The 9 Best PlayStation 4 Kids' Games of 2021

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

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The Rundown
Best Game for Families:
Overcooked! All You Can Eat at Amazon
It's a cooperative party game where groups of up to four players scramble to prepare meals and run a busy, often trap-filled kitchen.
Best Action Game:
Kingdom Hearts III at Amazon
Young Disney fans will get a lot out of this game, as they can summon characters like Ariel from The Little Mermaid in battle.
Best Game For Creative Kids:
Microsoft Minecraft at Amazon
Minecraft is full of opportunities for emergent, exciting gameplay that indulges the imagination of its players.
If you’re looking for PlayStation’s answer to Mario Kart, then you should definitely pick up Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fueled.
This game lets kids step into the shoes of iconic Marvel characters like Spider-Man, The Hulk, Iron Man, and more.
Best Puzzle Game:
Tetris Effect at Amazon
Players go through the game’s Journey Mode, where their tetromino-twirling inputs create the soundtrack and affect the game’s visuals.
This soft-edged and silly game has players step into the shoes of jelly bean avatars as they scramble to complete obstacle courses.
There’s a mode just for kids that features custom choreography and tracks like "You’ve Got A Friend In Me" from Toy Story.
It’s About Time features a set of local co-op and competitive multiplayer modes to dig into once you wrap up the game’s story.

Though the PlayStation 5 has landed, the console is still remarkably hard to get a hold of, and many families will still be digging into the vast and varied library of the PlayStation 4. The console’s catalogue offers a whole host of fantastic kid-friendly games across several genres, and we’re going to run through our favourites to help you expand your collection.

With the advent of online multiplayer, parental controls have been expanded on the PlayStation platform, making it easier for parents to make sure kids are playing age-appropriate games and staying safe online. 

If you’re a parent keen to grow the library of games available to your children while making sure the content is applicable for the youngest members of your family, this list is guided by the age rating system and our own experience, and should point you towards some superb kids games on the PlayStation 4.

Best Game for Families: Overcooked! All You Can Eat

What We Like
  • Accessible controls

  • Cute art style

  • Great value for money

What We Don't Like
  • Not much fun on your own

The ultimate family game on PlayStation 4 has to be Overcooked! All You Can Eat, a cooperative party game where groups of up to four players scramble to prepare meals and run a busy, often trap-filled kitchen. This remastered package is a compilation of Overcooked! and Overcooked! 2 from Ghost Town Games, with some extra levels, chefs, and achievements to strive for thrown into the mix. 

The two games are filled with content and full of replay value, but this bundle collates them into a package that is a seriously great value for money, offering hours of fun for kids and adults. You can play the game in local co-op or online if the family are on separate consoles, but be prepared with some headsets if so, as communication is key.

The controls are simple and accessible, but players will have to take on roles in a chaotic kitchen to put together dishes, wash plates, and deliver orders on time to score stars and progress through the levels.

ESRB: E (Everyone) | Developer: Ghost Town Games | Publisher: Team 17

Best Action Game: Kingdom Hearts III

What We Like
  • Fun and flowing combat

  • Meet Disney characters

  • Explore stunning Disney worlds

What We Don't Like
  • The story can get confusing

If you’re looking for exciting combat and top-tier action sequences, the Disney-themed Square Enix RPG Kingdom Hearts III would be a great pickup for kids who play on PlayStation 4. You play as Sora, a young boy who teams up with Donald Duck and Goofy to fight back the forces of darkness using his keyblade. 

Young Disney fans will get a lot out of this game, as they can summon characters like Ariel from The Little Mermaid and Simba from The Lion King in battle, and perform attacks that riff off of real Disney Parks attractions. Some of the game’s worlds include Arendelle from Frozen, the Kingdom of Corona from Tangled, and there are also levels based on key locations from Monsters Inc and Toy Story

The Disney worlds are all lovingly realized with licensed Disney and Pixar characters bookmarking the game’s story and guiding Sora on their journey. Beyond the campaign, the Flowmotion combat system is really easy to play with but it also has a lot of depth for older kids who wish to master it. Kingdom Hearts III is a well-rounded experience that lasts around 30 hours and is sure to keep kids busy and engaged.

ESRB: E10+ (Everyone 10+) | Developer: Square Enix Business Division 3 | Publisher: Square Enix

Best Game For Creative Kids: Microsoft Minecraft

What We Like
  • Indulges the imagination

  • Endlessly replayable

  • Lots of fun with friends

What We Don't Like
  • Limited storytelling

If you’re looking to indulge a creative youngster, Minecraft on PlayStation 4 would be an obvious choice. Mojang’s open-world sandbox is the best-selling game of all time for a reason—it offers a near-limitless creative toy box for kids to play with, leading to hours upon hours of fun.

Whether it’s constructing a huge complex of blocky buildings in Creative Mode or simply trying to survive the night, Minecraft is full of opportunities for emergent, exciting gameplay that indulges the imagination of its players. The online Minecraft community is constantly growing too, with plenty of resources and tutorials available to help expand what players can dream up and build inside the game. 

