Best family-friendly Xbox games
Not every game has to be about wanton non-stop violence! These are our top picks for games for youngsters who are limited to either T for Teen or E for Everyone ratings. These games are often ideal for families to play together without the grit and mature themes many other AAA games often offer these days.
After many years, the long-awaited sequel to Psychonauts, the OG Xbox’s cult platformer, has finally come to Xbox Series X|S in the form of Psychonauts 2. After the events of the original game and Psychonauts: Rhombus of Ruin, our main hero Razpution has been invited to join the Psychonauts, a secret organization of psychics that protect the innocent from evil-doers. Raz will have his first day on the job cut out for him as a mole has infiltrated the Psychonauts’ ranks and is feeding information to a mysterious cult planning on resurrecting Maligula, a psychotic psychic that once posed a great threat to the world.
Psychonauts 2’s gameplay expands upon everything that made the first game great while edging out its predecessor’s shortcomings. The controls are tight and intuitively responsive, the combat has received a substantially satisfying overhaul, and the art direction for its levels has some of the most creative and psychedelic imagery in 3D platformer history. The story is just as impressive as the gameplay as it tackles heavy topics of mental health and learning to heal from traumatic events as Raz delves into the minds of poor souls he meets on his journey and helps them overcome their emotional baggage.
While navigating the hub world can be confusing due to a lack of a mini-map and dodge-rolling in the middle of combat can be finicky, these small issues don’t detract from the experience at all.
Psychonauts 2 is one of the finest titles in the Xbox Series X|S library if you are a fan of the original Psychonauts or platformers in general. You owe it to yourself to check out this unforgettable acid-trip of a game. — Alexander Cope
Psychonauts 2 is an incredible action platformer that has been over a decade in the making, from the brilliant minds at Double Fine. Playing as psychic investigator Raz, you're tasked with unravelling a deadly conspiracy that could threaten your telepathic espionage team, and potentially the whole world.
Buy from: Microsoft
If you love the Minecraft universe but want to experience it in a brand new way, we strongly recommend Minecraft Dungeons. This dungeon crawler spinoff challenges players to battle through a variety of maps inspired by iconic Minecraft locations and landmarks (villages and cave mines, for example) with Diablo-style combat.
As you take down hordes of zombies, skeletons, spiders, and other classic Minecraft mobs, you'll earn various new weapons, armors, and artifacts (powerful magic items with cooldowns). Rarer drops of this gear come with stat buffs and other additional effects, making them even more powerful than the "normal" versions. You'll also gain XP as you fight, which will eventually allow you to level up and earn enchantment points that can be used to upgrade your gear.
Minecraft Dungeons is plenty of fun solo, but the game is arguably at its best when you play it with your friends. Up to four players can play together in online or local co-op, with the game's difficulty, enemy count, and loot drop chances scaling with the size of your party. This means that in addition to co-op being tons of fun, it's also incredibly rewarding, too. — Brendan Lowry
Minecraft Dungeons takes the famed blocky world of Minecraft and gels it with an action RPG with tight combat and heaps of replayability and loot. Battling various foes, both familiar and new, Minecraft Dungeons has full cross-play with local and online co-op ideal for the whole family.
Buy from: Microsoft
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout has quickly become one of the most popular PC multiplayer games from the last few years, and now you can play it for free on Xbox, too. This platform-based battle royale pits 60 players against one another in a series of minigames. If you fail to finish a minigame's objective, you'll get eliminated, but if you manage to complete it, you get to continue to the next round. This continues until there's one final winner. Notably, there are a whopping 24 minigames that you could potentially play during a game, meaning that each match is full of activity variety.
A huge part of Fall Guys' appeal is its comedy. After all, since you play as a ridiculous bean-like creature that has to leap over giant pieces of fruit and other wacky physics-based obstacles, it's hard not to laugh. Compared to other battle royale games that have a more serious tone, Fall Guys is uniquely cute and charming.
The game also rewards players pretty generously, as the Crowns you earn over time by winning and completing matches will unlock new cosmetics for your Fall Guy to wear. You can also spend money on microtransactions if you'd like to get costumes that way, but rest assured: no part of the Fall Guys experience is pay-to-win in any capacity. — Brendan Lowry
Fall Guys is the ultimate free for all game show, where dozens of players race to the end of a perilous obstacle course full of physics-based mayhem. Various game modes and piles of cosmetic rewards make this title good clean casual fun for the whole family.
Free from: Microsoft
Minecraft is one of the most popular and best-selling games of all time, and it has repeatedly proven why it's not just one of the greatest games on Xbox — it's one of the greatest games on every platform. This legendary creative survival game lets you be whoever and play however you want; Minecraft lets you explore, settle, hunt, battle, build, mine, create, destroy, fish, farm, and more in a world of infinite possibilities.
With full local split-screen and cross-platform online multiplayer support, all protected by a secure and configurable Microsoft Account, Minecraft is the perfect game to play with families and friends. It's easy to hop on and play Minecraft with anyone, and you can even make new friends by joining one of the hundreds of moderated, curated online servers.
The base game of Minecraft already offers a universe of content, but Mojang Studios is constantly working to evolve its game with major content updates. Minecraft is always growing, and it does so with the community's feedback. The Minecraft Marketplace is also packed with thousands of creations from the community, including educational content and unique collaborations with huge brands like Sonic, SpongeBob, and more. — Zachary Boddy
Minecraft is a legendary craft 'em up from Microsoft and Mojang, and is one of the most popular games of all time. Curate, build, and survive the night against all sorts of cutesy blocky creatures or create huge works of art in creative mode.
Buy from: Microsoft
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Alexander Cope is a gaming veteran of 30-plus years, primarily covering PC and Xbox games here on Windows Central. Gaming since the 8-bit era, Alexander's expertise revolves around gaming guides and news, with a particular focus on Japanese titles from the likes of Elden Ring to Final Fantasy. Alexander is always on deck to help our readers conquer the industry's most difficult games — when he can pry himself away from Monster Hunter that is!