Top Pick for
Best PS4 games for kids
Top-tier fun for the young and the young-at-heart.
We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!
I often find myself in awe of the childhood enjoyed by my two sons. When I was their age I was told to go outside and play with a stick (sometimes on the highway). That or I'd have to wait until "cartoon hour" rolled around in the afternoons. Nowadays, the invention of the Internet and the proliferation of digital screens serve to offer kids a million ways to be entertained.
Short of sport and outdoors, I think the interactivity of video games is the best option to go with – as opposed to the mindlessness of Netflix and the worrying toxicity of YouTube. That being said, collected below are the absolute best games released (on any system) for the young and young-at-heart.
How did we pick this list?
Our editorial team selected the games on this list based on over 60 combined years of gaming experience. We chose each game based on its overall quality, lastability and ease of use for younger players. Find more detail on our methodology below
It Takes Two
Fresh off their last release called A Way Out – a prison story widely regarded as one of the best co-operative games you can buy – Hazelight Studios returns with a similar offering that's more suited for a broader audience. At its heart, It Takes Two is the tale of a married couple on the brink of break up, but with a goofy Pixar twist. An arguing Cody and May get shrunken down into Sackboy-like doll forms, and must then repair their bond by navigating their way out of a wacky fantasy world.
To make matters worse and to also facilitate a bunch of cool contextual mini-games, the two-some are snatched up by their daughter, Rose, and are taken to the family's backyard shed for "play" time. Long story short: using split-screen co-op, you and a pal must 3D platform about, finding things and triggering mini-game challenges.
Expect a ton of gameplay variety here with an emphasis on short 'n' sweet. Everything from playing whack-a-mole versus, tug of war, toy tank battles, laser tennis, snowball fights and much, much more. Basically, you never know what will be coming at you next in this unique adventure. Expect it to consistently charm younger and older gamers alike.
Just Dance 2021
Just Dance never really changes from year to year, but it also never really loses its appeal. What you're looking at here is an absolutely party-starter that bridges all generation gaps. The basic gist: players who have way too much energy (and probably not much dancing skill) must mimic the on-screen dancer's choreography to a chosen song using either motion controllers or the game's associated smartphone app.
Admittedly, there isn't a whole lot of evolution over Just Dance 2020, but returning fans will notice a few tweaks here and there. There's a Quick Mode that lets you skip the menus and just jump right into the boogie with a random playlist shuffle. You can also cut a little rug in World Dance Floor, a 3-song competitive tournament that will skill match you to another a player's level, and then judge you with an all new scoring system.
Most importantly, Just Dance 2021 comes with a fairly eclectic setlist filled with some banging tracks included. For example, we'd highly recommend you bust a groove to Temperature, Paca Dance, Kick It and Dance Monkey.
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled
Long thought dead since the 90s (aside from the evergreen Mario Kart series) the kart racing genre has accelerated into a glorious renaissance of local multiplayer of late.
Many gamers will have forgotten the raw power of damn good split-screen multiplayer, a feature that absolutely nobody wanted to see disappear from our hobby.
With the right crew and some pizzas you can spend an entire night powersliding and pulverising one another with randomised weapons. CTR is the stuff of lost jobs and non-gaming significant other tension.
It would also be a colossal understatement if I said that developer Beenox has tuned the graphics up to modern standards.
What we have here is a complete graphical engine overhaul – the tracks are brimming with additional 4K detail, the racers are animated to OCD Disney Pixar levels and everything is bathed in a sumptuous lighting system.
My 1999 self could not have even conceived of Crash Team Racing looking this good or purring along this smoothly.
This is Sony's multiplayer magnum opus, a kart racer that races neck and neck with the hallowed Mario Kart 8.
Sackboy A Big Adventure
Excuse the run of puns, but this is great gaming material if you're after a kid-friendly platformer – especially if you have a tight-knit group of 3 other friends. Drawing from the universe of Media Molecule's LittleBigPlanet series, Sackboy A Big Adventure is a slightly different beast now that it's in the custodianship of developer Sumo Digital. Gone are the extensive build-your-own-game mechanics and rigid 2.5D platforming; in their place is pure 3D platforming that's more like a Jak & Daxter experience.
Fro those of you unfamiliar with the genre, we're talking jumpy-jump sections over bottomless pits, item kleptomania and a host of cool special abilities that filter in and out of a ton of themed levels. Your sackpersons can find themselves defying gravity with the adhesion provided by honey smeared feet. Alternatively, you can get your Sack Rogers on with a jetpack and laser gun combo, or swing to new heights with a grapple hook.
