Family games are universally appealing based on ages, interests, and more often, game-playing ability. The Wii was a beacon for non-gaming types to place a little white box next to their TiVo, and now it’s the Nintendo Switch that flies the flag for gaming families – hardcore or casual.
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With over 500+ games in our Switch library, a lot of these are family-based games. What we adults may turn our nose at, our kids (and our parents) may love. The following list is a growing collection of suggestions for your next purchase. They may not rate highly on whatever critic site you rely on, but for the common gamer, read on.
The Best Family Games On Switch
A staple for Nintendo Switch users who’ve just purchased a unit and want to showcase what the joy-con can do. Well, it has potential, and as the games come through thick and thin, they’ll all be using HD rumble and the like.
Alas, later games haven’t utilised all the features. 1-2 Switch was one of our first purchases in 2017, and it very much is a novelty title that gets dusted off whenever the grandparents come over or anyone else who thinks gaming is mindnumbing until they see how interactive it can be. Not a flagship title, but one of convenience and in small doses.
10 Second RETURNS
Quick-fire, 10-second runs. That’s it. Even the characters are stick figures, with no defining backgrounds or complicated character designs or controls.
All you need to do is get your character to the goal (alive) within the fastest time possible. If you’re really good, you’ll be able to collect all three stars on each stage, but chances are your kids will love watching the other one fall to their death each time. And this is supposed to be the best family games on Switch… next up: Mortal Kombat.
Not many games can claim to be as tranquil as ABZÛ. Dive deep into the ocean and explore undiscovered locations without a care in the world. This game is the epitome of a chill game as you can even meditate underwater. Who needs lungs?
The game has been out for a while now on multiple platforms, but if you want to calm the kids down and get them to drop the matches, this under the sea adventure, without any lyrics, is the natural sedative. Don’t read into that – it won’t put you to sleep.
Alpaca Ball Allstars
As a football game fan, Alpaca Ball Allstars was another of those titles worth a punt. Visually, it’s like a family bag of Skittles chewed up and then spat onto a unicorn excreting rainbows – lots of colours, very vivid and pleasing to the eye.
Playing the game with extended necks and four-legged top-hat wearing primadonnas just isn’t cricket, however, and possibly one of the reasons why a review hasn’t materialised. On the other hand, my kids love this, so if the offside rule is irrelevant and they want a little story too, consider it. For them, not you.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Purchase last year in April, and my eldest is still playing this. While others are on YouTube bursting their eardrums to screaming streamers, she’s loitering on Nookazon.
The youngest? She has a house but more interested in customising her character or pinching her sister’s coconuts. Not a euphemism. Do I need to say much more on this title? You already had it/watched hours of streaming on YouTube.
Educational and fun, BodyQuest, from Didactoons, will teach new vocabulary to both kids and adults alike in this adventure where you have to save your friend from an extra-terrestrial disease by entering his body.
Before that sounds like after the watershed material, it’s more Inner Space, as your crew shrink down to the size of a gnat’s testicles then explore the body, collating data and then tested on their knowledge. The reward? Character customisations – yay!
A little challenging for younger kids, though they’ll be humming the theme tune and….bugging you for weeks, Bug Academy is an enjoyable game for most of the family.
Using superhuman (or is it superfly?) strength, your various species of bugs will fly through multiple terrains, hauling some bulky goods within different time limits. These guys are the kind you need when you move home. As long as you don’t have any valuables.
Comic Coloring Book
RedDeer Games are a publisher that will frequently show up on this site and this list as they make some fantastic family-friendly titles available on the Switch (Under Leaves, for example).
Comic Coloring Book (spelt without the ‘U’ – the swines!), does what it says in the title: you colour in some pictures from a comic book panel. This isn’t for The Hulk fans or Batman, instead an adventure featuring two characters and a recurring robot.
Our 4-year-old can’t seem to put this down at the moment. Is it the cute visuals, chill soundtrack or the mayhem involved in swallowing up the town and its inhabitants so that you can get the latest quadcopter?
All of the above. But perhaps more importantly, it’s so incredibly easy to play, directing an ever-growing hall that eats everything up inside. Granted, she’s not finished it (I found it mildly challenging to the end), but it’s harmless stuff.
There will be many repeating titles in my lists if you’ve been on the site before, and Drawful 2 is one of them. One of those impulse buys in the Nintendo eShop sales, it proved to have a lot of longevity. It’s one of our go-to games for the family and when entertaining guests.
In short, each player connects to the ‘room’ through a mobile, tablet or computer. They’re given a phrase to illustrate with two colours, then the other players have to guess what it is. All those answers get thrown into a pot, and each person chooses the best one/which one they think is the answer. The one with the most points has to buy donuts. I mean, wins.
Another one from the RedDeer Games collection, this hidden object game preceded Little Mouse’s Encyclopedia. Travel the world and witness animals in their natural habitat while searching for objects embedded in the vivid illustrations.
Definitely, a chill game that anyone can pick up. There is a hint system, but you have to solve a sliding puzzle first. Little ones might need a booster; otherwise, it’s a very accessible family title.
Untitled Goose Game
If you haven’t heard or played Untitled Goose Game yet, you’re missing out. Made famous by practically every YouTuber, I caved on this one after seeing Dunkey and Felix play this.
Even after finishing this with no further achievements, we still keep returning to it, and it’s one of the few titles my eldest has completed on their own. The youngest still can’t get past the allotment, but she loves it. Have a gander.
Use Your Words
The go-to game family game on the Switch since we purchased it back in 2017? This a variety game where you have to fill in the missing words – usually going for the one that is most likely to make the other players vote for you. Expect lots of poos and farts in the responses, and that’s just the adults.
As with Drawful 2 and the title below, all players require either a mobile, tablet or computer to log into the shared room online; they then need to type in their responses and vote accordingly. It’s cheesy as anything, but it’s as much fun based on who you’re playing with.
What The Dub?!
Very similar to Use Your Words, What The Dub?! is another missing words party game where you have to enter your response and vote using a mobile, tablet or computer.
Unlike the other title, What The Dub?! is the same type of sequence. You’re shown a movie clip and have to enter the dialogue at the end of a scene. The differences here? Your responses output by a Siri type, plus you can add sound FX. Just be sure to set the rules on usage as the game goes downhill with younger abusing the sounds.
Yay – a Team17 title. Worms Rumble is the Worms game we play most, but when it comes to the Switch, you can’t go wrong with Worms W.M.D. – a seemingly endless source of entertainment when having three or more players involved.
Surprisingly this strategy title keeps the younger ones engaged because of the silly voices, explosions and cute animals. I mean, who doesn’t want to have a sheep exploding in their face? Really? You haven’t lived…