Are you tired of searching for games for your kids that don't contain close-up headshots, killstreaks, profanity, toxicity -- or wallet-killing microtransactions? Here's a shortlist of iPhone and iPadmore
Are you tired of searching for games for your kids that don't contain close-up headshots, killstreaks, profanity, toxicity -- or wallet-killing microtransactions? Here's a shortlist of iPhone and iPad games that are friendlier towards younger gamers and your bank account.
This game is not exactly a diamond in the rough, but you get a huge amount of polished content for just $2, and a level editor to create your own content. This is a "runner" game, so you're constantly moving forward and must jump to avoid obstacles, but it's not of the "endless" type. There are distinct levels, and you can enable a progress bar to see how close you're getting. Protip: Hold down to keep bouncing -- it's the only way that you'll get past some obstacles. Even then, this game is not for easily frustrated gamers. If you want to teach your kids the value of patience and determination, they may actually find some lessons here.
The in-game store accepts only in-game currency, which you cannot buy with real money. Instead, you must earn your currency through gameplay and from opening a free loot chest -- a small one every 4 hours, and a big one every 24 hours.
Imagine if Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past was a side-scrolling game instead of top-down, and you'll have an idea of what Goblin Sword is about. You get vibrant pixel art, a sword to swing around, treasure chests to loot, and cool upgrades to buy. The controls are easy and built for mobile devices, with onscreen buttons to jump, attack, and move forward and backward. As you work your way through the levels, you'll collect coins, which you use to buy better weapons, armor, and relics at the in-game shop. You can't buy coins in-game, and there are no ads. This game is arguably the next-best thing to having Zelda on your phone or tablet.
It's iOS-only, but Android users can get a similar game called Sword of Xolan for free (with ads, or you can pay $1.99 to remove them).
This old-but-reliable stalwart kickstarted a wave of survival games where you had to craft weapons, armor, and a home to defend yourself against monsters at night. The deliberately low-fidelity visual design keeps the spiders and skeletons from getting too scary, and you don't need a fancy phone or tablet for Minecraft to run smoothly. Each map is randomly generated and technically infinite in size, so there's always something new to see over the next hill. There are in-app purchases, but none of them are needed to make the most of things, and there are no ads. The $7 for the base game should be all it takes.
There are a ton of similar games on iOS and Android, but almost all of them have micro-transactions. Ridiculous Fishing gives you everything it has to offer for just $2.99, with no ads. As you might guess from its name, what it doesn't offer is a hardcore simulation. No, the point of the game is to actually avoid fish, at first. The more you avoid, the deeper your line goes. Then, on the way back up, you try to hook as many fish as possible. The bigger and more exotic they are, the better. When you've reeled your hook back up to the surface, the next step is to fling your catch into the air and shoot them Duck Hunt-style.
You get in-game money for each fish you shoot, which you use in the in-game shop for things like longer fishing line, beefier weapons, and tools to catch more fish and keep them up in the air longer. As you progress, you'll also unlock different fishing spots with unique challenges. While Ridiculous Fishing is not for pacifists, its violence is deliberately cartoonish and retro-pixelated, though it may not be the best game for kids who actually own fish in real life.
If your little ones are more into Nintendo games, Super Mario Run may be a more appealing runner game than Geometry Dash, and it's the closest we've come to having Super Mario Brothers on iOS or Android. It's also more forgiving than Geometry Dash -- Mario moves more slowly, he automatically vaults over low obstacles, and you're not reset to the beginning of the level if you fail. While this game costs $10, your kids can play the first few levels for free, to make sure they like the play style before plunking down that much money. You will not see ads either way.
As you play, you'll collect coins and other currency that you can use to unlock more content. When you go to the in-game shop, it will tell you what resources you need to gather for each unlock. There aren't any real-money ways to buy resources, either -- you gotta earn it.