What's here is the perfect blend of accessible and easy to finish with kids, but also difficult to 100% finish. Throw in the madcap frienemy antics that occur in co-operative platforming, and Sackboy Big Adventure is an absolute hoot with the right people.
Spyro has returned from the mists of history and he's all scaled up (read: bad dragon / 4K remastering pun).
With Reignited Activision has pulled out all the stops and rekindled my love of the original three games, Spyro the Dragon, Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! and Spyro: Year of the Dragon.
Once more you'll be able to platform through the expansive realms, re-encounter the fiery personalities and rabuse far too many innocent sheep with your horn stampede move.
Fresh coat of paint aside, do these games hold up? They certainly do.
The original adventure is fairly simplistic by modern standards. That said, everything becomes decidedly complex as the series glides along.
Pretty soon you're learning advanced techniques like powerflames, supershots and more as you travel to strange lands, meet exotic beasts and do your best to immolate the lot of 'em.
Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy
This wumpa fruit may be old but it's still remarkably fresh and delicious, thanks to a 4K master and a lot of love.
PS One's favourite marsupial has lost none of his insanity and his haunts are just as diabolical today as they were pre-millenium.
Expect to lose yourself in a mesmerising action loop of spins, jumps and wumps through the three games that started it all, Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back and Crash Bandicoot: Warped.
Even better, the deceptively simple task of platforming from point A to point B is layered with challenges your ankle-biters can aspire to in the long-term.
Can they find all of the secret gems hidden about? Can they nab the secret tokens to discover hidden challenge levels? Can they destroy every box in a level without falling into yet another bottomless cavern as they shriek in anguish at the TV?
If they can, they're better than me.
Lauded for their build-your-own game series called LittleBigPlanet, Media Molecule has expanded every gamer's DIY capabilities to new and impressive extremes in Dreams. What we have here is a digital space where you can go to play and experience the odd, artful creations of Media Molecule and the (almost always weirder) stuff built by players such as yourself.
Using a remarkable approachable creation system of menus, sliders and downloadable chunks, you can sculpt virtually anything into being (and at this point I should mention that it's all moderated for tastefulness). Dreams has been around for a decent amount of time, too – you can expect to leverage servers and servers full of art, films, music pieces, micro games or anything in-between and beyond. Even better, progressing from a dabbler to a digital virtuoso is made easier by a comprehensive tutorials section.
It's also worth noting that Dreams is four-player capable, which means it's an almost bottomless wellspring of downloadable local multi games that can entertain your average ankle-biter for hours. Honestly, this longevity enhancing feature is worth the price of admission all on its own.
Kingdom Hearts III
I'm not even going to attempt to explain the story basics of KH3 for you today (which, weirdly, is the same approach taken by the developers). There's not enough time; this unique fusion of JRPG melodrama and Disney lore is too dense.
Nevertheless, anybody can roll into this and enjoy the combat, which is a fine line between accessible, over-the-top action and an empowering magic system that needs a light seizure warning.
We're talking hyperactive displays of fireworks, explosions and some really great advertising for Disneyland theme parks. You might shred through dozens of inky foes in one of the teacup rides, or splash down on their heads in a Splash Mountain dinghy, or harness the centrifugal force of that pendulous Pirate Ship ride.
It's the same deal with Keyblade transformations, which are effectively 18 or so weapon forms that increase your damage output, tweak your combos and pay homage to yet more Disney IP.
For example, a Hercules-inspired shield allows you to simultaneously go on the offensive while blocking incoming frontal assaults.
100 Acre Woods fans can rain... uh, Pooh, down on their foes with the Honey Spout form that gives you dual guns and a bit of third-person shooting.
And this is just the iceberg tip of 30+ hours of fun, adventure and fan service.
Team Sonic Racing
Essentially, you're about to turn the ignition on for a new version of 2012's Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, just without the fancy reconfigurable vehicles.
The roster here draws solely from Sonic canon instead of Sega entire. TSR is a game obsessed with threes too. Teams of three characters, who themselves are divided into three classes, race and work together to reach the checkered flag by sharing and caring as much as possible.
Try to lone wolf these races (either online or in story mode) and you'll go home with the wooden spoon.
Drifting skillfully, busting stunts, collecting rings and running over boost pads soon takes a major backseat to just helping your AI pals earn Team Ultimate energy.
Skim Boost and Slingshot Draft well enough, and you can table-turn a race with the resulting berserker speed burst.
