Christmas is creeping up and that means that the kids have turned their focus firmly towards what they might like Father Christmas to bring them this year. It also means Father Christmas is being issued with a list of demands for various bits of plastic tat that will hang around my house to be stepped on. I’m not a fan of that.
What I am a fan of is gifts that the whole family can enjoy together. We have a PlayStation 4, we have enough controllers for everyone (well, technically we do because Little B shares with someone, being only 3) – so finding out which family games are the hot Christmas options is a GOOD IDEA. Coincidentally we were then invited along to give all the latest family games a go, by PlayStation.
Here’s what we ended up playing:
This was the firm favourite of D, who soon got the hang of it and would happily have stayed glued to the screen all day if we’d let her. We didn’t let her. Actually it’s not just one Crash Bandicoot game – it’s three, making up the N Sane Trilogy – but as you’d expect with the ubiquitous Mr Bandicoot, they are all excellent fun. It’s been out a while already but I reckon it’ll still be one of the big hits this Christmas, as it’s great for everyone to play.
Lego Ninjago Movie
As in, the game of the movie, not the movie itself. This one was released only a month ago, and we’d not had a chance to give it a go before. In fact, we haven’t even seen the movie yet. Once again this was a hit with the kids, although this one appealed slightly more to Seb.
Gran Turismo Sport
I remember playing Gran Turismo when I got my original PlayStation and loving it then – this latest version still has all the great graphics, flash cars and the speed that I remember. It’s primarily based around online play online, so to get the most out of it you’ll need a subscription, and the choice of cars and tracks seems more limited than some of the previous versions. BUT Seb absolutely loved it, in fact it was the winner of the day for him – and it’s suitable from age 3 too so definitely very family friendly.
No surprises here, the Other Half was quite happy to plonk himself down in front of this one and play for a good long time. In fact he and Seb got so engrossed that you could probably have turned cartwheels in front of them and they wouldn’t notice.
Again, a hit with the Other Half and Seb. It’s got lots of fun challenges built in, and it’s not all about golf either – karting and fishing and probably some other stuff we didn’t try are also featured. It’s not a serious golf game, so if that’s what you’re after then don’t buy it. If you’re looking for something that appeals to all ages of the family (suitable from age 3) with a decent multiplayer mode, then DO buy it.
Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2
We love lego, and we love Marvel Superheroes, and we love PS4 – so basically, we love this game. It’s not out in stores until the 17th November so we were getting a little sneaky peek at it, but I’m pleased to say it completely lived up to expectations with interesting gameplay and a great selection of characters. Definitely one we’ll be asking Father Christmas for!
And then we moved on to looking at the PlayLink games – all based around socialising and fun, and played using smartphones rather than the dualshock controllers. At least, the ones we got to try out were played using smartphones, but I’m assured that tablets will do the job too – I think that’s a far better idea for little ones and also more likely in terms of having enough devices to plug in and play from, too.
This is the one that caught the attention of all three kids, with 15 crazy mini games that can be played by up to four at a time. It was easy to pick up and very fun to play. They kept going back for more! It’s not out until March next year, but can be pre-ordered now… something to look forward to in the post-Christmas slump.
Knowledge is Power
I have to go against the family grain and say that this was my favourite of the day. It’s a quiz game where you race to find the answers before your opponents – and there are lots of little Power Plays you can chuck into the mix to make things a bit more interesting too. Fun for a family evening in, or for playing with friends and a glass or two of something once the kids are in bed. Not that I’ve tried that option yet – but I definitely plan to.
Which I didn’t really get to play because it’s rated 12, and therefore not so family friendly if you happen to have younger kids as we do. I did watch some other people playing it though, and it looks like a lot of laughs – it’s all about finding out how well you know each other, in an embarrassingly cringey but somehow still awesome way.
As well as all these games to play, apps to explore, and parental control ideas to try, there were lots of other less screen orientated things to explore, including cupcake icing:
See what I did there?
And playdough, and bag making, and drawing, and hitting golf balls through a rainbow golf ball mountain, and STUFFING YOUR FACE with all kinds of interestingly packaged tempting treats. I got a pizza that looked like a dog. BEST THING EVER.
So thanks PlayStation for the fun morning, and for the Christmas inspiration. And also for the scarves and hats, which got us some very odd looks from all the West Ham supporters on our way home (Playstation FC is happily not the team they were playing, on the day).