Featured Gaming

10 Best Nintendo Switch Games for 8-Year-Old Kids

Gaming is like swimming. In the right places, it’s a fun, rewarding, and healthy activity that can be a great pastime for both children and families. In the wrong places, it can be risky, even dangerous and should never be done without adult supervision. Both are activities that children and adults very much enjoy, though the latter can be more safely left to make their own judgments about how and when to enjoy them.

If your 8-year-old started for the front door with a towel and a pair of beach shorts, you wouldn’t high-five them and tell them to bring the car back with a full tank of gas, would you? No. You’d very much like to know where they were planning on going and would certainly be going with them.

RELATED: 10 best games for a 5-year-old

Same goes for gaming. It’s rewarding, fun and healthy in the right circumstances. Incredible works of art they may be, you nonetheless wouldn’t want your eight-year-old booting up a copy of The Last of Us 2, Red Dead Redemption, or Dark Souls. It’s all about context, and content.

Games for children should, generally speaking, avoid the bloodshed and adult themes that are major components to many adult-oriented titles nowadays. And, beyond simply excluding the unwanted, games for eight-year-olds (or children of all ages) are even better off when they can accomplish two things simultaneously: fun, engaging gameplay and educational value or skill-building of some nature.

To that end, we’ve compiled a list of the best switch games for 8-year old kids that are completely safe for them, won’t leave them frustrated, and can, here and there, maybe teach them a thing or two along the way.

1. Kirby Star Allies

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • PEGI Rating: 7+
  • Developer: HAL Laboratory
  • Release Date: March 2018
  • Price: $59.99

Kirby Star Allies is a side-long action platformer that does it’s best to promote cooperation over confrontation. While Kirby himself has developed quite the reputation for swallowing people whole and taking their powers for himself, in Star Allies, it’s more about teamwork and fun. Instead of eating people, Kirby Shoots hearts to turn them into allies. This ties in with a drop-in/drop-out co-op system that allows up to three other players to join in and take control of the allies.

Otherwise, the game is structurally like any other Kirby platformer with great adventure, awesome boss battles, and bombastic visuals.  The game is very friendly towards younger children not only because of its iconic, cutesy protagonist but also for its lenient difficulty and ease of play — to the point that some older gamers were even turned off by how easy it was.

Download Kirby Star Allies: Nintendo

2. Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • PEGI Rating: 7+
  • Developer: GAME FREAK
  • Release Date: November 2019
  • Price: $59.99

Pokémon Sword and Shield made some bold moves away from previously unquestionable tenants of the genre. And despite some initial outcry from long time fans, the series has received overall positive reviews and some critical acclaim for innovative new features and simple but rewarding game design.

You’re still a trainer, you’re still trying to fill out your Pokédex and become champion of the Pokémon league, still trying to collect gym badges and defeat a pesky rival and still going after that legendary Pokémon.

However, alongside the new roster of eighth-generation Pokémon, there’s also a new dynamaxing and Gigantomaxing mechanic that causes some Pokémon to substantially grow to monstrous size and/or alter their form as well as a new open-world, continuous “Wild Area” for players to explore.

The new region, Galar, is beautifully rendered and based on Great Britain, and features An interesting steampunk aesthetic to the towns and villages dotting its landscape. Of all the expansive RPGs on the market, Pokemon Sword and Shield are probably the most kid-friendly and can scintillate new, younger fans as well as their parents that grew up with the original Gameboy games.

3. Super Mario Odyssey

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • PEGI Rating: 7+
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Release Date: October 2017
  • Price: $59.99

Super Mario Odyssey has the unique ability to appeal to both casual and hardcore gamers alike as well as fans new and old of the classic Mario franchise. Instead of reclining back into the traditional side-scrolling mechanic of the core series, Odyssey expands on the open-world 3D exploration from Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine. Not to say that fans of the classic games will be left unsatisfied.

As Mario travels across many lands beyond the Mushroom Kingdom in search of Princess Peach Bowser, players encounter both sandbox-style open-world landscapes as well as special areas called Flat Zones which switch back to the side-scrolling platform mechanics of the originals. A lot of new gameplay mechanics come with Mario’s brand new ally, Cappy the hat spirit, Call and downs Mario with a bunch of new moves and powers that make super Mario odyssey possibly the most unique Mario game ever created. And possibly the most highly praised.

Parents don’t really have anything to worry about when it comes to Super Mario Odyssey either. The game’s difficulty won’t really have anybody scratching their head – though it doesn’t coddle gamers either — and any game where a majority of the combat is centered around a friendly-looking hat spirit is probably not going to leave any lasting emotional impact on any impressionable young gamers

Download Super Mario Odyssey: Nintendo

4. Lego City Undercover

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • PEGI Rating: 7+
  • Developer: TT Games
  • Release Date: 04 April 2017
  • Price: $29.99

LEGO CITY Undercover is one of those games for kids that are just as fun for adults — as anybody who can recognize the numerous, tongue-in-cheek references made in the synth wave-powered trailer. Originally released for the 3DS way back in 2013, the game’s original sense of humor and engaging gameplay earned it a suped-up re-release for the Switch in 2017.

LEGO CITY Undercover boils down to a lighthearted and kid-friendly crime-thriller that follows the exploits of crimefighting extraordinaire Chase McCain as he hunts down crime-committing extraordinaire and expertly named villain Rex Fury (while making as many subtly adult-targeted pop culture references as he can along the way). It features a sprawling open world and engaging narrative that will keep kids and parents alike glued to the screen, though its bigger scope does nothing to complicate the gameplay. Parents can rest assured that LEGO City Undercover is guaranteed to be an instant-charmer to any children capable of following the narrative beats.

