world in this family-friendly sandbox game. Explore iconic scenes, including Bluey’s home, in an interactive adventure filled with fun activities drawn from the show and a new storyline created alongside Artax Games and BBC Studios. With a four-player mode, take on the roles of Bluey, Bingo, Mum, and Dad, and enjoy mini-games like ‘Keepy Uppy’ and ‘Magic Xylophone.’ This is a delightful holiday gift for families seeking playful adventures together.

Star Wars: Jedi Survivor

  • Release date: April 28, 2023
  • Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S
  • Publisher: Electronic Arts
  • MRSP: $69.99 USD (You can buy it on Amazon here.)
  • ESRB rating: Teen

Embark on an intergalactic journey with Star Wars Jedi: Survivor. This thrilling third-person action-adventure game is perfect for any Star Wars fan!

Join Cal Kestis, now a seasoned Jedi Knight, as he navigates the galaxy five years after the events of Fallen Order. Defend the galaxy from looming dark forces with his loyal droid BD-1 and intriguing new allies!

Street Fighter 6

  • Release date: June 2, 2023
  • Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
  • Publisher: Capcom
  • MRSP: $59.99 USD (You can buy it on Amazon here.)
  • ESRB rating: Teen

Get ready to unleash your inner fighter with Street Fighter 6! This latest installment in the iconic fighting game series promises an exhilarating experience for both newcomers and seasoned players. With a fresh art style that’s not only eye-catching but also ensures clarity during intense battles, it’s a visual treat for all.

The game introduces the innovative Drive System, a gameplay mechanic that offers players enhanced control over their moves, both offensively and defensively. Reunite with beloved characters like Ryu, Chun-Li, Guile, and Ken, and meet intriguing newcomers such as Luke and Jamie.

Baldur’s Gate 3

  • Release date: August 3, 2023
  • Platforms: Windows PC, Stadia
  • Publisher: Larian Studios
  • MSRP: $59.99 USD (You can buy it on Amazon here.)
  • ESRB rating: M for Mature 

Baldur’s Gate 3, rated M for mature, is ideal for grownups who cherish cooperative gaming. This Dungeons & Dragons-inspired RPG is set in the magical Forgotten Realms. Players craft their characters, tackle formidable evils, and encounter intriguing allies. The game promotes teamwork with its cooperative multiplayer, offering diverse character classes and races. Its combat is both challenging and rewarding, allowing players to merge abilities against foes. With an immersive story and adjustable difficulty levels, it’s a top pick for adult gaming enthusiasts.

Final Fantasy 16

  • Release date: June 22, 2023
  • Platforms: PlayStation 5
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • MRSP: $69.99 USD (You can buy it on Amazon here.)
  • ESRB rating: Mature

Final Fantasy XVI is an action role-playing game set in the world of Valisthea, which is divided into six nations that each have a Mothercrystal that grants them magical power. The player controls Clive Rosfield, the firstborn son of the Archduke of Rosaria, one of the aforementioned nations as he journeys through the world discovering its secrets and coming to grips with what he has done.

Final Fantasy XVI is the first mainline Final Fantasy game to ever receive an M rating from the ESRB and it shows. There is a lot going on here that is not appropriate for kids in spite of the historically whimsical themes in FF games. 

Final Fantasy XVI is similarly the first mainline game in the series to feature action-based combat that is designed to be both fast-paced and strategic. 

Microsoft’s powerhouse console delivers not just in performance but in a diverse array of stories, adventures, and challenges this year. From cooperative quests to gripping solo journeys, our top picks for the Xbox Series X promise hours of unparalleled entertainment. Many of these games are included in Xbox Game Pass which is an amazing value!

Xbox Game Pass

The Xbox Game Pass is a game-changer for families who love gaming together. With a single subscription, you gain access to a vast library of over 100 high-quality games, spanning various genres suitable for both kids and adults. Whether you’re in the mood for an adventurous quest, a puzzling challenge, or a co-op mission, Xbox Game Pass has something for everyone.

Why It’s Perfect for Families

Variety of Games: From family-friendly titles like “Minecraft” and “Forza Horizon” to more mature games for older kids and parents, there’s a game for every member of the family.

Cost-Effective: Instead of purchasing individual games, Xbox Game Pass offers an affordable monthly subscription, giving you unlimited access to a continually updated library.

Exclusive Access: Get early access to Xbox Game Studios titles on the day they release. No more waiting or additional purchases required!

Gift Tip

Pair the Xbox Game Pass subscription with an Xbox controller for the ultimate gaming gift bundle. If the family doesn’t have an Xbox console yet, consider the Xbox Series S – a compact, digital-only console that’s perfect for families.

Minecraft Legends

  • Release date: April 18th, 2023
  • Platform: (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)
  • Publisher: Microsoft
  • MSRP: $29.99 (included on Game Pass)
  • ESRB rating: E 10+

Minecraft Legends is a new action-strategy game set in the Minecraft universe. Players lead an army of mobs to defend the Overworld from a piglin invasion. The game has the same voxel art style of the original Minecraft that we all know and love, but plays from a different perspective. The camera is higher up and farther back to give you a wider view of the world you are moving around and to make it easier to see your growing army. Minecraft Legends is a great choice for fans of Minecraft who are looking for a new challenge.

Bluey: The Video Game

  • Release date: November 17, 2023
  • Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and PC
  • Publisher: Outright Games
  • MSRP: $39.99 USD (Buy it on Amazon Here)
  • ESRB rating: Everyone

Delve into Bluey’s whimsical world in this family-friendly sandbox game. Explore iconic scenes, including Bluey’s home, in an interactive adventure filled with fun activities drawn from the show and a new storyline created alongside Artax Games and BBC Studios. With a four-player mode, take on the roles of Bluey, Bingo, Mum, and Dad, and enjoy mini-games like ‘Keepy Uppy’ and ‘Magic Xylophone.’ This is a delightful holiday gift for families seeking playful adventures together.

