At Everybody Plays, we know how hard it can be finding the right games for your family at Christmas - even more so when you're trying to buy them for a brand new console. While they may be all shiny and new, the latest consoles, like the Playstation 4, also have the distinct disadvantage of having a much narrower selection of games to choose from - which makes finding games for certain age groups a bit more of a challenge. To try and make your Christmas shopping a little bit easier, we've put together our PS4 Family Christmas Gift Guide - a handy selection of the PS4's best games, divided into the ages they're most suitable for. From 3-5 year olds to the parents themselves, there's something for everyone - if you know where to look!
A built-in game that comes pre-loaded on the hard drive of every Playstation 4, The Playroom is a collection of mini-games and cool little demos that helps show off the PS4’s many new features. The only catch? You'll need a Playstation 4 Camera in order to play it, which usually comes sold separately (unless you're buying the Mega Bundle/"Gamer Pack" Playstation 4 bundle, which comes with an extra controller, a copy of Killzone: Shadow Fall, and the all important camera). So long as you've got the camera though, all you have to do is hook it up to your system and scroll across to the Playroom icon in order to get playing, with plenty here that’ll raise a smile with the little ones. One of the more impressive games makes out it's giving you a sneaky peak inside your controller, where a group of tiny robots stand in awe, much like the aliens in Toy Story. Moving your controller around, you can give it a bit of a shake to play havoc with your new-found robot chums, press buttons to make bright lights shine inside the controller, or even use the built in touch pad to flick them out onto your living room floor, Wonderbook style (as the imitation Marcus Brigstocke above is demonstrating), where you can give them a bit of a tickle, or kick them around the room just by swinging your leg. With other mini-games ranging from a giant game of pong that appears to be being projected into your living room, to a little sci-fi drone that can set fire to your head if you get on its nerves, this is a nice little package that kids will love playing around with. And best of all, it’s free. For more on how it works, check out the trailer here.
Buy this if they like: terrorising little robots, Wonderbook, or digitally setting fire to their parent’s heads.
Buy the Playstation 4 Camera from Amazon
Although it may not be the lengthiest of games, flOw is one of the few PS4 titles younger children should have few problems getting to grips with. A download-only PS4 version of the popular PS3 launch title, flOw has a suitably simple concept that all but the youngest should have no troubles picking up - all you have to do is tilt the controller to move your on-screen plankton around, gobbling up anything that’s smaller than you, and growing larger as you do. Diving deeper down into the sea when you gobble the special red plankton on each level, it’s up to you to avoid the larger beasties, and get to the bottom of the murky depths, where you'll be rewarded with a new plankton to take out. And that's all there is to it. While you can play through the entire game in only a few hours, the simple controls make this one of the few truly accessible PS4 games for younger players - although some younger children may find the somewhat odd looking creatures a bit scary. In a nice touch, flOw is also a “cross- buy” game, meaning if you already own it on the PS3, you’ll be able to download and play it for free on the PS4 – and even if you don’t, it should only set you back less than a fiver. Unfortunately, the smallest gift card Amazon sell for the Playstation store is £25 - but you should be able to add funds in much smaller denominations using the PS4 itself.
Buy this they like: Tilt controls, eating, plankton
Buy £25 Playstation Network Gift Card from Amazon
The highlight of the PS4’s launch line-up for families, Knack is a Pixar-esque platform adventure that plays out in a similar way to a 3D Mario game, or, if you go a little bit further back into the land of Playstation past, the old iconic platformer Crash Bandicoot. Taking control of the titular cute robot Knack, you'll head off on an adventure with your human buddy as you seek to bring an end to a war between the humans and goblins in the only way you know how - by leaping across platforms, beating up the baddies, and hunting down the collectibles. Of course, Knack’s no ordinary robot. With the ability to add pieces from both the rubble he smashes and the enemies he beats to himself in order grow ever larger, this is a game that’s infused with charm. While more recent previews have suggested the game can be a bit of a challenge, with several difficulty levels to choose from, there shouldn't be too much trouble finding a challenge that your child can cope with – and with an added co-op mode, that lets a parent or sibling play along and help out beating up the baddies (or even healing Knack), this is a great game for to play together, too.
Buy this if they like: Small robots, 3D Mario games (Mario Galaxy), LEGO games.
Buy Knack from Amazon
Lego Marvel Super Heroes
Starting out life as an excuse to squeeze all the coolest Marvel super heroes and villains into a single game, Lego Marvel Super Heroes takes the popular co-op oriented brick ‘em up to a whole new level. The story here is fairly straightforward - when some incredibly powerful Cosmic Bricks fall to earth, S.H.I.E.L.D’s Nick Fury springs into action, rounding up every super hero he can find, from the Hulk to Iron Man, from Spiderman to, er, Rocket Racoon, to hunt down and find the Cosmic Bricks before they fall into the hands of Doctor Doom, Galactus and the rest of the baddies. What follows is a collection of platforming style levels that see you beating up the bad guys, smashing up LEGO (and rebuilding it), while working together with your co-op partner (or a computer controlled player) to solve fairly basic puzzles that make use of each LEGO super hero's super skill. Whether you’re kick-starting electrical appliances with Thor's hammer, hurling Captain America's shield frisbee-style at a switch on a wall or, well, HULK SMASHing things as the Hulk, you'll need to work together if you want to succeed. With plenty of traditional slapstick LEGO humour that's guaranteed to have younger player in fits of giggles, and fully voiced cut-scenes that mean minimal reading is required, this could be a great pick for less confident readers – and with support for two player co-op, it’s a great one for the family to play together, too.
Check back soon for our full review.
