SuperParent’s 2021 PlayStation 4 Games Holiday Gift Guide

Thursday, November 18th, 2021 6:00 am

There's still plenty of fun to be had on PlayStation's last-gen console.

The PlayStation 4 is no longer a “new” console (it debuted in late 2013), but developers are still creating tons of great games for the platform. If you’re shopping for someone with a PlayStation 4 this holiday season, or if your family is picking up one of these consoles for the first time, here are some of the best family-friendly games that were released for PlayStation 4 this year.

Lost Words: Beyond the Page
Rated E for Everyone

Lost Words: Beyond the Page is one of the most touching and emotional games SuperParent played this year. This narrative adventure game takes place in the journal of a young girl named Izzy. Izzy is an aspiring writer who is drafting a fantasy story in her journal, but she’s also dealing with a difficult and emotional situation in her real-world life, which she writes about in journal entries.

The gameplay in Lost Words: Beyond the Page is split into two areas: the fantasy world of Estoria where Izzy’s fictional story is set, and the pages of Izzy’s journal. Both areas offer side-scrolling platforming gameplay that focuses on using words to interact with the environment.

While Lost Words: Beyond the Page is a pretty short experience (around four hours), it’s deeply moving and absolutely worth playing. At the same time, parents should know that even though the game is rated E for Everyone, the game’s story deals with mature, emotional topics such as loss and grief, so we encourage families (both adults and children) to play the game together so parents can help younger players if they have questions about the game’s themes. You can learn more about Lost Words: Beyond the Page and watch a gameplay video in our SuperParent First Look.

Kena: Bridge of Spirits
Rated T for Teen

Kena: Bridge of Spirits is a beautiful, emotional action-adventure game that follows a young Spirit Guide named Kena who is asked to help a series of troubled spirits find peace so they can move on to their eternal rest. The land has been covered in a dangerous “corruption,” and Kena will need to defeat enemies and cleanse the land in order to help each spirit. Players will battle lots of enemies and perform lots of platforming as they explore a large open world, and they’ll have adorable little creatures known as the Rot to help them out along the way.

While the Rot are some of the cutest creatures we’ve ever seen, this isn’t a game for little kids. Kena: Bridge of Spirits is rated T for Teen, meaning it’s been deemed inappropriate for anyone under the age of 13. It focuses on mature themes, like death, grief, and forgiving oneself, and some of the monsters look pretty scary. That being said, we highly recommend this game for older players and even adults. You can learn more about Kena: Bridge of Spirits in our review.

PJ Masks: Heroes of the Night
Rated E for Everyone

Inspired by the PJ Masks animated series for preschoolers, PJ Masks: Heroes of the Night challenges littles to help the PJ Masks foil the plans of villains like Romeo and Luna Girl. The game’s missions allow players to drive one of the PJ Masks’ vehicles as well as complete a side-scrolling platforming section to reach the villain at the end of each stage. As players progress through each level, they can help the PJ Masks use their special abilities, as well as collect gems and amulets that are scattered throughout the game’s environments. PJ Masks: Heroes of the Night is a very simple platformer that likely won’t appeal to older kids, but we recommend it for the very young gamers in your life! You can learn more about PJ Masks: Heroes of the Night in our review.

The Wild at Heart
Rated E10+ for Everyone 10+

The Wild at Heart is an adventure and puzzle game that’s similar to Pikmin. It follows two young kids, Wake and Kirby, on an adventure through a magical hidden world within the forest behind Wake’s house. Players will meet a variety of Spritelings on their adventure, which they can command to perform actions, like removing obstacles from the path or attacking enemies. There are multiple varieties of Spritelings to befriend, and each one has different abilities or perks. Players will also be able to collect a variety of resources as they play, which they can use for crafting and more. You can learn more about The Wild at Heart and watch a gameplay video in our SuperParent First Look.

Blaze and the Monster Machines: Axle City Racers
Rated E for Everyone

This kart-racing game for preschoolers is inspired by the Nick Jr. show Blaze and the Monster Machines. The game allows littles (and adults) to race as seven different characters, including Blaze, Crusher, Pickle, Darington, Zeg, Starla, Stripes, and Watts. Kids can race on their own against computer-controlled opponents in the game’s Adventure and Quick Race modes, and they can also race against friends and family in the same room through the Play with Friends mode, which supports up to four players. While racing, players can collect wrenches that allow them to trigger their vehicle’s special ability (each vehicle has a different one). Plus, the game’s loading screens feature STEM facts that teach littles about topics like “Force,” “Recycling,” and more.

Axle City Racers isn’t as complicated as kart-racing games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (which is also a wonderful game), but it’s a great option for very young players. You can learn more about Blaze and the Monster Machines: Axle City Racers in our review.

Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town
Rated E10+ for Everyone 10+

Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town was originally released on Switch and PC in 2020, but it came out on PlayStation this year. The farming and life simulation game allows players to grow crops, take care of animals, go fishing, mine for resources, and more. Players can also befriend the citizens of Mineral Town and even develop a romance with their favorite marriage candidate (there are multiple marriage candidates to meet, and, as reported by TheGamer, the game allows players to have “same-sex marriages”).

My Friend Peppa Pig
Rated E for Everyone

My Friend Peppa Pig is more of a virtual toy than a traditional video game, but that’s not a bad thing! Designed for preschoolers, My Friend Peppa Pig allows players to create their own animal character and explore Peppa’s world alongside Peppa and her family. Kids can visit Peppa’s house, Potato City, Granny and Grandpa’s house, the beach and more, where they can complete a variety of simple and wholesome activities, such as playing dress-up, helping Grandpa Pig in his garden, splashing in mud puddles, and building a sandcastle.

To be especially clear, My Friend Peppa Pig likely won’t appeal to older kids, teens, or adults, but if you have a very young gamer in your life (who also happens to love Peppa Pig), we recommend checking this one out! You can learn more about My Friend Peppa Pig in our review.

Disclosure: SuperParent received Lost Words: Beyond the Page, Kena: Bridge of Spirits, PJ Masks: Heroes of the Night, The Wild at Heart, Blaze and the Monster Machines: Axle City Racers, and My Friend Peppa Pig for coverage purposes. Our coverage remains objective.

Top image © juliasudnitskaya / Adobe Stock

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