What are the best Xbox kids games? As the parent or primary carer of young kids who've recently got their hands on an Xbox One, Series X or Series S, or are beginning to show an interest in gaming in general, it can be pretty tough to know exactly what games out there are suitable for them to play. You're looking for titles that aren't going to shock or disturb, that won't see them exposed to online harassment and that also provide a level of fun and entertainment that make them worth picking up in the first place.
It's a fine line, for sure, and the kid-friendly aspect of video games is often something that can be a little overlooked when it comes to reviews and other forms of coverage. So, in order to help you out when it comes to choosing suitable titles for your kids to get stuck into on their Xbox consoles, we've put together a guide to the very best family-friendly games currently available on the platform. Where co-op is available for you to play together we've noted it in our summaries, and we've also gone ahead and flagged up whether or not each of the games on our list is available on Xbox Game Pass.
Let's jump in!
A Hat in Time (Xbox One)
A cute-as-heck 3D platformer in the vein of Super Mario 64, Gears For Breakfast's A Hat in Time released back in 2017 and it's a perfect platforming adventure for younger gamers. A bright and colourful affair with controls that are easy to get to grips with and plenty of joyful variety in its handful of worlds, it puts you in control of Hat Kid, a little girl on a mission to retrieve all of her Time Pieces after they're scattered across a planet by some horrible gangsters. Boo!
If you've ever played the likes of Super Mario 64 you'll know the score here, there's an easy to navigate hub area that gives you scope to try multiple levels out from the get-go, lest you get stuck or don't particularly like one, and in-game abilities run the gamut from jump, double jump, wall jump, umbrella attack and, most importantly of all, the titular hat, or hats. Collecting hats here will see you gain all manner of abilities, from moving faster to brewing potions, and there are tons to collect as you move through the game.
A Hat in Time is a delightful 3D platformer overall, one of the best recent examples of the genre in fact, and a game most kids will knock a lot of fun out of. What's more there's also a co-op mode that let's two friends play through the entire main story together!
- Xbox Game Pass? No
Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time (Xbox Series X|S)
Crash Bandicoot returned in 2020 with this absolutely brilliant addition to the long-running franchise that never sits still for a second. This is an endlessly inventive, wonderfully colourful and entertaining romp that brings that classic Crash gameplay bang up to date with refined controls and an impressive graphical makeover.
Sure there's plenty of challenge in some of the stages here, but we reckon your kids might surprise you with how quickly they can improve and defeat the obstacles at hand, and they're guaranteed to have an absolute blast in the process. Oh, and there's even a pass and play mode available so up to four people can take turns as you plough through the campaign together!
- Xbox Game Pass? No
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled (Xbox One)
Who needs Mario Kart when we've got Crash and his buddies blasting around super colourful tracks at high speed in this excellent kart racer from 2019. Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled is a properly great game, one that some people reckon is even better than Nintendo's long-running kart franchise, now that's some high praise indeed!
Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled is so good because it nails everything is sets out to achieve; it's fast and frantic, its tracks are colourful, dynamic and full of shortcuts, its weapons are fun to use, it has a brilliant roster of characters and a better, more satisfying boost system than Mario Kart. It also has an excellent Adventure Mode which sees you take on races across a handful of worlds which come complete with their very own bosses who you'll need to take on in showdown races in order to emerge victorious. With online modes and a brilliant local 4-player option also available, this is one kart racer that's sure to delight younger gamers and adults alike.
- Xbox Game Pass? No
Disneyland Adventures (Xbox One)
Disneyland is certainly a magical place for the young ones (and us oldies!), and if your kids have ever wanted a way to explore Disneyland whilst also meeting the various characters and taking part in fun activities and mini-games, Disneyland Adventures fits the bill. It's over ten years old now, but that doesn't matter in the slightest.
Originally designed for the Xbox 360 as a Kinect-only game, a remaster was released for Xbox One in 2017 with updated visuals and, finally, the ability to play it with a controller. It's a very simplistic game, making it perfect for young kids as well as old, but it's also charming enough to be enjoyable for adults as well. Give it a try!
- Xbox Game Pass? Yes
Fortnite (Xbox One)
This one probably needs little to no introduction really, does it? Fortnite is an absolute juggernaut and, if this writer's kids are anything to go by, an absolute must-play if you're gonna be down with the playground lingo at school every day.
Yes, as much as we sometimes get sick of the sight of it, there's no denying that Epic's Battle Royale spectacular is an extremely polished, addictive and most importantly FUN experience that kids seem to really love and connect with. There's always some event or other happening, a new season, cool new characters, new skins and collectibles, and it's all wrapped up in a wonderfully colourful and clever take on the BR genre that adds that amazing building element to proceedings. Oh, and it's also free to play outside of purchasing cosmetics, so what is there to lose?!
- Xbox Game Pass? No, but it's free to play!
Forza Horizon 5 (Xbox Series X|S)
Playground Games' latest open world racing effort is an absolutely spectacular affair, easily one of the very best games of 2021, that takes the storied franchise to new heights with its best setting yet, Mexico.
