Best Family Games on Xbox One TechnoBuffalo 2021
Not every game is made to be played by the whole family. Many games just aren't built for co-op play, or for kids and adults to both enjoy. However, Xbox One has a robust offering of awesome games that everyone in the family can play together. Whether you want to play together, or competitively you have plenty of options. Of course, the #1 game that shouldn't be missed is Minecraft, a game that lets you build anything you can dream of and explore a massive open world.
- Best Overall: Minecraft
- Best Active: Just Dance 2019
- Best Remake: Spyro Reignited Trilogy
- Best Competition: Rocket League
- Best Co-op: Overcooked 2
Best Overall: Minecraft
When Minecraft burst onto the scene, it delivered a new kind of game. Unlike its many competitors, it isn't about a specific story, world, or aspect of gameplay. Instead, it's a truly open world, one where the gameplay is what you make of it. Minecraft technically has a story. You can hunt down the Ender dragon by finding and exploring the nether realm.
What makes this game so special though are the building and exploration aspects. You start out with next to nothing aside from a few tools and the world is literally what you make of it. Using those tools you'll mine into mountains, cut down trees, farm plants, and find animals. The only limits are what you can dream up and build. A variety of different biomes means each time you start a new game, there is a new world to explore.
During the day, you'll harvest items, explore, and build. At night, things get more dangerous with monsters like zombies, creepers, and skeletons to deal with. You'll need to defend yourself or die trying. Those same enemies will also appear as you delve deep into mountains, so you'll want to be careful when exploring.
One of the best parts of Minecraft is working together to build something all your own. You'll create a house, build furniture and chests and the whole family can work in tandem to create something nobody else ever has. No two games are ever the same, no two buildings are identical, and best of all Minecraft enhances your creativity as you build the world you've always wanted to see in a game.
- Open world ready for you to explore
- Endless options for creation
- Fun way for parents and kids to work together to build things
- Rare updates
- Bugs can make gameplay frustrating at times
Best Active: Just Dance 2019
When it comes to having games for the family, being able to get moving and active can be more fun than sitting on the couch playing a game. The Just Dance franchise delivers a new game every year with fresh new music to dance and groove to.
If you're familiar with games like Dance Dance Revolution or Pump it Up, then you're already in good shape. Essentially, as a song plays you'll see moves on the screen. You need to copy them, and your Kinect sensor will tell you whether you've pulled off the move or not. It's deceptively simple gameplay that gets you moving, and also gets your heart rate up. It's a great way for families to work up a sweat together while having plenty of fun.
You'll unlock new songs by playing the ones that are available when you first boot up Just Dance. All in all, you have about 40 songs that come with the game, and for the first 30 days, you'll have a trial membership to Dance Unlimited, which gives you access to 400 different songs. As you play, you'll also unlock new moves and outfits for your avatars, adding to your gameplay options.
- Great new songs to dance to
- More international songs than ever
- Fun way to get active at home
- Only about 40 songs on the base game.
- Subscription required to access all 400 songs to dance to.
Best Remake: Spyro Reignited Trilogy
Bob's Toys brings Spyro to a new generation of gamers by updating the original trilogy of games starring your favorite smart-mouthed dragon. They've brought him back to life with sharper graphics and new audio while keeping as much of the original gameplay intact as possible.
There are a number of different stages, and each one looks and feels unique. You'll soar through the clouds, ram through lava filled plateaus, and run across green grass. The characters and enemies you encounter are all fantastic, with a cartoon-inspired design. This game is accessible for kids and enjoyable for adults.
The updates to gameplay have made the trilogy just as fun and challenging as it was when it appeared 20 years ago. Tracking tools let you easily check how many of the hidden items you've found in each level, making it easier to see how many dragon eggs you're missing, or which levels have more hidden gems for you to find. The addition of new fast travel abilities for the first two games also means that when you get late into the game, it's not as difficult to travel back to earlier levels.
- Fun arcade-style gameplay
- Great graphics
- Fantastic updated animations
- Camera angles have not received a meaningful update
- Trial and error method of beating levels becomes frustrating
Best Competition: Rocket League
Rocket League brings two wickedly fun genres together to deliver a game that blends action, and sports into something new and fun. Instead of people kicking a ball across the pitch to score a goal, you use a variety of different vehicles. It makes for a genre-mashing game filled with fun that is built to play with friends.
There are a variety of different modes to take advantage of, which makes play fun and accessible even if you aren't a gamer most of the time. You can play out exhibition matches, a 36-week career mode, ranked and casual matches, and both local and online multiplayer modes. There is a lot of different content to explore and enjoy.
The basis of gameplay is pretty cut and dry: two teams of vehicles drive at ridiculous speed, pulling off crazy tricks as they ram into a ball that ricochets off of every available surface. At the onset, it's really just barely contained chaos, but as you play strategy like pulling off tricks in perfect time to crash into the ball and score a goal appear. Combine the fun and frenetic gameplay with graphics that are clean even a few years out from the game's release and you have the fun of Rocket League.
- Easy to pick up
- 4-player local multiplayer
- Getting the hang of how everything works can take a few hours
Best Co-op: Overcooked 2
In Overcooked 2, you and up to three more friends can all play as chefs in the same kitchen. Your goal is to prepare and serve the dishes that the Unbread army asks for. Along with many of the dishes from the first game, there are nine new recipes you'll need to master and a variety of small gameplay tweaks that make a big difference. The throw option makes it easier to get food started, or on the burner so that you can kick-start the craziness.
The dishes you need to make will appear in the upper right corner of your screen, and once you serve a dish another one will appear. Many dishes require several steps, and some ingredients can be used on multiple food items. Likewise, not every ingredient will need to be cooked, which means you'll need to keep an eye on what is being requested, as well as communicating with your team members to ensure that nobody makes the wrong item.
The levels are just as chaotic as the regular play. Some of them require you to use portals to get around, run along moving walkways, or deal with other chaos. At times you might feel like Overcooked 2 is more of a platformer than a quick play game, but it never gets less fun.
- Nine new recipes to master
- Throwing recipes eliminates wasted time
- Great new levels to enjoy
- Levels seem chaotic until you get the hang of game mechanics
Family games might not be the most common thing to play on a console, but Xbox One does a great job of giving you options. Every game on our list is filled with fun for families but offers up different opportunities for kids and parents to bond. Out of all of them, Minecraft offers up the best experience.
It's hard to define what kind of game Minecraft is because the experience is what you make of it. You'll build a castle or a house, mine into mountains, raise crops and explore a massive world. There is so much to do and it means that as a family you can create the world you've always dreamed of.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Jen Karner has been playing games for as long as she can remember. Whether it's racing to finish a meal in Overcooked, or building a castle that reaches to the clouds in Minecraft, she has spent more time behind a controller than she likes to admit. You can follow her on Twitter
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