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27 Best Nintendo Switch Games for 12-Year-Olds

Header Best Nintendo Switch Games for 12 Year Olds
Paul Allen
Written by
Paul Allen
Written by
Paul Allen
From train sets to Tamagotchis, Paul would spend hours as a kid playing with anything he could get his hands on. Nowadays, he researches the latest and greatest toys featured on TheToyZone, while dividing his free time between his Playstation and his Nintendo Switch.
James Booth
Edited by
James Booth
Edited by
James Booth
Managing Editor
James loved anything Star Wars related as a kid! These days he uses the force to make sure TheToyZone is consistently publishing articles our readers will trust and find real value in. On his off days, you'll find him in the woods searching for Ewoks.
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TheToyZone is an independent publication with no ties with companies mentioned on the site. We don’t accept free products in exchange for glowing reviews. Instead, we report our own findings to help you make an informed decision.

The Nintendo Switch is one of the most popular gaming consoles worldwide, partly due to its fantastic versatility. With one Switch and a few controllers, tweens can have fun in many ways — from family game nights to keeping entertained on road trips or getting your body moving in sports and fitness games. 

The flip side is that with so many excellent options, choosing the perfect Switch game gift can feel nearly impossible.

In some ways, it’s harder to select games for 12-year-olds, as the net of what they might enjoy stretches much wider. Tweens can be into lighthearted family games, extremely challenging action RPGs and everything in between. On the other hand, 12-year-olds tend to be pretty vocal about what they enjoy, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to identify something they’ll love from a well-selected list. 

And that’s where we come in – all the games on this list have received rave reviews from middle school-aged kids and their parents and very few negative ones. All you have to do is pick one that suits the preteen you are buying for, and you should be in the running for grown-up of the year.

Top 3 Switch Games for 12-Year-Olds

💰 FOR TIGHT BUDGETS🧒🏻 FOR YOUNGER KIDS🧒🏼 FOR OLDER KIDS
TerrariaSplatoon 3Stardew Valley
PreviewTerraria NSW - Nintendo SwitchSplatoon 3 - US VersionStardew Valley (Nintendo Switch)
BEST AGETeen10 years and above12 years and above
❤️ PROSFantastic mix of sandbox, platform, exploration and action gameFast-paced and lighthearted turf war game that also has a great story modeWith so much to learn and do, the game sucks you in but it’s still relaxing
💔 CONSRequires patience as it is very easy to dieYou need a Nintendo membership to play onlineThe retro graphics won’t appeal to everyone
💵 PRICE$34.99$39.53$36.90

Picking our top three games was tough, as 12-year-olds like all kinds of different games. While some would love to build a farm from scratch, tending their crops and animals, others would prefer to take on alien robots in a blood-pumping thrill ride. And that’s just two of so many possibilities. 

So we encourage you to go through the complete list of games below to find the perfect gift for the tween in your life.

Best Action & Adventure Games

Skills promoted by this type of video game:

🧩 Problem-solving
👌 Hand-eye coordination

1. Hogwarts Legacy

This is Hogwarts as you’ve never seen it before. It is set generations before Harry stepped onto the castle grounds and offers a vast and expansive open-world experience, unlike any Harry Potter game. Players get to forge their own path, get sorted into a house, learn magical skills and build relationships that may be useful later in the game.

Recommended age: Teen

Of course, it’s not all broomstick rides and potions classes. Kids who enjoy complex, challenging games will have a blast uncovering mysterious clues and battling trolls, goblins and something even more sinister. 

What We Love:

❤️ Packed with authentic details Potterheads will appreciate
❤️ You get to forge your own path in a vast open world map of the Wizarding World
❤️ Excellent graphics and voice acting makes it feel real

What We Don’t Love:

💔 The characters feel a tad one dimensional compared to the complexity of the world
💔 Combat mechanics can be a little choppy

💡 Looking for a more lighthearted take on magical mischief? Check out the Harry Potter Lego Collection here.

2. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Breath of the Wild may be the open-world game to end all open-world games. In it, players get to explore the expansive world of Hyrule, making their own choices and facing the consequences every step of the way. The game is full of challenges, from fierce foes to tricky puzzles to ensuring you have enough to eat daily. 

Recommended age: 10 years and above 

BoTW feels very authentic thanks to the detailed graphics and real-life challenges, without losing its sense of magic. It’s perfect for kids who love the franchise and are ready for more of an unbounded challenge.

What We Love:

❤️ Vast open world game filled with things to discover and realistic challenges to face
❤️ Fantastic replay value as you can try a different strategy each time
❤️ The game is spectacularly beautiful, but the real magic is in the little details that make it real

What We Don’t Love:

💔 The lack of guidance might be overwhelming for less experienced gamers
💔 Some players found the map too big in that it felt a little empty

💡 If your tween has already completed Breath of the Wild, you can pre-order the upcoming Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom here.

3. Metroid Dread

Metroid fans will jump at the chance to play this new story, full of mysteries to investigate and terrifying robots to defeat. But it’s not just for the old hats: if your tween enjoys sci-fi and challenging action games, they should try this. It’s a hearth-thumping thrill ride of a game, with breathtaking graphics and action that keeps you sucked in the entire time. 

Recommended age: Teen 

In Metroid Dread, players explore the varied environments of a planet plagued by deadly robots and hostile alien lifeforms. While success is not easy, players will discover more and gain new abilities as they go. 