Forza Horizon 5 features a seemingly endless array of amazing cars to unlock, non-stop events that take in road racing, off-road, rally, stunts, one-off showpieces and more, and it all looks and sounds incredible to boot. What's more, all of this is 100% suitable for kids, as even the persistent online aspects are tweakable to ensure you can enjoy the fun of racing and competing against others without ever having to communicate with a single soul. As far as family-friendly racing experiences go, this is the game to beat.
- Xbox Game Pass? Yes
Gang Beasts (Xbox One)
Gang Beasts isn't just one of the best multiplayer games on Xbox Game Pass, it's also one of the funniest. The premise is that you play as a plasticine-style character with floppy arms and legs, and you need to manipulate your body to try and throw other players to their demise in a series of ridiculous and over-the-top multiplayer arenas.
The beauty of Gang Beasts is that it's incredibly easy to pick up and play, so you'll be having fun in no time whether you're a video game master or still getting to grips with the basics, but there's also enough room to learn its intricacies and improve your skills substantially. This game has left us in stitches at times — it really is that hilarious!
- Xbox Game Pass? Yes
It Takes Two (Xbox Series X|S)
Hot on the heels of the excellent No Way Out, Hazelight Studios returned in 2021 with this stunning, and 100% kid friendly, co-op adventure that's a joy from beginning to end.
Telling the story of two parents on the brink of divorce (don't worry, it's handled brilliantly) who've been shrunk down to toy size and must now get back to their daughter, It Takes Two is an endlessly inventive thrill-ride that just keeps throwing new gameplay mechanics at you and never misses its target when it comes to fun. Working together here is essential and the game's gamut of puzzles, bosses and even head to head minigame challenges provide a ton of opportunity for the family to get together and work together in order to emerge victorious. This one walked away with the Game of the Year Award at The Game Awards 2021 and once you've played it you'll understand why. It Takes Two is absolute magic!
- Xbox Game Pass? Yes (through EA Play)
Kingdom Hearts III (Xbox One)
A bit of a no-brainer this one. Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts 3 arrived in 2019 and is the 12th instalment in the long running action RPG franchise set in a world full of all things Disney.
Yes, if your kids have ever enjoyed Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Hero 6, Toy Story, Tangled, Monsters Inc and so much more, they're all here, present and correct, in worlds presented with movie quality graphics that are a blast to explore for secrets and endless treasures. There's a fantastic battle system here, lots of imagination and diversity in gameplay and, even though the story is a little bloated and unimpressive, Kingdom Hearts 3 manages to deliver up some 40 hours worth of Disney magic that kids and adults alike are gonna have a great time with.
- Xbox Game Pass? Yes (until January 15th, 2022)
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes (Xbox One)
To be honest, you could really stick just about any of the fantastic LEGO games in here, it's a pretty safe bet that kids are gonna have a great time, however we've plumped for LEGO Marvel Super Heroes in particular because it scratches two pretty big cultural itches.
Released when Marvel Mania was at fever pitch, this is an absolute nerd-fest of characters, cameos, in-jokes, lore, witty asides and all that good stuff that Marvel lovers will just eat up. It also happens to be a fantastic game; a playful, inventive, colourful and just downright fun experience for up to two players. The LEGO games always deliver and this open world comic book extravaganza delivers hard!
- Xbox Game Pass? No
We need Banjo-Kazooie.
As a Dad, I approve this list.
There are clearly other games I’d add personally, but it’s enough of a list to tick most boxes.
One series of games my kids were obsessed with was Skylanders. We have all of them and 100+ figures. But that series has gone the way of the Dodo, unfortunately.
@Kienda There's definitely plenty more could be added, Among Us for one, but it can be sketchy depending on who you're playing with. Undertale is great too, but again, can be a little dark in places.
@PJOReilly @Kienda Rec Room is another one I know kids absolutely love, but you can run into some unsavoury language and behaviour on there to say the least.
@FraserG Aye, best not go with stuff where there's opportunity for that!
I have younger kids and cat tell you that the Paw Patrol game on gamepass is awesome for kids just starting off i games. Very simple controls, all the dialogue is read out to them in the pups voices and there's a lot of mini games.
There's a racing with Ryan game as well but it's a cheap Mario Kart knock off that the kids got bored of quickly. This actually lead to them playing FH5 and having a blast just exploring the map... telling them the big mountain was a volcano definitely got them excited.
Super Lucky's Tale is a great game for kids..
Story of Seasons and Nexomon are my picks.
Also second Slime Rancher. Always fun to collect plorts and sell them.
My daughter is 2 and the only game she's been drawn in by so far is Banjo-Kazooie. She absolutely loves the opening sequence, so basically we just watch that over and over
@everynowandben That’s adorable!
@FraserG @PJOReilly yeah, a few others my kids have enjoyed are:
Totally Reliable Delivery Service
Human Fall Flat
T.A.B.S (Totally Accurate Battle Simulator)
Untitled Goose Game
Family games have long been neglected by the industry at large and it is telling that most of the games on this list are oooold.
Family titles have always been a weak point for Microsoft, particularly when Sony gets it so right. They launched the PS5 with Sackboy and Astrobot and followed it up with titles like Bugsnax. The Series X? Not so many.
