No Content Warnings Needed Here
Welcome to the Hey Poor Player Holiday Gift Guide. From Monday, November 8th through Friday, November 19th we’ll be bringing you a guide to all the games, accessories, systems, and other hot items players will be looking for this holiday season. With Black Friday and other Holiday sales set to start in the coming weeks, we thought now was the perfect time to help draw attention to just what you players should be looking for in the coming weeks. So whether you’re looking for a gift for someone else, or maybe something for yourself, we’ve got you covered. Please keep in mind that as we move into our individual game lists, we’ve limited each game to one list to help spread the word about more great titles released in 2021. So if a game you love shows up on a genre list but not on one for a system, it doesn’t mean we didn’t love it. It just means that let us showcase more great titles.
Today we’ll look at five games which are great for all ages. That means you can play them in front of the kids, or the kids can check them out, without content concerns. At the same time though, these aren’t games solely for kids. Each of them should entertain parents as well.
Arietta of Spirits
Platforms: PS4 (Our Review), Switch, Xbox One, PC
Dealing with the passing of a loved one is always difficult, at any age. For kids though it can be especially challenging. That’s why it’s so great to see a game like Arietta of Spirits deal with the subject in a touching way which is moving but also keeps things relatively light for the most part. Our own Cory Clark had this to say about the game:
“Arietta of Spirits is one seriously charming journey. It exudes the kind of warmth and casual sense of adventure that you can only seem to find in these indie gems. From its stellar spritework to the way the music and ambient sounds wind their way gently through the deep forests, everything comes together to deliver a game that’s easy on the eyes and memorable. And while this spirit’s tale is quite a bit shorter than most, the scene set around it radiates a vibrance that truly lets this fairytale soar. If you have a few hours to spare and got the funds, you’d be remiss not to give this ghost story a fair venture.”
The Artful Escape
Platforms: Xbox Series X|S (Our Review), Xbox One, PC
When I think psychedelia, all age entertainment doesn’t come immediately to mind. Don’t worry though, The Artful Escape keeps things fairly light. Instead, this is a game about accepting who you are and standing up for yourself, something that should resonate with players both young and old. It’s not the longest game in the world but it left an impression on me earlier this year.
“Your journey with Lightman across the galaxy tests Francis’ desire to find himself. What is missing from his life? What choices would he make if given the chance? How can he find his own joy without letting down those who count on him? It’s a deeply moving story that benefits greatly from an all-star voice cast.”
Rainbow Billy: The Curse of the Leviathan
Platforms: Switch (Our Review), PS4, Xbox One, PC
Combining a variety of genres into one package doesn’t always work, but Rainbow Billy pulled it off with flying colors, providing a downright wonderful experience for players of all ages. Our own Daymon Trapold had this to say about it:
“Rainbow Billy is the lovechild of Wind Waker, Paper Mario, and Mr. Rogers that we didn’t know we needed. It’s sweet, it’s heartwarming, it’s addicting, and it’s beautiful. Not only that, but it tackles difficult topics in a rather mature and thought-provoking way. These topics really run the gamut of the human experience: self-esteem issues, anxiety, fear, anger, strength/masculinity, and so many more. Honestly, this game can be played by children and adults – there’s something to learn from the experience for everybody.”
Platforms: PC (Our Review), Switch, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One
A game that allows you to play as an introvert is a novel concept and it creates a feeling very different from most adventure titles. Teacup is a beautiful little title with a fantastic art style and tons of heart. It’s a small game, but our own Heather Johnson Yu saw its all ages potential.
“Teacup was a lovely surprise in so many ways, its careful and quiet protagonist making a big impact in such a simple yet unexpected manner. With aesthetics that feel like a children’s storybook giving players a warm and cozy hug, Teacup is a fantastic little wholesome title that will delight anyone who feels drawn to it. If you’re looking for a bright, cheery game, Teacup is absolutely going to be your cup of chamomile.”
Platforms: PC (Our Review), Switch, PS5
A relaxing photo game you can take at your own pace? If Umurangi Generation is a bit too avant-garde for you, then TOEM might be right up your alley. Go out into the world and find the mysterious TOEM, taking a picture to prove you’ve seen it. Heather Johnson Yu had this to say about it:
“I had a hard time putting TOEM down, its calming, cheerful nature feeling way too cozy to quit. Its photography-based puzzle gameplay will charm just about anyone that feels drawn to the title, so if you have even a remote interest in TOEM, it’s absolutely a safe bet. ”