Switch is the perfect console for co-op multiplayer gaming and certainly goes down a treat at a party, but if you want to play games with your young kids and granny and granddad, it can be tough to find games that are genuinely fun for everyone involved. We know from personal experience the delicate balance of holding a child's interest that often comes at the expense of your own. Letting them win to avoid tears or, perhaps worse, the dreaded "I'm bored" is fine, but it would be nice if we could share in the fun, too.
Well, thankfully there is a better way with Switch. When it comes to family gaming, there really is no better console available, and here we've picked out the best family games on Nintendo Switch. These are games which offer a great balance of fun and accessibility to help everyone enjoy themselves, not just the kids.
Whether they feature handicap systems and accessibility functions enabling you to tailor the experience to players' abilities, or the pick-up-and-play gameplay is simple enough for everyone to quickly master, the following Switch games should keep the adults engaged as much as the little ones. Everyone's a winner!
So, let's take a look - in no particular order - at the best family games on Nintendo Switch.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe features a bunch of optional assists such as, motion-controller steering, Smart Steering and auto-acceleration which make it absolutely perfect for everyone in the room (up to four players on one Switch) whatever their skill level at the wheel. It might take a moment to make sure everyone has the appropriate aids turned on or off before beginning (and more than once we've surreptitiously turned on one or more assist without letting a proud 5-year-old know), but once it's set up hilarity ensues and combined with the system that gifts more powerful items to racers at the back, everyone feels involved in the race, regardless of age or ability. Few games strike that balance quite so well.
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Luigi’s Mansion 3 is an excellent single-player experience, but you can also play the whole game with a friend or loved-one in co-op mode. Player one controls Luigi with Player Two as Gooigi, which results in a largely symmetrical experience. The person at the helm of OG Luigi is definitely more in control of things overall, but Gooigi's invulnerability to spikes and other obstacles makes this a perfect game to play with kids or a less experienced gamer. The co-op isn't available from the very beginning - a single player will have to progress through the story a little way to access it - but exploring the hilariously varied floors of the hotel while hoovering up comical ghosts and money in co-op mode is fantastic. A bunch of multiplayer minigames for up to eight players cap off a rather attractive, spooky package that everyone can enjoy.
Overcooked 2 is essentially a time management simulator set in a kitchen. You and up to three other people must work together to prepare a variety of orders before your grumpy customers storm out of the restaurant impatiently. Things start slowly with simple recipes but before long you'll be chopping and mixing ingredients, frying, steaming, boiling and generally rushing in a mad dash to get the dishes out of the kitchen. With seasonal DLC and cute characters available (included with the Overcooked 2: Gourmet Edition), it's a co-op treat that the whole family will enjoy tucking into.
The original game, Overcooked: Special Edition, is still definitely worth a look if you're after a more contained co-op experience, and things can get pretty frantic as the game progresses. Be warned that even the tiniest drop of competitiveness will come racing to the forefront and you should be careful to keep tempers in check - it's all about teamwork and communication. It's probably a bit much for very young kids, but the feeling of collective triumph when you succeed makes this an excellent team-building game. Remember, there's no 'I' in 'family'! Oh, hang on...
Super Mario Maker 2 enables you to construct your own 2D Mario courses and flip between the styles of the classic games and the more modern entries at the touch of a button. Filled with enemies, themes, game styles, gizmos, powerups, there is also a co-op builder mode enabling two people to work together while building a level. In all honesty, this is perhaps a little cumbersome (too many cooks and all that).
Mario Maker 2 works best as a 'handover' game - little Timmy takes the Switch and constructs his course before handing it over for you to try and beat, and vice versa. The genius here is that you can tailor your levels to your child's abilities, or if you're not a Mario veteran you can learn together via the tutorials as the game teaches you what makes a good level. And thanks to an update, it now includes the ability to create Worlds and chain together your levels into a fuller experience. Mario Maker fires up players' creativity - something we all enjoy, and provided you've got the patience and the skill, it can be a fine game to share with your family.
