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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 Xbox One.

Minecraft

  • ESRB Rating: E 10+
  • Genre: Survival
  • Also Available On PS4, Xbox One, Everything that can play video games

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 to 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.)

Madden 2021

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Genre: Sports Game
  • Also Available On:PC, PS4

Madden 2021 is the singular NFL title for all your gaming needs. If you are looking for a high quality football simulation with all the applicable NFL licenses this is going to be your go to.

NBA 2K21

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Genre: Sports Game
  • Also Available On:PC, PS4

The NBA 2K games are far and away the most consistent and best performing NBA property on the market today.  This is truly a basketball simulation that allows you to play as any of the current NBA teams, customize your own, or even play as some of the iconic teams of the past.  One final note, for the second year running 2K21 will you to play as any of the twelve teams in the WNBA.

WWE 2K19

  • ESRB Rating: T
  • Genre: Sports Game
  • Also Available On:PC, PS4

In WWE 2K19, you can take your dream of becoming a WWE superstar and make it a reality. With over 200 superstars from throughout WWE’s history to choose from, you and your family will enjoy laying the Smackdown on each other in a family-friendly way. You can choose from legends such as Dusty Rhodes and Brutus “the Barber” Beefcake to current superstars like Bray Wyatt and Seth Rollins. In WWE 2k19, you get the opportunity to play through the career of Daniel Bryan or start up your own company in the WWE Universe mode. WWE 2k19 is the pinnacle in c

New Super Lucky’s Tale

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Genre: Platform Game
  • Also Available On: PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4

An adorable game perfect for families.  This cartoony platformer is the sequel to the original Lucky’s Tale and follows the adventures of a fox, Lucky Swiftail, as you try and protect the Book of Ages and all the characters and worlds within.  The gameplay varies from your standard open level 3D worlds to the occasional puzzle levels and even some 2D side-scrolling just to add flavor. This is wholesome entertainment great for the whole family to enjoy together.

Rocket League

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Genre: Sports Game
  • Also Available On: PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, macOS, Linux

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 trach crashing into a massive steel ball and trying to score a goal. 

The Messenger

  • ESRB Rating: E 10+
  • Genre: Platform Game
  • Also Available On: PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4
Click Image to Purchase

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 the time travel mechanics are rewarding.

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

Steamworld Dig 2

  • ESRB Rating: E 10+
  • Genre: Platform Game/Metroidvania
  • Also Available On: PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, macOS, Linux, Playstation Vita, Nintendo 3DS, Stadia
Click Image to Purchase

Image and Form games is a small game development studio from Sweden. They have made several games in various genres that are feature steam powered robots as the characters. Steamworld Dig 2 is all about … digging. You are constantly digging deeper into a planet in search of resources and secrets. This is a wonderful exploration game that everyone should try! (The rest fo the Steamworld games are worth a look too!)

Overwatch

  • ESRB Rating: T
  • Genre: First-person Shooter
  • Also Available On: PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4

Overwatch is a great alternative for parents looking to let their kids play a multiplayer shooter. It features cartoonish graphics, a diverse cast of characters, and a number of game modes that keep things interesting. One of the things we love about Overwatch is that the cartoonish aesthetic helped keep the ESRB rating down, and makes this more of an Avengers-like experience than a Saving Private Ryan one.

Kingdom Hearts 3

  • ESRB Rating: E 10+
  • Genre: Action Role-playing
  • Also Available On: PS4

Kingdom Hearts 3 is the culmination of a gaming franchise that dates back to the PlayStation 2. The series is a mish-mash of Final Fantasy characters and Disney worlds that has no right to be as good as it is. The story is … complex… but visiting Disney worlds and battling evil monsters is a lot of fun. 

Stardew Valley

  • ESRB Rating: E 10+
  • Genre: Simulation
  • Also Available On: PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Playstation Vita

Stardew Valley is a remarkable game. It is a farming and life simulator where you play as a younger person who inherits a relatives 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. 

Forza Motorsports 7

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Genre: Racing
  • Also Available On: PC

Forza Motorsports 7 is a simulation racer. It is significantly more challenging than its arcade racer cousin Forza Horizon. It is intended to provide a more authentic driving experience. It also happens to be a drop-dead gorgeous racing game that features famous race tracks from around the world. 