Disney SpeedStorm

  • Release date: April 18th, 2023
  • Platform: (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)
  • Publisher: Gameloft
  • MSRP: Free to Play
  • ESRB rating: E

Disney SpeedStorm is a free-to-play kart racing game featuring characters from Disney and Pixar films. Players can race as Mickey Mouse, Lightning McQueen, and other iconic characters on tracks inspired by Disney and Pixar movies. Put simply, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe isn’t available on PS5 or Xbox, so this is one of the best alternatives, especially for Disney fans.

Hi-Fi Rush

  • Release date: January 25, 2023
  • Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Xbox Series X/S
  • Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
  • MRSP: $39.98 USD (You can buy it on Amazon here.)
  • ESRB rating: Teen

Hi-Fi Rush is a rhythm-based action game developed by Tango Gameworks and published by Bethesda Softworks. It was released for Microsoft Windows and Xbox Series X/S on January 25, 2023.

In Hi-Fi Rush, players control Chai, a wannabe rockstar who has a music player accidentally embedded in his chest. This gives him the ability to perceive the world through rhythm and fight enemies to the beat of the music.

The game features a variety of different levels, each with its own unique soundtrack. Players must use Chai’s different abilities to attack enemies, dodge obstacles, and complete puzzles. The game also features a boss fight at the end of each level.

Hi-Fi Rush is a fun and challenging game that is perfect for fans of rhythm games and action games alike. It features a unique art style, catchy music, and satisfying combat.

Star Wars: Jedi Survivor

  • Release date: April 28, 2023
  • Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S
  • Publisher: Electronic Arts
  • MRSP: $69.99 USD (You can buy it on Amazon here.)
  • ESRB rating: Teen

Embark on an intergalactic journey with Star Wars Jedi: Survivor. This thrilling third-person action-adventure game is perfect for any Star Wars fan!

Join Cal Kestis, now a seasoned Jedi Knight, as he navigates the galaxy five years after the events of Fallen Order. Defend the galaxy from looming dark forces with his loyal droid BD-1 and intriguing new allies!

Street Fighter 6

  • Release date: June 2, 2023
  • Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
  • Publisher: Capcom
  • MRSP: $59.99 USD (You can buy it on Amazon here.)
  • ESRB rating: Teen

Get ready to unleash your inner fighter with Street Fighter 6! This latest installment in the iconic fighting game series promises an exhilarating experience for both newcomers and seasoned players. With a fresh art style that’s not only eye-catching but also ensures clarity during intense battles, it’s a visual treat for all.

The game introduces the innovative Drive System, a gameplay mechanic that offers players enhanced control over their moves, both offensively and defensively. Reunite with beloved characters like Ryu, Chun-Li, Guile, and Ken, and meet intriguing newcomers such as Luke and Jamie.

Party Animals

  • Release date: September 20, 2023
  • Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Xbox Series X/S
  • Publisher: Source Technology
  • MRSP: $29.99 USD (You can buy it on Amazon here.)
  • ESRB rating: Everyone 10+

Party Animals is a physics-based multiplayer party game players control one of several different animal characters and compete in a variety of different mini-games. The game features a variety of different maps, including a kitchen, a construction site, and a nightclub.

The mini-games in Party Animals are all designed to be chaotic and unpredictable. Players must use their animal’s unique abilities to complete the mini-games and win the round. The game also features a variety of different power-ups that players can use to gain an advantage over their opponents.

Party Animals is a fun and challenging game that is perfect for playing with friends. It is a great way to relax and have some laughs.

Starfield

  • Release date: September 6, 2023
  • Platforms: Windows, Xbox Series X/S
  • Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
  • MRSP: $69.99 USD (You can buy it on Amazon here.)
  • ESRB rating: Teen

Starfield, the latest masterpiece from Bethesda Game Studios is the perfect gift for families who love diving into new adventures together.

For the first time in 25 years, Bethesda has crafted an entirely new universe. Set in the distant future of 2330, Starfield invites players to journey through a vast open galaxy, brimming with uncharted worlds and endless possibilities.

Starfield promises to captivate both role-playing enthusiasts and sci-fi aficionados. This holiday season, let your loved ones embark on an interstellar journey they won’t forget.


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!

The EFG Essentials

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The Nintendo Switch is wildly popular, and Nintendo is pairing it with an online subscription service similar to both Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus. Their service, called Nintendo Switch Online, launched in the fall of 2018 and is a great value for families looking to get more out of their Switch experience. 

The Pitch

Nintendo Switch Online is an annual subscription service that is required into order to play Nintendo Switch games like Splatoon 2 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate online. It also includes bonus features like access to cloud saves, and access to a suite of NES and SNES games. Subscribers also get access to exclusive sales offers and Switch online exclusive games like Tetris 99. 

Nintendo Switch Online is an annual subscription service that is required into order to play Nintendo Switch games like Splatoon 2 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate online. It also includes bonus features like access to cloud saves, and access to a suite of NES and SNES games. Subscribers also get access to exclusive sales offers and Switch online exclusive games like Tetris 99.

How Does it work?

You can subscribe to either Nintendo Switch Online (the base subscription) OR Nintendo Switch Online with Expansion Pack (the base subscription with additional features).

Nintendo Switch Online

Nintendo Switch Online is a subscription-based service that can be purchased annually, or in smaller increments. The service needs to be maintained in order to continue the benefits and maintain access to the features. 

