Mobiles and tablets can be a minefield for kids and parents. App stores are full of games designed for kids filled with in-app purchases or ads that could take children to websites parents are unaware of. But there are games that you can trust.
Below you will find five safe games for kids that have no ads and no in-app purchases. You can also be sure the content will be suitable. They may not all be free, but they are generally very cheap, and you’re paying for peace of mind: playing won’t result in other apps being downloaded without your permission, and there’s no danger of your kids running up huge bills.
A new game, Playworld Superheroes is a neat concept. You play as a child on a normal street, who makes a superhero costume out of things lying around the garden. You’re then transported to another dimension called Playworld, to save it from evil attackers called Golumites. It really inspires creativity – kids are encouraged to design their own superhero costumes, right down to the hero’s logo, and add to it over time too. The game looks great, with excellent 3D graphics, and a full orchestral score. Playworld Superheroes has no ads and no in-app purchases.
Suitable for 9-11 year olds.
Download Playworld Superheroes for iOS
The Snowman & The Snowdog 2014
Originally released as a cute freemuim game in 2013, this follow up smartly goes the paid route. For $4.99 you get a lovely, gentle experience where all kids have to do is fly around beautiful snowy environments like San Francisco and Tokyo , collecting snowflakes to keep flying for longer. Yes, there’s a wintry, Christmas feel to the game, but it’s pretty enough to play any time of year.
It’s based on the much loved Raymond Briggs creation The Snowman, and manages to maintain the magical feel of the original books and animated movie.
Suitable for kids aged 4+
Metamorphabet is a strange game/experience which sees you work your way through the alphabet. All you do is touch and mess around with a letter on the screen, and you’ll see it transform into an object beginning with that letter. It’s really inventive and surprising, with absolutely lovely animations that feel really tactile. Great as a learning tool as well as entertainment for young kids, it is charming enough to be fun for adults too. Metamorphabet is well worth its $3.99 price.
Suitable for kids aged 4+
Download Metamorphabet for iOS. Desktop version coming soon.
It’s impossible to write about games for kids without mentioning Minecraft. It’s not cheap, but you get an incredible game that will last almost indefinitely. It has two main modes, Survival and Creative. In the former you spend daytime mining and building so you can survive nighttime, which is full of monsters. In Creative mode, there’s nothing dangerous, you can just play around and build fantastical constructions without any pressure. For the uninitiated, it’s a little like a virtual world made of Lego, that you can play with. It’s great for creative kids, but adults can also get totally lost in the game too.
Suitable for kids and anyone else aged 4+
Sago Mini Ocean Swimmer
Great for toddlers, around 2-4 years, this colorful game lets them explore a cute underwater world. It’s full of cute things to discover and characters to meet, from a cat that feeds Fins the Fish a fiery chilli, to a surprise birthday party. Fins is controlled easily with a finger pointing where you want to go, and there are over 30 activities/animations to check out. It’s open world – so you’re free to do things in whatever order you want, and the ocean loops so you and your kid never get lost. Developer Sago has a whole range of lovely apps for kids, and they all follow my rule of no in-app purchases or third-party advertising. By default you can visit Sago’s other apps for kids from Sago Mini Ocean Swimmer, but by disabling ‘Sago News’ and ‘For Parents’ in your device settings, this disappears.
The app is currently free on iOS, and $2.99 for Android, Windows Phone and Desktop.
Check back for more parents’ guides to games soon.
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