Forza Horizons 4

  • ESRB Rating:E
  • Genre: Racing
  • Also Available On: PC

Forza Horizon 4 is an arcade racing game that has so many cars in it, that any car person will have trouble recognizing all of them. The game has an amazing single-player campaign but an even better multiplayer. With the wide range of minigames and races to participate in you will not get bored, you can even customize and design your own cars. 

Final Fantasy XV

  • ESRB Rating: T
  • Genre:Action Role-playing
  • Also Available On: PC, PS4, Stadia

Final Fantasy 15 is coming of age story, as the young prince Noctis grows from a brash teen to an adult and wielder of magic powers. His journey is assisted by three friends that are as much mentors as they are friends, each with stories in their own right. 

With a steady, fast pace in mind, Final Fantasy 15 handles action in the third person view. It has simple commands mapped to the controller ahead of time. Combat happens in real time, players can choose to pause the action for an opportunity to plan and strategize that is an anchor point of the RPG experience. 

FIFA 2021

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Genre: Sports Game
  • Also Available On: PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, Stadia

Soccer (Football for our international readers) is the most popular sport on Earth. It stands to reason then that the digital version would be wildly successful as well. If your kids play soccer, then they likely have this game on their wish lists every year. I can’t say that I blame them. FIFA does amazing work each year in crafting as authentic and fun of an experience that they can.

Ori and the Blind Forest/Ori and the Will of the Wisps

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Genre: Platform Game/Metroidvania
  • Also Available On: PC

We went ahead and put both of these games on the list because, while they are separate games, they are both great. These are a pair of Metroidvania games that tell the story of Ori, a nature spirit, and their adventures through a dangerous, magical land. These are pretty challenging games – not for the easily frustrated – but they are beautiful and would be a great additions to your collection. 

Sonic Mania Plus

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Genre: Platform Game
  • Also Available On: Exclusive

Sonic Mania is a fast-paced action/platformer that brings modern polish to a nostalgic classic. Sonic Mania features Sonic, Knuckles, and Tails (with additional characters in its most recent rerelease) battling their oldest foe Dr. Eggman. It 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 bring all of its fully online. 

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

Celeste

  • ESRB Rating: E 10 +
  • Genre: Platform Game
  • Also Available On: PS4, Nintendo Switch, PC
Click Image to Purchase

In Celeste, you play as Madeline on a quest to survive her inner issues. This game is a platforming game that is really difficult. Each screen poses its own challenges, of which there are 700+ of them! As you learn new skills along the way, the game becomes more complex. As you run, air dash, and climb you will learn more about Madeline and the difficulties that she must face. If you want an even deeper challenge, you can go for all of the strawberries in the level, which require your best platforming abilities. Each world also has a B-side, which is a more difficult version of that world. Overall, Celeste is challenging but is not unforgiving. Anyone who is up to the challenge of a difficult platformer should give it a try!

LEGO Games

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • Genre: Action Adventure
  • Also Available On: PC, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, macOS

From Harry Potter and Star Wars to Marvel and DC, LEGO has consistently captured the imagination of kids 0-99.  The fact that they have been able to do that with their video games has been remarkable. Most of their games follow the same basic format of providing you familiar characters to interact with your environment while collecting blocks either by battling enemies or destroying objects in the world around you.  This has proved a winning formula time and time again and has provided many many hours of entertainment to its fans.

Plants vs Zombies: Battle for Neighborville

  • ESRB Rating: E 10+
  • Genre: Third-Person Shooter
  • Also Available On: PS4

Parents regularly approach the EFG team looking for alternatives to more violent M-rated shooters on the market. We regularly suggest the Plants Vs Zombies Garden Warfare series. This is the latest entry to the series, but any of them are worthy additions to your collection. 

Everything about this game is all bright colors and goofy characters.  There is even a Disco Zombie character! 

No Man’s Sky: Beyond

  • ESRB Rating: T
  • Genre: Survival
  • Also Available On: PC, Xbox One

No Man’s Sky released in 2016 and wasn’t very well received. However, Hello Games has been releasing regular, free updates since launch. It is almost unrecognizable from its original form now. It still has the exploration on mode, but it has base building, a creative mode, multiplayer, and more!

