The 9 Best PlayStation 4 Kids' Games to Buy in 2018

Shop for the best PS4 kids' LEGO, old-school, music, creative games and more

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Buying video games for kids can be tricky business. You want to strike the sweet spot between something that will keep them entertained and something that is age appropriate. Games these days can be shockingly violent, so it’s important to know exactly what you’re buying. And bonus points if they’re games that both your and your kids can enjoy together.

To help you navigate the oceans of games available, we compiled a list of our favorites. We even got a few knowledgeable gamers to channel their inner child and play some of our top picks themselves, analyzing them based on factors like how educational or family friendly they are. When you see the Tested by Lifewire seal next to a review, you know it’s thoroughly vetted and kid approved.

Our Top Picks

Best Game For Families: Rayman Legends

Rayman Legends
Courtesy of Amazon.com
5

The best family game you can buy is one that excites 65-year-olds as much as it does 5-year-olds. Welcome to Ubisoft’s stunningly vibrant, funny and creative world of Rayman. The fifth main title in the Rayman series echoes old-fashioned platformers as far back as Super Mario Bros., but it has its own non-stop energy at the same time.

The “plot” isn’t as important (it rarely is in platformers) as the fact that you can collect different characters and items throughout the game, making it incredibly replayable just to unlock new elements of the experience. And Rayman is consistently surprising when it comes to its vibrant colors and unique level design.

You simply have to play it just for the musical levels, ones in which your movements are timed to covers of hit songs like “Black Betty” and “Eye of the Tiger.” What really makes Rayman Legends such a perfect game for the family is that it has entertainment value for kids of all ages. It’s the Pixar of the PS4.

Take a peek at some of the other best PlayStation 4 games you can buy.

Best LEGO Game: LEGO Worlds

4.9

Does your kid love Legos, but you hate the mess (or even worse, stepping on a block?) LEGO Worlds gives your child the opportunity to be a Lego God by exploring a galaxy of worlds made of LEGOs. The open world environment game allows players to manipulate and alter the planets they visit by dynamically populating and building with LEGO blocks and models.

Similar to MineCraft, LEGO Worlds allows you to create anything you want, one brick at a time. The creatures and characters in these user-made worlds have a mind of their own and interact with one another and the player. Players can explore the worlds they make by riding in helicopters, on dragons and gorillas and driving motorbikes.

See more reviews of our favorite PlayStation 4 LEGO games available for purchase. 

Best Action Game: Knack

Knack
Courtesy of Amazon.com
4.1

In Knack, you play the title character, a changing, moving organism that incorporates the world around him to eventually become a giant that can control fire, water and ice. Knack very purposefully bridges the gap between what we expect from a classic kid’s game — vibrant characters, goofy humor, low threat level, etc. — with mechanics that eventually start to feel more like grown-up games.

It’s the gateway game for your pre-teen, a title that will make their inevitable involvement in more difficult, complex games easier. While Sony and third-party companies were flooding the early days of the PS4 with new games, Knack got a little bit overlooked, so it’s worth going back and giving it a second chance.

Best Comeback Game: Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy

Parents who were original PlayStation 1 gamers can rejoice, as Crash Bandicoot has returned. The 90s PlayStation mascot returns with PS4 updated graphics and animations. Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is three games in one, featuring modernized versions of the original Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back and Crash Bandicoot Warped games.

Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy offers a ton of gameplay with over 100 levels and two playable characters. The difficult action adventure games includes time trial modes and leadership boards, so you can see where you stand with the competition. Parents who want to show their kids the games of yesteryear without the signs of aging should go for Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy.

Best Game For Creative Kids: Little Big Planet 3

Little Big Planet 3
Courtesy of Amazon.com

One of Sony’s best franchises overall has won awards for its creative flair and very purposeful desire to build a generation of creators. Little Big Planet 3 opens with actual video footage of children who start to see the stickers, characters, costumes and collectibles from the game in the world around them.

Little Big Planet 3 is customizable within its incredible platformer adventure — in which the iconic Sackboy has to save the universe again — in the way gamers can use different stickers and costumes (and Sony is still releasing new ones to download), but it really opens up for kids who want to design their own levels.

Best Arcade-Style: Lego Marvel Heroes 2

To be fair, most of the console-compatible LEGO games out there are just as enjoyable for adults as they are kids. With tactile gameplay, a satisfying “break everything to get coins” technique and the nostalgia-inducing franchises they have access to, LEGO has released some of the most successful arcade-style games around, and Marvel Heroes 2 is no exception.

This time-traveling take on the Marvel Universe lets you play as the Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man, Black Panther, Thor, Hulk, Captain Marvel, Dr. Strange, Green Goblin and what they promise are dozens more characters. You’ll fight through the adventurous, time-jumping world of Chronopolis where you can play both as heroes and villains, and you’ll visit different places including ancient Egypt, the Old West and NYC circa 2099. You can play with (or against) other people, or as a single-player adventure. If you’re a kid who simply can’t wait for the next MCU movie to come out, this is a great way to get your superhero fix.

Best Nostalgia Game: Hasbro Family Fun Pack

Hasbro Family Fun Pack
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Let’s say you’re a parent of a certain generation and remember when family game night didn’t include a controller. Let’s say you want to bring a little bit of that nostalgia to your family, but your kids can’t be pried away from the television. Ubisoft and Hasbro have the game for you in the long-running Hasbro series. The one for the PS4 includes virtual versions of Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, Monopoly and Risk. Sure, you could get out a physical version of Monopoly, but that requires keeping track of money and little pieces. Let your PS4 do that for you.