The good news is that the whole family can join in and help via local or online multiplayer. It’s easy to set up and arguably even more fun in a group, as you gather resources, commit to big builds, and fend off the creepers.

ESRB: E10+ (Everyone 10+) | Developer: Mojang | Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment

"My six-year-old son has become obsessed not only with playing Minecraft and experimenting within, but also reading about the ecosystem in books and gaining ideas for his next session." — Andrew Hayward, Product Tester

Microsoft Minecraft

Lifewire / Andrew Hayward

Best Racing Game: Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fueled

What We Like
  • Offers an unusual kart racer campaign

  • Full of challenging tracks

  • Charming cartoon graphics

What We Don't Like
  • Microtransitions

If you’re looking for PlayStation’s answer to Mario Kart, then you should definitely pick up Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fueled for your kids. This remaster of the 1999 Naughty Dog classic is an airtight kart racer with an edgy side to it. 

The game features all of your favorite Crash Bandicoot characters like Crash, Coco, and Doctor Neo Cortex as they turbo boost and drift around tracks evocative of the series’ cartoon aesthetics. With so many evil traps and power-ups to collect, Nitro Fueled is sure to summon giggles as families duke it out to see who is the best racer.

However, if local or online multiplayer doesn’t appeal, the ace up Nitro Fueled’s sleeve is the game’s Adventure mode, a full-blown campaign with boss battles and cinematics that kids can enjoy at their own pace in single-player.

ESRB: E10+ (Everyone 10+) | Developer: Beenox | Publisher: Activision

Best LEGO Game: LEGO Marvel Super Heroes

What We Like
  • Easy controls that let kids embody their favorite superheroes

  • Marvel movie gags and LEGO humor are a match made in heaven

  • A massive roster of playable characters

What We Don't Like
  • Can get repetitive at times

Every kid needs a LEGO game, and the best one to pick up on PlayStation 4 would be LEGO Marvel Super Heroes. Bonus points if your young ones are superhero fans, as this game lets kids step into the shoes of iconic Marvel characters like Spider-Man, The Hulk, Iron Man, and more.

Across a 12-hour story, players will enjoy disrupting the plans of a variety of well-known supervillains, with LEGO's trademark humor shining through.

Of course, the best part of every LEGO game is the drop-in and drop-out co-op that lets extra players jump in and out of the game at any time. This is great for parents who want to help out with a puzzle or join the cause and play superheroes for a while in a low-pressure environment.

With accessible controls and plenty of cool cinematic set pieces, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is a great way to pad out your library on PlayStation 4.

ESRB: E10+ (Everyone 10+) | Developer: Traveller's Tales | Publisher: WB Interactive

Best Puzzle Game: Tetris Effect

What We Like
  • Stunning visuals

  • Interactive soundscapes will delight kids

  • Brain-teasing puzzle gameplay

What We Don't Like
  • A slightly steep difficulty curve

Parents will no doubt be familiar with the classic puzzle game Tetris, but 2018’s Tetris Effect would be a great way to introduce the series to kids on the PlayStation 4. This gorgeous brain-teaser is a new take on the Tetris formula and is renowned for evoking feelings of synesthesia with its interactive soundscapes.

Players embark on an adventure through the game’s Journey Mode, where their tetromino-twirling inputs create the soundtrack and affect the game’s visuals. Tetris Effect is capable of telling charming, emotional stories within levels and is so much fun to replay as you improve your skills and master the gameplay loop.

An update called Tetris Effect Connected is coming in July and will bring multiplayer modes and new challenges to the game, so the whole family can get involved.

ESRB: E (Everyone) | Developer: Monstars, Resonair, Stage Games | Publisher: Enhance Games

Best Online Game: Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout

Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
What We Like
  • Multiple fun minigames

  • No voice chat or text chat online

  • Seasonal updates

What We Don't Like
  • No local co-op

If your kids are looking for a fun online game to play with friends and family, then Fall Guys would be a wise addition to your collection. This soft-edged and silly game has players step into the shoes of jelly bean avatars as they scramble to complete obstacle courses and team-based challenges against other players online.

The game is a battle royale with up to 60 players where competitors are whittled down between rounds until there is only one player left standing. There’s no text or voice chat online either, so kids don’t have to worry about trolls or toxicity.

It’s an exciting premise made fun by some simple but intentionally clunky controls that allow for mistakes and miracles. There’s nothing quite like the adrenaline of making it to one of the game’s final showdowns and facing off against a small pool of players to try and claim the crown. The game doesn’t currently feature local co-op, but parents and siblings can join in if there are multiple consoles in the house.

ESRB: E (Everyone) | Developer: Mediatonic | Publisher: Devolver Digital

Best Music Game: Ubisoft Just Dance 2021 (PS4)

What We Like
  • Kids mode

  • Great selection of songs

  • Accessible gameplay

What We Don't Like
  • Nothing

Ubisoft’s Just Dance 2021 is a family party staple and a great music game for kids to enjoy. It's something the whole family can get involved with, thanks to its easygoing dancing gameplay. Just Dance 2021 includes 40 new tracks, including a number of popular contemporary songs like The Weeknd’s "Blinding Lights" and Dua Lipa’s "Don’t Start Now."

