A Parent's Review: Best Nintendo Wii Games for Kids Under 10
Kids love Wii games because they have impressive graphics and are easy to play (especially in a group). For parents, really good Wii games are a great value, as they provide hours of entertainment for children, as well as some potential learning opportunities, too!
As a parent myself, I've bought and played a number of them and thought I'd share my pick of the best Wii games for kids aged 4 to 10.
Top 5 Wii Games for Kids Under 10
- New Super Mario Brothers
- Donkey Kong Country Returns
- Tangled: The Video Game
- Mario Party 8
- Endless Ocean 2
- Bonus: Wii Games to Avoid
It can be difficult to find Wii games for kids on generic video game eCommerce sites. I have found that by watching Let's Play videos and looking at screenshots, I can get a much better idea of what it's about and whether it's worth investing money on a game and how likely it is to be played in the years to come.
A good Wii collection should be able to engage the whole family—again and again. I have played all of the Wii games listed here and recommend them heartily! Check out the trailers and my honest reviews of these five games to feel confident in your ultimate decision.
1. New Super Mario Bros.
is a staple of my collection because my kids cannot stop playing it! We had never played any other Super Mario games, but apparently Nintendo made it bigger and better than the good old days of the original Nintendo console, especially for Wii. New Super Mario Bros.
With easy gameplay and the ability to play with up to four players at once, you can’t go wrong putting this game on during a children’s party or sleepover.
Kids can work together in many different ways (but mostly by shouting instructions to each other) to get to the next level as a team. It can be a bit noisy, so it’s best secluded in another room where they can give it their full concentration while the adults relax.
The game has a bit of an arcade feel to it, but the graphics are better and more engaging for kids who have had the benchmark set for them by Pixar movies, so they should be pretty into it.
A Good Game for All Ages
The New Super Mario Bros. is an action-adventure game that gets harder with each level. There are lots of little tricks you can do, such as blowing bubbles to protect your character, creating propellers for flying or making ice blocks out of enemies.
Players start on a main map and work their way to different ones with unique environments. Players also have a lot of fun choosing their characters, though some may take a lot more time than others to decide, because kids can get quite attached to their characters! In fact, the more your kids play Mario, the more you might find them playing Mario games without the Wii . . .
New Super Mario Bros. is great for ages four to ten—but it can be great fun for all ages. It’s very easy for younger children to play and the older ones like to assist them by taking care of the hard bits.
This is a completely hands-off game for parents!
2. Donkey Kong Country Returns
Based on a Super Mario type side-scrolling platform, only a lot more 3D looking, has great graphics and is easy to play. The intro is funny, with the evil Tikis hypnotising animals on the island with music in order to steal Kong’s bananas. Donkey Kong Country Returns
Donkey Kong’s mission is to beat the Tikis while collecting bananas, golden Kong puzzle pieces and other prizes.
This game only allows two players—one gets to play as Donkey Kong and the other as his son, Diddy Kong.
For this reason, Donkey Kong Country Returns is not really suitable for parties, but it does provide siblings with a fun afternoon together, especially as they co-operate to make progress.
Players are based on a lush tropical island and can view a world screen and level screen to see which worlds and levels to complete. When a level is completed, a new path appears on the selection screen.
There are older versions of Donkey Kong around, but this version is an improvement, with its good looking graphics and modified story with the Tikis. Apparently, there is a fantastic 3D version for the Wii too, although I haven’t tried it (yet).
My kids enjoy playing Donkey Kong Country Returns occasionally and it makes a good backup game to have in the collection for when they are bored with the other games.
3. Tangled: The Video Game
If you’re a parent, you’ve probably done the movie to death already, but if you’re looking for some more time off, check out Tangled: The Video Game on the Wii. It seems very girly but actually works well with boy and girl siblings, because the boy gets to be a prince (Flynn) helping out the beautiful princess (Rapunzel).
The outstanding graphics make it a real attention grabber for children, though a little bit of parental tutorial is needed to help kids understand how to get started and make the moves on the remote. Once they figure out how to move and jump etc the kids can then be left in charge of themselves.
