With the global pandemic continuing to sweep our ideas for entertaining the little ones under the rug, we’re left to scrounge for ways to keep them busy. And, let’s face it — with the summer holidays on the horizon and still no gleaming light at the end of the tunnel — those days are about to stretch out a whole lot wider. That said, even in the dullest times as we gloss over our blank agendas with nothing to add, there is still that alternative method of escape that never quite abandons us. Of course, we’re talking about video games.
Luckily for us, the likes of Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Now host plenty of magical adventures on their evolving libraries. With a little something for everyone, you can rest assured that your little one, whatever the age, will find happiness through one of the many titles available. For now, however, we’re going to narrow it down to just five. And so, for when the days do slump into monotonous hours that hardly budge — you can always resort to these entries to help sway the tide.
5. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
If you or anyone else in the family tree has picked up a Nintendo Switch at any point in the last four years — then you’ve probably already poured enough hours in Animal Crossing: New Horizons as it is. If not, however, then let us enlighten you of its complete and utter enchantment. Of course, it goes without saying that the latest instalment of the franchise is, without a doubt, the closest Nintendo has gotten to perfection under their own unique life simulation domain. But let us shed some light on that.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons definitely doesn’t reinvent the wheel with its concept. But it does, however, make the mechanisms flow smoother and even embelishes them with all the dazzles one could want in a video game. Tom Nook is back and busier than ever with an entire new checklist of things for you to do. And, as the newbie on the block with a whole island to forge — it is up to you and your creative edge to build, evolve and establish whatever your imagination allows. Failing that, then you could always settle for fishing or picking pears from dawn ’til dusk.
4. The Sims 4
There’s something awfully satisfying about replicating your family in a video game, isn’t there? I mean, it’s one thing creating your digital self and entering a new and exciting world on-screen — but being able to fuse the very things that make you tick in reality into your second persona? Now that’s a serious step up from what we’re used to in this industry, and something The Sims has most definitely excelled in for years now.
There’s no doubt about it, The Sims 4 is one of the greatest life simulation games on the market. And let’s be honest, it’s definitely a time-turner for those rainy days when everything outside has just about soaked through. Plus, with the amount of content that pours from every fleshed out expansion, it’s also something we, as players, can get lost in for days without thinking twice. Although The Sims is aimed at the teenage demographic, there are plenty of things a younger gamer can enjoy with a parent as the co-pilot. Building homes is, of course, the bulk of it. But then there’s character creation, exploring the entire city and establishing long-lasting friendships with others. So, plenty to keep those hours ticking over!
3. Planet Coaster
If creativity is what keeps you pouring hours into video games — then might we suggest Planet Coaster? Of course, we’ve seen our fair share of coaster tycoon games over the years, and chances are, you’re wondering what could possibly be any different in this entry? Well, to put it plainly — Planet Coaster is, without a doubt, the best park management game we’ve ever seen. Not only is the customization of every element plentiful — but also the potential that oozes from every corner of your newly-established domain, too.
Of course, Planet Coaster does expect you to build some of the most death-defying rides on the planet. But apart from that, there is actually so much more the game urges you to explore. Building a park from scratch has never been more satisfying, and it’s incredibly easy to get absorbed on one thread of the game before choosing to progress. Shovel in slideshows, firework displays, lifelike animatronics — and essentially anything you can possibly rustle up in that head of yours. However you choose to do it — just make sure it’s seeping with thrills.
2. Zoo Tycoon
If either you or your little one has ever dreamt of opening a bustling zoo with all of the animals imaginable filling its corners — then perhaps it’s time to enrol as an aspiring zookeeper in Zoo Tycoon. Whether you’re looking to construct the most magnificent central hub for the animal kingdom known to mankind, or just wanting to settle for a cosy cub collective in a tranquil region — Zoo Tycoon hands you the keys to build as you see fit.
As you establish your brand new home that breathes wildlife through the very nooks and crannies of every quarter, both you and your co-pilot will learn what it takes to maintain a successful business. With park management and maintaining an overall connection with the public being a major role in the day to day life as a zookeeper, the duties of being a boss are most definitely alive and kicking. That said, you could always drive the game into sandbox mode and let your creativity do the rest. Either way — you’re in for a whale of a time.
1. Disneyland Adventures
Prepare to embark on the most wondrous journey that will have that little gamer of yours bouncing with joy. Disney fan or not, both you and the little player in the house are set for some truly magical adventures — all of which radiate pure delight and blissful moments. With almost every Disney character ranging from the early 40s to the late noughties making an appearance, Disneyland Adventures is perhaps the finest all-in-one package you could possibly pick up.
Disneyland Adventures replicates the beloved resort as seen in Florida, Orlando. That means that, whether you’re a frequent visitor to the park or not — you’re handed unlimited access to explore the world as you please. With the ability to scour each district of all its coin and wondrous tales, Disneyland opens up like never before. And it’s all yours for the taking. Collect autographs, round up the entire Disney roster, try your hand at the endless spool of mini-games and hidden adventures. Hold Disney in the palm of your hand — and then some.