There’s also a mode just for kids that features custom choreography and tracks like "You’ve Got A Friend In Me" from Toy Story. The game can be controlled via smartphone as well as typical controllers, with up to six family members and friends able to get involved in the endless dance party. You can also use it as a fun cardio workout with Just Dance 2021’s Sweat Mode.

ESRB: E (Everyone) | Developer: Ubisoft Paris | Publisher: Ubisoft

Best Platformer: Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time

What We Like
  • Superb cartoon graphics

  • Engaging campaign

  • Great gags and fun characters

What We Don't Like
  • Controls can be tricky at times

The best platformer for kids on the PlayStation 4 is Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time. This 2020 sequel from Toys for Bob takes what was good about the PlayStation Crash Bandicoot platformer trilogy and refines it into a sleek modern package with high production values.

With tricky but rewarding platforming and a delightfully funny plot, players can expect to spend roughly 10 hours with It’s About Time’s dimension-trotting campaign. Players will progress through the game’s imaginative and challenging worlds, swapping characters and gaining magical Quantum Masks that augment their platforming abilities in interesting ways. 

It’s About Time also features a set of local co-op and competitive multiplayer modes to dig into once you wrap up the game’s story, and you can always repeat levels to pick up secret collectables and unlock cool cosmetics.

ESRB: E10+ (Everyone 10+) | Developer: Toys for Bob | Publisher: Activision

Final Verdict

Our favorite PlayStation 4 kids' game is Overcooked! All You Can Eat (view at Amazon), a chaotic party game about preparing meals that is super accessible and fun for the whole family. For creative kids looking to indulge their imagination, Minecraft (view at Amazon) would be another solid choice on PlayStation 4.

About Our Trusted Experts

Jordan Oloman is a freelance writer passionate about how technology can improve your productivity. He has years of experience writing about tech and video games for sites like The Guardian, IGN, TechRadar, TrustedReviews, PC Gamer and many more.

Andrew Hayward has been covering video games since 2006. He's previously written for publications like TechRadar and Polygon to covering gaming and esports, is a gamer himself, and reviewed many of these games with his six-year-old son.

FAQs

How do you know if the game is appropriate for your kids?
If you're in the U.S., you can check the ESRB rating of any game and its description to see if it contains anything that might be unsavory. ESRB ratings range from E for Everyone (the most kid-friendly rating) to Adult Only (a very rare rating, but self-explanatory). If you're in Europe, PEGI ratings range from 3 to 18, based on the age of the intended audience. Australian parents should take note that video game ratings are the same as film ratings, so use your best judgement when buying games for your children. A game's rating can be found on the front and back covers of the game for easy identification. As always, you can search for a description of the game online and read reviews to make sure your kids aren't asking for something inappropriate. When in doubt, err on the side of caution.

Can you set up parental controls?
Absolutely! Every home console and computer allows parents to set up a special PIN code and media restrictions to keep kids from downloading inappropriate content. You may want to periodically change the PIN code in case your little ones try to figure it out in order to bypass your settings. And make sure if you write down the PIN, keep it somewhere your kids won't find it.

What are microtransactions?
Microtransactions are things that you can buy with real money in a game. These can range from expanded stories and new missions to new character costumes and items. While many microtransaction items seem inexpensive, the cost can add up over time. This is especially true for games such as Fortnite where new character costumes and dances pop up almost every week, and so do stories of kids who rack up thousands of dollars of credit card debt to get the coolest items and costumes. Make sure you keep an eye on your credit card statements and discuss with your kids the importance of asking permission before buying ANYTHING online, no matter how cheap it seems.

Ubisoft Rayman Legends

Lifewire / Kelsey Simon

What to Look For in a PS4 Kids' Game

Gameplay

When looking at child-friendly games, you want to get one where the gameplay isn't too complex, but also not too simplified that it'll lose your child's interest. There are also different sorts of games, from adventure-driven platformers like Crash Bandicoot 4 to open-world sandbox games like Minecraft. Adventure games might have a bit more plot to them, while the sandbox lets your child be their creative self and explore the world.

Graphics

There are lots of different art styles in games, but when it comes to kid-focused ones, you tend to find a mix between retro and cartoony graphics. The retro graphics in games like Sonic Mania might appeal to parents as well, bringing about a hint of nostalgia, while the cartoon 3D graphics you see on games like Kingdom Hearts III help keep violence from seeming too real. It's rare to find a child-friendly game with ultra-realistic graphics.

Insomniac Games Ratchet & Clank

Lifewire / Andrew Hayward

Kid-Friendliness

How child-friendly a PlayStation 4 game is can depend on many things, from the complexity of plots and concepts to the level of violence. Most kid-friendly games keep violence at the cartoon level with minimal shows of blood and no gore. These games might have some naughty jokes, but they tend to be amusing puns or potty humor, rather than outright profanity.

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