Please rec me games I can play with a kid

Hello, please recommend me some games I can play with my 4-year-old! We're stuck in a rut of first-party Nintendo games.

It's of course not essential that the games be "for kids" specifically. Just rated E. So far we've played several Zeldas and Marios, plus the first two Sonics, Pixeljunk Monsters and Slay the Spire. He did not really like StS because not enough action lol

In general I'm partial to playing games with him that give the viewer a bit of breathing room, e.g., I've thought about putting in Gunstar but am hesitant to expose him to an exploding colors fest like that game is.

Here are the systems we have:

  • - Mega Drive
  • - Famicom
  • - Super Famicom
  • - Nintendo 64 (US)
  • - Playstation (Japan)
  • - PS2 (Japan)
  • - PS3 (US)
  • - Switch
  • I'd really like to play more on Switch with him because it's v convenient. Considering Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom and I want to dive into some of the age-appropriate PS2cular games like Ape Escape. I'd welcome any recs though, I'm sick of Zelda, thanks!

    @tapevulture#3180 the switch Kirby game is adorable & really easy to grasp. the 2nd-4th players follow around the 1st player, but they still feel like actual gameplay. there is a lot of colorful things happening on screen though, but it’s somewhat gentler than gunstar heroes

    i played a game called chameleon twist recently, by sunsoft, for n64. it is a game about the joy of having a very long tongue, and it is very strange with many colors. for little kids, strange games are very good, i think. they produce better memories later in life. just playing the first level is fun, even without any progress, since the tongue does so many things.

    also there is a fc game called gimmick, also by sunsoft, about throwing a star (also riding it). it is a fun physical world, but so different from the physics of mario. everything feels so real, though far away, like watching the dolls squeezed during ufo catchers. each world feels like a different dream.

    I play a lot of the Sonic games that have Tails with my kids young. They love it because they feel that the games themselves are too hard, so Tails’ infinite lives works well for them.

    They have also loved Excite Bike, Kirby Golf and strangely Balloon Fight.

    Especially for younger kids, having the game be less of an abstraction for them helps. Excite Bike is a good example of that since they know what it means to ride a bike and crash.

    If you have a Switch, one absolute masterpiece of accessible local multiplayer is Heave Ho. It’s hilarious, only requires two buttons, and purely about hand coordination in a way that is both impressively intuitive even for first time players, and equally maddening for all kinds of gamers (but in a non-frustrating way) due to how it messes with your brain. I would not even be surprised if the game was eventually found to be great for cognitive development among children. No reading required once you understand the controls, either.

    Possibly slightly above your son’s age group, **Snipperclips** and **The Stretchers** are also favorites among my friends with young kids. They require a bit more involvement and patience, though. Especially Snipperclips.

    Obviously anything Mario or Kirby is a no-brainer. idk how developed your kid’s motor skills are but New Super Mario Bros. on Switch has a casual mode (infinite lives, invincibility, etc.) for individual co-op players. Mario Odyssey also has a “lite” co-op mode where P1 controls Mario and P2 controls his magic cap, hovering around collecting coins and such. Seems like that was pretty much designed with very young players in mind.

    If you have a Switch online subscription you can also download the NES and SNES emulation apps for free, both of which have an okay selection which includes some co-op and multiplayer stuff. Kirby, Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, _Pilotwings_, golf, soccer and tennis games, plenty of beat-em-ups and scrolling shooters, etc.

    it seems like they've played a lot of platformers and zelda-likes so here are a few games i played when i was younger that have a lot of platforming but also have a lot of interesting puzzles or mechanics that still hold up really well

    for the N64:
    -Mystical Ninja: Starring Goemon
    -Mischief Makers

    for Playstation:
    -Brave Fencer Musashi
    -Tomba 2

    for switch games, i second @chazumaru#3184 on Snipperclips and Heave Ho. both great games where it's just as much fun to fail and goof around as it is to succeed!

    Snowboard Kids 1 and 2 for the N64 are excellent multiplayer racing games, hard to find copies of them though.

    @jaws#3181 Thanks, I will try this! May be a possibility for him

    @juiceyjuice#3182 Thanks!

    @antillese#3183 I‘ve never thought to give him the second controller with Sonic 2, will try that, good idea. I’m always yelling at Tails to quit fucking up the special stages so will have to watch for that

    Thanks for these. Might try Heave Ho in a year or so.

    @2501#3186 I didn't know about the co-op mode in NSMB, will look into that, thx~

    @cera#3187 Damn I forgot about Goemon. Had been thinking about Mischief Makers so think I'll go for it. Musashi and Tomba look great as well, thanks!

    @marlfuchs2#3191 I played one of the two Snowboard Kids a ton as a preteen, can't remember which one, thanks for the reminder!

    @tapevulture#3197 You will still want to yell at tails to quit fucking up the special stages, but, you may end up self-censoring that. :rofl:

    I grew up in a childminder‘s house so have a lot of experience entertaining children with PS1/PS2/Wii games…I’m struggling to remember which ones were the big hits with the younger ones tho.

    I remember Smash Bros was a surprise big hit, we had all the nonsense Wii shovelware minigame collections and motion control kid chaff but all anyone wanted to play was Smash Bros with a Gamecube controller. Set stages to ones you can't fall off and don't play with limited stock so they don't get bored/annoyed. Fighting games in general went down well cos it's fun to hit buttons and watch stuff happen, Marvel 2/3 were popular because you could press one button and the whole screen would explode into fireworks.

    Also on the PS2 if you get a set of the Buzz controllers there's a collection of non-quiz show games aimed at kids that are pretty good, I remember the monster one being fun. You play them exclusively with the Buzz controllers which are just four bright coloured buttons and a giant buzzer.

    Ape Escape 3 would be great! That game's bursting with fun ideas and aesthetic choices a kid would love.

    I feel like I have much better answers than this but I'm forgetting them, I might be back later!

    this might be an obvious one but my kids love katamari damacy. the timed levels are tough though, so they mostly play the handful of levels that have the eternal mode.

    @Lesmocon#3244 Great suggestions, thanks!

    @devilsblush#3245 Definitely, that one's on the list