1 to 4 players can play Tangled, though every time players are added, the screen divides up into smaller parts, making the game a bit hard to see. The ideal amount of players to see the screen clearly is 2.
Tangled is an adventure game set in a huge kingdom, where Rapunzel and Flynn co-operate to explore levels, unravel the story and discover buried treasure. Rapunzel can swing on her long hair and let it down for Flynn to climb. Flynn can protect Rapunzel and receive question marks above his head to guide them both to buried treasure.
Tangled is suitable for five to ten-year-olds, though this depends on the child’s ability with the remote (but it’s not too hard, once the manual is read). My kids caught onto it pretty quickly at six and eight years of age and love playing it together. And no, it’s not too girly for my boy, as he adores being the hero who protects his sister and finds the treasures!
4. Mario Party 8
This is now considered “old” in the gaming industry, but my kids and I still can’t stop playing it, because it’s so much fun! A great game for parties, sleepovers and Friday night entertainment, Mario Party 8 allows four players to participate.
Players enter the Star Carnival and select from either the Party Tent (1-4 players) or the Star Battle Arena (2 players). They get to choose a cute Mario character with its own unique sounds and characteristics.
The main game area starts with one of six visually beautiful board game interfaces, where children take it in turns to roll a virtual dice and land on a square for lucky rewards, such as virtual coins or candy, which sure beats them trying to get the real thing from you!
Choose the themed board game from the following:
- DK’s Treetop Temple: Reminds you of how Donkey Kong would look because it has gorillas and is based in the treetops of a colourful jungle. Watch out for the Piranha plants!
- Goomba’s Booty Boardwalk: A lush island paradise board game with pirates, dolphin rides, treasure chests and other delights.
- King Boo’s Haunted Hideaway: A haunted house style of board, with ghosts, creaky doors and low lit rooms.
- Shy Guy’s Perplex Express: A train board with cute carriages to work through.
- Koopa’s Tycoon Town: A Monopoly-style real estate board, where players invest money in hotels.
- Bowser’s Warped Orbit: A board which looks a bit like an arcade pinball machine and where players steal stars from each other.
Each board controls whose turn it is and what players are supposed to do, so it’s very easy for the family to grasp what’s going on without reading the help manual.
As the players make their way around the board, they will participate in various minigames.
Did You Know?
"Mario Party 8" sold 314,000 copies within three days when it was first released in the USA.
What Are Minigames?
Minigames are little games with different scenarios that take two minutes to play and give all players a chance to win more coins and stars.
Each minigame has instructions on how to win it, and parents need to show children how to access the demonstration and help parts of the minigame before they commence playing one (otherwise you’ll find there are arguments).
Winning and Losing
At the end of the board game, the winner gets to sit in a throne chair and have a trophy and streamers thrown over them.
The losing player(s) may need to be comforted, possibly with a bowl of popcorn.
Mario Party 8 is good preparation for real life in the sense that it has winners and losers and kids can come to terms with competing against each other—by about the tenth game they will have hardened up quite a bit.
There is no age mentioned for Mario Party 8, but I think it’s good for children ages four to ten due to the colourful graphics and easy gameplay.
There’s also a "Fun Bazaar" where you can cash in the Carnival Cards earned during the battles for virtual prizes or to unlock new hidden minigames.
5. Endless Ocean 2: Adventures of the Deep
Note: Also known as Forever Blue in Japan.
This is a Wii game for the older kids (ages seven to ten) who might have a later bedtime. There’s quite a bit of text in the game, so kids who can read will enjoy it more. But if parents are prepared to assist with the reading then it can be very worthwhile, because the scenery is soothing and picturesque, and the game is appealing to adults as well.
Endless Ocean is lauded as “the world’s most relaxing and beautiful game” by NGamer, and it truly is. The game is based on an adventure story where players solve the mystery of the Song of Dragons, the key to a magnificent treasure.
The main character is a scuba diver who explores different oceans and sea creatures while collecting clues and treasures. The wildlife has to be seen to be believed—Wii games have never looked so good!
