Getting the kids a Switch for Christmas. Which single player game?

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Posted by Chummy8 (3878 posts) 10 months, 11 days ago

Poll: Getting the kids a Switch for Christmas. Which single player game? (229 votes)

Mario Odyssey 67%
Zelda 28%
Other (offer example) 4%

We decided on only getting 2 games and my wife gave me the decision to make on which games to get. I'm figuring on a multiplayer game and a single player game. For multiplayer I'll get Mario Kart since they play Mario Kart 7 on their DS all the time. But I'm going back and forth on the single player game.

My kids are not really into action/adventure games like Zelda which was my first choice. So I'm not sure they will engage with it. So I was thinking that maybe Mario would be more their speed.

They are 11 and 8 years old.

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#1 Posted by KarlHungus01 (103 posts) -

Honestly, regardless of what they typically like I'd probably still get them Zelda. The wonder of exploration in that game and sandbox joy I've seen kids get out of it is unparalleled.

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#2 Posted by sparky_buzzsaw (8934 posts) -

Mario's a terrific game and perfect for that age. I'd say go for that.

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#3 Posted by acharlie1377 (146 posts) -

@karlhungus01: Knowing that kids really enjoy BotW really surprises me... I love that game, but I can't imagine enjoying that game for more than a few hours as an 11-year-old. I played for 90 minutes the other day and the only thing I did was climb a mountain; it was awesome, but I would never have expected something so serene and chill to be kid-friendly.

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#4 Posted by rojano17 (59 posts) -

I love BotW but for younger kids I'd go for SM Odyssey, its super fun, packed with content and even has a semi coop mode

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#5 Edited by Shiftygism (1076 posts) -

Watch for sales and you may be able to pick up both for the price of one, in fact...assuming you're in the US, Target should be doing their annual buy two get one free sale soon allowing you to get them all if they don't exclude Nintendo titles which they sometimes do.

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#6 Posted by Bicycle_Repairman (682 posts) -

As someone who as a young kid played ocarina of time countless times, but never got past the water temple as grown up link... Id say go with zelda. The only reason i would pick mario over zelda is if they didn't translate the game in your language and their English might not be up for it.

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#7 Posted by inevpatoria (7475 posts) -

Shoot. I voted (for Zelda) before I read the whole post. That'll teach me.

I think you probably know your kids best. There isn't a ton of direction in Breath of the Wild. It's beautiful and wondrous--I bet the 11-year-old is close to an age where they'll get a lot out of it. But if we're talking about something that'll entertain both kids, I have to lean Mario.

Mario simply offers so much stimulation at all times, and it caters to all levels of attention span and commitment. Breath of the Wild, I think, requires the player to actively dig in to the exploration. And sometimes, the reward for that exploration won't be obvious. There's very little superficial gratification, beyond the majesty of the world. With Odyssey, you're always getting rewarded for little things, but also has more challenging tasks for more advanced play.

Ultimately, I voted for Zelda, but I really think you ought to go with Mario. Here's the thing: If there's any chance you can get both, you should get both. Breath of the Wild is one of those games that can make a permanent, positive impact on someone's tastes as a player of video games. It's truly very special, the sort of thing that reminds me of the joy I felt floundering around the interesting and mysterious landscape of Morrowind as a pre-teen/early teenager. It'll stick with someone at an impressionable age.

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#8 Posted by Big_Denim (844 posts) -

If you were asking me what I'd rather play, it's Zelda any day of the week. But based on your comments, Mario is the much safer bet for your kids.

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#9 Posted by nicksmi56 (850 posts) -

I have to throw my hat in the ring for Mario.

The game is absolutely bursting with content. I'm almost 60 hours in and still have about 200 moons to go before reaching 999 (nowhere near that number is required to beat the game, and I'm also a 3D Mario veteran at this point). In all that time, I was almost always having fun.

Each world is gorgeous and distinct, and there's so much variety in what you're doing. Racing, fighting a boss, outrunning a giant Bullet Bill, putting together a festival or even just sitting on a bench. Your kids can wander off in any direction and find something to do. There's moons tucked in every nook and cranny, and there's no set structure for it, so you're free to pick up whichever ones you want. Plus, there's a giant light shining in the sky at all times for them to find their way to the more guided/story mission ones if they get lost or tired of exploring.

The game is as hard or easy as you wanna make it. If they ever need help finding moons, there's a bird that gives you hints and a Blue Toad that pops up after the story missions that literally marks them on the map for you. If they don't want help, they can totally ignore it. And there's even co-op where one of them controls Mario's hat. And you don't ever have to worry about them running out of content (999 moons!), but they can just as easily run through the story and put the game down if they so desire.

TL;DR Beefy on content, great fun to play, lots of environments to explore and people to meet, adjustable difficulty and length. Go for it.

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#10 Posted by Justin258 (15690 posts) -

@karlhungus01: Knowing that kids really enjoy BotW really surprises me... I love that game, but I can't imagine enjoying that game for more than a few hours as an 11-year-old. I played for 90 minutes the other day and the only thing I did was climb a mountain; it was awesome, but I would never have expected something so serene and chill to be kid-friendly.