The service includes: 

Online Play – Online multiplayer gaming using the Nintendo Switch Online platform

NES and SNES – Nintendo Switch Online – Nintendo Switch Online members have access to curated library of more than 60 NES and Super NES classic games. The collection initially only includes NES games, but was updated a year later to include SNES titles. The curated library of games will grow over time. These games also include online competitive/cooperative play with friends. Certain games (like Super Mario Bros.) even include the ability to virtually pass the controller back and forth.

Save Data Cloud – Subscribers can back up their save game data to the cloud. This makes it easier to retrieve their save data if they lose their Switch or start to use a new one. It is worth mentioning that some games aren’t compatible with cloud saving. The most noteworthy examples are Pokemon Sword and Shield and the upcoming Animal Crossing: New Horizons. 

Smartphone App – Nintendo has released a smartphone app (available for iOS and Android). It syncs with the subscriber’s Nintendo account and includes some minor enhancements for different Switch games. You can also use it to use voice chat with your Nintendo friends as you play. (Certain games, like Fortnite, circumvent Nintendo’s app and allow voice chat through the game software itself. This isn’t universal though.)

Special Offers – Subscribers will have access to exclusive sales and product offerings. They have included controllers, discount game vouchers, and even an exclusive game (Tetris 99). 

Nintendo Switch Online With Expansion Pack

This subscription includes all of the benefits of the base subscription with the below additional benefits. 

Nintendo 64 Games

The Expansion pack includes Nintendo 64 games like Mario Kart 64

Gameboy Advance Games

The Expansion pack includes Game Boy Advance games like The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap and Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros 3.

Sega Genesis Games

The Expansion pack includes access to a collection of Sega Genesis games like Golden Axe and Sonic the Hedgehog.

Game Expansions

The Expansion Pack also includes the DLC to several popular Switch games like:

  • The Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – Booster Course Pass
  • The Animal Crossing New Horizons – Happy Home Paradise Expansion
  • The Splatoon 2: Octo-Expansion

How Much Does it Cost?

Nintendo Switch Online can be purchased annually, quarterly, or monthly. The service also has a 7 day free trial. 

Annual Subscription: $19.99

3 Month Subscription: $7.99

1 Month Subscription: $3.99

Nintendo Switch Online also has a Family Membership option where up to 8 Nintendo Accounts can share an online subscription for $34.99 annually.

Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pass can be purchased annually for $49.99. 

Advice

This basic Nintendo Switch Online service is a great value for families. The cost is relatively low at $20 a year and it includes a wide array of free games to play.

The Expansion Pack is a significant increase in price, but the fact that it includes additional DLC content for some the best Switch games on the market helps a lot.

If your kids aren’t interested in the NES/SNES games and only play Fortnite, then this is a service you can likely avoid. Fortnite doesn’t require an active subscription to play.

There are a ton of other premium video game services out there so we wrote guides for all of them.  Take a look below:

A Parent’s Guide to EA Origins Access

A Parent’s Guide to EA Access

A Parent’s Guide to the Xbox Game Pass

A Parent’s Guide to PlayStation Now

A Parent’s Guide to PlayStation Plus

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 Nintendo Switch launched in March 2017 and has gone on to become one of the best-selling consoles of all time. Part of that success is thanks to the quality of its library of games. The rest of that success stems from Nintendo releasing multiple iterations of the console.

This is nothing new. Nintendo has done this with their handheld systems ever since the wild success of the Game Boy Color in 1998. (Other console manufacturers have done it as well. The PlayStation 2 had several different versions over its life cycle.) This is great for Nintendo’s bottom line. But it is super confusing for parents who want to buy a Nintendo for their kids. 

Fear not though because we’ve got the solution! Below is a handy guide to the three different versions of the Nintendo Switch console and our thoughts on each one!

What is the Nintendo Switch?

The Nintendo Switch is a hybrid video game console that can serve as both a handheld device (like the Nintendo 3DS) and as a home console (like the Nintendo WiiU).

The console itself is a tablet that features detachable controllers that Nintendo called “Joy-Cons.” Most versions of the console come with a special dock. You can use the Switch dock to charge the tablet OR use it to display your game on the TV.

This was completely unheard of when Nintendo announced and, while there have been some competitors on the market since then, it has remained a market leader.

Why is the Switch so Popular?

Nintendo handhelds are almost always popular. Families have more than thirty years of experience buying Game Boys and the like. for their kids. The Switch may not be a traditional handheld, but it does fit that bill. I can’t help but think that momentum plays at least a small part in that.

There can be no doubt though that the Nintendo Switch has a fantastic library of great games helping it along as well. The Switch’s launch year included The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (which is one of the best games ever made) and Super Mario Odyssey. They are both on our EFG Essentials list five years later.

The Three Current Switch Models

Nintendo has released a new Switch model every other year since 2017 so we’ll probably need to update this article in 2023. Until then… here are the details on the three existing models.

The Original Nintendo Switch

MRSP: $299.99

Release Date: March 3, 2017 Weight: .66 lbs or .88 /w Joy-Cons Screen: 6.2 in LCD Screen @ 1280 x 720 pixels Resolution: 1080 p resolution to TV // Up to 720 p in handheld mode

Battery Life: 4.5 – 9 Hours /w up to 3 hours max charge time

The original model of the Nintendo Switch is still available and is a great system. Generally speaking, the OLED edition (listed below) is the better option for new adoptees. But, this is worth grabbing if it is available!

