When considering new games to play, sometimes the best choices aren’t all that new. In fact, there are likely quite a few hidden treasures to be found that are at least a few years old. We compiled this list of the best games of the last few years to revisit and play with your kids. Check out the list below and explore the mountains of video gaming past. It’s never too late to pick up a few good games, and there are few better ways to connect with family than by going back to some of the greatest hits.
Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air
This is the fourth installment of the Dream ChroniclesThe Book of Air follows the story of Lyra, who is the granddaughter of Faye from the previous games. The game begins with Lyra facing a pretty big problem: Someone sent her to another dimension. It’s up to players to help her navigate the new world and find her way back home. Lyra does have a few neat tricks up her sleeve, like magic spells that help her translate the language of fairies – this is essential for decrypting the many clues that you’ll find throughout your journey. “Animated sequences and highly detailed environments make the game easy on the eye, and the character voice-overs and pleasant soundtrack round out the high production values that we’ve come to expect from a Dream Chronicles game,” wrote Gamezebo contributor Erin Bell. For those who want to have it all, the collector’s edition of the game has a few extras, like bonus areas and new gameplay.
The Worms franchise has become known for its playful take on the turn-based Strategy Game formula. After all, who can argue with equipping a bunch of worms with automatic weapons and bazookas? As IGN contributor Daemon Hatfield noted, this game is well known for giving the units their own personalities. Worms Reloaded further refined the franchise by adding a 3D element to. This is used to showcase the effects of worm-based warfare on the surrounding terrain. So, when a bomb explodes, it’ll leave craters in the background. “This is the biggest, prettiest Worms [sic] yet,” Hatfield wrote. “Strategy fans will find one of the most fun multiplayer games around, and there is plenty to do on your own, as well. Few games offer the chance to wield a weapon called the Buffalo of Lies – don’t miss yours.”
The strategy element is also pretty cool. Each weapon has unique characteristics. For instance, projectiles like missiles are affected by wind. As Hatfield noted, players have some control over how far items like grenades are thrown. This will surely lead some players to develop specific preferences. However, it is best to have some mastery over all the weapons in the Worms’ arsenal. Single-player mode consists of 35 missions, as well as 30 bonus levels that are more challenging. At the end of each stage, players are awarded cash to buy new weapons and upgrades. Worms Reloaded also created a new mode called “Body Count,” which pits players against an endless stream of enemies – the objective being to get as high of a score as possible.
This entry is something special, primarily since it is a collection of several games. Oddbox includes several titles from the Oddworld franchise including two that were released for the PC for the first time. The Oddbox includes the following games:
- Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee
- Oddworld: Abe’s Exoddus
- Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee
- Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath
The franchise began in 1997 with Abe’s Oddysee, and while this was not a graphically impressive game, it’s one that proves looks aren’t everything. The main challenge comes from helping Abe navigate levels, solving puzzles and avoiding enemies. As an IGN review noted, the game’s intelligent level design were “two steps into the future” at the time of the game’s launch. The franchise maintained the core of its spirit well into Stranger’s Wrath. As a separate IGN review noted in 2011, the developers showed clear passion in making the game, and the alien world remained an interesting one to explore. “At times the graphics look nice enough in Stranger’s Wrath that I could almost forget it’s a last-gen game,” wrote IGN editor Anthony Gallegos. “The HD visuals look great, and nice touches like lens flare really help capture the raw beauty of the dangerous world Stranger lives in.” We do have one disclaimer: Some of the game’s themes are dark in nature, featuring dystopian futures. However, the brilliant execution made Oddworld a strong entry into the Puzzle-Platformer genre, and it’s a good one to go with if you’re looking for something that breaks traditional formulas. While players do not have to explore every nook and cranny of the game worlds, lore is subtly scattered around, waiting to be discovered. This adds a great deal of depth without shoving the game’s plot in your face at every turn.
Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures: Fright of the Bumblebees
If you’re not familiar with the TV series or movies, Wallace and Gromit follows the adventures of an inventor and his loyal dog. The franchise did so well in Britain that the BBC called the two characters the “unlikely heroes of the British film industry.” Well, if you couldn’t get enough of comedic stop motion animation, this game is the first in a four-part series that explores new adventures. One of the challenges with any video game based on a movie or TV series is that it can be difficult to maintain the original spirit of the other medium. However, Blogcritics contributor Fitz commended Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures for staying true to Wallace & Gromit’s visual style. “The graphics, though computer-generated, is amazingly like that of the Wallace & Gromit animated series,” Fitz wrote. “You’d almost swear that you were in fact controlling the characters in one of their cartoons.”
One factor to keep in mind is that although young kids tend to love the television show, the video game’s puzzles are complex enough that it is designed more for older children and adults. As Fitz noted, the in-game help system does mean that players won’t be stuck in a particular spot for too long. Despite a few control issues, the game is fun, addictive and a must-have for fans of the Wallace & Gromit franchise.
The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition
Admittedly, this one was a blast from the past even in 2009. The Secret of Monkey Island originally came out in 1990, but it took the Point-and-Click Adventure Game genre by storm. Considering it has a 9.2 user rating on Metacritic, the game definitely had a trick or two up its sleeve, and was popular enough to warrant a new edition 19 years after its debut. As IGN contributor Daemon Hatfield noted, the new version of the game came with remastered graphics and some new voice acting while preserving what made the original so fantastic.
For the uninitiated, the plot puts players in the role of Guybrush Threepwood, a character who dreams of becoming a pirate. The core mechanics are fairly typical of a Hidden Object Game, but this is perhaps one of the most iconic in its genre due to its comedic style and engaging execution. We have to suggest this one for anyone who wants to show the younger generation what the best video games of the ’90s have to offer. Besides, who doesn’t love a story about pirates?
Although Braid may seem like a traditional platformer at first, it incorporates puzzle solving so intricately into its mechanics that it creates a truly unique experience. The main character, Tim, must save a beautiful princess. Fortunately, he has the special ability to manipulate time. This gameplay element evolves significantly as players progress, which keeps the levels and experiences fresh the more you delve into the story. “As you delve deeper into the game, time manipulation evolves,” wrote IGN contributor Jason Ocampo. “In one world, time goes into reverse whenever Tim moves left. In another, you can create bubbles that slow time. In yet another, you can create a doppleganger that basically lets you be in two places at once. Braid cleverly reinvents its mechanics as you delve deeper into it, so each world feels fresh throughout.”
Admittedly, this title is fairly challenging, and while it is primarily single player, it can be fun to trade the keyboard back and forth to work toward the completion of a level together. Tim’s ability to rewind time also means that you don’t need particularly fast reflexes to perform well. As Ocampo noted, Braid offers several hours worth of gameplay. So, even if you do get frustrated, you can make it to the last stage in a series of short bursts. And trust us, the feeling of accomplishment after defeating the “Big Bad” is absolutely worth it! The PC version received an 8.7 user score on Metacritic. Many reviewers, including Ocampo, commended Braid’s visual style, addictive gameplay and its unique concept. This is definitely a good pick for those that love platforming Puzzle Games!
One final game the whole family can enjoy is the super cute My Singing Monsters. Check it out today and you will have a singing good time!