Riverbond

  • ESRB Rating: E 10+
  • Genre: Action Adventure
  • Also Available On: PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4

Riverbond is a four-player drop-in/drop-out cooperative game that is a cross between Gauntlet and Minecraft with very simple controls that consists of attack, ranged attack, special attack, pick up/throw, block and jump. You and your friends slash your way through more than 100 levels, interacting and destroying everything in your path. The combat was easy to pick up and learn while at the same time being complex enough that I think that veteran gamers will be able to stay engaged and happy for quite a long time. I think it was the simplicity of the combat as a whole that is what made this game so great.  There was no need to get used to the controls, we just picked up and played and were able to focus on the game without getting lost in the mechanics of this. This is why I chose this game as my “Game Of The Show” for E3 2017.  It hit all the marks for me.  Family-friendly, easily accessible, and endlessly playable in any environment.

Slime Rancher

  • ESRB Rating: E 10+
  • Genre: Simulation
  • Also Available On: PC, PS4, macOS, Linux

In Slime Rancher you play a space-faring explorer who has landed on a planet filled with adorable bouncing slimes of different colors. The goal is to capture them, place them in enclosures, breed them, and collect resources they drop to expand your settlement. 

This is an adorable exploration game that is a great idea for kids looking for a temporary alternative to Minecraft. 

HALO 5: Guardians

  • ESRB Rating: T
  • Genre: First Person Shooter
  • Also Available On: PC

The HALO franchise has never appeared as a recommended game on this site due to its M rating with the ESRBHALO 5: Guardians, however, is the first time in the series that has a T rating.  The conscious decision to create a game with a T rating finally brings this to our table for a larger cross-section of the population is amazing and if you own an Xbox One you need this game in your library.

Minecraft Dungeons

  • ESRB Rating: E 10+
  • Genre: Action Role-playing
  • Also Available On: Nintendo Switch, PS4, PC

Take Diablo but make it Minecraft. Sounds stupid but it makes a really good game. With infinite possibilities for weapons due to the enchanting system, and plenty of different ways to tackle every problem, and a very in-depth difficulty system. Minecraft Dungeons makes a great game for all ages.

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 there is no blood and most of the action is over the top and silly as opposed to bloody and realistic.

The EFG Essentials are reviewed and updated every few months to make sure we have the most current information for our readers. Last updated 11/7/20.

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!

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 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 board 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 for their kids.

We’ve made four lists – one for each major gaming console, and a fourth for board games.

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!

Follow us on Facebook!

Like us on Twitter!

Follow us on Instagram!

Subscribe to our Newsletter!Subscribe to our Podcast!

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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you are confused by and we will try to include them in future editions!


The gaming definition this week is a term that is applicable to both video games and board games: Polyomino.

A Polyomino is a geometric shape made up of a group of equal squares touching on their edges.

These shapes are very important to the game design world because of all the different ways that they can be pieced together into a bigger puzzle.

The best, and most popular, example is Tetris. In Tetris, five different polyominoes that each contain four equal squares (called tetrominoes) fall from the top of the screen. Players are tasked with interlocking them at the bottom of the screen with as few holes as possible. Any complete rows that the player creates are cleared from the board as a reward.

The shapes in Tetris even have names. There was a meme that flew around in the last year or so that came just short of personifying them, but their names are straightforward.

  • Square
  • L
  • Skew
  • T
  • Straight

Polyominoes are also quite popular in the board game space. Part of this is because their shapes make great plastic and cardboard components. Their flat surfaces are also a great place to showcase interesting artwork or bright colors. The design reason is simple. The number of different available shapes is relatively small (especially if they are all made of a smaller number of equal squares), and the number of ways that they can be interlocked is vast. This leads to wide variety in game play situations.

Suggested Activities

Polyominoes are a great learning tool and there are all sorts of activities on the web that you can do with your kids.

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

You can also look at our other video game definitions from previous weeks here!

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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Here are all the video game releases rated E-T by the ESRB that are releasing between November 1st through November 7th.

