Nintendo Switch games for little kids?
June 11, 2019 3:10 PM   Subscribe

With the announcement of the Animal Crossing in 2020, I'm wondering if this is going to push us to get a Nintendo Switch for Christmas. What other games are suggested for kids of Kindergarten age, or should we wait a few years?

Big Purr and I are not "gamers", although we do have a Wii from back in the day of Wii Fit, Wii Sports, and a short lived run on Mario Galaxy. We do play Pokemon Go daily and I play Pocket Camp. Little Purr currently wants to play AC: City Life, and will be in elementary school when New Horizons is released. They've been exposed to tablet games (Neko Atsume, PBS kids games, Pokemon Playhouse, Pokemon Go), and navigate those pretty well.

My two questions: 1. is this a good age to introduce a handheld console system? I never had anything more advanced than Atariis and some PC games growing up, and never felt that I was completely missing out, but I may change my mind if I can find games where we can all play.

2. If we were to get the switch in the next year, what sort of games should we look for? Neither of us have a lot of fun, patience, or time for learning fast-twitch games, so unlocking levels in Mario Cart, platformers or having to fight the master boss for Little Purr does not sound like a lot of fun. I like puzzle-style games, and we'd probably have to pick up and put down the controller a lot, which is a benefit of the Switch, I guess. Having games where Little Purr can play by themselves in the car would also be a bonus. They can't quite read, but can figure out the yes/no buttons on Neko Atsume and Pocket Camp.

Although I don't usually play them, I have heard of a lot of games, so I'm looking for more specific-age and type suggestions than to try "Baba is you" or "Stardew Valley" because they're puzzle or simulator games.

And a side question, what would be the suggested accessories? I'm assuming 2-3 controllers, but is there anything else that is used? I saw this previous askme, but has/will anything change in the next year? I'm assuming the Wii remotes can't be synced?
posted by Hermeowne Grangepurr to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
We haven't bought any accessories for ours, other than a screen protector and a padded case.

Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles is the game I most recommend to people with young kids. It's just lovely. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is good if you enjoy puzzles.
posted by pipeski at 3:31 PM on June 11, 2019

SnipperClips was a big hit with my little ones.
posted by tacodave at 3:39 PM on June 11, 2019

My kids are 7 and almost 5. The younger one likes playing games more than the older one. He will play on our Wii U (which has more games) as well as on our Switch. Cooperatively my kids will play Mario Odyssey and Let's Go Pokemon on the Switch and sometimes the younger one will play Mario Odyssey by himself. I think I had to do all of the boss battles in Mario Odyssey though. They will occasionally play Just Dance and when they do I'll join them.

On the Wii U his favourites are Mario Kart, Smash Bros., Breath of the Wild, Yoshi's Wooly World and some Kirby game. I know there are updated versions of all of these except for maybe the Kirby game on the Switch. He'll come to me for help in Breath of the Wild when a tough enemy shows up but for the others he can play by himself, although he does prefer playing with someone else.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 4:27 PM on June 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

I have heard good things about Toad Treasure Tracker, although I haven't played it myself.
posted by Mizu at 4:37 PM on June 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

My 6 year old alternates Super Mario Kart, Mario Odyssey, Lego City Undercover, and Let’s Go Eevee.

I was worried about the handheld aspect of the Switch, but we made a rule that he can’t play in his bedroom or take it out of the house and it’s worked out so far.
posted by subluxor at 5:52 PM on June 11, 2019

Yoshi's Crafted World is amazing, with charming art, and is great to play cooperatively. My five-year-old also likes the Lego Movie 2 game (because she likes the Lego Movie 2), Mario Kart, and Smash Bros with the fam.

She's really good at using the Switch, and wasn't so great at using the Wii controllers.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:54 PM on June 11, 2019

My kindergartner loves Stardew Valley and Pokemon Let's Go and plays them on a Switch. It took her a couple months of practice to be able to use the controller consistently but at this point she's pretty capable.
posted by potrzebie at 11:49 PM on June 11, 2019

Captain Toad absolutely. It’s very simple gameplay (walking only, no jumping) but fun. It ties into Super Mario Odyssey, thematically, so as the kid gets older Odyssey offers a more complicated game in the same general feeling. (Odyssey can be quite challenging if you are a completist, as some of the “power moons” you collect to advance are either really well hidden or unlocked only after some maddeningly frustrating mini games, but you don’t need to get all of them to continue - the basic number needed to unlock each level’s boss can be obtained without too much hassle, so doing enough to beat the basic levels is really not too hard - it’s surprisingly well-balanced.)

Mario Kart is also quite approachable - at the 50cc level, the driving is not so competitive, and as a kid gets better the faster kart speeds offer challenges to keep it from getting boring. The game also has an automatic steering option on by default, which keeps karts from going over the edge or off the road. It can be annoying for more skilled drivers (stops you from taking some of the tricker shortcuts) but really, really helpful for beginners. I was surprised at how quickly my son got good at it.

Super Mario Party (at least the only part we’ve played) is essentially a board game in video format. You take turns moving characters around the board by rolling virtual dice, and complete very short minichallenges to win stars. The minigames are very short (~30 seconds or so, for a lot of them) and incredibly simple (for example, a brief tennis match, where one player has an enormous racket and plays against the other two up to 3 points). The game is very slow-paced, the only countdown timers are in the minigames, everything else is paced as slowly as you make your moves. The interesting bit is that when the game ends, the person with the most points is not the winner - the game “judges” award bonus points for different actions that can take the person in last place and bump them to first.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:18 AM on June 12, 2019

Snipper Clips is highly recommended for this age group. It's basically a cooperative puzzle solving game, for two players and you can have lots of silly fun snipping each other. Not sure if it has single-player mode, but you can have up to 4 players.
posted by apcmwh at 8:31 AM on June 12, 2019

Another vote for Mario Kart 8, Super Mario Odyssey, and Just Dance. The first two have "assist" modes that can help newer/younger players, and the third has a dedicated kids' mode.

You're correct that wiimotes won't sync. We bought a screen protector, and a second pair of joy-cons. (The Switch comes with a pair of joy-con controllers, which can be used as a single large controller or two tiny ones. If you buy an additional pair, up to four people can play together.)
posted by mbrubeck at 12:07 PM on June 12, 2019

My seven year old has been playing Switch for more than a year now (it's not just his but...he's the main user) and his favorite games are Smash Bros, Minecraft, and the Lego games (Marvel Super Heroes, DC Villains, City). The Lego games were his start in video games when we played Lego Star Wars on xbox, and they're great because they're mostly puzzle solving, very forgiving with lots of jokes and things to discover and unlock.
posted by sleeping bear at 2:31 PM on June 12, 2019

Pikuniku is a delightful, short, not overly complex romp through a cartoonish land. A little bit of exploration, a little bit of platforming, and a little bit of puzzle solving. Highly recommended.
posted by radiosilents at 1:14 PM on June 14, 2019

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