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Family-friendly games are often – and wrongly – labeled as low-effort entertainment that only exists so you don’t have to worry about accidentally showing your kids a gruesome Mortal Kombat fatality. In 2022, games of the friendlier kind were not only fun, they were some of the best entertainment of the year and available on a variety of platforms. These were games intended to appeal to as many people as possible, mixing regularly energetic designs with deceptively complex gameplay systems while still somehow being accessible to everyone in the room.
Some of the highlights of the year are Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope, the second ambitious crossover between Ubisoft and Nintendo that could keep you in suspense. Sparks of Hope isn’t just absurd fun starring these villainous Rabbids, it’s also an amazing tactical game that pushes the genre in bold new directions. Tunic was also great fun, first launching on Xbox and PC and eventually making its way to other platforms six months later to deliver classic fun with a few modern twists. Kirby’s move to 3D platforming in Kirby and the Forgotten Land was perhaps the most enchanting game of the year, advancing the franchise in fun and inventive ways.
For retro fans, 2022 was a buffet of old-school fun that could appeal to the whole family. From classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action to the wonderfully entertaining journey through Atari 50 history, it’s been a good year to rekindle your nostalgia. We’ve rounded up the best of the best below thanks to numbers from GameSpot’s sister site Metacritic. For more lists, check out Best PlayStation, Xbox, and PC Games of 2022.