Get this if they like: The Avengers (Marvel, not Steed), LEGO, co-op
Buy LEGO Marvel Super Heroes from Amazon
An oldie but a goodie, Putty Squad is a remake of a decades old platformer that was only ever released on the old Nintendo console, the SNES. Taking control of an amorphous blue blob, it’s up to you to make your way through the traditional platforming levels, squelching any baddies you come across, whilst making good use of the myriad powers you'd expect a blue blob of goo to have at its disposal. Whether you’re firing yourself out of a cannon, stretching yourself out so you can reach an item that’s been placed just out of reach, or blowing yourself up (OK, “inflating”) so you can reach higher ground, if you imagine a slightly different take on a Kirby game, only a bit more tricky, you’re probably not far off. In a nice twist, the game will also be supported post-launch, with a brand new level being made available to download every fortnight – but rather than making you pay for them, you’ll be able to unlock them by simply playing the game and collecting hidden stickers in each level. Those who can’t wait will be able to buy the levels for £2.40 each – but it’s a really nice touch that’ll keep the game fresh for a whole year. Better still, this is one of the cheapest PS4 launch titles around, with the game being available at Amazon for a smidge over £20 at the time of writing. Bargain.
Buy this if they like: Kirby, Classic Super Mario Bros, Amiga games, Putty
Buy Putty Squad from Amazon
For those who like a bit of arcade shooting in their life, Resogun is shaping up to be one of the most interesting titles in the PS4’s launch line-up. A downloadable game from the makers of Super Stardust – another fast paced shooter - Resogun is an arcade, high score based blast-a-thon that plonks you into a cylindrical sci-fi level, before throwing endless waves of enemies at you and your little spaceship. Dodging the enemies, timing your power-ups right, and blasting everything in sight, your only goal here is to survive for as long as you can, and get the highest score possible. With an emphasis on chaining “kills” together to get a multiplier, a fully destructible environment, and a difficulty level that’ll keep you on your toes for the duration, Resogun is one of those games that'll keep you coming back for more in the weeks and months after the console's launch - especially if you have friends to compete with on the leaderboards. While the game will be available to download separately on the Playstation Store, as a cool added bonus, if you subscribe to Sony’s online service Playstation Plus, you'll get this game for free!
Buy this if they like: Geometry Wars, Super Stardust, High Scores
Buy PlayStation Plus - 365 Day Subscription from Amazon
Buy £25 Playstation Network Gift Card from Amazon
The beautiful, vaudevillian-themed puzzle/platformer Contrast tells the moving
story of Didi, the hopelessly lonely daughter of a cabaret singer, and
her imaginary friend Dawn, as they explore a surreal 1920s world in an
attempt to bring Didi's broken family back together. With a heavy story
that looks at some pretty tricky topics through the innocent eyes of a
child, Contrast is as inventive as it is touching. While the game takes
place in a 3D world, the twist here is that the slender dancer Dawn can
turn herself into a shadow at the press of a button, where she can make
use of the silhouettes of other objects to reach new heights. With carousel
horses forming moving platforms, rotating bicycle pedals working like a
makeshift lift, and the wonky shadow of a lamp post creating a ramp up
to the roof of an adjacent building, manipulating light and darkness are
the name of the game here, as you'll often need to mend,
reposition and alter the lights that litter the world before you can
carry on your journey, in your attempt to bring Didi's parents back
together. One of the more inventive games this year, there are two ways of getting your hands on this one (much like Resogun), as it'll be available both as an £11.99
downloadable game on the Playstation Store, or as a freebie if you take out a subscription to Playstation Plus.
Buy this if they like: 3D Mario platformers, puzzles, good stories
Check back soon for our full review.
Part of a growing trend amongst games, War Thunder is a free-to-play WW2 dogfighting game that puts you in to the cockpit of some of the most famous planes from the era. Whether you’re taking to the skies in your Spitfire, or leading a bombing raid in your Heinkel 111, the main draw here is arguably the online mode, which pits two teams of pilots against each other in an all out dual for aerial supremacy - but there's plenty more to see here too. In a slightly different move for free-to-play game, War Thunder actually offers a range of non-competitive, or even single player modes to go alongside its multiplayer main course - whether you’re teaming up with some friends to take on a dynamic campaign in co-op, or playing through some single player missions on your own, there’s a huge amount of stuff you can play through without spending a single penny - and at some point in the near future, you'll be able to buy single player campaigns to play through, too. With a new, optional control scheme that makes flying a plane as simple as moving a cursor around the screen, and a variety of realism options on offer, letting you adjust the game to suit, War Thunder is as accessible as it's possible to be for novice pilots - and one we're genuinely excited about. As a free download, you can jump in with this one and start playing without spending a single penny, with the option to spend money in-game on new planes, on customisation, or to give your in-game currency a boost once you've got going – but with no risk to getting started, this is well worth a download.
Get this if they like: Flight sims, war games, extravagant wing commander moustaches
Buy £25 Playstation Network Gift Card from Amazon
Killzone: Shadow Fall
The poster child of the PS4’s push for the “hardcore gamers”, if you have a fan of shooters in your life, and they're getting a Playstation 4, this should be at the top of your must buy list. A sci-fi first person shooter set in the midst of a civil war, Shadow Fall injects some colour into a famously grey game, and brings with it some of the fanciest graphics to ever grace a console - or any other machine, for that matter. Capitalising on the PS4’s extra power by providing levels with huge scope, whether you’re riding a zip wire through a forest, dangling from a helicopter as you swoop through a futuristic cityscape, or making use of your handy OWL combat drone, which can act as a personal shield, or distract enemies, this is the PS4’s first blockbuster title, with all the explosions, shooting, and drama you'd expect – but with plenty of violence, shooting, and explosions, it’s probably not suitable for younger players.
Get this if they like: Battlefield, Halo, Call of Duty, the colour grey.
Buy Killzone Shadow Fall from Amazon