Nintendo Switch Lite

MRSP: $199.99

Release Date: September 20, 2019 Weight: .61 lbs (integrated Joy-Cons) Screen: 5.5 in LCD Screen @ 1280 x 720 pixels Resolution: (Implied up to 720 p in handheld mode but not listed on the site)

Battery Life: 3 – 7 Hours /w up to 3 hours max charge time

The Switch Lite is interesting because it doesn’t “Switch.” This is a handheld-only version of the console. It eschews the dock and TV gameplay for longer battery life, a lower price, and a smaller form factor.

It is lighter, less expensive, and perfect for younger kids who are looking for a replacement for a 3DS. It plays almost all the same games with less of an investment. 

Nintendo Switch OLED Edition

MRSP: $349.99

Release Date: October 8, 2021 Weight: .71 lbs or .93 /w Joy-Cons Screen: 7 in OLED Screen @ 1280 x 720 pixels Resolution: 1080 p resolution to TV // Up to 720 p in handheld mode Battery Life: 4.5 – 9 Hours /w up to 3 hours max charge time

The most recent edition to the Switch line is the OLED model that was released in 2021.

It functions similarly to the original model in that it can be used both handheld and docked to play on the TV. This newer model includes an OLED screen that is brighter and clearer so playing games in handheld mode looks better. 

I’m not sure what market niche Nintendo was hoping to move into with this model, but this is NOT a “pro” version of the Switch that some fans have been asking for.

That isn’t necessarily a problem. But, it is something to keep in mind while making purchasing decisions.

What Are Joy-Cons Again?

Joy-Cons are what Nintendo calls the proprietary controllers that attach to the side of the Nintendo Switch tablet. They come in a wide variety of colors and you can even mix/match them.

It’s worth noting for parents that they are relatively small and expensive so you’ll want to have a plan for keeping track of them when you buy a Switch.

Our Official Switch Recommendations

The Switch is approaching the end of its life cycle. Industry insiders have been talking about the arrival of a Switch successor for years. We don’t have it yet (we don’t even have an announcement yet), so we can’t recommend waiting for a new system just yet.

All three models have value right now, but the real decision is between the OLED version and the Switch Lite.

If you are buying a new Switch, then the OLED model has better battery life and a slightly larger screen that is MUCH brighter.

Parents buying a Switch for younger gamers should consider the Switch Lite. It is less costly than other models and is smaller and lighter for smaller hands.

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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Nintendo Switch games are all the rage right now! If you’re a parent, you probably want to know what the best-selling games are. Well, look no further! We’ve put together a list of the top 10 best-selling Nintendo Switch games. Here are the 10 best-selling Nintendo Switch games so far. Who knows, maybe your favorite game is on this list!

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe: 46.82 million 

Link Legend of Zelda Mario Kart 8
Link riding a Zelda Themed motorcycle? I’m in!

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is one of the best-selling video games of all time, with over 46 million copies sold worldwide. That’s an impressive number, but it’s even more impressive when you consider that the game was only released in 2017. In just a few short years, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has become one of the most popular games ever made. And it’s easy to see why. The game is a blast to play, with a huge variety of tracks and characters to choose from. Plus, the addition of the Battle Mode makes it an even more addictive experience. Whether you’re a casual player or a hardcore fan, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is definitely worth your time.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons: 39.38 million

Crossing: New Horizons has been a runaway success, selling over 39 million copies since its release in March 2020. The game has been praised for its easy-to-pick-up gameplay, charming visuals, and relaxing atmosphere. Players take on the role of a person who moves to a deserted island and begins to build a new life. They can catch fish, collect shells, grow fruit, and interact with a cast of colorful characters. New Horizons has proven to be a welcome respite from the stresses of real life, and it’s no wonder that it’s become one of the best-selling games on the Switch. Thanks, Animal Crossing!

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: 28.82 million

super Smash Bros Ultimate
super Smash Bros Ultimate

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a fighting game developed by Bandai Namco and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Switch. It was released on December 7, 2018. The game is the fifth installment in the Super Smash Bros. series, and it features characters from various Nintendo franchises, including Mario, Kirby, Donkey Kong, Link, Samus Aran, Fox McCloud, Pikachu, and Yoshi. In addition to the returning characters, the game also introduces several new characters, including Inkling from Splatoon and Ridley from Metroid. Ultimate was a commercial success, selling over 28 million copies worldwide. There is still some divide among fans as to where it ranks among other games in the Smash series, but it is a great game to add to your Switch collection if you don’t have it yet!

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: 27.14 million

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is one of the most popular video games of all time, and it’s no wonder why. With its gorgeous open-world setting, thrilling combat, and deep lore, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. And now, with its recent sales figures, it’s clear that more people than ever are experiencing the joys of Hyrule. According to Nintendo, Breath of the Wild has sold over 27 million copies worldwide, making it the best-selling Zelda game of all time. It’s also one of the best-selling games on the Nintendo Switch, which is itself a record-breaking console. In other words, if you’re looking for an adventure that will keep you entertained for hours on end, Breath of the Wild is definitely worth checking out.

Pokemon Sword/Pokemon Shield: 24.50 million

It’s official: Pokemon Sword and Shield are the two best-selling games in the series, with a combined 24.50 million copies sold worldwide. This is a truly impressive feat, and it’s thanks in no small part to the amazing team at Game Freak. With their hard work and dedication, they have created a Pokemon game that is truly unique and impressive. It’s no wonder that so many people have fallen in love with it!

Super Mario Odyssey: 23.93 million

Super Mario Odyssey is now the best-selling Super Mario game of all time! With over 23.93 million copies sold worldwide, it has officially surpassed the previous record holder, Super Mario World. And it’s no wonder – with its gorgeous graphics, innovative gameplay, and memorable characters, Odyssey is a true masterpiece. Not to mention, it’s just a whole lot of fun to play! We can’t wait to see what Mario’s next adventure will be – but whatever it is, we’re sure it will be another runaway success. Congratulations, Mario! You truly are the king of the Mushroom Kingdom!