Sating one's need for speed aside, TSR drops a few places in our esteem due to a relatively short story mode and a thin character roster with few unlocks to shoot for.
Be that as it may, what we have here is solid, and certainly more pick-up-and-win than Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled. In a party scenario, that's more than enough for a podium finish.
Technically, you can beat Unravel Two on your lonesome and have a fun time doing it. That said, this gorgeous platforming experience is elevated substantially if you recruit a partner in crime.
I'd go so far as to recommend you play this with one of your offspring or a younger sibling.
Sure, one party will be forced to wait if the other party repeatedly messes up their jumps, but there are also some complex puzzles woven into the fabric of this thing. Two heads will be better than one in the long run.
All of the old mechanics from Unravel return – abseiling using your own thread, tying of a thread to use it as a mini-trampoline, etc, but now you have to do it all in tandem while maintaining a set distance apart (and working with limited screen real estate).
The best new addition is a creature comfort mechanic for parents that should be in every platformer – at any time, you can make one Yarny merge into the other. Control is then relinquished to one player and this allows you to literally carry the other gamer to success.
Trust me, it beats the heck out of playing your own patience Olympics as your eight-year-old buddy screws up a jump... for five minutes.
Ultimately, Unravel Two has a lot of heart but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that it's by a short length and a threadbare narrative.
Little Big Planet 3
As a general rule of thumb, Media Molecule can be counted on for endearing, creativity-encouraging games for the whole family.
LittleBigPlanet 3 is without a doubt its finest work. Imagine, if you will, a physics-heavy 2.5D platformer starring a midget made out of burlap (read: Sackperson) and his friends: Swoop (who gives players the power of flight), Oddsock (a wall-jumping dog) and Toggle (his superpower is expansion).
Throw in narration by Stephen Fry and an antagonist voiced by Hugh Laurie, and you've got an irresistibly adorable adventure.
While the four-person platforming and light-puzzling is solid, LBP 3's true power is its extensive user-generated content suite.
Using an incredibly powerful and intuitive editor, you can build almost any type of level, or game, imaginable.
Plus, the LBP servers offer a whopping nine years of curated work to dig through and play for free. This really is a LittleBigPlanet full of possibilities for your gamer younglings.
Welcome to another Media Molecule gem, but this time – unlike the studio's user-generated content darling, LittleBigPlanet 3 – the action on offer is straight 3D platforming, ala Ratchet & Clank.
What Tearaway Unfolded lacks in mission-editing and reams of player-made content, it makes up for with lovely origami-infused visuals, the ability to craft major assets in the world and there's also a control scheme unlike anything else out there.
Essentially, poking an index finger on the touchpad of your DualShock 4 can let you unfurl paper bridges, or generate enemy-flinging gusts of wind.
This addictive and tactile gameplay can also be married to a super cool PlayStation app function on your phone.
Speaking personally, my kids were pretty damn chuffed when I scanned their real-life scribblings into the game as virtual textures.
Do that, and Tearaway Unfolded will go from top-notch platformer to a magical experience in no time.
What a winning formula this one is. Firstly, you take the isometric, hack and slash loot addiction of the much beloved Diablo series. Next, you shave it all down to be RPG-lite, fuse it with the lovely Lego aesthetics of the Minecraft phenomenon and watch the playerbase and monies roll in.
Gaemplay-wise, what's on offer here is the timeless loop that is: adventure forth, hit things to grow XP and / or find items that make you strong enough to face the next big bad thing. Forget the classes of Diablo – you're looking at a gear system that's divided into attributes like Melee, Range, Armour, Atrifacts and Enchantments. Oh, and while Minecraft Dungeons is a decent dungeon crawler when played on your lonesome, it's elevated to new levels of addiction if you can enlist the efforts of three other players as well.
The overwhelming good news in the gear department is that everybody gets their own loot pool as well (which means no petty bickering when somebody swipes "the good sword"). Man, if only the multiplayer in the original Minecraft had been designed to be as fairly balanced and parent ear friendly...
Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2
I've honestly lost count of how many Lego games there have been since Lego Star Wars burst onto the scene way back in 2005.
They're all safe bets if you want to play single-screen co-op with a younger sibling or child too, though the general rule of thumb is: the bigger the franchise linked to the game, the higher the quality.
For now, Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 is my current pick of the litter (but Lego City Undercover was a close second).
Sticking to the core gameplay of past Lego titles – jump a lot, break stuff and engage in cartoony violence – this game also snaps on the ability to manipulate time and have a four-player battle royale.