It might not have set the world alight when it released at the start of the Switch's life (it really should have been a pack-in title to showcase the unique features of the console and its Joy-Con controllers), but when played with a group of friends or family members 1-2-Switch is a proper hoot. Made up of lots of little 2-player mini-games, what it lacks in longevity it makes up for with the sort of accessible social appeal that made Wii Sports a living room tradition for so many households all over the world.
Rather uniquely, the game is built around looking not at the TV screen, but at the eyes of your opponent. Instructions pop up on the screen but the lighthearted competitive activities like counting vibrations, quick-drawing your Joy-Con and attempting to out-balance the other player don't involve the TV at all. In a group context, 1-2-Switch really shines and if you can find it for a reasonable price, it's well worth a go.
It's Just Dance, and it does what it says on the tin. Just Dance 2020 won't win any prizes for innovation, but it's another solid iteration of the formula with a decent new song list to boot. You’ll want to be subscribed to Just Dance Unlimited to get the most out of your purchase, and if you've already got Just Dance 2019 or Just Dance 2018 or Just Dance 2017, it's probably not worth picking this up as well, but newcomers to the series won’t find a better experience points-based dance game out there. Grab a Joy-Con, get on the floor and... you know what to do.
With Wii Sports Club yet to appear on Switch, fortunately Mario has picked up the slack when it comes to motion-controlled tennis, at least. Mario Tennis Aces not only features all the Mushroom Kingdom cast and offers up to four-player couch co-op via its doubles mode, but it also features Swing Mode - optional Wii Sports-like motion controls that enable you to swing your Joy-Con like a tennis racquet. Just like the good old days! What you lose in accuracy you gain in accessibility. If you're a really big tennis fan, this is easily the best option right now on Switch, but with its colourful cast and motion controls, it should go down well with the whole family, too.
Four-player Tetris? There's not much more to say, really. Everyone knows it and here it's fused with Puyo Puyo to make an all-conquering hybrid that ranks among the very best puzzle games on Switch. Puyo Puyo Tetris doesn't force you to play a game you don't want to, though, so if you prefer Puyos over Tetrominoes - or vice versa - simply pick that mode and enjoy. What's not to like?
While Mario's had his ups and downs when it comes to this minigame series - with some of the recent entries feeling a little sterile - that simply isn't the case with Super Mario Party. This is a well-constructed and beautifully realised Mario Party game which takes the series right back to its frantic stick-swirling, button-mashing roots that you don't need to be a gaming guru to understand and enjoy. It's a true return to form that can get genuinely raucous in the right company. There ain't no party like a Mario Party, and with this Switch entry in the franchise, that's no longer a backhanded compliment.
The beauty of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is that it caters to everybody, from the deep-diving series stalwarts who analyse each frame and peruse patch notes to the novice button-masher. It can be a little tough to follow all the action onscreen with lots of characters, but the premise is simple enough for anyone to understand. Button-mashers can still have huge amounts of fun kicking seven shades out of each other and the game's huge (and ever-growing) roster of famous fighters offers something for everyone. With support for up to 8 players, it's a frantic and fantastic family game, provided you can keep up with it. Fight!
Nintendo's slow-life sim appeals to the creative part of everyone and gives the whole family the chance to express themselves through their decoration, attire and even their horticultural skills. Yes, Animal Crossing: New Horizons fosters a wonderful spirit of optimism and togetherness that anyone can benefit from, and this newest entry features Party Play, a mode where up to four island inhabitants can play at the same time with one taking on the role of leader.
The only real problem we can see with just one Switch in the house is everyone fighting over it in order to sell their turnips, collect their resources and go fishing. Yes, the optimum way to play would involve everyone under one roof having their own Switch with their own copy of Animal Crossing containing their own island. Wily Nintendo, eh? However you choose to enjoy it, though, New Horizons is the definition of 'fun for the whole family' and worth diving into.
We hope this selection of games helps get your family gaming on the right track. Our competitiveness used to get the better of us and we argued that a sound thrashing on the digital racetrack would be a healthy life lesson for our little ones, until the above games helped us become 'better' guardians.
Hopefully they'll help you strike the perfect balance that ensures everyone with a controller in their hands, old or young, is having a great time gaming on Switch. There are more games, of course, but the ones above are the most accessible to the most people. Let us know what other games have gone down a treat with your entire family below.