Super Mario Party: 18.06 million

Super Mario Party has been a big hit with gamers of all ages, selling 18.06 million copies since it was released on the Nintendo Switch in 2018. The game features a variety of mini-games that can be played with up to four players, making it a great party game. There is also a single-player mode for those who want to play the game solo. The game has been praised for its colorful graphics and easy-to-learn gameplay. Whether you’re playing with friends or family, Super Mario Party is sure to provide hours of fun.

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond/Pokemon Shining Pearl: 14.79 million

Fans had to wait 2 years after the release of Sword and Shield for another Pokemon Game. The wait is finally over with the release of Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, which takes place in the Sinnoh region first seen in 2007’s Pokemon Diamond and Pearl. While some may be concerned that the game is simply a rehash of old content, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl offers a unique experience that should not be missed by any fan of the series. The game has already sold 14.79 million copies worldwide, proving that there is still a strong demand for traditional Pokemon games. New features like online co-op, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are sure to please both longtime fans and newcomers alike.

Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!/Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee!: 14.66 million

The release of Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!/Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! on the Nintendo Switch was a momentous occasion for fans of the franchise. Not only did it mark the first time that Pokémon had been playable on a home console, but it also brought the series into the modern age with updated graphics and gameplay. The response from fans was overwhelmingly positive, and the games went on to sell 14.66 million copies worldwide. While some purists may have been put off by the changes, there is no denying that Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!/Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! was a huge success and helped to bring the franchise to a new generation of players

Ring Fit Adventure: 14.54 million

Ring-Fit-Adventure logo
Ring Fit Adventure logo


Who would have thought that Nintendo would hit ANOTHER home run with a game designed to get people fit would be such a runaway success? Certainly not the naysayers who balked at the high price tag and dismissively called it a “gimmick.” But Ring Fit Adventure has proven them wrong in a big way, selling over 14 million copies worldwide. And it’s easy to see why: with its unique blend of physical activity and RPG-style gameplay, Ring Fit Adventure is simply one of the most fun and engaging workout experiences available. Whether you’re playing by yourself or with friends, there’s no denying that Ring Fit Adventure is a workout worth taking. So dust off your Switch and get ready to break a sweat!


The Nintendo Switch has been a massive success, and the games are flying off the shelves. If you’re looking for some ideas of what to buy your loved ones this holiday season, look no further than our list of the 10 best-selling Nintendo Switch games so far. With such a variety of genres represented, there’s something for everyone on this list! So go ahead and add one (or more!) of these games to your shopping cart – we promise you won’t be disappointed. And don’t forget to let us know in the comments which game is your favorite!

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Historically, summer has been a slow time for video games. Publishers would often push their games off to the fall to have their games incorporated into the Holiday rush. That doesn’t happen so much anymore. There are so many video games being released each year that there really isn’t any dead time. This June is no exception.

Below is a list of some of the best video games being released to consoles and PC in the month of June. All of them are rated T for Teen or lower by the ESRB.

Silt 

PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC – June 1

Silt is a black and white, atmospheric adventure game that is a cross between Limbo and Song of the Sea. It’s rated T for Teen by the ESRB, but it has a creepy vibe that might shake some kids.

Card Shark 

Switch, PC – June 2

I didn’t think I would ever be writing about a game like this. Card Shark is a game set in 18th Century France and you play as a gambler trying to win games of cards to get access to the King. The key here is that you win by cheating.

Souldiers 

PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC – June 2



We’ll have to play it and find out if it is any good. But, Souldiers is the combination of Souls-like combat, Metroid-like map exploration, and RPG elements. You choose one of three classes and progress through a fantasy world full of traps, monsters, and other hazards. I’ve been looking forward to this one since it was announced and was pretty bummed when it was delayed from its original release date in May, but the time is almost here!

Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer’s Legacy 

Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC – June 2

Unexplored 2 is an Open World, Roguelite RPG that is all about exploration. It has a gorgeous hand-drawn art style, snappy combat, and a massive world to explore.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II – The Sith Lords 

Switch – June 8

It’s a good time to be a Star Wars fan. The Disney + TV shows are (mostly) well-loved and there are plenty of great video games to play. Star Wars: KOTOR 2 is a blast from the past that is being pulled forward into the Switch for a new generation of players to enjoy. The only question that remains: Which side of the Force will you choose?

Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Hinokami Chronicles 

Switch – June 10



Demon Slayer is a very popular anime right now so a video game adaptation was inevitable. This has already been available on PC, Playstation, and Xbox, and is now being brought to Switch. This one earns its T rating with anime blood splatter and some foul language. With that said, the action in the game is no better or worse than the anime so if your kids are watching the show (on Netflix) then you can feel comfortable letting them play the game.

Mario Strikers: Battle League – EFG Pick of the Month!!!

Switch – June 10

I have to be honest. I never thought I would see the day when Nintendo would release another Mario Soccer game, but here we are. Mario Strikers: Battle League is a 5 v 5 soccer game that features Mario characters and over-the-top action. It isn’t a traditional soccer game though. This is a battle soccer game with full contact, an electric fence, and most of the weapons from Mario Kart. Our family has been counting down the days since its announcement and it’s almost time to take the pitch!

Redout 2 

PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC – June 16

F-Zero and Wipeout are well-loved franchises that are mostly dead in the water right now. Redoubt 2 is a new entry in the Zero-G racing genre and it is FAST. If you liked those games in the past, or think your kids might, then this looks like a great option.

