If you're monitoring the games your kids play on their phones and tablets, you've probably noticed that there's a fair share of violent or adult content that you might not be comfortable with. Thesemore
If you're monitoring the games your kids play on their phones and tablets, you've probably noticed that there's a fair share of violent or adult content that you might not be comfortable with. These games can also hit your credit card pretty hard with in-app transactions, despite being "free to play." Here's a shortlist of great Android games that are kid-safe and wallet-friendly.
Cat Quest is an open-world RPG inspired by Zelda and Super Mario, and packed with personality, colorful artwork, and lively music and sound. This top-down adventure will have you hacking your way through dungeons, looting treasure chests for gold and gear, and upgrading a variety of combat abilities. Cat Quest has no ads or in-app purchases and comes in at just $5, which is a bargain for this kind of quality and quantity. The frequent cat puns, however, may be an acquired taste.
Everyone's heard of Geometry Dash -- but for good reason. It's cheap, inviting, polished, packed with content, and cheap at $2. You control a character that's constantly moving forward, and your job is to avoid obstacles of gradually increasing complexity, a style of game commonly known as a "runner." Imagine the old side-scrolling Super Mario games, but with a character who never stops moving. In fact, holding down the jump button is the only way to get through some gauntlets. There's a fair amount of trial-and-error before you eventually make your way to the other side of the level, but it can teach kids a little about patience and determination.
The in-game store accepts only in-game currency, which you cannot buy with real money. Instead, you must earn your currency through gameplay and from opening a free loot chest -- a small one every 4 hours, and a big one every 24 hours.
Minecraft isn't a left-field recommendation, either, but it's a reliable choice for kids, as long as they play by themselves or with friends their own age. Because it's so blocky, the monster bashing is pretty tame. The world's many caverns (which are completely randomized with each new world you generate) can feel a little spooky, but a torch and a little bravery go a long way. The blocky art design also lets you play Minecraft on older devices without having to worry too much about slowdowns.
There are in-app purchases, but none of them are needed to make the most of things, and there are no ads. The $7 for the base game should be all it takes.
Fishing games are popular time wasters on iOS and Android, but Ridiculous Fishing may be the only one that doesn't have micro-transactions. You get all the content for $3, with no ads. And it's not junky, either. The artwork is basic without being rudimentary, which also means that you can practically run it on a toaster. And there's a lot of places to fish and fishing upgrades to unlock, from longer reels to comically destructive ways to sink your hook as deep as possible.
But reeling your haul back in is just part of this experience. Instead of just dropping your catch in a bucket or cooler, you fling it skyward and shoot your desired fish out of the air. Each one you hit earns you some money for upgrades. The bigger and more exotic the fish, the more money you get.
This is a runner game like Geometry Dash, but it's friendlier toward gamers with slower reflexes. Mario doesn't move as quickly, he'll automatically jump over low barriers, and there are checkpoints throughout each level so that you don't have to start from the beginning if you make a mistake. Either way, Super Mario Run is the closest we've gotten to having a conventional Mario game on an Android phone or tablet, so it'll have to do for now.
While this game costs $10, your kids can play the first few levels for free, to make sure they like the play style before plunking down that much money. You will not see ads either way. As you play, you'll collect coins and other currency that you can use to unlock more content. When you go to the in-game shop, it will tell you what resources you need to gather for each unlock. There aren't any real-money ways to buy resources, either -- you've gotta earn it.