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The best family games at Gamescom 2018

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We’ll admit it; it’s been a long week.

Here at AskAboutGames, along with much of the global games industry and gaming public, we’ve been at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany for the past few days. With 500,000 visitors and countless game booths and announcements, it’s been a busy, exciting and sometimes very crowded time at the vast gaming expo.

We even got some hands-on time behind closed doors with some very exciting family-friendly games, and got to hear some exciting news first hand. So here’s our list of the five most promising family games that starred at Gamescom.

Super Mario Party

Due this October on Switch, Super Mario Party is the latest Nintendo game to offer a range of simple, accessible mini games for friends and family to play together. We got some hands-on time at the Nintendo booth, where we’re pretty sure the professional demoing the game let us win on purpose. From frying food with the motion sensitive Joy-Con to racing tricycles via eccentric hand motions, we had a wild time we’re sure will go down well with families the world over. And yes - we mean 'eccentric' both mechanically and to mean 'a bit strange'. You'll see!

LEGO DC Super-Villains

The LEGO game formula may be well tested by this stage, but the releases continue to delight families, youngsters and even adult gamers playing alone. And this time a LEGO game offers the chance to fill the boots of some of the DC comics universe’s most notorious baddies? That sounds great to us. It looked superb at Gamescom, and we can’t wait to see more.

Spyro: Reignited Trilogy

Based on the success of the Crash Bandicoot N.Sane trilogy in the charts, giving an HD polish and general revamp to a classic platformer is worthwhile in gamers' minds. And the return of Spyro the Dragon is looking very promising indeed, bring back the first three games in the beloved series. It's a great collection of games for players young and old, and presents a chance to bridge the generation gap in families, by sharing older relatives gaming past with an experience perfect for the current generation of young gamers.

Pokémon Let’s GO Pikachu! and Let's GO Eevee!

The pair of Pokémon games – at least in the demos we played at Gamescom – featured fairly familiar monster hunting gameplay, albeit influenced by some of the Pokémon GO mechanics. That’s no bad thing; we loved what we tried. But it was the special Poké Ball Plus device that really made the experience. The golf ball-sized Poké Ball-shaped controller is motion sensitive, letting you capture Pokemon with a flick of the wrist. The optional controller also includes lighting effects, rumble and buttons, and while it only really does what a normal Joy-Con can do, it added a great deal of immersion to the experience.

Life is Strange 2

You’re right. The first Life is Strange did receive a PEGI 16 age rating. And the sequel isn’t looking to be a game suitable for young children. But family games includes games perfect for older relatives to play together and explore ideas pivotal to what it is to be in a family; love, complex relationships, coming-of-age and more. A follow on from the brilliant, intelligent and thoughtful 2015 adventure game, Life is Strange 2 tells the tale of a broken family and two brothers on the run. The Gamescom demo was remarkably powerful, and we feel it’s tale of teenage life may make an emotionally evocative and thought-provoking experience for young adult and older family members; perhaps to explore together.

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Will Freeman