You also get a ridiculous 200+ characters to unlock in a large open-world which digs deep into the different eras and realities of the Marvel Universe.
Frankly, there's so much to do and collect here. It's plastic fantastic.
Kids' games with structured goals and stories are becoming fewer and far between nowadays.
What is in vogue are games like Terraria – free-wheeling sandbox jaunts that let you make your own fun (typically via collecting, crafting and bashing local predatory wildlife).
I'd recommend you go Minecraft over this first, but if your younglings aren't up to using two sticks to navigate a 3D world, Terraria is the much more user-friendly, 2D alternative.
Terraria offers a tiny bit more gameplay purpose too. Though it's certainly bereft of a grand narrative, the inclusion of boss fights, challenges and some meaningful interaction with non-player characters sets this apart from the crowd.
Terraria can grow with the skill level of your children too, thanks to an expert mode which will reward older, more harder-working Terrarians with rarer loot (or defeat and disappointment due to random chance).
Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition
The Dragon Quest titles are an RPG phenomenon in Japan. It's so popular, the series caused a law to be passed that bans any DQ game from having a day-one release date on a working weekday (to prevent millions of sickies being taken).
Dragon Quest Builders differs from the established formula by being a spin-off that puts a foot in both the RPG and Minecraft sandbox camps. Even still, it's a hybrid that's no less addictive.
Creation, and the brutal strip-mining of your environment for crafting materials, is still paramount, but Builders also layers in a few things sorely missing from Minecraft: meaningful progression, decent mission structure and a delightfully cheese ball plot.
The only thing working against this package is the lack of multiplayer and the ability to explore underwater; but those missteps should be solved when the sequel (eventually) comes out.
For now, Builders offers a solid foundation for near-endless fun.
Kingdom Hearts 3
A quick word to the wise if you're coming at this as a complete Kingdom Hearts newbie: even though every effort is made to catch you up, expect to not really know what's going on in the story here. And hey -- to be fair, any story that takes two vastly disparate universes and throws them into a blender was always going to be a bit confusing.
All that being said, Kingdom Hearts 3 absolutely kills it in the areas that matter most to kids. You're looking at gorgeous graphics that are exploding with colour, flair and some mind-blowing Disney character cameos. There's also an approachable, real-time battle system that's super easy to pick up and be effective in, but is also difficult to master for more experienced gamers.
It's also worth mentioning that this trans-dimensional adventure is going to give you your money's worth. Just the main story is a very decent 30 hours worth -- pokers of every nook and cranny can add another 10 on top of that. And let's be honest: 40 hours of exposing your kids to a story about "the power of friendship" sure beats the hell out of them playing 40 hours of the online abuse-fest that is Fortnite.
Ratchet & Clank
Though it was 12 titles deep into a successful franchise, Insomniac Games decided to reboot its Ratchet & Clank money-maker with a new generation of gamers in mind.
Granted, what we have here is not entirely new thanks to a number of similarities with the 2002 original, but the formula has definitely been brought up to pace with modern third-person shooter conventions.
The visuals, especially on a 4K TV, are Pixar-levels of pretty too.
Fortunately, something that hasn't changed is Ratchet's access to an increasingly bizarre array of weapons and gadgets. One moment you're jumping from platform to platform, whacking people and boxes with your lowly omni-wrench, the next you're smearing the screen with spewing lasers and missile-based retribution.
Relax though, it's Looney Tunes style violence. Case in point: the Pixelator that turns enemies into bad 8-bit video game characters, or the Groovitron that forces them to disco dance like idiots.
These are the moments that make Ratchet & Clank an all-time great.
Before we begin, here's a little bit of overdue real-talk: there hasn't been a knock-out-fantastic Sonic game since Sonic 3 in 1994.
Everything after that was an okay-to-poor substitute that struggled (or failed) to capture the blisteringly-paced, seizure-inducing magic of the blue dude with the 'tude.
After all these years, the traditional 2D stylings of Sonic Mania have finally been realised once again for a sequel that's worthy of canon.
Any thanks you may want to give Sonic Mania should be directed not at Sega, but the two Sonic community diehards who were allowed to deliver an official product filled with the unmistakable care and love that can only be lavished by truly obsessive fans.
If you've never played a Sonic game, the idea is simple (and you've wasted your life up until this point): you've gotta go fast.
You also have to collect rings, avoid enemies placed in deliberately unfortunate spots, defy gravity in loop-de-loop moments and secure chaos emeralds by taking on mini-games.
It's fun, it's fast and, even after 25 years, you'll have zero chance of getting the music out of your head.
