4 great family video games you’ve never heard of

From bestreviews.com
Arnold Carreiro


There are plenty of excellent lesser-known video games sure to grab your whole family's attention, and just because they aren't big names like Minecraft, Mario, or Pikachu doesn't mean these games are any less entertaining. You might not have heard of these five fun family video games, but they're all guaranteed to get everyone in your home to put down the smartphone and pick up the controller for game night:

Kirby Star Allies (Nintendo Switch)

The pink puffball is back, and up to three friends can join him at any time during this new adventure. This makes Star Allies an easy way to get the family to cooperate to save his planet while having a blast every step of the way. Kirby is known for copying the unique abilities of his foes, and there are 28 of these to overcome any obstacle in your way, such as stone, sword, beetle, water, and staff. Longtime fans will especially love playing as Kirby's pals from older titles, including Kine the fish, Taranza the spider, and Gooey the hungry blue blob.

Families who come together to play as Kirby and three of his friends will enjoy working together to solve puzzles to find bonuses, and easily thrashing oversized baddies who would have taken Kirby some serious effort to take down on his own.

Assault Android Cactus (Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC)

Retake an abandoned starship by blasting countless enemy robots as Cactus the assault android or one of her nine unique assault android allies with up to four players in this colorful and frantic twin-stick shooter. Teamwork is essential--players aren't just fighting an endless horde of creatively-designed robotic opponents who contort and reassemble themselves as you navigate the stage. There's a constantly-depleting supply of battery power encouraging teammates to blast every baddie in the level as quickly as possible so their mission doesn't end. Your family might be lured in by the adorable personalities of Cactus, Lemon, Shiitake, and the other androids, but there is a surprising amount of depth and strategy under that cute exterior. It'll keep them running and gunning for a high score on the global leaderboards for a long time to come.

Tetris Effect (PlayStation 4/ PlayStation 4 VR)

If you thought Tetris was a super-addictive puzzle game on your Game Boy back in the day, Tetris Effect takes it to a whole new level with its surprisingly immersive VR presentation of lights, colors, backdrops, and music. If the roster of 30 stunning 4K stages wasn't enough to keep dedicated VR players and puzzle game fans entertained for countless hours, Tetris Effect's Marathon, Ultra, and Sprint modes certainly will.

One of these stages is set on the ocean floor, where bioluminescent fish swim lazily around the screen. As soon as the player begins to remove horizontal lines as they would in any other Tetris game, the inky waters light up with excited manta rays and humpback whales, as the hauntingly pretty background music speeds to match the rising intensity of falling shapes. Tetris has been reinvented many times over the years, but it is clear the developers went above and beyond to craft the ultimate VR experience for Tetris fans, and it's a great game for PlayStation VR owners.

Yooka-Laylee (Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PC)

Yooka-Laylee proudly presents itself as a revival of 3D platforming classics from the '90s like Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong 64. Both younger and nostalgic players alike will have fun guiding Yooka the chameleon and Laylee the bat around a series of colorful and creative worlds. The most interesting feature of Yooka-Laylee is the ability to spend some of your collectables to expand worlds you've already unlocked, and when you do, you can return to old stomping grounds to discover new challenges, items, friends, and boss battles. Between the retro side-scrolling mine cart stages, large collection of mini-games, and tons of well-hidden secrets, there's plenty to see and do within the twisted halls of Hivory Towers.


Arnold Carreiro is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.