I care, but not enough to play Candy Crush...
September 20, 2013 8:36 AM   Subscribe

A twelve year old I'm related to keeps sending me invites to play horrid money wall Facebook games. Said kid is going through a hard time and I like the idea of playing with her as a small, regular form of reaching out. However...Zynga Poker ain"t gonna happen. What kind of easily accessible games suitable to a 12 year old are out there for me to suggest? Specifics under the cut...

Said kid is super smart, but has some struggles in school due to emotional fallout from some family situations, so bonus points for any sneaky skill building. Here's the basics of what I'm looking for:

- internet or PC based. Preferably free, but I'm willing to pay a small startup fee for us both, knowing that "free" games generally aren't these days. Nothing too graphics heavy (she's working with an older system).
- puzzle based, possibly with collaborative components
- Does not have to be on FB. Indie developers a plus.

It seems like it shouldn't be that difficult, but I'm up against a (pay)wall here. Thanks in advance!
posted by theweasel to Computers & Internet (17 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I don’t have any particular suggestions (sorry), but this recent thread may have some suggestions to check out.
posted by thebestsophist at 8:40 AM on September 20, 2013

I've always liked Puzzle Pirates for playing with kids that age. Has the co-op thing, lots of puzzles, stuff you can buy with in game currency. You can play for free, or buy coins to accelerate your progress in the game.
posted by ill3 at 8:42 AM on September 20, 2013

I'm addicted to Ruzzle!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:48 AM on September 20, 2013 [3 favorites]

Yushino - caveat, active Kickstarter so you'll get ads for that. You can buy and "buy" tokens to do things like get 'coaching' on your plays or see how many tiles are left. Tokens are nice but not required for playing against another human. One note - on the iPhone version there is basic chat, so caveat for the kid about talking to strangers, etc etc.

One thing I like, it won't let you play bad math. Using to play with my kids and work on their math (addition/subtraction - math chains)
posted by tilde at 9:00 AM on September 20, 2013

I play Words with Friends with a 12-year old of my acquaintance. It's easy to comment as you go and to fit moves in when convenient; it's like having a multi-day or muti-hour conversation.
posted by carmicha at 9:01 AM on September 20, 2013 [8 favorites]

Words with Friends is good and I am really enjoying Say the Same Thing.
posted by fingersandtoes at 9:36 AM on September 20, 2013

Best answer: I play Fallen London on Story Nexus with my niece. It's a steampunky Victoriana London, only it's been stolen by Devils and is now the property of the Bazaar.

My character runs an orphanage, and may be an assassin. She also has traveled across the Unterzee, and has written papers on weird monsters, and been kicked out of college for it. My niece's character is a hired sword who spends a lot of time in opium dens.

It's all free and is a turn-based game. There's a little bit if sexiness to it (like, if you play your cards right, you can have a tryst with a quiet deviless who will share her poetry with you, or have a threeway with a bishop and his sister. None of this is explicit -- the game will just note that you had a night of intimacy or entanglement or whatever with them, but there aren't any explicit descriptions of sex. Like, I at first thought I was just spending long nights "confiding" with the bishop and his sister, but my dirty mind has pretty effectively translated what happened once the candles faded, and we hit the intimate wee hours of the morning. Also, you can pick who you are flirting with -- like, my character, who's fallen noblewoman from the Surface, is married to an Established (female) Artist's Model, and has trysted with the quiet deviless, and the bishop, and his sister -- in case that's a factor).

It's the kind of game I'd've loved at 12, because I was a nerd and was reading that kind of thing anyways.

For skill acquisition: there's a lot of reading/vocabulary building, and a lot of call back to stuff like The Count of Monte Cristo, HP Lovecraft, etc.
posted by spunweb at 9:40 AM on September 20, 2013 [4 favorites]

Plants vs Zombies is a lot of fun, but lacks collaborative parts. Similar with Angry Birds.

And FWIW, Candy Crush is actually a lot of fun, and I've beat the final level (on mobile) without paying a single cent. You just have to wait, and get lucky, instead of using power ups. You have to have Facebook friends help you unlock each section. And there are 3 levels that can be beat either on the computer OR on the phone, but not both.
posted by ethidda at 9:42 AM on September 20, 2013

Best answer: Head over to Kongregate and find something you both like. Indie games, free to play, and the ones I've played don't involve the sort of irritating in-app purchases that Facebook stuff and free-to-play smartphone games tend to. I don't know how many games there are collaborative, but if you each set up an account there's definitely a social networking angle to it. Also I think most games allow chat, so even if you can't collaborate, you can still talk to each other if you play the same game at the same time.
posted by Sara C. at 9:43 AM on September 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Dominion, maybe, depending on the kid's play abilities. It's an online version of a physical card game. The base game is free and it charges for the expansions sets, which I think is very fair. (You can also buy coins that unlock additional levels or zaps to increase advantage or level the field against the computer players in adventure play, but it's really not necessary, as coins are also earned from playing games in that context.)

It looks like Settlers of Catan also has an online version, though I haven't used it yet.
posted by foxfirefey at 9:44 AM on September 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Draw Something is a good choice for all ages, and offers good asynchronous play.
posted by Debaser626 at 9:49 AM on September 20, 2013 [3 favorites]

puzzle pirates? it's a cartoonish pirate-themed mmorpg.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:03 AM on September 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Duolingo! I don't know about how sneaky the educational part is, but it certainly makes me want to "compete" with others.
posted by oceanjesse at 10:38 AM on September 20, 2013

Building stuff together in mutli-player Minecraft? There's a good chance he already owns the game.
posted by NoAccount at 11:36 AM on September 20, 2013

Response by poster: Lots of great stuff to check out - thanks y'all! I'll float some of these past her and see if she bites. I"all keep checking back if anyone else has any ideas!
posted by theweasel at 12:23 PM on September 20, 2013

One thing to note, I don't think Fallen London is really multiplayer in the way you're hoping for. At least, it wasn't when I was playing it, back when it was still called Echo Bazaar. It's a nifty game, to be sure, but you can't really play "with" anybody. At best, you'd be occasionally sending her pre-written in-game messages as you both advance in your own adventures.
posted by Diagonalize at 3:01 PM on September 20, 2013

I play Minecraft with my kids and my nephews. You can build stuff together ("creative mode") or gather resources and fight monsters together ("survival mode"). There are also adventure maps to download and play, or public servers to join together and play. When playing with remote folks we run Skype at the same time and it works really well.
posted by at home in my head at 8:01 PM on September 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

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