A good party game needs to be easy to pick up and play (thus luring in casual gaming fence-sitters), but some complexity also needs to be steadily layered in to keep interest levels high.
Being a 2D platformer – the simplest gaming concept this side of Pong or Tetris – Rayman Legends fulfils the first requirement, and over the course of 12 hours, it achieves the latter by drip-feeding in clever and unpredictable ideas.
The cherry on top is that it looks gorgeous and is jam-packed with quirky humour, and the universal appeal consistently leaps generational gaps like Rayman does bottomless pits.
Obviously, this is primarily about running, jumping and four people collecting more stuff than a hoarder who's just discovered a new spare room.
Rayman Legends slowly expands this framework to include slapstick violence (which is hilariously inter-player), tons of unlockable cosmetic items, fiendishly hidden secret areas and some exquisitely choreographed musical levels.
The latter are crowd-pleasers of the highest order. Because who doesn't love butt-kicking medieval goblins to the sound of Black Betty or mashing through a mariachi version of Eye of the Tiger?
Minecraft: PlayStation 4 Edition
Here it is, fellow parents: Minecraft, the game your kids are sure to stare blankly at for hours upon hours (and most likely obsess over long after the TV has been switched off).
It's so much more than a baby-sitter on a disc, however. This eyesore-looking 3D sandbox is inoffensive, do-it-yourself fun that's guaranteed to get the creative juices flowing, regardless of the player's age.
Why? Because this is basically like playing Lego on your TV, with a bit more emphasis on plundering the natural environment for resources, bonking animals on the head to deprive them of their delicious meats and avoiding explosive ghouls who come stalking at night.
(That said, you can avoid the creationist capitalism and scary nasties via a dedicated mode that hands you unlimited resources and safety.)
Even better, Minecraft offers up to four-person split-screen multiplayer.
That's sure to keep siblings happily constructing and/or fighting over Kid X blowing up Kid Y's impalpable cubby house for ages.
Viewer experience will vary, depending on in-going sugar levels.
Amazon prices last updated on 15 October, 2021 at 11:00 pm
- Our editorial team considered over 100 'G-rated' PlayStation 4 games.
- We based our findings on our own gaming experiences, observations of our children, as well as the average score from other professional reviewing sites. (Metacritic.)
- The products on this list are chosen by our editorial team and are not selected based on commercial relationships.
Latest gaming headlines
The HTC Vive Flow is a wireless VR headset with a design reminiscent of smart glasses, but what kind of experience is it offering?Read more…
The Nintendo Switch OLED video game console retails for $539 - here's a sneaky trick to get $50 off at Big W.Read more…
Looking for an Axie Infinity scholarship? This NFT blockchain game guide lists all the best guilds with tips on how to be the best scholar.Read more…
More guides on Finder
Suunto 9 Peak review: Fitness tracking for the truly dedicated
The Suunto 9 Peak has impressive physical design and great battery life, but its price and responsiveness mean that it's best suited to very serious workout warriors only.
Oppo A94 5G review: Deeply average
The Oppo A94 5G doesn't really do anything wrong for a mid-range handset, but it doesn't really do anything exceptional either.
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 review: They’re still great, except for one thing
The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 earbuds have excellent sound and noise cancellation, but are let down by one key detail.
Turtle Beach Recon controller review: Full control
The Recon controller provides some much needed extra control for Xbox and PC gamers but makes some trade offs to get there.
Apple iPad 9th Generation Review: Minor upgrades but it’s still the best iPad
Apple's cheapest iPad doesn't get a fancy design upgrade this year, and improvements are few.
Best routers in Australia
Make your Wi-Fi work for you at home or at work with our guide to the best Wi-Fi routers.
Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max review: Everything about it is big, including the price
The iPhone 13 Pro Max is the top-of-the-line Apple device. It has a big battery, camera and price tag, but is it worth the extra cash?
FIFA 22 – Cheapest copies in Australia (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Nintendo)
Here are the cheapest pre-order copies of EA's FIFA 22 on PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X - save up to $30.95.
Sonos Beam Gen 2 review: Is it any good?
The Sonos Beam Gen 2 is a mid-range home theatre solution with Dolby Atmos and streaming support, but is it one of the best soundbars of 2021?
Motorola Edge 20 Pro review: Not quite pro standard
The Motorola Edge 20 Pro delivers a number of good features on paper, but the reality of using it shows its weaknesses. It's fair value for money, but the cheaper Motorola Edge 20 is a better handset.
Ask an Expert