Download LEGO CITY Undercover: Nintendo

5. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • PEGI Rating: 7+
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Release Date: 20 September 2019
  • Price: $59.99

Another remake of an age-old classic, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is considered by many parents as the most accessible of the Zelda games. While it doesn’t sport the intense, real-time OTS combat and Skyrim-esque narrative depth of the current Zelda juggernaut, Breath of the Wild, it does involve the traditional fantasy sword-and-sorcery combat elements present in every Zelda game — but without any gore or bloodshed.

Link awakens on the mysterious island of Koholint, where he ends up traversing numerous trials, dungeons, and mini-games while hearkening back to the Zelda games of old with non-linear progression and loose puzzle solving. For children already acquainted with gaming in general and unlikely to grow frustrated with Zelda’s signature lack of hand-holding while exploring, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening can be a rewarding introduction to “real” games.

Download The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening: Nintendo

6. Human Flat

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • PEGI Rating: 7+
  • Developer: No Brakes Games
  • Release Date: 07 December 2017
  • Price: $14.99

Human Fall Flat may not be the most educational game, nor a source of positive role-models for your children to learn from, or even a way to impart them important moral lessons. But it’ll sure get them giggling. Human Fall Flat is a hilariously awkward physics-based platformer that sets players off across elaborately designed levels while giving them the floatiest, most imprecise controls possible and making sure every single player has collision on.

Parents should accompany their kids during their first couple of sessions with Human Fall Flat to gauge how their children approach the game’s puzzle-solving — and whether the intentionally-awkward controls turn out to be fun or frustrating for them. There is no violence, gore, swearing, or any adult-themes whatsoever but the game does feature multiplayer support and parents should make an individual judgment on if/how to permit its use. Overall though, reviews for Human Fall Flat are resoundingly through the roof for children and adults alike.

Download Human Fall Flat: Nintendo

7. Unravel Two

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • PEGI Rating: 7+
  • Developer: ColdWood Interactive
  • Release Date: 22 March 2019
  • Price: $19.99

Unravel Two is, hands down, one of the best games for younger children on the Switch both on the gameplay front and also for its sincere messaging regarding positive attitudes, teamwork, and compassion. The game follows two Yarnies, yarn-like creatures made of positive emotions, as they embark on a journey to find the Spark of Adventure while protecting each other from the negative thoughts and environmental hazards that crop up along the way.

The game plays out in the form of a sidescrolling puzzle-platformer that encourages positivity and teamwork as the two yarnies, fastened together via their yarn, rely on each other to cross each obstacle, working in tandem every step of the way. The only reason the game might not be recommended for even the youngest children is simply because of the puzzle-solving, rather than the content which is, by far, exceptional. 

Download Unravel Two: Nintendo

8. Super Mario Party

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • PEGI Rating: 7+
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Release Date: 05 October 2018
  • Price: $59.99

Super Mario Party, as the name suggests, is the Mario party game of choice for kids of all ages. The game is comprised of over 80 mini-games that can be picked up and put down at any time by up to four kids at once. Many of the games are essentially just re-skins of classic games and arcade staples, with everything from a Mario version of Simon Says to straight-up Overcooked ripoffs that, while unoriginal, are certainly added value. The best thing about Super Mario Party for kids is that the games are dead simple, easy to understand, and are a mix of both competitive and cooperative challenges that promote healthy competition at times while emphasizing teamwork at others.

Download Super Mario Party: Nintendo

9. Untitled Goose Game

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • PEGI Rating: 7+
  • Developer: House House
  • Release Date: 20 September 2019
  • Price: $19.99

Untitled Goose Game is a unique, and kid-friendly game with the look and feel of a charming animated series. The game puts players in the shoes of one sassy goose as it menaces the poor and unsuspecting denizens of a quaint little English town. Why? Because, contrary to what the uninitiated might think, geese are not the cute, Disney-certified people-lovers that many assume them to be. No. They are the footsoldiers of a merciless god of avian fury, here on earth to embody the rage of all lizards who had the evolutionary foresight to sprout feathers. Just ask this man, or this woman, or any of these people.

The game has players solving puzzles by manipulating the human townsfolk with the sort of hijinks that only a goose knows how to sew, and is a great way to practice convergent thinking and problem-solving skills while getting everyone in the room to laugh out loud — adults included.

Download Untitled Goose Game: Nintendo

10. Super Mario Maker 2

  • ESRB Rating: E
  • PEGI Rating: 7+
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Release Date: 29 June 2019
  • Price: $59.99

Super Mario Maker 2 is the bigger, better sequel to the critically acclaimed Super Mario maker 1, the game that proves Nintendo’s so successful they don’t even have to make the games anymore — just sell you the parts (with some assembly required). The Super Mario Maker games are a kid-friendly introduction to game design that gives players extensive level-editor tools and a gargantuan library of Mario sprites spanning several decades of Mario’s evolution all the from his pixelated 8-Bit ancestor to his fully rendered, Super Mario Odyssey self. While the level editor is deep, it is also simple and intuitive enough for children as young as eight to comfortably tinker with and experience the joy of creation and get their hands a little dirty with the nitty-gritty of level design.

Download Super Mario Maker 2: Nintendo


What’s your 8-year old’s favorite Switch game? Let us know if you have any other games that kids 8 and up might enjoy!

RELATED