SuperParent’s 2023 Video Games Holiday Gift Guide

Monday, November 20th, 2023 4:11 pm

Great gift ideas for kids (and kids at heart)!

The holiday shopping season is right around the corner! If you’re looking for the perfect gift for a young gamer in your life, here are some of the best family-friendly games that were released this year.

Super Mario Bros. Wonder
Rated E for Everyone
Available On: Switch

Super Mario Bros. Wonder is a delightful side-scrolling platformer that challenges players to help Mario and his friends save the Flower Kingdom from the evil Bowser. The game features 12 playable characters, including five that can’t take damage, making them great options for younger or less experienced players.

As players make their way through the game’s colorful environments, they’ll be able to collect power-ups that turn Mario and his friends into elephants, add a drill to their heads, and more. Players will also encounter talking flowers, Wonder Flowers that change environments in unique ways, and stores where they can buy helpful items for their adventure.

Super Mario Bros. Wonder supports single-player gameplay, as well as cooperative multiplayer gameplay for up to four people in the same room, who can play the game together on a single Switch system. Plus, players can play the game online with friends and family if they have a Nintendo Switch Online subscription. You can learn more about Super Mario Bros. Wonder in our review.


Rainbow High: Runway Rush
Rated E for Everyone
Available On: Switch, PlayStation consoles, Xbox consoles, PC

Inspired by the Rainbow High series of fashion dolls, this puzzle adventure game challenges players to help the students of Rainbow High complete a Creative Challenge assignment. The game allows kids (and adults) to play as six of the Rainbow High characters (Ruby, Poppy, Sunny, Jade, Skyler, and Violet) and visit a variety of areas around Rainbow High, including the cafeteria, music engineering classroom, and salon, among other locations.

As players make their way through the game, they’ll be able to complete quests that may ask them to visit certain areas around the school, collect specific objects, or talk to certain characters. Quests may also ask players to look at multiple items and select the one that best fits their current task.

The game also includes a variety of mini-games, like a sewing mini-game and a makeup application mini-game. In addition, players can unlock new outfits for their characters over time and find hidden codes that can open lockers around the school.

While Rainbow High: Runway Rush features voice acting, as well as on-screen text, some of the game’s text doesn’t include voiceover narration, so players will need to know how to read to follow along with some on-screen instructions or read what some characters are saying.


Little Friends: Puppy Island
Rated E for Everyone
Available On: Switch, PC

In this adorable adventure game, players will travel to an island full of puppies they can befriend and care for. Players will work alongside their pups to turn the island into the perfect vacation destination for dog owners and their furry friends by clearing obstacles around the island, building new structures (like a pet supply store and a ranger station, among others), and assigning their puppies to complete jobs.

Players will be asked to take care of each puppy’s needs by bathing them, feeding them, and so on. Players can also dress their pups in cute outfits they can collect over time. Finally, as players interact with each puppy, the puppy’s stats for things like obedience and endurance (as examples) will increase, which will allow the puppy to perform new tricks and complete additional actions as players progress through the game.

While Little Friends: Puppy Island is a family-friendly game, there’s no voice acting for the human characters (though the dogs will bark), so players will need to know how to read to follow along with the game’s story and text instructions.


Peppa Pig: World Adventures
Rated E for Everyone
Available On: Switch, PlayStation consoles, Xbox consoles, PC

Peppa Pig: World Adventures is the follow-up to the My Friend Peppa Pig video game that was released in 2021. Unlike My Friend Peppa Pig, which was a sandbox-style game that lacked a linear storyline, Peppa Pig: World Adventures has a story to complete, which will see players move into Peppa’s town and travel to eight destinations around the world with Peppa and her family.

Players can visit locations like New York City, Australia, London, and Paris, and complete a handful of activities in each area. For instance, players can decorate a Christmas tree at a Christmas market in Germany, play cricket in the outback in Australia, and look at New York City landmarks through a telescope from the top of a skyscraper.

Players can visit each location more than once, but only the same few activities are available to complete each time. This means the game lacks replayability, but if your littles enjoy all things in the Peppa Pig universe, we still recommend checking this game out this holiday season (and beyond). You can learn more about Peppa Pig: World Adventures in our review.


Detective Pikachu Returns
Rated E for Everyone
Available On: Switch

Detective Pikachu Returns is the sequel to the original Detective Pikachu video game that was released on Nintendo 3DS in North America in 2018. In this sequel, players will be challenged to help a young college student named Tim Goodman investigate mysteries and solve cases alongside his talking partner Pokemon, Detective Pikachu. Along the way, players will work to figure out what happened to Tim’s missing father, Harry.

Detective Pikachu Returns allows players to investigate locations, interview bystanders, and use deductive reasoning to figure out what happened during each case. As players make their way through the game, they’ll receive help from a variety of Pokemon who each have a different skill. For instance, Growlithe can track scents using its great sense of smell.

While Detective Pikachu Returns is rated E for Everyone by the ESRB, the game may not be appropriate for the youngest players in the family, since the storyline touches on some mature and complicated topics, including death and sacrifice. In addition, players need to know how to read, since the game only features partial voice acting and there’s a lot of text to read. We recommend picking this one up for older kids, teens, and adults. You can learn more about Detective Pikachu Returns in our full review of the game.


