Best Family-Friendly Video Games for Games Night

Game nights are are great way to blow off some steam and bond with the family and with friends. With the holidays coming up, having a list of go to video games that everyone can enjoy will definitely come in handy.

Our family-friendly list of 8 games includes some classics, as well as newer titles that are sure to put a smile on everyone’s face.

Super Mario 3D World – Platforming for the Whole Family

Nintendo's super mario world is coming to the family friendly Nintendo Wii.
Super Mario 3D World

When it comes to family-friendly multiplayer games, Nintendo always delivers. Case in point: Super Mario 3D World.

With its colorful visuals and multifaceted stages, up to four players can work together to stomp Goombas, grab coins, and save the Sprixies from Bowser’s capture.

Across plains, mountains, forests, beaches, and castles, stages unfold not just left-to-right, but into the foreground and background as well. This added depth creates opportunities for kids and parents to split up and multitask, like one player revealing hidden blocks for others to use as platforms. Team members can also pick each other up to tackle obstacles no one character could face alone.

The game shines brightest in asymmetric co-op thanks to its diverse quartet of heroes. Princess Peach floats safely over pits, Toad scurries fastest, Luigi leaps highest, and Mario stands as the well-rounded everyman. With each level playable in multiple ways, kids and adults can discover approaches that match their playstyles.

An expanded port bundled with the separate adventure Bowser’s Fury came to Nintendo Switch earlier this year. The refreshed package not only adds a two-player cooperative follow-up, but also smoother framerates, HD graphics, and the flexibility of Switch handheld or TV mode.

Family Bonding With Unravel Two’s Heartwarming Co-op Quest

Unravel Two is a family-friendly video game with two characters on top of a mountain.
Unravel Two

If your family and friends love working together on challenging puzzles, Unravel Two might just be your game. The game is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PC on Steam. With its endearing characters, thoughtful level design, and emphasis on cooperation, Unravel Two is a heartwarming option for families.

In Unravel Two, you play as tiny Yarnys—lovable creatures made from blue and pink thread—across side-scrolling puzzle levels. By manipulating strands of yarn and tying knots, the Yarnys can traverse treacherous cliffs, operate intricate machinery, and navigate obstacles too large or dangerous for one threadling to handle alone. Together, you’ll use each Yarny’s unique abilities to make your way through forests, escaped zoos, ghostly amusement parks and more.

While one player can hop between controlling both Yarnys, the focus is on imaginative two-player co-op problem-solving. By splitting up tasks, swinging each other across gaps, and otherwise collaborating, Unravel Two challenges players to communicate and coordinate constantly. With no violence, scary imagery or difficult controls, it’s perfect for spouses, parents and kids working together.

Classic Fun with Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One

Ratchet & Clank's family-friendly video game ratchet and clank's incredible adventures.
Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One

The Ratchet & Clank series epitomizes zany, lighthearted entertainment. Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One 2011 was a PlayStation 3 release from acclaimed developer Insomniac Games focuses on a four-player co-op experience that allows family and friends to work together.

In All 4 One, you can choose to play as one of four iconic characters from the Ratchet & Clank universe: the daring Lombax Ratchet, his witty robot friend Clank, bumbling hero Captain Qwark, or even notorious villain Dr. Nefarious. No matter your choice, the delightful story, graphics, combat, and puzzles have something for everyone. The writers fill the adventure with plenty of humor and heart for kids and parents alike.

Reviewers especially praise All 4 One for its soundtrack, voice acting and the overall fun sense of humor. While some critique small glitches or imperfect AI teammates, most agree the satisfying gameplay makes this an enjoyable romp. Over 1.5 million gamers worldwide would agree!

Initially rated E for Everyone, the game was later reclassified T for Teen to better reflect cartoon action. But many reviewers still recommend All 4 One as a family-friendly cooperative game thanks to its charm and co-op focus.

Solving Problems Creatively in Portal 2

A screenshot of a futuristic looking room featuring family friendly video games.
Portal 2

The original Portal revolutionized first-person puzzle games with its iconic portal gun.

Portal 2 is equally as good, and is available on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch, Windows PC on Steam and Mac. With its creative gameplay, humorous writing and charming personality, Portal 2 is a great family-friendly option for game night.

At its core, Portal 2 is a first-person puzzle platformer that challenges players to strategically place linked “portals” to overcome obstacles and reach goals. The teleporting mechanic allows for incredibly inventive, physics-based puzzles the whole family can wrap their heads around.

The single player puzzles unfold a witty and compelling story as you guide the tenacious Chell through collapsed test chambers of the Aperture Science facility. But where Portal 2 really shines for game night is the separate two-player cooperative mode, where players control robot test subjects Atlas and P-Body across a parallel campaign requiring true teamwork to succeed.

Reviewers broadly agree that the co-op mode takes the ingenious portal puzzles to another level. The difficulty ramps up steadily, keeping adults engaged while remaining friendly enough for kids to figure out together. And with no excess violence or inappropriate content, parents can feel secure letting most ages play.

Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3: Slime Speedway

Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3: Slime Speedway
Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3: Slime Speedway Playable Characters

Available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 & 5, Xbox One & Series X/S, and Windows PC on Steam, this chaotic kart racer lets families and friends compete and cooperate on the race track.

In Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3: Slime Speedway, you can pick from over 40 iconic Nicktoons characters from shows like SpongeBob SquarePants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Avatar, and more. Whether you want to race as Lincoln Loud or shred the track as Shredder, the whole family will find beloved characters to choose.

The game features straightforward kart racing mechanics, with powerups and boosts to help you zoom to first place. But what makes Nick Kart Racers special is its focus on customization and multiplayer. Tweak your kart’s parts for better speed or handling, then design wild paint jobs to show your style. Local split-screen supports up to 4 players for living room competition, while online mode enables up to 12 racers for massive family game nights!

While a few technical glitches were reported for the Switch edition at launch, recent patches have improved performance. Reviewers generally recommend Nick Kart Racers 3 for its strong customization, multiplayer options, and vast roster of Nickelodeon stars perfect for families and younger gamers.

Make a Splash with Splatoon 3’s Family-Friendly Multiplayer Fun

Nintendo is known for their family friendly video games.
Splatoon 3

If your household enjoys playing games together, but you want something beyond the typical co-op adventures, Splatoon 3 for the Nintendo Switch could be the go. The latest entry in Nintendo’s popular ink-based shooter series keeps the chaotic fun for friends and families.

Like previous Splatoon games, the core of the gameplay in Splatoon 3 centers around four-on-four online Turf War battles where teams compete to cover more territory in vibrant ink. But this newest iteration adds fresh new content like additional stages, weapons, character customization, and story modes to delight both series veterans and newcomers.

While rated E10+ for cartoon violence using brightly colored ink, Splatoon 3 remains family-friendly at its core. Reviewers praise the game’s eye-catching style, energetic music, and delightful characters that appeal to players of all ages. The single-player Hero Mode also returns with a new story focusing on mammalian creatures arising in a snowy region after lying dormant for ages.

Beyond online battles, Splatoon 3 also features the co-op Salmon Run mode, where 2-4 players team up against waves of enemies. Working together to collect Power Eggs while defending each other from attacking Salmonid hordes offers thrilling but accessible cooperative play.

Join Sackboy’s Happy Co-op Adventure Perfect for Family Fun

A family-friendly cartoon scene filled with a lot of characters.
Sackboy: A Big Adventure

Anyone who remembers LittleBigPlanet (a personal favorite of ours) will recognize Sackboy. Sackboy: A Big Adventure 3D platformer lets you team up for an epic quest to save Craftworld in true family-friendly fashion.

In Sackboy’s biggest adventure yet, the adorable hero must traverse scenic worlds from snowy peaks to lush jungles on a mission to rescue his kidnapped friends from the evil Vex. With its cartoony visuals and humorous tone, the game offers family-friendly action that’s engaging without being intense.

While one player can take on the story alone, Sackboy really shines when played cooperatively. The multiplayer mode allows up to four people to run, jump and fight together both locally and online. Reviewers particularly praise the fun, inventive level design and puzzles that require teamwork to overcome. I mean look at his happy little face, how could you resist that.

The game is available on PS4, PS5 and on Steam for PC.

With its charming world, amusing characters, upbeat soundtrack and focus on cooperative platforming hijinks, Sackboy: A Big Adventure offers an enjoyable all-ages romp for everyone to experience together.

Party Animals’ Wacky Game Night

A group of family friendly stuffed animals in a spaceship.
Party Animals

Party Animals is a cute and chaotic multiplayer game that was recently released for Windows PC on Steam and Xbox consoles. With its over-the-top animal brawling action, Party Animals is a hilarious cooperative and competitive experience perfect for lively family game nights.

In Party Animals, up to 8 players pick cute animal avatars like sharks, kittens, puppies and more, then battle it out across land, sea and air using an arsenal of physics weapons and special abilities. Modes range from all-out Last Stand battles to team face-offs to see who can rack up the highest score. Along the way, everyone will be punching, tossing, stomping and headbutting opponents while picking up random objects like anchors, bombs and trampolines to gain an edge.

Easy to pick up but hard to master, Party Animals emphasizes using momentum and ragdoll physics to outwit your friends and family. Reviewers have praised the charming visuals, laugh-out-loud gameplay and surprising depth across 19 amusing animal fighters. While rated E10+ for cartoon violence and mild crude humor, there’s nothing objectionable for younger gamers joining in.

So next game night, don’t get out the Monopoly box – you know that only causes arguments anyway. Give some of these titles a try! Their blend of problem-solving, platforming, and good humor may just bring your family closer together.

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Harriet Gough
Over 20 years' experience as a writer and games journalist. Avid gamer and enjoy a wide range of game genres including MMOs, FPS and RTS. My favorite games include Warframe, Skyrim, Destiny 2, CoD and Age of Empires.

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