The 10 Best Xbox One Kids' Games of 2019

Shop for the best music, toy-to-life, superhero and puzzle-solving kids' games

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The Rundown

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Yooka-Laylee

Though Mario may not be on the Xbox anytime soon, your best bet for the best Xbox One kids' game is Yooka-Laylee. It’s made by the same developers from yesteryears classics such as N64’s Banjo Kazooie; a solid platforming game with intriguing characters, gorgeous graphics and fun-filled gameplay.

Yooka-Laylee puts kids in the role of a buddy duo: a chameleon named Yooka and a bat named Laylee, who work together to bring their own awesome abilities that can be used in level progression. Players unlock moves as they journey through levels, offering a more custom set of options in how to play and explore the game’s vast worlds. This is the surefire choice Xbox One game for kids, made by experienced developers that bring both an intriguing atmosphere and lifelike characters in an overall game built solely on having fun.

Best Superhero: LEGO Marvel Super Heroes

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes
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The biggest and best superhero game on Xbox One is easily LEGO Marvel Super Heroes. Featuring just about every beloved Marvel hero and villain you can think of – The X-Men, Spider Man, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Guardians of the Galaxy, Fantastic Four and more – LEGO Marvel Super Heroes gives you the massive, open world of Manhattan to explore while trying to stop an evil plot by Loki and Doctor Doom. Each of the characters has distinct skills and abilities – Iron Man can melt gold objects, Wolverine can slash through walls, Hulk can lift heavy items, etc. – that you use to explore the levels and solve simple puzzles. Having so many great characters all in one game makes LEGO Marvel Super Heroes a sure fire hit with kids and comic fans alike.

Best Story: Minecraft Story Mode

Minecraft Story Mode
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Minecraft Story Mode takes place in the familiar blocky world players know and love, but features a large fully voiced cast of characters and a linear story about your character using their unique building abilities to seek out a mysterious group of heroes called the Order of the Stone and, eventually, save the world.

This is a story-driven game where you talk to characters, find items, and solve basic puzzles to access new areas and move the story forward; it's not an open world like normal Minecraft. It does have the traditional Minecraft crafting and building elements at key points in the story, however.

Even the most experienced Minecraft players will enjoy seeing all of the familiar items, blocks, locations and techniques presented in a new way here. The combination of the familiar Minecraft aesthetic with an actual story and cast of lovable characters make Minecraft Story Mode a must-play.

Best Music/Rhythm: Just Dance 2018

Get the whole family moving with the latest installment of the popular Just Dance series. Just Dance 2018 helps kids to stay active while moving to the latest musical hits and developing their senses of rhythm and balance. 

Simply install an app on your smartphone (it works with both Android and iOS devices), hold your phone, and get your groove on while the game tracks your movements. It’s a straightforward and easy way to get the game to more accurately keep track of your smooth moves, which is important since scores are based on how accurate each performance is when compared to the fun, energetic on-screen dance routines. This game is always great at parties with familiar hits from lots of different musical genres; Just Dance 2018 comes with over 40 tracks and over 300 songs are available with Just Dance Unlimited (free 3-month trial included). Some of the biggest hits on this version include “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee, “24K Magic” by Bruno Mars, and “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran. 

Best Toy-To-Life: LEGO Dimensions

LEGO Dimensions
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Toy-to-life games are awesome for kids because they’re really two toys/games in one. To start, you get real world toys and action figures that are fun to play with, but those special figures can also be scanned into a video game and played digitally as well. Our favorite toy-to-life game, LEGO Dimensions, takes it one step further by having you actually build the figures and playsets (which include licenses such as “Jurassic World,” “Back to the Future,” “Ghostbusters,” “Doctor Who,” “Scooby-Doo” and more) piece-by-piece with LEGO bricks. The video game levels based on those licenses are the same 3D action/platforming as other LEGO games, but you can swap any characters from any license in and out on any level, which creates some fun and funny crossover situations you’ll only find in LEGO Dimensions.

Best Film-To-Game: LEGO Jurassic World

LEGO Jurassic World
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The “Jurassic Park” movies aren’t always exactly kid-friendly, but LEGO Jurassic World presents all four of the films in a light-hearted and humorous way where no one actually dies or gets hurt, and any violence is replaced with silly jokes. Not only does the game let you play through the plot of all four “Jurassic” movies, but it also gives you fully open world versions of the locations from the movies for you to explore.

Even better, along with the playable cast of human characters like Alan Grant, Dr. Sattler, Ian Malcom and more, there are also a number of playable dinosaurs including velociraptors, brontosaurus and T-Rex. The graphics are an interesting mix of realistic backgrounds with plastic characters that looks fantastic, and the sound effects/music were all taken directly from the movies.

Best with Animals: Zoo Tycoon

Zoo Tycoon
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Zoo Tycoon is a zoo building/management simulator at its core, but its real appeal comes from the fact that it is a great way to simply observe and interact with animals. The free play mode allows you to ignore the management aspect entirely so you can just build a zoo with whatever animals you want, and it is in this mode where the experience really shines.

Lions, tigers, bears, elephants, giraffes, chimpanzees and many other species of animals are available here, and just sitting back and watching them as they run around and play is an absolute joy. The graphics are fantastic, right down to the soft- and fuzzy-looking fur on the animals that makes you want to reach out and touch.

Best Puzzle Solving: Adventure Time: Finn & Jake Investigations

Finn & Jake Investigations
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The best kids' games get them to think a little and maybe learn something new, and Adventure Time: Finn & Jake Investigations does this very well. In this game, Jake (the dog) and Finn (the boy) have to solve mysteries all over the land of Ooo. You explore fully 3D versions of key locations from the show, like Treetrunks’ house or Princess Bubblegum’s palace, in order to find clues and items that you piece together to solve the mystery.

Things like combining a bottle+water+soap to make a giant bubble so you can float upward, or having to interview everyone around town to figure out who took a key item are just some of the puzzles. You really have to think critically and be smart, and solving the puzzles is really quite fun. All of the fan-favorite characters from the show are here, fully voiced by the real actors, and the presentation overall is top notch.

Best Kinect: Fantasia: Music Evolved

Fantasia: Music Evolved
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Kinect for Xbox One was an undeniable flop, but if you do happen to have a Kinect you’re in for a treat with Fantasia: Music Evolved. Fantasia: Music Evolved pairs the visual brilliance of the Disney “Fantasia” films with a motion-controlled music game where you create music like the conductor of a symphony. The game includes classical pieces from Mozart and Bach, as well as modern songs from David Bowie and Queen.

By moving your hands in different ways to mimic onscreen indicators, you bring the music to life. The gameplay is relatively simple and intuitive, but the challenge comes from making sure your hands and body are in the right position to complete the next series of moves, not just the current one, which is tougher than it sounds. Once you learn to play, though, Fantasia: Music Evolved is extremely fun and stands as easily the best Kinect game ever.

Best for Young Children: Skylanders Imaginators

It seems that recently, video games have taken a turn for the more physically interactive, offering figurine sets that give kids physical collectibles that ladder into a game, and this Skylanders Imaginators set does just that.

The game's universe provides 30 different figurines to collect, each of which unlocks special functionalities in the game. For starters, this basic set comes with the Fire Creation Crystal, the Golden Queen and the Master King Pen. In the game, there are 10 different battle class types, and you can create your own characters using the creation crystal included. There are co-op and head-to-head racing modes for playing with friends, and the edition has introduced side quests and mini-games to keep things interesting. In fact, the best part of this cartoon-y adventure game is that things are always kept fresh as kids are constantly expanding their figurine collection.