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Often Overlooked Family Games

Family gaming has been a “thing” since I started writing about games around the time of the Wii. We all know about Minecraft, Roblox, Mario, Fortnite and FIFA. However, these are just the tip of the iceberg of games perfectly poised for you to enjoy with your family.

We’ve worked with video game website Kotaku and one of its writers, John Walker, who runs the Buried Treasure site, to unearth some games you may have overlooked for your family. Kotaku (a made-up word combining "ko" meaning small and "otaku" meaning geek) has covered specialist video news since 2005. Buried Treasure exists to highlight great, interesting, bizarre or downright silly games that you’d otherwise likely miss.

This list highlights games you may have not discovered or considered as good for your family:

  • Weird: Games like Chuchel and Nuts offer a peculiar and intriguing way to discover an unusual world and story.
  • Collaboration: Games like Minecraft Dungeons, Ibb and Obb, Wilmot’s Warehouse and It Takes Two offer different ways to work together to progress by playing and talking together.
  • Mechanics: Games like Lonely Mountains Downhill and Boomerang X are experiences driven by learning intuitive controls. They are designed to let the player become one with the game, while also ensuring they are approachable for the newcomer.
  • Emotions: Games like Alba: A Wildlife Adventure and Rainbow Billy offer new ways to share the emotional landscape of characters. These head into identity territory at the player’s pace, without being heavy-handed.
  • False Start: Games like Vane or No Man’s Sky had a troubled initial release, but were either enhanced or fixed soon after. They are worth revisiting for the polished experience.
  • Older Rated: Games like Overboard or Spelunky 2 are rated higher in some territories because of gambling content. These are great games to play together as a family that you may have ruled out because of the ratings.
  • Impenetrable: Games like Sea of Thieves, Kingdom Two Crowns or Terraria can seem confusing and complex when you first start, but persevere and you discover expansive experiences that your family will love playing together.

This list includes 16 games from the last 9 years, with 859 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to play unusual games with your family.

DetailsList Details

PEGI Ratings: PEGI 3 to PEGI 18
ESRB Ratings: ESRB EVERYONE to ESRB TEEN
Australian Ratings: G to M
Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Platform, Point-and-Click, Puzzle, Race, Rhythm, Role-Play, Sequencing, Shooting, Simulation, Sports, Stealth and Strategy
Total Likes: 859
 

 

Vane

Release Date: 15/01/2019, updated in 2019

Platforms: PC and PS4

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Vane is an ethereal adventure in a ruined desert where strange golden dust transforms a free-spirited bird into a determined young child. The premise is not all that uncommon, but Vane stands out for how you soar over the dessert and climb your way...

Boomerang X

Release Date: 08/07/2021

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Boomerang X is a shooting platform game where you explore worlds and fight enemies with a boomerang-like shuriken weapon. Unusually, you can warp to your boomerang once thrown meaning you can slice, fly, and blast through arenas swarming with evil...

Wilmot's Warehouse

Release Date: 29/08/2019

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Wilmot's Warehouse is a game for people who like to organise things. You are in charge of a warehouse and must manage 100s of items of stock. These identical square boxes are labelled with rudimentary icons. On your own or with another player, you must...

Lonely Mountains Downhill

Release Date: 22/10/2019

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Race down a mountain on a bike. Make your way through thick forests, narrow trails and wild rivers. Race, jump, slide and try not to crash all the way from the peak to the valley. You choose your route to find the fastest way to the finish line.

Overboard

Release Date: 02/06/2021

Platforms: Android, PC, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Overboard is a murder mystery narrative game played in reverse. You murder your husband at the start of the game and then try and get away with it. It's played on a ship where the characters are affected by your choices and change their actions...

Nuts

Release Date: 20/01/2021

Platforms: PC, Switch and iPhone, iPad

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Nuts is an adventure game where you play a rookie field researcher. You use your camera, caravan, GPS and map to investigate the depths of the enigmatic Melmoth Forest. As you study the local squirrel population you uncover a strange mystery.

It Takes Two

Release Date: 26/03/2021, updated in 2022

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

It Takes Two is a running, jumping and exploring game that tells a story of a young girl, Rose, whose parents are divorcing. The girl creates two dolls to represent her parents, which unexpectedly trap the clashing-couple in them. You and a friend...

Sea of Thieves

Release Date: 20/03/2018

Platforms: PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Sea of Thieves is an online game where you are a pirate searching for treasure and adventure. Cast into a large open sea you work with other online players to crew your ship and find treasure. The game has a main story but really focuses on creating...

Rainbow Billy

Release Date: 05/10/2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Rainbow Billy: The Curse of the Leviathan is a role-play adventure where you save the world from a colourless darkness. Unusually, battles are won through listening and conversation rather than traditional attacks. It combines the excitement and...

Kingdom (Series)

Release Date: 21/10/2015

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

In this retro-look strategy game, you must defend your town from the nightly attack of zombies as you develop your technology and civilisation day-by-day. But unlike other tower-defence games – where you set up defences and fend off waves of attacking...

Terraria

Release Date: 25/11/2013, updated in 2019

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS, Amazon Fire, Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, Stadia, Switch, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Terraria looks like a 2D, lesser, version of Minecraft. However, this is a game every bit as complex and creative as the better-known block building game. To the world-crafting and survival it adds hundreds of items to collect, characters to defeat and...

No Man's Sky

Release Date: 10/08/2016, updated in 2018

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

No Man's Sky is a space simulation about exploring endless planets and galaxies. It invites you to take your spaceship to explore and colonise a universe rich with diverse planets, creatures and fauna. Facing so vast a space is daunting at first, but a...

Alba: A Wildlife Adventure

Release Date: 11/12/2020

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iPhone, iPad

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

Alba: A Wildlife Adventure is an adventure game where you play as a young girl who starts a wildlife conservation club. When Alba visits her grandparents on a Mediterranean island, she is excited for a summer of exploring with her friend Ines. But when...

Minecraft Dungeons

Release Date: 26/05/2020

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

Minecraft Dungeons is an action-adventure game that takes place in the Minecraft universe. You explore various dungeons to complete missions and collect new gear by exploring and finding treasure chests, or by defeating enemies....

Chuchel

Release Date: 07/03/2018

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 2+ year-olds

Chuchel is a comedy adventure game. You play hairy hero Chuchel and his rival Kekel to solve simple puzzles and challenges in their quest to retrieve the precious cherry. It looks like a children's storybook animation with strange, peculiar creatures.

Spelunky 2 (Series)

Release Date: 29/09/2020

Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Spelunky 2 is, like the classic Spelunky, a running and jumping game where you exploring mysterious caves on the moon looking for your missing parents. On your journey, you will find unique environments, treasure, and people to join you as you delve...

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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