With the children back at school and the weather turning autumnal the thoughts of families turn to inside pleasures. Not least of these are the great video-games we can play together as the nights draw in.
Here are my tips for family games just out that you shouldn’t miss this season.
Skylanders Swap Force The third iteration of the collectable toy figure game offers a new gimmick — mix and match characters. This refreshes the toy-line as well as the gameplay but will face still competition from Disney Infinity this year.
Beyblade Evolution 3DS The spinning top playground craze makes the jump to Nintendo’s 3D handheld in some style. Every battle is simulated in Beyblade Evolution and will match real world outcomes as players customise their spinning tops and use motions controls and augmented reality to play the game.
Lego Marvel Superheroes The next in the Lego games that offer a platforming and puzzle challenge. For co-operative two player fun go for the console version, or play on the move on 3DS or Vita. No Wii version this time round, does this mark a decline in support for Nintendo’s ground breaking hardware?
The Wonderful 101 An original title made exclusively for the Wii U that uses the tablet controller to command an army of super heroes. This PEGI 12 game offers the exuberance and thrills of older rated titles but in a more age appropriate package. It offers hours of fun for all the family in its five player multiplayer mode.
Minecraft Xbox, Xbox One Quite possible the most popular game of the moment for families. Here in Xbox form it not only offers value for money but an easy way to get started in the world of exploration and block building. With new updates coming thick and fast, this is a great way to game together as a family.
Knack PS4 A family launch title for Sony’s new PlayStation 4 hardware. Gaining visual and gameplay advantages from the extra horsepower Knack creates a loveable platform challenge that all the family will warm to.
Animal Crossing New Leaf 3DS The evolving world of Animal Crossing changes with the passing seasons in the real world because it is tied to the 3DS system clock. On 3DS the game not only gains a 3D look and feel but many more features and ways to play it. Families can share the same island, each with a different character, and work together to keep their neighbours happy and craft a perfect life.
Disney Infinity This offers not only another take on the toy-meets-video-game play that Skylanders popularised but also a chance to make your own games in the Toybox. Go for the next generation versions on 360/PS3/Wii U for all the features, while Wii and 3DS offer scaled down experiences.
Zelda Wind Waker HD A rerelease of a classic Zelda adventure on the Wii U. This cartoon style game has a tonne of depth and playability for families. Solve puzzles together and take turns to work through the different dungeons as you control young Link on his quest to save princess Zelda.
Super Mario 3D World Wii U This takes the 3DS Mario game and paints it large on the Wii U. Not only multiplayer but also a variety of new abilities and outfits await the famous plumber and his friends this season. The challenge is considerable and will keep you and the family entertained for many hours.
Forza 5 Xbox One The classic driving experience updated to not only keep dads and sons happy but the whole family. A whole host of driving aids in this version means that anyone can pick-up and play, whilst experts will still find the usual challenge they expect. On Xbox One it looks and feels (with the new controller) even better than ever.
Mario Kart 8 Wii U The same classic Mario racing game comes back with a twist. Anti-grav karts let you race on the wall and the ceiling. New characters and new vehicles also keep the competition fresh. Along with new visuals and controls on the Wii U this is an ideal way to get the family racing together this autumn.
Angry Birds Star Wars II iPad This may sounds like another derivative update for Angry Birds but actually this introduces new Telepod characters. Like Skylanders this uses the toys to unlock characters and content in the iPad game. Moving into the collectable toy-game market may make financial sense for Angry Birds, but we need to see how convincing this is in terms of gameplay when the game is released later this month.
WonderBook Book of Potions This follow up to Book of Spells is again written by J K Rowling no less and offers more interactive witch and wizard adventure. On PlayStation 3 you use the physical book peripheral to navigate and interact with the game. What starts as a simple story book experience soon has you concocting various potions and spells.
WonderBook Walking With Dinosaurs This uses the Wonderbook physical peripheral to enable players to excavate and piece together their own dinosaurs. Not only can you complete the various puzzles to find all the bones, but then watch them come to life on the page.
Andy Robertson (@GeekDadGamer) is a freelance Family Gaming expert for the BBC and produces Family Gamer TV.