There are more than 300 species in the game which the character can interact with and some can be trained, like dolphins and whales. When you discover them, they are automatically noted in a handy Marine Encyclopedia and can be collected into a marine aquarium.
"Endless Ocean" is pretty similar to "Endless Ocean 2." The main difference is that in the second installment, there are larger areas to explore and more things you can do at the Home Base.
The main character has a home base called Nineball Island, where equipment can be purchased, the Encyclopedia can be viewed, animal partners can be trained and friends can converse. Kids can also get a kick out of taking and developing photos to put in their virtual photo albums.
Endless Ocean 2 is suitable for one or two kids with longer attention spans, who have time and patience and enjoy nature (the music helps). Adults will find it interesting too—I’m sure I’m not the only parent who has played it by myself after my kids have gone to bed!
Only one player can play at a time, unless you have WiFi over a Nintendo WiFi connection, in which case two players can dive together. However, this hasn’t stopped my two children taking turns at being the diver while enjoying the scenery and reading to each other.
The seas and oceans in Endless Ocean 2 provide a wide variety of habitats to explore, from Pacific reefs to South American rivers, Mediterranean oceans, shipwrecks, cold Arctic seas and more.
If you follow the on-screen instructions, it is easy enough to avoid losing the main character, although I’m assuming this gets harder as you explore more oceans.
The game is very educational, not only because of the geography and wildlife spotting, but also because the diver needs to surface for air regularly and do other real-life activities.
Throw a Wii Party
When holding a Wii sleepover party, make sure each player has a charged remote waiting for them and that their chairs or beanbags are positioned so that everyone can see the screen properly. Keep lights low so they can concentrate.
It's important that kids have a break from the screen now and then (about every 20 minutes). Serve some popcorn, pause and ask who's winning, let them put on pyjamas and offer a round of hot or cold drinks.
Get kids to move outside of the room briefly (e.g., by getting them to fetch their pyjamas and get changed), or by getting them to come and visit you and ask them if they are enjoying the party and how the game is going.
Be prepared to give out a little prize to all players at the end, so that no one cries or tantrums because they weren't the winner in the game.
The best game to use at a Wii party is definitely Mario Party 8. It caters to all ages and tastes, has an element of luck as well as explained rules and is action-packed to keep them busy and entertained.
Wii Games to Avoid
There are quite a few Wii games I found to be a total waste of time and money (usually these were found in the local Wii bargain bin) so I've since learned to scout out the good ones and spend a bit more money to ensure they are easily understood by my kids and can be played without anyone getting bored in the process.
Here they are and why I thought they were hopeless:
My kids and I just couldn't understand how to play this game, even when consulting the on-screen instructions and the manual. It looked like an arduous process to even try, so we just didn't bother.
Compared to all the other games, the kids found this pretty boring and only played it for an hour before they gave up. Permanently.
My kids aren't into sports much, so they weren't interested in this. After having a look at it, I think you'll find there are better Wii sports games out there.
Sonic and the Black Knight
My kids didn't like this game. It wasn't the graphics, it wasn't the gameplay . . . they just couldn't get into it because it didn't gel with them. Still scratching my head as to why.
Thought this would be a good game for my son. It was, until he found a really hard spot a few minutes in and wasn't able to get past it . . . ever.
Fun Park Party
If the children play Mario Party 8, they will never return to this.
If you're looking for a parent-approved game, you can feel confident purchasing any one of these titles! Despite being an older console, the Wii offers a ton of great games that you and your kids are guaranteed to love. These games will remain relevant and offer hours of fun for years to come.
Have you played any of these games already? Which one is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!
You May Also Like:
- Best Animated Kids Movies – For Adults!
Looking for a good night in? Forget serious adult TV and chuck on a kids animated movie instead for some laughs, thrills and entertainment. Guaranteed to make you feel good and get your groove on!
- Parenting - Organising Morning Routines For Children
Parenting tips for children and parents on organising morning routines and getting to work on time when you have young children. Tips for parents on getting kids out of bed, dressed and fed.
© 2014 Suzanne Day