Best non-violent games for a 7yo on the Nintendo 2DS?
December 8, 2016 7:35 PM   Subscribe

Grandma bought a 2DS for all the grandkids. We have an adventurous and bright 7yo in the 1st grade who identifies strongly with feminine themes, and is upset by people or animals getting hurt in TV or Movies. What's a good non-violent, early-reader friendly 2DS game?

The other grandkids, roughly her age but a grade ahead due to a quirk of the calendar, all want Pokemon Moon, she hasn't given it a lot of thought herself, being more of a Minecraft kid. She would love the aesthetic of Pokemon Sun, but will be heartbroken to see her "pets" being hurt. We're getting her Sun anyways, as peer pressure is a thing, BUT! Is there a better game for a first grader who loves math and memorization but is struggling at times with reading, especially reading quickly? One that does not involve someone or something getting hurt?

(Creepy is OK, we binge-watch Over the Garden Wall musical numbers on You Tube, including the scary ones.)
posted by Slap*Happy to Technology (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Why not Super Mario Bros. 2? The Mario games are all fantastic. Mario Maker is also an awesome game, but I think it's for 3DS. Lego City Undercover (also 3DS) is pretty fun, too, with lots of puzzles. Or you can just drive around.
posted by My Dad at 7:48 PM on December 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

You can play all 3ds games on the 2ds. Mario Maker is pretty awesome.
posted by fimbulvetr at 7:54 PM on December 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Animal Crossing: New Leaf. It's a sandbox game where you, a human (the player can choose to be female or male), live in a small village populated by talking animals. It's calm, adorable, and has a surprising amount of depth. Pretty much the worst thing that can happen is if you shake a tree and upset a beehive, you get stung by a swarm of bees and your face is swollen until you take some medicine.
posted by tepidmonkey at 7:55 PM on December 8, 2016 [14 favorites]

The professor layton series is very good and kid-friendly for a puzzle game. Luigi's mansion is really fantastic and the only "combat" is sucking up ghosts with a vacuum.

Others along the lines of cartoony/nonviolent include:
-Any animal crossing game
-Paper mario sticker star
-Kirby triple deluxe
-Kid icarus uprising(if she doesn't mind fighting cartoony non-human/non-animal monsters)
-Donkey kong country returns
-Super mario 3d land
posted by InkDrinker at 7:57 PM on December 8, 2016

Animal crossing is good, and she will probably learn to read all sorts of new nouns because a large amount of gameplay is about collecting different fish and bugs and dinosaur bones to display in a museum. Another big part of it is reading letters sent to you by the other characters in the town (and from other towns who have visited you) so although reading things correctly is never an issue for gameplay, she might enjoy it best if you can hang out nearby and help her if she wants it. Luckily the game easily plays in short chunks of time so it can be like three minutes here, five minutes there.

She might like Cooking Mama, but it can get pretty hard! It has a lot of cooking math and memorization, but you do have to know recipe words and stuff. Definitely a happy game with a very non-violent motivation and reward.

Mario Kart has a lot of cartoon violence but nobody's ever hurt beyond spinning out or getting dumped in lava and then pulled out via a nice yellow guy in a cloud using a fishing pole. Pretty high octane racing nonetheless and lots of fun if she has friends who have systems so she can get local races going.

There are some tie-in casual games on the eShop for pokemon that are like themed puzzle games but don't have the fighting and violence, if she likes the cute pokemon but hates the conflict. Lots of other casual little games too like dress up games and older ports from different consoles and funky little indie games. The parental controls are pretty robust so you should be able to set it up so she can't buy things willy-nilly but still use wifi capabilities for local play.
posted by Mizu at 8:25 PM on December 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Splatoon has a lot of the trappings of violent games but it's all with paint.
posted by bq at 8:29 PM on December 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Tomodachi Life is quite popular with some kids around that age range I know, although it's more of a toy than a game in some ways. There's a fair bit of reading, but I don't remember it being too terribly challenging.
posted by waffleriot at 9:15 PM on December 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Absolutely recommend Animal Crossing! My sons play it, and my 7yo is all about animals too. There's reading and writing letters to your town animals, collecting fossils, bugs, shells, furniture, clothes, and fishing. The saddest thing that happens is that one of your town animals moves away, which my sons very occasionally get a little bit sad about, but are over it within a day or so. It's a very sweet, kind-hearted game with gentle humor. Highly recommended! I played it too, it's great for all ages.
posted by Joh at 10:15 PM on December 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