Best Music Game: Just Dance 2018

Just Dance 2018 is considered to be one of the best music dance games for the PlayStation 4. It includes a variety of modern day and older songs, including "Despacito" by Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee, "Shape Of You" by Ed Sheeran. Users don’t need to rely on a PlayStation Camera to capture their movements, but instead, can use the free Dance Controller app on their smartphones.

Both parents and kids can enjoy this music game together in both cooperative and dance-off modes. The game includes a 48-hour trial of its on-demand dance streaming service as well, allowing users to access a library of over 300 songs.

Best Import: Rocket League

­­One of the most popular games on PCs today is Rocket League – a physics-based sports game that’s best described as “soccer with cars." Kids can enjoy all the aspects of the PC version with the PlayStation 4 port of Rocket League with its Collector’s Edition series.

The fast-paced game includes all the latest DLC content you’d find in its PC version, along with four new vehicles. Kids with a love of creativity and action will take joy in the game’s extensive battle-car customizations, eight-player online versus mode and up to four players offline split-screen modes. The game also comes with a Season Mode for a full single-player experience.

Tested by

How We Tested

Our reviewers spent 264 hours testing the three most popular Playstation 4 kids’ games on the market. They picked apart the gameplay, the graphics, and the controls to find out if these games are actually worth your time. We told them to pay careful attention to a few important factors that we've outlined here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.

What to Look for in a Playstation 4 Kids’ Game

Genre - From action games to arcade games, there’s a wide range of genres to choose from. This can be a matter of personal preference, but if your child is really into music, for instance, you can be sure he or she will enjoy a music dance game, whereas if he or she love LEGO, you can’t go wrong with one of those worlds.

Activity - If you’re a parent who is constantly encouraging your kid to put down the controller and go play outside, an active video game might be a good compromise. Whether it’s through a virtual sport or a dancing game, it’s a great way to sneak some exercise into your child’s day.

Family friendly - Playing video games doesn’t have to be an anti-social activity. If you buy a multiplayer game with a storyline that entertains everyone, you can actually bond during screen time. Nostalgia games are also great for this, as they are new and exciting to kids, but fun and familiar to adults.

Test Results: Rayman Legends (Best Game For Families)

5

What We Like

  • Classic platforming gameplay

  • Straightforward controls

  • Entertaining challenges

What We Don’t Like

  • Can be a little slow

  • One-note story

This is a game that the whole family can have fun with. Rescue Teensies from the invading nightmares and set them free. Along the way, collect Lums (energy beings) to increase your score. “Even though this game is for children,” one tester remarked, “adults like me can really enjoy it.” The game reminded her of simple platform games from her childhood that featured Mario or Crash. “Similar to those games, this game is fairly easy to navigate,” she said. “It’s uniquely challenging for a curious mind, but not too difficult to master — the difficulty level is just right.”

From the level design to the art style, this game impressed everyone who played it. One person even said the graphics are “a notch above” games she’s played in the past. She added, “The graphics in the variety of settings (water, air, walls, etc.) are tied together seamlessly and transitions between levels — and even rooms in the same level — are not harsh or startling. From a visual and graphics perspective, developers do a nice job allowing the characters to easily transition between walking, running, swimming, jumping, and climbing.”

Test Results: LEGO Worlds (Best LEGO Game)

4.9

What We Like

  • Easy to play

  • Open world gameplay

  • Beautiful graphics

What We Don’t Like

  • Little diversity in gameplay

  • Finicky controls

If you know a kid that loves to be creative and build new worlds (any Minecraft fans out there?), then LEGO Worlds is the perfect game. “It's just like playing with real Legos, which is really cool,” one of our reviewers said. The graphics are “amazingly sharp,” according to one of our testers, and the gameplay is simple enough that any kid can understand it.

 If you’re looking for something a little more involved, then consider other options. As fun as the open world gameplay can be, one Lifewire tester longed for a continuous storyline to give some of the action a little more meaning. She felt like the gameplay became a little repetitive after awhile. Each world follows the same formula: explore, find items, and complete short missions. She also mentioned that you needed to be pretty exact when placing bricks, so steer clear if you haven’t mastered your PS4 joystick yet.

Test Results: Knack (Best Action Game)

4.1

What We Like

  • Great for kids just getting started gaming

  • Fun co-op options

  • Fun storyline

What We Don’t Like

  • Simple graphics

  • Repetitive gameplay

Knack won’t blow you away, but it will provide a few hours of fun gaming time. As one tester said, “the graphics are cute, the storyline is simple and straightforward, and the controls are very easy to learn. It’s extremely kid friendly.” Though it’s basic, the storyline is based around a futuristic society where humans battle with goblins and harvest energy from relics. The game opens with a demo mode that seamlessly fits into the storyline: It helps you understand how to play, what the buttons are, and how to dodge attacks.

 “It just seems like a fun, feel-good game,” one tester said. “The characters are cute, you can mash buttons to advance to the next levels, and the monsters are silly-looking goblins.” The game is great if you want the freedom to just turn it off and pick it up where you left off.