Tuesday, November 3rd

  • Bakugan: Champions of Vestrola- Switch
  • Dirt 5- PS4, Xbox One
  • Faeria- PS4
  • Gunslugs- Switch
  • Hunting Simulator 2- Switch
  • Jurassic World Evolution: Complete Edition- Switch
  • L.O.L Surprise Remix: We Rule the World- Switch
  • My Universe: School Teacher- PS4, Xbox One, Switch
  • Roah- Switch
  • Tauronos- Switch
  • Tennis World Tour 2- Switch

Wednesday, November 4th

  • Autobahn Police Simulator 2- Xbox One
  • Pick me up: Rescue Rangers- Switch
  • Switch ‘N’ Shoot- Xbox One

Thursday, November 5th

  • Cafe Enchante- Switch
  • Crazy BMX World- Switch
  • Fantasy Tavern Sextet Vol. 1: New World Days- Switch
  • Grey Skies: A War of the Worlds Story- PS4, Xbox One
  • Iris and the Giant- Switch
  • Knights and Bikes- Xbox One
  • My Little Dog Adventure- Switch
  • Seven Knights: Time Wanderer- Switch
  • Tens!- Switch
  • What the Fork- Switch
  • YesterMorrow- PS4, Xbox One, Switch

Friday, November 6th

  • Chess Minimal- Switch
  • Crystal Ortha- Xbox One
  • Descenders- Switch
  • Memoranda- Switch
  • Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered- PS4, Xbox One
  • Paw Patrol: Mighty Pups Save Adventure Bay- PS4, Xbox One, Switch
  • Pokemon Shield + Pokemon Shield Expansion Pass- Switch
  • Pokemon Sword + Pokemon Sword Expansion Pass- Switch
  • Red Rope: Don’t Fall Behind+- Switch
  • Speed 3: Grand Prix- Xbox One
  • Tropico 6- Switch

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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Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you are confused by and we will try to include them in future editions!


This week the EFG staff is going to define the term “Invincibility Frames!”

Invincibility Frames are a short period of time, lasting one frame of animation, often after the player has suffered an error or negative consequence, where players can briefly not suffer the same or similar consequence.

For the every day gamer, invincibility frames allow for players to have a moment to collect themselves after an unlucky sequence of play. Getting hit by a red shell in Mario Kart or coming back to the stage after losing a life in Smash Brothers Ultimate will both result in a moment where the you can get back into the game without other players effecting you.

This is a video that teaches how to create Invincibility Frames in GameMaker, but it also serves to explain how it all works.

Invincibility frames are often indicated visually, with the character briefly flashing a different color or becoming transparent. Occasionally, there might also be a sound effect such as when Mario shrinking down from his mushroom power.

In more advanced play, players may injure themselves intentional to use their invincibility frames to their advantage during play. This is often referred to as “Damage Boosting.”

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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Here are all the video game releases rated E-T by the ESRB that are releasing between October 11th and October 17th.

Tuesday, October 13th

  • Forgone- Xbox One, Switch
  • G.I. Joe: Operation Blackout- PS4, Xbox One, Switch
  • Monster Truck Championship- PS4
  • NHL 21- PS4, Xbox One
  • Prinny: Can I Really Be a Hero?- Switch
  • Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood!- Switch
  • Prinny 1-2: Exploded and Reloaded- Switch
  • Red Wings: Aces of the Skies- Xbox One
  • Robotics; Notes Dash- PS4, Switch
  • Robotics; Notes Elite- PS4, Switch
  • Robotics; Notes Double Pack- PS4, Switch
  • Torchlight III- PS4, Xbox One

Wednesday, October 14th

  • Cook, Serve, Delicious 3?!- Xbox One, Switch
  • Shadow Gangs- Xbox One
  • Vigil: The Longest Night- Switch

Thursday, October 15th

  • Along the Edge- Switch
  • Alpaca Ball: Allstars- Switch
  • Batbarian: Testament of the Primordials- Switch
  • Burst Shooter- Switch
  • Cake Bash- PS4, Xbox One
  • Castle of No Escape- Switch
  • Doodle God: Evolution- PS4
  • Dustoff Z- Switch
  • Hardcore Mecha- Switch
  • Raji: An Ancient Epic- PS4, Xbox One
  • Ring of Pain- Switch
  • Shantae: Risky’s Revenge Director’s Cut- Xbox One, Switch
  • Shoot 1UP DX- Switch
  • Space Crew- PS4, Xbox One, Switch
  • The Jackbox Party Pack 7- PS4, Xbox One, Switch
  • This is the Zodiac Speaking- PS4, Xbox One, Switch
  • Tricky Spider- Switch

