It’s not hard to tell a lot of PC games don’t exactly have younger audiences in mind, which makes buying for kids a bit tricky. Even more difficult is finding a game with the right difficulty balance to keep their attention without frustrating them.
In and amongst the titles you’re probably playing, though, lies a wealth of PC games for 7-12 year olds. From platforming to retro, puzzle solving and even RPGs, these games are perfect for solo play, playing with friends, or of course, playing together as a family.
Unravel 2 continues Yarny’s quirky adventures and intriguing puzzles through amazingly detailed environments. Like Yarny’s first outing, the game tasks players with solving intricate, physics and environment-based puzzles using Yarny’s unique abilities (centered around, you guessed it, yarn). It also revolves around platforming and using those same abilities to traverse the often-dangerous, but always gorgeous game worlds, ranging from serene creeks and forest-like undergrowth to creepy industrial and urban settings.
The challenge is real with this game, but fortunately the developers provided a substantial hint system, so there’s little chance of being stuck for long, and it makes for satisfying gameplay balance. That balance gets skewed a bit in the extra challenge puzzles, which certainly live up to their name, but these challenges don’t form part of the main story anyway and can be totally ignored if the player wishes.
There’s also co-op mode, so you or another player can jump in and help a younger gamer who might be struggling or just join in the fun as well. There’s not as much story compared to the original Unravel, but it’s difficult to call that a substantial negative point, when the gameplay itself is as spot-on and absorbing as it is.
My Time at Portia
My Time at Portia combines Harvest Moon style life management with Minecraft’s resource framing, throwing in some Rune Factory combat and ultimately delivering an engaging and unique simulation game. In what will seem very familiar to HM fans, players arrive in Portia after taking on the daunting task of repairing “Pa’s” Workshop and eventually grow into their new environment.
There’s a lot to do in this game, and best of all, you aren’t restricted with time limits. Gathering resources lets you create new things to spruce up your shop and home, but eventually, you’ll expand into the surrounding town, taking on quests for townsfolk, making friends, and basically just making life sunny for everyone. You’ll also venture further afield in your quest to create the best workshop ever, discovering new settlements and materials and fighting monsters along the way.
Combat is a fairly simple affair, which is fine, given the game’s primary focus on building and creating, but you’ll still need to craft decent weapons and such if you want to stay alive. Like any good life-sim spinoff, you’ve got a plethora of romance and friendship options, with each NPC sporting their own unique personality.
Yoku’s Island Express
Yoku’s Island Express is a delightful mix of platforming, exploration, and pinball—not something you get every day. Players take control of the titular bug Yoku, unique not just for being a bug, but for his interesting mode of travel as well—a ball. The gorgeous tropical island you explore just so happens to be filled with flippers and bumpers, as well as the usual spike pits and enemies, making movement and puzzle solving much different from the usual platformer.
Yoku’s mission involves restoring postal service to the island, but the game provides much more to do in the process. From defeating certain enemies to solving the residents’ unique problems and exploring the vast island, you’ll find there’s no shortage of things to do in Yoku’s world. Paired with the vibrant visuals and catch soundtrack, these things come together to form a fun and fantastical adventure.
Of course, like with pinball, there are the frustrating moments when you can’t quite hit that one spot until the 20th try, but also like pinball, it’s addictive enough to keep you coming back for more. That and the danger of forgetting the main quest in your exploration and side-quest completing are about the only real difficulties in the game as well, making it perfect for gamers of any age and skill level.