Paw Patrol World
Rated E for Everyone
Available On: Switch, PlayStation consoles, Xbox consoles, PC

This open-world adventure game challenges players to help the Paw Patrol save the “Paw Patrol Day” Festival from Mayor Humdinger and his Kitten Catastrophe Crew. The game allows players to freely explore several areas from the Paw Patrol universe, like Adventure Bay and Barkingburg (among others). Each location has main story missions to complete, as well side quests that can be completed for the citizens of each area.

Paw Patrol World features eight playable characters: Chase, Skye, Marshall, Rubble, Rocky, Zuma, Tracker, and Everest. Players can freely switch between these characters as they play, and they can also drive each pup’s vehicle around the in-game world. Some tasks or missions can only be completed by certain characters or when driving certain vehicles.

As players explore the in-game world, they’ll be able to collect pup treats that are scattered throughout the environment. Each time players collect the required number of pup treats, they’ll receive a prize, like a costume item for the Paw Patrol pups to wear (such as a hat) or a sticker to decorate the pups’ vehicles, among other prizes. Players can also find collectibles hidden around the world, like pup tags that correspond to the different Paw Patrol characters.

Paw Patrol World supports single-player gameplay, as well as cooperative multiplayer gameplay for two people in the same room. The game features voice acting, as well as subtitles, making it a fun option for younger players, even if they don’t yet know how to read.


DreamWorks Trolls Remix Rescue
Rated E for Everyone
Available On: Switch, PlayStation consoles, Xbox consoles, PC

Inspired by the DreamWorks Trolls film franchise, this 3D platformer allows players to embark on a quest to save the Troll Kingdom from Chaz, an evil Troll who loves jazz music. Players will be able to customize their own Trolls character by choosing from different hair colors, nose colors, and more, as well as play as popular characters from the Trolls franchise, including Poppy, Branch, and Guy Diamond.

As players make their way through the game, they’ll be challenged to avoid obstacles, defeat enemies, and more. Players will unlock new abilities for their Trolls over time, and they’ll also be able to play music-themed mini-games as they progress. Finally, players can collect gemstones as they play that can be spent on new outfits and accessories for their Trolls character.

While players can complete DreamWorks Trolls Remix Rescue on their own, the game also supports local multiplayer gameplay for up to four people in the same room.


Hot Wheels Unleashed 2: Turbocharged
Rated E for Everyone
Available On: Switch, PlayStation consoles, Xbox consoles, PC

This arcade racing game is the sequel to the original Hot Wheels Unleashed video game from 2021. In Hot Wheels Unleashed 2: Turbocharged, players will be able to hit the track with dozens of different Hot Wheels vehicles across a variety of gameplay modes, including a single-player story mode that challenges players to defeat five creatures after they’re accidentally unleashed on the in-game world by the Professor.

The game features a variety of different racing events, like traditional multi-lap races and “Elimination” events that challenge players to be the last driver standing, among others. As players complete events, they’ll be able to collect new Hot Wheels vehicles, unlock items that they can use to customize their in-game profile, and more.

Finally, players can create their own race tracks, stickers, and liveries (vehicle appearances), and share them with other players online. This means players can also try out tracks, liveries, and stickers created by other people. You can learn more about Hot Wheels Unleashed 2: Turbocharged in our review.


Pikmin 4
Rated E10+ for Everyone 10+
Available On: Switch

In this delightful strategy game, players will travel to a mysterious planet where they’ll be challenged to work alongside adorable critters called Pikmin on a quest to find the missing crew members of the Rescue Corps and repair their spaceship.

Pikmin come in different colors, with each color having a different speciality or ability. For instance, Blue Pikmin can swim, while Red Pikmin are immune to fire. Players will be able to command their Pikmin to complete tasks, like picking up large treasures and destroying obstacles, as they explore a variety of different environments.

Players have a limited amount of time to complete tasks during each in-game day, so they’ll need to use strategic thinking to decide what to do with the time they have available. The game also features extra challenges that can only be completed when it’s nighttime in the in-game world.


Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures
Rated E for Everyone
Available On: Switch

Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures was originally released on mobile devices way back in 2018, and in 2023, the game made its way to the Nintendo Switch.

Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures is more of a sandbox experience than a traditional video game. That is, there’s no detailed story for players to complete, and players can instead freely explore Barbie’s Dreamhouse and interact with objects to see what they do. There are multiple rooms to visit in Barbie’s Dreamhouse, like a kitchen, outdoor garden, living room, and bedroom, among others, and each one has a different set of objects and activities for players to interact with.

Players can place multiple characters and pets from the Barbie universe into the Dreamhouse, and then drag these characters (and Barbie herself) around to different areas, as well as have them interact with different objects and activities. Players can customize the appearance of these characters (including Barbie) by changing their outfits, hairstyles, and more.

Finally, players have the option to redecorate each room with a variety of decorative items, wallpapers, paint colors, and stickers, and they can change the look of each room multiple times if they’d like.


Disclosure: SuperParent received Super Mario Bros. Wonder, Rainbow High: Runway Rush, Little Friends: Puppy Island, Peppa Pig: World Adventures, Detective Pikachu Returns, Paw Patrol World, DreamWorks Trolls Remix Rescue, Hot Wheels Unleashed 2: Turbocharged, and Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures for coverage purposes.

Top photo by freestocks on Unsplash

Brandy Berthelson
Editor-in-Chief

Brandy Berthelson has been writing about video games and technology since 2006, with her work appearing on sites including AOL Games, Digital Spy, and Adweek. When she’s not gaming, Brandy enjoys crafting, baking, and traveling with her husband.

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