I dunno, kids of that age seem to just absorb everything around them. Zelda: BotW is a treasure trove of stuff to see and do and figure out. It's kinda the same reason that Minecraft catches on for kids so easily - it seems like it would be boring for them at first because it requires patience and time to figure it out, but kids can get way into that if it's presented in a wondrous, new, interesting way. And Zelda: BotW is exactly that. I think an 8 year could get totally absorbed in BotW, even if they don't always understand what's going on or how to do things. I'd wager that Zelda: BotW is way better for their minds, too, but this is just me rambling on about my perceptions with no experience with kids or evidence for it.

Super Mario Odyssey is a good game as well, but in a different way. There are a lot of activities in Zelda: BotW that are their own reward. Sure, you can beat up a few enemies and run to the next location, but what if you instead surfboard down this mountain, off of this cliff, and into the air? You don't get anything for doing that, except the satisfaction of having figured it out. That's not to say that Zelda: BotW doesn't have any rewards for anything, it certainly does, but I never feel like that game is about the rewards. I feel like it's about exploring systems and mechanics and ideas and seeing if you can do something, whereas Mario Odyssey is way more about getting a moon for doing something.

Both are cleverly designed games and I don't think you can go wrong with either of them, but for my money I think Zelda: BotW would be the better choice for kids. Of course, these are your kids and you know them best, so take everything I've said with a grain of salt.

In any case, remember that kids in the late 80's and early 90's often played some crazy-difficult games to death and often figured those out. Those games didn't have any hand-holding and were frequently obtuse with their gameplay mechanics and cruel in their design, but kids still played them and still loved them.

Also worth noting that these games aren't going to become scarce anytime soon, so if you want to buy the other game for them three months down the line or so, you can do that (and should, as they're both well-worth playing).

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#11 Edited by Sweetz (1181 posts) -

For what it's worth, I think Mario is more conducive to being played in short bouts and passed back on forth on the same save. Kind of like the GB crew did with Mario Sunshine.

If I try to put myself in a kids shoes, I think I would have no qualms about handing the controller over to a sibling to get the next moon (although who gets to do boss battles might be contentious). Whereas with Zelda, I wouldn't want anyone touching my save...and I would want to play it hours at a time, which wouldn't be great for a console shared between 2 kids.

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#12 Posted by clagnaught (2141 posts) -

For what it's worth, I think there's more stuff in Zelda, in addition to me thinking it's a better game. Mario can be completed in a pretty straight shot, and then you have to replay levels again and grind for moons to get to the ultimate challenges in the game. There's maybe 3 to 4 times as much stuff after the game. I'm not sure how kids would be into replaying levels and doing the same type of challenges over and over again. Granted I'm one of only three people in the world who doesn't like Odyssey. That aside, Zelda is pretty impressive and an overall more interesting game that does a couple of things really well (while Mario does one thing alright in a game that doesn't have the design to support an entire game)

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#13 Edited by ArbitraryWater (15748 posts) -

I'm trying to think of how I played games when I was around that age, and I don't know if I would've loved Zelda or immediately lost patience with it. I think Mario might be a slightly safer bet, but honestly I think you'd probably do okay with either. Kids are more capable than we sometimes give them credit for, and kids are also good at wringing as much enjoyment as possible out of the handful of games they get every year.

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#14 Posted by TheHT (15875 posts) -

That's around the age I played Ocarina of Time, and despite having never played anything like it before, I really cherished my time with it. Riding around Hyrule, exploring areas, figuring out puzzles and dancing around skeletons in combat, loved it all. Who knows, they might really take to it!

Can't go wrong with Mario though.

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#15 Posted by ll_Exile_ll (3017 posts) -

I played Ocarina of Time and Mario 64 around that age. Ocarina of Time shaped my gaming preferences and tastes on a fundamental level and is still my favorite game of all time. Mario 64 is great, but it didn't leave the same mark.

For kids that age, I think BotW has the potential to a be foundational game for them.

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#16 Posted by Chummy8 (3878 posts) -

Thanks guys. It looks like Mario is the safer option here. My daughter already plays plenty of Stardew on my computer. She likes games, but these open world adventures are not quite her speed yet.

Personally, i want to play Zelda, but we are not getting it just so I can play on it.

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#17 Edited by Rorie (5881 posts) -

I'd wholeheartedly recommend Zelda over Mario if you were buying for yourself, but at that age Mario is probably the safer bet. Hollow Knight is probably a bit too adult for that age range. Don't forget to splurge for Spelunky 2 when it comes along!

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#18 Posted by csl316 (15007 posts) -

Zelda is an amazing game that I love, but Odyssey will be better for kids early on.

Both have a lot of similarities but the bite-sized, varied challenges of Odyssey, plus the upbeat music and the popping art might be more fun for them than loneliness and stamina gauges.

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#19 Posted by renegade1973 (76 posts) -

If you have an extra controller (in addition to the joy cons), I can recommend Overcooked - cheap download and loads of fun

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#20 Posted by Captain_Insano (3533 posts) -

Breath of the Wild is a very slow and punishing game.

Odyssey is pure fun

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#21 Posted by WanLaghima (38 posts) -

I voted Mario, although I really love Zelda. The quasi co-op might be good for two kids and Zelda can be a little daunting for an 8 year old ... maybe? Either way, they both have a ton of content.

Throw in a couple of bucks and get them sonic mania too. Its a good pick up an play title.

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#22 Edited by redwing42 (550 posts) -

Also, Snipperclips. I have an 11 year old daughter, and we had lots of fun playing that. She is also really into Dragon Quest Builders, but she generally leans more towards open ended games anyway.