The PS4 has a great selection of family titles too as well as the forgotten genre of party games. Playlink (using phones as controllers) was a genius idea for solving the issue of never having enough joypads knocking around.
My kids have been playing Rush lately. Even the 4 year old can do it. The slightly older kids play CoD Black Ops split screen on Nuketown vs easy bots. We have a great time. I miss the split screen days.
Thanks for this list! My 4-year-old daughter has already completed Super Lucky's Tale, Mickey Mouse Castle of Illusion and is halfway through Disneyland Adventures. I have to say she found Ori too scary. I also had to explain why the black creature suddenly stops moving...
Best game for kids...Chivalry 2. My toddlers and babies love it !
@RadioHedgeFund you are right. Xbox is a long way behind PlayStation and a very long way behind Nintendo when it comes to family friendly gaming, but the selection is still decent.
My kids have a Switch and Xbox each. I have a PS4 and Xbox so they are very fortunate to have access to all these games.
Personally, I still ensure my ‘grown up’ games are more family friendly (no horror or gore) because I want to be able to play while the kids are in the room. And unfortunately, Xbox has a lot of games (including upcoming releases) that I will simply never play.
@gollumb82 Spyro might be a good next step for her. It’s very cute, you can make it very easy and it’s super friendly for children.
You might also want to try a kart racer like Nickelodeon’s offerings or maybe Sonic. I’d say CTR might be too competitive/hard.
My kids had a Switch at 4 so they were all into Mario Kart 8, Mario Oddyssey and things like that. And they are top level kid friendly games.
I think finding Xbox equivalents might work and the two I mentioned above might fit that.
Thanks for the tips We tried Race with Ryan but I found it to be lame, especially with that Ryan character popping up on the screen all the time.
@gollumb82 Haha. My kids are banned from both watching Ryan on YouTube and playing that game. Thankfully they were never that interested.
Glad I could give some input. Happy gaming with your daughter!
In my experience some of these games aren't very good for kids, eg: Forza Horizon and (even) Stardew Valley. And you're missing some great games for kids too, eg: LEGO Builders’ Journey, Terraria, Beach Buggy Racing 2: Island Adventure , The Smurfs: Mission Vileaf, Catlateral Damage: Remeowstered, The Addams Family: Mansion Mayhem, Kitaria Fables, Cat Quest II, and probably a few others.
Okay, first of all, this is mostly a good list of family and kid friendly games. I’ll give you that. However, there was one particular game listed here that shouldn’t be on here — or at least, shouldn’t be on here by itself. Despite what some people may think upon first glancing at Kingdom Hearts III, Kingdom Hearts III is not a game that is meant to be played as a stand-alone experience. Not at all. I love Kingdom Hearts III. I love it’s gameplay, music, excellent characters, and the way it handles wrapping up a story that’s been going on for 20 years, while also setting up the beginning of something new. But never in a million years would I ever recommend starting with Kingdom Hearts III. While some people might understand the story well enough by just playing Kingdom Hearts III, most people I’ve seen do that end up really loving the game, only to stop halfway or so through. One of the biggest reasons for that is because you’re meant to play through ALL of the other Kingdom Hearts games BEFORE even starting Kingdom Hearts III. The good news is, all of the other Kingdom Hearts games are very readily available on modern platforms, including Xbox. There’s 2 collections of Kingdom Hearts games that are available on Xbox (as well as PS4 and PC) that are great for playing through the entire series before starting the finale of the “Dark Seeker Saga”. They have slightly confusing names, but the 2 collections are titled:
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMix
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue
Those are the 2 collections of games that really should be on this list along with Kingdom Hearts III. They contain all of the Kingdom Hearts games in some form or another, but everything you need to fully understand and appreciate the story of Kingdom Hearts III are in those 2 collections of older Kingdom Hearts games. Trust me; it is NOT a good idea to just play Kingdom Hearts III by itself. The story won’t make very much sense because it’s meant to be a conclusion to a story that’s already been going on for 20 years. It also happens to set up a new story as well, which makes it even more confusing for those new to Kingdom Hearts.
So please, please, please don’t put Kingdom Hearts III on this list by itself. That will lead to many people getting confused and ultimately lose interest in such an incredible game. Kingdom Hearts is a series with a very connected story across all of its titles. It’s best to play all of the games in the series to understand it, but there are a couple that can probably be skipped if you really don’t want to play through all of those games.
On top of all that, there’s also DLC for Kingdom Hearts III called Kingdom Hearts III: Re Mind, and a newer title in the series called Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory — both of which take place after the end of Kingdom Hearts III story-wise. It can be confusing at first, but starting with the very first game and then playing all of them in the correct order from there will help people much better appreciate and understand the story of Kingdom Hearts III.
Thank you for this list, @FraserG. As a Dad of 3 young growing girls, it's hard to find non-Switch games for my girls to play other than Minecraft and Minecraft Dungeons. I will look into these now.
@Kienda I appreciate it when Ubisoft put in the ability to turn off the blood in Assassin's Creed!
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