Fall Guys

PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Switch – June 21 

Fall Guys is finally coming to Switch and Xbox! It’s been a huge hit on PlayStation and PC and I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t continue that success elsewhere. As an added bonus: It’s now a free-to-play game that everyone on those consoles can enjoy!

Wreckfest 

Switch – June 21 



Wreckfest is a destruction derby simulator with a whole bunch of game modes. There isn’t much to say about it beyond that. If you like the idea of crashing cars into each other, then this is a game to keep on your radar.

Sonic Origins 

PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC – June 23

This is a collection that includes Sonic 1, 2, 3, and Sonic CD in one package. They are remastered with improved visuals and animations and a bunch of other perks (like being able to play as either Tales or Knuckles in any of the games). The original versions of the games are included in the package as well.

Capcom Fighting Collection 

PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC – June 24

This is a massive collection of Capcom fighting games. The cynical among us might assume that This is just a collection of Street Fighter games, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. The collection also includes a number of Dark Stalkers games (some of which were never released in North America), Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, as well as Cyberbots and Red Earth (two fighting games that were never even released on consoles before!) Fighting game fans should keep their eyes peeled for this one.

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes 

Switch – June 24

Fire Emblem is an immensely popular strategy RPG series that, somehow, blends perfectly with the bombastic one vs many combat in Musou games. My oldest is a massive Fire Emblem: Three Houses fan and Three Hopes is presenting an alternate universe story with many of the same characters.

DNF Duel 

PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC) – June 28

DNF Duel is a wild fighting game from ARC System Works where each of the characters are adventuring classes from a dungeon crawler like Ranger and Berseker as opposed to named characters.


What do you think? Are you picking any of these games up this June? 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!

The EFG Essentials

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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 Bros. 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. 

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Platform Game
  • Exclusive

One of the best games from the Wii U can now be played on your Nintendo Switch! This includes the original Super Mario 3D World and adds in a whole new adventure with the Bowser’s Fury add on. Bowser’s Fury is an open world type Mario Game that people of all ages can enjoy. If you have a little one, you can even have them play along with Mario as Bowser Jr.

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.

The 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 and the Forgotten Land

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

Buy Kirby and the Forgotten Land on Amazon.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land

Kirby and the Forgotten Land is, without question, the best game in the franchise. This time around Kirby takes his adventure into 3D and it is a LOT of fun. When it was first revealed everyone assumed that it was going to be an open-world game like Breath of the Wild. It becomes clear very quickly that it shares more in common with Super Mario Odyssey. That’s not a bad thing though! Each level in Forgotten land is beautifully crafted with all manner of secrets to find and challenges to complete.

Kirby games have always been on the easy side and Forgotten Land is no different. It’s perfect for younger kids who are easing into gaming.

Pokemon Legends Arceus

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Platform Game
  • Exclusive

Buy Pokemon Legends Arceus on Amazon.

Pokemon games have shared the same formula for twenty-five years. Arceus bucks that trend by taking players back in time within the Pokemon Universe and serving up an action game. Players go on a wild adventure in the ancient Hisui region during a time before Pokemon trainers were common. Some might think that a break from the norm would be a problem, but Arceus ends up being a refreshing change of pace for longtime fans.

The core gameplay loop in Arceus is very fun. You venture into one of several different biomes within the region and run around capturing pokemon. You do this by sneaking up on them in tall grass and throwing pokeballs. You can even do it on the run! Once you run out of Pokeballs (or your bags are filled up with other materials) you return to base to get credit for the work you have done. Then you resupply and head back out! It’s a great 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 Essentials are reviewed and updated every few months to make sure we have the most current information for our readers. Last updated on 08/01/2021.


The EFG Essential Guide Collections

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

https://engagedfamilygaming.com/parent-resources/efg-essentials-great-video-games-for-kids-on-xbox-one/

https://engagedfamilygaming.com/parent-resources/efg-essentials-great-video-games-for-kids-on-ps4/

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

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Nintendo specializes in family-friendly games and 2021 is no exception. They released a LOT of great games this year AND a new edition of the Nintendo Switch. Below is a list of some of the best!

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond + Shining Pearl

Pokemon Diamond and Pearl launched for the Nintendo DS back in 2006. Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl bring the originals into the modern era including new features and quality of life improvements while maintaining the same story, Pokemon, and overworld map as the original. These games feature a familiar chibi art style while exploring and switch to battle animations akin to Pokemon Sword and Shield. These are must-haves for the Pokemon fans in your home. 

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury

The 2020 release of this exceptional WiiU title is a fantastic addition to your Switch library. This title includes the original Super Mario 3D World and adds in a whole new adventure with the Bowser’s Fury add-on. The addition of Bowser’s Fury, an open-world type Mario Game, is something that people of all ages can enjoy. If you have a little one, you can even have them play along with Mario as Bowser Jr.  If you know someone that loves Mario games, this would be a great addition to any library.

Mario Party Super Stars

Mario Party Super Stars is the 12th home console installment in the Mario Party that has entertained fans for more than two decades. This version contains 100 mini-games that pull from the previous versions of the game and also includes 5 boards from the N64 versions of Mario Party.  If you know someone who enjoys party games this is going to be the one on their list.

Bravely Default II

This turn-based JRPG is the third installment in the Bravely series from Square Enix.  Unlike the previous two installments, this is a completely new storyline with new characters and a new world.  It features several new classes, including a “cat-o-mancer”, and also has a feature that encourages you to take a break from the game in order for your minions to bring back rewards while you get up and move around.  This would be a great addition to someone’s JRPG library.

Miitopia

Miitopia is an RPG where you build a team using Miis (Remember those things we used to make on the Wii and 3DS?). The story is simple and the mechanics are accessible. This is a great introduction to the genre for younger gamers and an opportunity to tell some really funny stories. (Bonus points if you ad Shaq to your team!)

