At Gather 2 Game we run a lot of video game parties, and we spend a lot of time asking kids about what they like and what they want to play. Here are the two new games released in 2016 so far that your kids want to play.
Disney’s Infinity has been around since 2013. It followed on the success of Activision’s Skylanders. My family and I were living in Botswana during the Skylander craze so we never bought any of those little plastic figures that have become so ubiquitous over the past five years. We avoided getting into any of the many figure-based game systems for our game truck. Our game truck has seating inside for 24, and while there is a lot of room, it didn’t seem like the best place to have kids fishing around for plastic characters and trying to place them on the portals as needed.
When I found out that the new Infinity 3.0 Marvel Battleground would offer four player action, I had to at least entertain the idea. Long story short, the new system is perfect for our game truck and would work great for your home as well. If you are not familiar with how these portal systems work, in short, you take a plastic figure and place it on a portal and that character appears in the game. When you switch the plastic figure, the character in the game switches also. But here’s where the awesome comes in for Infinity 3.0 Marvel… When you add a character to the game, it remains in the game even when you remove the plastic figure from the portal.
On the game truck it’s as easy as starting the game, and adding each character to the game and placing them back in the case. The kids get to see each new character light up as they enter the world and they never have to actually handle the plastic figures. The players can now select their hero (or villain) and slug it out with their friends. Next round, they can select a new character without requiring any other help. This game, so far, has been awesome at holding our guests’ attention. They play and cheer, and play some more.
On the downside, entry cost is pretty high for this one. It’s available for all the next gen systems (PS4, XB1, Wii U), and although I didn’t look very hard I could not find the new Marvel Battleground for the Xbox 360/PS3. (Infinity 3.0 is available for these systems, but I’m not sure about the new Marvel option.) It’s going to cost you $20.00 for the Marvel Battleground. This comes with the plastic battleground figure and a plastic Captain America figure which is playable in game. ( I saw this for sale as high as $35 at a local Game Stop, but it’s only $20 on Amazon.) It’s worth noting that these figures and battlegrounds are not machine specific so you could use these on a PS4 and an XB1/Wii U.
You’ll also need to pick up a portal. We bought this “Starter Pack” which came with some Star Wars figures (not playable in the Marvel Battleground), the base for the PS4, and a disc for the PS4. We also bought a base (used from Game Stop) and a disc for the XBox One. This starter kit will run you around $60, so you’re looking at $80 before you purchase any figures. Figures cost around $13 a piece so to play with just four characters you’re going to pay out about $120. (Battle Ground with Cap’n America $20, Starter Kit $60, Three more figures ($40))
For us it’s worth it. The kids love this game and it’s getting a ton of playtime. There is a story mode which I have not really played with much. You can also play in world building type modes which is a bit like Minecraft… but not really. For the versus mode alone, this is a new multiplayer game you’re kids are going to want to play.
Isn’t this that game where you plant plants in rows to guard against zombification of house and home? While that game is great, this is a whole other animal… or vegetable. PvZGW2 is a class based shooter game. By class based, I mean that each character plays differently from the others. You can control a Sunflower who maximizes the health of its fellow flowers, or a Chomper (think venus flytrap) who devastates zombies by tunneling under them before popping up to show his toothy grin. You are not limited to playing as the plants either, you can elect to play as the zombies and power robotic mech suits or the Super Brainz. With 14 classes and over 100 playable plants and zombies, this game has a lot of staying power.
If your kid is familiar with EA’s Star Wars Battlefront, great news! He’ll be able to pick up and play with ease as the controls are pretty much the same.Concerned about content? Once again, great news! Plants V Zombies Garden Warfare 2 is rated E for Everyone. Even popular games like Super Smash Bros and Terraria are rated T for Teen, so this is quite a feat to have a crazy fun shooter with an E rating.
There are a few downsides to PVZGW2 of course. First of all, while we love split screen, we really love four player split screen. This PvZ title only offers two players at once. You can play in huge multiplayer battles online, but if you’re planning to sit on the couch with friends you’ll need to take turns. The second glaring negative is that you must be online to play offline. Huh? Yeah, that’s what I said. The game requires you to be connected to the internet even if you just want to play two players, split screen, on the couch. This isn’t a huge deal for most people most of the time – but just wait until you want to play and Xbox Live is down, or the PlayStation Network is offline, or someone cut your cable… well, I don’t understand the decision to require online connectivity for non-multi-player gaming. Still, assuming you can get past those two objections, this is a super fun romp through the garden.
Disney Infinity has a pretty high entry cost but has taken strides to make a cumbersome system much easier to play. EA’s Garden Warfare 2 has taken a really fun game and unfortunately made it a bit more difficult to access. That said, it’s a steal at $40 for all the potential hours of game play. Follow us on Facebook and leave us a comment letting us know if you have tried either of these or if you think there is another we should have recommended.
-Austin is the Owner and a Game Coach at Gather 2 Game. He’s on Team Iron Man for Civil War and thinks PvZ is very much like Team Fortress 2.