Tomodachi Life is insane and my fiancé and I still enjoy it years after getting it. We turned my favourite stuffed animal (she has her own posts here) into a human and it's hilarious.
posted by LoonyLovegood at 10:36 PM on December 8, 2016

I love the Cooking Mama games, but a small warning: the games have recipes where you have to fillet a whole fish or remove the heads of prawns, for example. Other games in the series like Gardening Mama or Crafting Mama are 100% fine. These games are for the old-style DS, though.
posted by sukeban at 1:35 AM on December 9, 2016

(Splatoon is not a 2DS game.)
posted by phatkitten at 3:58 AM on December 9, 2016

Harvest Moon! There are several different versions of Harvest Moon, some of which are compatible with the 2DS. It's a very relaxing farm game where you till your fields, collect and take care of animals, make friends, and sometimes fall in love. Kind of similar to Animal Crossing as I understand. I find it super relaxing to play because nothing seriously bad ever happens -- your crops might die, but you won't and you can just plant new ones.
posted by possibilityleft at 4:48 AM on December 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

I just want to add in that I think Pokemon will be fine for her, if a little complex at some points but there are a lot of "quality of life" improvements made in Sun/Moon that help a lot with younger kids.

Also, re: her being worried about her pets getting hurt, 1) Pokemon only faint in battle, they never die, and 2) Now you get to care briefly for injured Pokemon immediately after a battle, e.g. brushing dirt off, feeding them PokeBeans, combing them. It's great fun for a 28 year old guy.
posted by sixfootaxolotl at 5:23 AM on December 9, 2016 [5 favorites]

Nthing Harvest Moon, because the age spread is huge. Mine started playing it around then and she still loves it. (13 now)
posted by corb at 5:46 AM on December 9, 2016

yep - harvest moon, and animal crossing: new leaf for sure. also, it's an oldie, but the various versions of nintendogs can be had for a song nowadays (i think like $4-5 used, last I saw at my local Gamestop) and are an insanely adorable diversion.
posted by Ennis Tennyone at 7:33 AM on December 9, 2016

My cousin loved Nintendogs. It was super cute, I bet your daughter would love it.
posted by radioamy at 9:41 AM on December 9, 2016

Animal Crossing: New Leaf is perfect.

The Kirby franchise is well-represented on 3DS - Kirby Triple Deluxe and Kirby: Planet Robotot are a blast; very child-friendly.

Also highly recommend all Mario titles: Super Mario Land, New Super Mario Bros 2, and Super Mario Maker. Mario Kart 7 is brilliant as well.
posted by porn in the woods at 10:39 AM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

My 8yro daughter asked for a 3DS just to play Tomodachi Life.
posted by osi at 11:21 AM on December 9, 2016

Another big vote for Animal Crossing: New Leaf. There is so much to do:
* Plant flowers and water them to get hybrids
* Make friends with the village animals and do little favors for them
* Collect furniture and decorate your house
* Expand your house and get new rooms
* Fish and collect bugs to donate to the museum
* Buy clothing or even design your own clothes/hats/umbrellas that you can wear
* Go to a tropical island and play minigames
* Dig up fossils every day
* Watch the moon phase at night, as it'll be the same as it is in real life
* Shoot (with a slingshot) packages carried on balloons out of the sky for special furniture
* Plant trees, chop them down, shake them for fruit
* Dive for sea creatures
* Meet visitors at the RV campsite

It's seriously soothing, too, and has a fantastic soundtrack that changes based on the time of day and the weather. There are special holidays in-game with minigames and tasks. It's just now starting to snow in-game and soon it will be all white and you'll be able to make snowmen.

The only "bad" things that can happen to you (and there's no consequences for these besides a few seconds of animation): you get stung by a bee and your face swells up (you can take medicine and make it go away); you fall in a hole and get stuck for a couple seconds; you get stung by a jellyfish and go ouch for a second. That's it.

In case you can't tell, ACNL is my happy place. I play every day at lunch and after work. You can save any time, so you can play it in little chunks of time whenever. It's my escape from the world and I would have loved it maybe even more if I had it when I was 7.
posted by fiercecupcake at 11:49 AM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Just came in here to yell ANIMAL CROSSING!!! It's the best.
posted by SarahElizaP at 4:51 PM on December 10, 2016

We went with Animal Crossing, she loves it and plays it a ton (Pokemon Moon she found boring and too hard to get the hang of).
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:19 AM on January 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

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