While video games, in general, are a source of entertainment and fun, some video games feature content that isn’t exactly sunshine and rainbows. Like movies, some games feature serious content that’s probably not good for a developing brain.
For example, I wouldn’t recommend games like Manhunt to anyone under 18 because gratifying violence is not healthy at the end of the day. The Arkham series, however, while does feature violence, it is to an acceptable degree, in my opinion.
Now when it comes to online games, the game’s content is as important to filter as is the community of the game. It’s a no brainer that a toxic community will not exactly be great for a kid’s behavior.
A kid-friendly MMORPG, for example, are scarce as a hen’s teeth. Still, any communication over the internet, especially with strangers, should be monitored.
In this list, I have attempted to compile some games that firstly feature content that can be deemed okay for children and secondly have a community with acceptable standards.
Nevertheless, due to obvious stranger danger issues, I have compiled this list with titles with a closed online multiplayer, allowing you to let your children enjoy these games without worry.
1. MapleStory 2
MapleStory 2 is a very popular MMORPG developed by NSquare and released in 2015. The game features a fantasy setting in third-person with graphics similar to Minecraft.
For the most part, MapleStory 2 plays like a standard MMORPG, focusing on levelling the player character and getting better equipment to tackle more challenging enemies.
The violence is toned-down for the most part with typical fantasy combat; in addition, the puzzle-solving aspect of the game encourages cognitive development.
On the other hand, the game is pretty challenging for grown-ups, so it’s not something you play for instant gratification.
Overall while the game’s content is kid-friendly, the mechanics and the meta might be a little too much for a young mind. But being the only true MMORPG that I believe has acceptable content, I think it deserves a spot on the list.
2. Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
Fall Guys is a battle royale with a unique twist, developed by Mediatonic and released in 2020. Unlike other popular battle royales, Fall Guys does away with guns entirely, focusing on round-based minigames to eliminate players.
TV Shows like Takeshi’s Castle inspire the game as players are spawned on various maps with moving platforms and obstacles. The first X number of players to reach the finishing flag move to the next round while other players are eliminated.
This kind of gameplay is not only acceptable for someone young, but also it’s uniquely wholesome, with 60 jelly-beans running and tumbling on their way to the finishing line.
In addition, certain rounds promote teamwork pitting two or three teams against each other. It’s a fun game and recommended for some wholesome family fun.
Hearthstone is a free-to-play online card game developed by Blizzard Entertainment and released in 2014. The game is based on the fantasy setting of WarCraft and draws characters, lore, elements etc., from that world.
The game features a turn-based card game combat where two players attempt to defeat the other’s hero. Hearthstone has a good mix of multiplayer and singleplayer experience with easy to learn hard to master kind of gameplay.
It helps that the game doesn’t feature any violence and gore and makes for a safe, enjoyable and engaging experience. The game itself demands players to use their intelligence and forethought to win games.
While the online play might be intimidating initially, the game is relatively easy to understand and get good at reasonably quickly.
Minecraft is a popular sandbox game developed by Mojang Studios and released in 2011. The game has been called one of the best video games ever made by many people.
While its position on the list might be debatable, it certainly was ground-breaking on release and still features a unique and satisfying gameplay bar none.
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There are many ways to enjoy this game, including private servers where only people you want can join and play with you. The game focuses on survival and requires players to get creative with the world to build shelter and storage for resources.
The game also features a ton of content, keeping the game feeling fresh, and its randomly generated nature allows players to have a new experience every time.
This game is excellent for kids content-wise and gameplay-wise as it encourages problem-solving and players to think outside the box.
5. Portal 2
Portal 2 is a co-op puzzle-platform first-person game developed by Valve and released in 2011. In my opinion, both Portals deserve at least one playthrough by anyone into video games.
It features a thought-provoking narrative with some excellent puzzle-platforming gameplay, thanks to the iconic portal gun.
The game is best enjoyed with a buddy as two players will move from room to room in an attempt to solve puzzles and make their way out of the dreaded Apreature lab.
The game features no violence and has a well-balanced curve; with enough experimentation, players can solve a puzzle easily; the nature of the game also allows for some unconventional solutions, so only your imagination holds you back.
It’s a great game with engaging writing and design and is sure as hell a must-play for people with a knack for puzzle-solving.
6. Forza Horizon 5
Forza Horizon 5 is the latest edition of Microsoft’s ongoing Forza franchise developed by Playground Games and released in 2021.
If you’ve been living under a rock, Forza Horizon 5 is an arcade racing game that features over 500 different vehicles with authentic details as to their performance and even the sound.
The game plays as an MMO with multiple players sharing the same world, but communication can be limited to virtually off, which is always a plus when handing the controller to a little one.
As you can imagine, the gameplay is a lot of fun, and players are not required to grind a lot to get the latest and greatest automobiles, so overall.
Although at the same time, it doesn’t promote any critical thinking or puzzle-solving, it’s still a lot of fun with some speedy cars and a breath-taking view of Mexico.
Overcooked is a one-of-a-kind cooking sim developed by Ghost Town Games and released in 2016.
Players are given charge of multiple chefs as they dodge various obstacles and prepare meals for their customers as fast as possible.
The core gameplay loop involves players juggling numerous tasks such as preparing food, cooking, serving, etc. while racing against a clock to serve as many dishes as possible.
The more the player progresses, the more the game becomes challenging, ensuring players are always on their toes while also not rapidly increasing the difficulty curve.
The game is best enjoyed in co-op with up to 4 players. Additionally, the game also features a competitive option for those looking for competition.
8. Don’t Starve Together
Don’t Starve Together is a co-op 2-D survival game featuring cute hand-drawn graphics in a top-down fashion. The game was developed by Klei Entertainment and released in 2013.
Don’t Starve is a rogue-like survival game where players must try to scavenge resources, stave off enemies, manage their sanity and most importantly, not starve in a rather hostile world where seemingly everything can kill you.
Despite the grim description, the game is overall kid-friendly and rather cute looking for the most part. But, of course, being rogue-like, it’s not exactly an easy game hence my recommendation of the multiplayer expansion.
Nevertheless, Don’t Starve Together can prove to be a great lot of fun and a good bonding experience.
9. Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is another unique puzzle video game developed by Steel Crate Games and released in 2015. The game requires at least one additional player to play but only one device.
The leading player plays as a defuser as he can use their mouse/keyboard or controller to interact with the bomb while the other players are experts and have the bomb manual.
The experts have to guide the defuser to a safe bomb defuse. One mistake, and it goes ka-boom. The instructions are pretty complex, and the game requires clear communication and understanding to beat.
However, it’s a game that promotes teamwork and gets the problem-solving juices flowing for the players as they try to figure out the best way to defuse the bomb.
The game is a lot of fun, especially with family, and the fact that it only requires one device means it’s the perfect living room game.
Plus, the fact that it’s available on virtually all consoles and even Android and iOS makes it a no-brainer pick.
Hopefully, you’ve found what you were looking for in this list. It’s not an easy task to find a game well-suited for kids, depending on your stance.
Of course, games like PUBG and Rainbow Six are not a great pick not only because of their serious content but also the community can be somewhat toxic and requires a certain amount of maturity to deal with.
However, the games I’ve listed have either a toggle switch on comms or are completely private games leading to much safer and happier experiences.