New Pokemon Snap

Released in April 2021 New Pokemon Snap is an on-rails photography game that is the sequel to the 1999 N64 game.  Travel the Lental region and take photos of your favorite Pokemon and add them to your Photodex.  Any Pokemon fans will enjoy this installment and it is a must-have in any collection. 

Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pass

Buy here!

Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pass is getting a little more expensive this year. So the Nintendo fan in your life will appreciate getting this service as a gift. Don’t fret though. This isn’t just a subscription to play games online. It will give them access to some of the best games Nintendo has ever made!

EFG Essentials

If you are looking for more recommendations than what we list here, then check out our Switch essentials list. 

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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Nintendo announced the voice cast for the upcoming Super Mario Bros. animated film during the September Nintendo Direct. It will release in theatres on December 21st, 2022 in partnership with Illumination (The company behind the Secret Life of Pets and the Minions).

The Announcement Video

Miyamoto was on hand to announce the voice cast. Video Source: IGN YouTube

The Cast

The full cast list that has been announced so far is below including links to their respective IMDB pages is below.

Anya Taylor-Joy

Anya will be immediately recognizable as the lead from the Netflix show Queen’s Gambit. I’ll admit. I didn’t give this casting choice a second thought until I watched clips from her role as Gina Gray in Peaky Blinders. I felt like she talked more with her facial expressions and her hands in Queen’s Gambit (which you obviously can’t do while voice-acting). I’m not worried at all after watching her play Gina. It’s going to be fun to watch her play off of Bowser (or at least I assume it will be Bowser. We have no idea what the plot details are).

Princess Peach (voice)
Chris Pratt

Chris Pratt needs no introduction, but it is worth remembering that he has done voice work before. He played Emmet in both LEGO movies.
Mario (voice)
Jack Black

Jack Black’s voice is immediately recognizable and will do a wonderful job bringing Bowser to life. Remember that Bowser is often played off as a somewhat childish and incompetent villain while also being a giant dragon… turtle…. thing. This is perfect casting.
Bowser (voice)
Seth Rogen

Seth Rogen doesn’t often play rules that are suitable for kids. But, He can play the lead role well. If Nintendo is hoping to spin off Donkey Kong movies (which they would be foolish not to), then Seth is a good call.
Donkey Kong (voice)
Keegan-Michael Key

Obama’s Anger Translator is playing Toad.

That’s all I need to say about this.

Toad (voice)
Charlie Day

I didn’t know that I wanted to see Chris Pratt and Charlie Day play off of one another. But I do. I really really do.
Luigi (voice)
Fred Armisen

Fred Armisen is one of my favorite character actor’s from SNL. He does a great job being a guy who is a little out of touch with things… and I can’t wait to see what they do with Cranky Kong.
Cranky Kong (voice)
Kevin Michael Richardson

Kamek is the wizard Koopa that is often seen as a parental figure for Bowser. I never imagined one to have such a deep voice. But, I would listen to Kevin Michael Richardson read the phone book. So this sounds great to me.
Kamek (voice)
Sebastian Maniscalco

I guess they decided to make Spike Italian. Sure! Sounds great to me!
Spike (voice)
Charles Martinet

Charles Martinet has been the voice of Mario for years. So he is being rightfully included in the voice cast as a cameo. I imagine that it will be somewhat like the cameos that Stan Lee did in Marvel movies before his, unfortunate, passing.
(voice)

The Internet Sure Did Have “Feelings” About Chris Pratt

The internet erupted with opinions the second the announcements were made. The biggest rift however was between commenters who had opinions about Chris Pratt and his casting as Super Mario.

The crowd speaking out against him is divided into two camps.

The first group is speaking out against him because of his social views. He is a member of a church that has taken some VERY strong Anti-LGBTQ stances. He hasn’t spoken out in support of these beliefs, but he hasn’t exactly spoken out against them either. I, personally, don’t know what’s going on inside his head. And I have a difficult time judging him for things he hasn’t said, but I can’t blame people who feel that way. Either way, it definitely explains some of the outcries.

The second major group is one that is angry that Nintendo didn’t choose Charles Martinet to be the voice of Mario in the movie since he has been the voice of the character for decades in the video games. I can’t agree with this at all. I love Charles’s work. He has provided the voice for Mario for my entire life. HOWEVER, Mario doesn’t talk in his games. He emotes. He expresses joy, frustration, fear, and excitement. I cannot IMAGINE listening to him actually speak in the Mario accent for 2 hours or more. I think it might actually hurt.

Why Cast Celebrities At All?

I’ve seen this argument pop up online as well and I just find it odd that Super Mario Bros is where we draw the line? This has been done for decades. Major Hollywood studios are far too risk-averse to cast voice actors who are, essentially, no names with the larger public.

Go and test it. Ask on Facebook if any of your friends know who Charles Martinet is. Then do the same with Chris Pratt. The studio’s decision will be pretty clear at this point.

What do you think? Sounds off in the comments.

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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Nintendo has set itself apart in the gaming console world by focusing on accessibility and family games. Features have been added to some games to make them more approachable for younger and inexperienced gamers. The Nintendo library includes many games rated E, but that does not tell you the difficulty rather it only is a measure of the content. The EFG Staff has put together a list of games that are more approachable to young gamers, specifically those who are beginning readers.

Games with Accessibility Features

Super Mario Odyssey

Super Mario Odyssey is one of the best switch games available. Mario is well known and his games are well-loved

Odyssey takes steps to be more accessible by including an assist mode that tells you where to go and gives you more health. One of our editor’s sons played through the game and finished it at around age five. some of the platforming challenges were difficult, but since there were no game overs he never felt defeated. 