Friday, October 16th

  • 9 Monkeys of Shaolin- PS4, Xbox One, Switch
  • Crown Trick- Switch
  • Mario Kart Live Home Circuit- Switch
  • Truck Driver- Switch
  • Two Parsecs From Earth- Switch
  • Zoids Wild Blast Unleashed- Switch

Jeff’s Pick of the Week

My pick of the week goes to Nintendo’s newest “entry” in the Mario Kart franchise. There has always been remote controlled Mario Kart cars, but never ones that interacted with an app on a video game console. This is such a neat idea! My only concern is that people are not going to have enough space to set up the racetracks. It looks like you have to use all four of the arches, which I know will not fit in the living room of my house. Also, all videos show it working on hardwood floors. I’m curious to see how it will respond on carpet. Nevertheless, I’m super excited for the people who can get it to work in their houses!

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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Here are all the video game releases rated E-T by the ESRB that are releasing between October 4th and October 10th.

Monday, October 5th

  • Danger Gazers- Switch
  • RIDE 4- PS4, Xbox One
  • Space Grunts- Switch

Tuesday, October 6th

  • 9th Dawn III: Shadow of Erthil- PS4, Xbox One, Switch
  • Agatha Christie’s The ABC Murders- Switch
  • Charterstone: Digital Edition- Switch
  • FIFA 21- PS4, Xbox One, Switch
  • Foregone- PS4, Switch
  • From Orbit- Switch
  • Hidden Objects Collection- Switch
  • Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix- PS4, Xbox One, Switch

Wednesday, October 7th

  • Shmubedi Boo- Switch

Thursday, October 8th

  • Adventures of Chris- Switch
  • Aery: Sky Castle- Xbox One, Switch
  • Falcon Age- Switch
  • Filament- Switch
  • Flipon- Switch
  • Game Dev Tycoon- Switch
  • Ghost of a Tale- Switch
  • Home: Postmortem Edition- Switch
  • I am Dead- Switch
  • Ikenfell- PS4, Xbox One, Switch
  • Mortal Blitz: Combat Arena- PS4
  • Neighbours Back From Hell- Switch
  • Puddle Knights- Switch
  • Skatemasta Tcheco- Switch
  • The Ramen Sensei- Switch
  • Tiki Brawl- Switch
  • Torn Tales: Rebound Edition- Switch
  • WarriOrb- Switch

Friday, October 9th

  • Ben 10: Power Trip- PS4, Xbox One, Switch
  • Street Racer Underground- Switch
  • The Survivalists- PS4, Xbox One, Switch

Jeff’s Pick of the Week

There is a lot coming out this week, but again nothing too big. I’m giving my vote this week to Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2 and hoping that they can right the wrong from the previous entry in the series. The first game in the series only had about 12-15 characters to choose from. This time there are 30 characters to race as and 70 that you can choose as your pit crew. This allows you to pick from 100 different Nickelodeon characters. With 28 different tracks, there are a lot of choices in this game! That is why my pick for this week will be Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix!

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 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!

The EFG Essentials

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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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We’ve been waiting a long time for a proper Nintendo Direct. It looks like we’ll have to wait a little longer, but we DID get a big news drop with the release of a Super Mario Bros. 35th Anniversary Direct. It was 16 minutes long and was loaded with Super Mario Bros. news.

The Video

The Video Games

Super Mario 3D All-Stars

This was the biggest announcement from the direct. It isn’t perfect, but its a great package that includes Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy (just the first one). It will only be available for a handful of months so you’ll want to make sure you pick it up.