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe 

Mario Kart is on this list for two reasons. First, it is an amazing game that everyone will want to play together. Second, unlike past Mario Kart games (I’m looking at you Mario Kart Wii) it has accessibility options that make the game much easier to play. You can turn on an Auto Accelerate, which makes it so you don’t have to hold down the A button to go. Having to hold a button the whole time can be very hard for small hands. Additionally, you can turn on auto-steering. This feature makes it so you cannot go off-road, and it keeps you facing forward. You can have both of these on at once or choose one.

Great Games With Reading Help Required

Pokemon: Let’s Go Pikachu/ Pokemon: Let’s Go Eevee

Kids everywhere recognize Pokémon, with Pikachu and Eevee as some of the most well known. After Pokémon Go had such wide popularity, Nintendo took the feel of that and turned it into a console game. The quests are simple, and the game allows players to just run around, explore, and catch Pokémon. Unlike other Pokémon games, players do not battle their Pokémon to catch them. Instead, they can befriend them by feeding them berries, making them easier to catch with Pokeballs.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is an interesting beast. It is perfect from a content perspective, but the game can be challenging depending on your personal goal within the game. 

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is about making a villager and building a community on a deserted island. You explore collect bugs and decorate. There is no real conflict in the game. All of the characters are friendly, anthropomorphic animals. Each day the player is given a small list of tasks to do. This is a great game to play in short bursts and still feel like you accomplished something. It also teaches kids about lists of tasks by rewarding them for completing said tasks each day.

The real challenge is going to come if more than one person wants to play the game. Each Switch as One island and everyone on that switch shares it; meaning if your five-year-old places a tree in front of your house, the tree will be there when you log on. This means that in order to progress everyone will need to work together. This can be challenging when you have players of different age groups.

Another challenge is that only one player gets to make decisions about the island. That happens to be the first player. One family in the EFG team had their 7 year old start the game before her mother. Due to the design of the game, it meant the 7 year old was the one making decisions and getting to experience the “story” Her mom was frustrated by not being able to do things with the island decision wise and ended up having to log on to 7 year old’s account to make progress the island. The lessons learned have been an asset to other families. Our advice it to carefully plan who is the first one to start Animal Crossing New Horizon. With careful planning the who family can enjoy playing on their island.

Games with Online Play

Nintendo does a great job to try and make their online game experiences as family-friendly as possible. Even with the best precautions, there is always a chance something inappropriate could be missed by the filters. Our recommendation is to just be aware that the filters are not flawless and to proceed with online play with that understanding. The following games have online play as a core component, but all these games have some aspects which can also be played offline.

Minecraft

Any five year old who has had exposure to older kids or youtube will be exposed to minecraft. The survival mode will be too challenging for most, but ht ecreative mode will be just right. The creative mode in minecraft makes you invincible lets you fly and gives you unlimited resources of any typee, this turns minecraft into a sandbox where you can build anything that your iomaginatiuon can cook up..Since all of the blocks in minecraft are the same size minecraft is a great place to learn about patterns and 3 dimensional shapes.

Super Mario Maker 2

Activate creativity by creating your own Mario levels from different Mario editions in this “sandbox” game. There are multiple modes of play including: Make and Play your own Mario Levels, Make Together (on the same screen),Play Together (on the same Switch), Story Mode, Online: Share and Download levels, plus compete or cooperate online too. For younger gamers the story mode, make and play your own levels, and play together are the best starting places. Those are also the safest, since players do not interact with any strangers.

Arms

Fighting games that are family friendly can be extremely hard to find. Arms portrays fighting in a lighthearted and approachable way for players of all ages. There are many different combinations of buttons and motions with the joycons to execute the different fighting moves. While the game walks you through each move once, players can go back and look up moves as they get more comfortable. This is a game that a novice (such as our board game editor ) or young gamer can jump right in an play.

Splatoon2

Splatoon 2 is a shooter that even young kids can play. The Squid kids (Inklings)shoot paint and try to cover the largest area. This competitive game has many new tools that open up the more you play and level up. Additionally, there is the option to play locally or online. This is one that anyone can jump in and play. The local play is a great way to get comfortable with the controls before joining a game online and participating in a turf war.


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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An update will be coming to Animal Crossing: New Horizons that will, FINALLY, allow the transfer of save data between Nintendo Switch Systems. The update is coming on November 19, 2020, and will include two key components: Entire Island Transfers and Resident Moves.

Entire Island Transfer

The update will all players to transfer the entire island ( along with all residents on it) to a new Nintendo Switch system. The island itself along with all progress and customizations, animal neighbors, and the island resident representative will be moved to the new Switch.

This will help families who are replacing a Nintendo Switch. But, make note that you need to have access to both the original system and the new system to do the island transfer. So make sure to do that before you get rid of the old system.

Resident Move (Single Player Transfer)

This announcement was a big surprise. The resident move feature will allow anyone, except the Island Representative, to move their resident and almost all of their progress onto a new island. This will allow all of the families who have been awkwardly sharing an Animal CrossingL New Horizons island to FINALLY play separately.

The things that will transfer to the new system are:

  • The resident
  • The resident’s house
  • Most items the resident is holding
  • Most items the resident has in storage

This is going to be a great help for families that want to move one player onto a new Nintendo Switch.

There are two important caveats:

  1. If there is already an island populated on the new system, then the resident you are transferring will move to that island. In that case, all of that resident’s island progress and their animal neighbors will remain on the original Nintendo Switch.
    1. You must have access to both the original system and the new system to use this feature.

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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