Optimized versions of 3D Mario games Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy are coming to Nintendo Switch in one package. In addition to having higher resolutions than their original versions, the games have been optimized for a smooth gameplay experience on Nintendo Switch. Super Mario 3D All-Stars also includes an in-game music-player mode to play the music and songs from all three games. Players can also listen to music on their Nintendo Switch systems when the screen is off. A limited production of Super Mario 3D All-Stars launches exclusively for the Nintendo Switch family of systems on Sept. 18 and will be available until approximately March 31, 2021.

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit

I have no idea how to feel about this. I think it looks amazing. This is the evolution of the toys-to-life genre that we needed. But, I’m not sure how well it will work. This is a remote controlled car that you control with your Switch. You can theoretically build tracks and race Koopa kids on those tracks. It all sounds amazing, but I’m going to need to see this in person before I’m sold.

Created in partnership with Velan Studios, Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit brings the fun of the Mario Kart series into the real world by using a Nintendo Switch or Nintendo Switch Lite** system to race against opponents using a physical Kart. The physical Kart responds to boosts in-game and in the real world, stops when hit with an item and can be affected in different ways depending on the race. Players place gates to create a custom course layout in their home, where the only limit is their imagination. Race against Koopalings in Grand Prix, unlock a variety of course customizations and costumes for Mario or Luigi, and play with up to four players in local multiplayer mode.*** Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit, which is available in a Mario Set or Luigi Set, launches on Oct. 16 at a suggested retail price of $99.99.

Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros.

This is cute. It’s a handheld device that includes, essentially, a new version of Super Mario Bros. There are 35 easter eggs and tweaks added to the game. I don’t think this will be worth the $49.99 for anyone but the most hardcore collectors, but this is neat to look at.

This new collectible device is inspired by the original Game & Watch systems first released in 1980. The original handheld device included a game, and could also be used as a watch to tell time. The original Game & Watch series sold more than 43 million worldwide. Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. features a modern +Control Pad. In addition to playing classic games Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels (released in Japan as Super Mario Bros. 2) and a special version of Ball with a Mario makeover, Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. also functions as a clock, with 35 little touches to discover, including some guest appearances from Mario’s friends and foes. Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. launches on Nov. 13 at a suggested retail price of $49.99.

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury

Super Mario 3D World has been overlooked for years because it came out for a console that no one owned (The Wii U). I’ve been waiting for a port since the Switch launched because it could breathe new life into it. You don’t want to sleep on this game. It is an amazing 3d platformer and a great party game. Our kids spent a lot of time playing it on the Wii U and we’re excited to give it another go with new content.

Multiplayer mayhem pounces onto Nintendo Switch! This enhanced of Super Mario 3D World, which originally launched for the Wii U system, features co-op gameplay both online* and through local multiplayer in a variety of creative levels. Additional details about what new things this game has to offer will be revealed later. Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury launches for Nintendo Switch on Feb. 12, 2021. New amiibo figures Cat Mario and Cat Peach will also be released at the same time as the game.

Super Mario Bros. 35

Tetris 99 is one of my favorite games of the last few years. I never thought I would be a battle royale fan, but it turns out that I am a sucker for a unique way of applying the genre. Nintendo is releasing another battle royale version of an NES classic on October 1st with Super Mario Bros. 35. Players will play levels that START like they are from Super Mario Bros. on the NES against 34 other players. Defeating enemies sends them to your opponent’s screens. Racing through levels increases your chances of winning. This sounds like it is going to be glorious chaos. The only potential downside is that this is going to be a limited experience. The game will be going away on March 31, 2021.

Welcome to Super Mario Bros. … with 35 players! In this competitive online battle game, 35 players will compete to be the last Mario standing … or running. Enemies defeated will be sent to other players’ courses, but that also works the other way around! Players can activate special items to try and outpace their opponents. Super Mario Bros. 35 launches on Oct. 1 as a digital-only game exclusive to Nintendo Switch Online members.* The game will be playable until March 31, 2021.

Super Mario All-Stars

This is one of the best collections of games ever made. Its certainly the best SNES cartridge ever released. Bringing it to the Switch Online games list is pretty great idea. Its already available to subscribers so go… drop what you’re doing and play!

The classic Super NES game that includes upgraded versions of Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, Super Mario Bros. 2 and Super Mario Bros. 3 with enhanced 16-bit graphics is joining the catalog of games available with Nintendo Switch Online … later today!*

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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