What We Love:

❤️ Requires real out-the-box thinking — great for kids who enjoy a challenge
❤️ Superb graphics and sound design imbue the game with feeling
❤️ Faithful to previous Metroid games but is the best one yet in terms of storyline and controls

What We Don’t Love:

💔 It’s a very challenging game even when playing in rookie mode
💔 Progresses more linearly than previous Metroid games

💡 For the full remastered Metroid experience, don’t miss out on the original Metroid Prime as well.

Best Puzzle & Strategy Games

Skills promoted by this type of video game:

🧩 Problem-solving
👌 Hand-eye coordination
👁️ Reading

4. Moving Out

Looking for a silly and fun co-op game that still offers a challenge? Moving Out is just that. While moving may not seem like the most riveting of scenarios, this game takes the concept to hilariously bizarre places. From figuring out how to get a couch through a window to smuggling giraffes to relocating in zero gravity, this game is a wild ride from start to finish.

Recommended age: 3 years and above 

Moving Out is full of silly humor that appeals to tweens, but it also requires real teamwork and communication. This makes it an excellent game for encouraging sibling bonding.

What We Love:

❤️ A fun and lighthearted yet challenging co-op game
❤️ Requires real communication and teamwork, so it’s great for bonding
❤️ A crowd pleaser that’s packed with laughs and chaos

What We Don’t Love:

💔 If you’re easily frustrated it may not be the game for you
💔 Some players found the controls a little clunky

5. Human Fall Flat

There’s a reason people flock to YouTube in their millions to watch clips from Human: Fall Flat – it’s side-splittingly hilarious. The game’s genius is the characters’ wobbly physics, which makes every movement hilarious and adds real challenge to the gameplay. Belly flops are par for the course, constantly adding a dose of the absurd to a fun puzzle game.

Recommended age: 3 years and above 

This edition of the game features a multiplayer mode of up to eight players for the first time, which increases the chaos and laughs exponentially. It can also be very handy when completing a challenge.

What We Love:

❤️ This game’s bizarre humor will appeal to most middle schoolers
❤️ Full of fun puzzles that require out the box thinking
❤️ A super unique game as what is challenging about it is also what makes it hilarious

What We Don’t Love:

💔 Not everyone will enjoy the game’s intentionally wobbly physics
💔 The pace of the game is a little slow

6. 51 Worldwide Games

Is your 12-year-old a fan of classic tabletop games like chess, dominoes, ludo and backgammon? What about games from other parts of the world, like mahjong and shogi? Now they can play all these and more without giant boxes that take up a whole cupboard and pieces constantly getting lost. Just like it says in the name, it’s 51 games.

Recommended age: 3 years and above 

With 51 Worldwide Games, you can have all your favorite classic board games a click away and learn new ones too. Each game has an in-depth tutorial, so there’ll be no fighting over the rules.

What We Love:

❤️ Includes 51 different tabletop and parlor games, so there’s something for everyone
❤️ Comes with in-depth tutorials for all the games
❤️ Smooth gameplay and clean presentation

What We Don’t Love:

💔 Most of the games only accommodate two players
💔 The motion controls are pretty limited and don’t accommodate left-handed players

Best Platform / Jump ‘n’ Run Games

Skills promoted by this type of video game:

🧩 Problem-solving
👌 Hand-eye coordination
👁️ Reading

7. Cuphead

You might assume that brutal battles, side-scrolling adventure and 1930s cartoons wouldn’t go together well, but you would be wrong. Cuphead takes the art style and characters from old-timey cartoons and turns them into lethal bosses, whimsical environments and a lot of fun. But while the battles are fiendishly challenging, they never feel pointless, so you’ll want to keep coming back.

Recommended age: 10 years and above 

This edition is a great deal as it comes with a fun expansion plus a set of “Cuphead Funnies” collector cards. If you think your kiddo would enjoy the graphics and the challenging combat, give the game a go.

What We Love:

❤️ The battles are brutally challenging but immensely fun
❤️ Super unique art style inspired by 1930s animations
❤️ Full of wildly inventive characters and concepts

What We Don’t Love:

💔 This is a very difficult game, so it’s not for beginners
💔 Some may find it repetitive as it is a game of combat and little else

8. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe

Crossing generational divides, the beloved game is back and better than ever. Kids who enjoy Super Mario Bros. will be over the moon as this edition retains everything good about it while adding new features, characters and game modes. Plus, the whole family can play together thanks to Toadette and Nabbit, who will help younger players keep up.

Recommended age: 3 years and above 

Tweens will find multiplayer sessions much more fun than in previous editions, thanks to the entertaining character interactions. And for those who love the game but need more of a challenge, the additional modes provide just that.

What We Love:

❤️ The classic game with a bunch of fun added features
❤️ There are a ton of levels and different characters to play as
❤️ Younger or inexperienced players can play as Toadette or Nabbit and get more assistance

What We Don’t Love:

💔 Almost the same as the Wii U version of Mario 
💔 Kids used to the newer Mario games may find it too simple

💡 Kids who already love Super Mario Bros. may want to check out the 3D platforming adventures, like this 2-in-1 deal of Super Mario 3D World and Bowser’s Fury.

9. Terraria

Sometimes, a game tries to do too much, and it becomes confusing, but sometimes it all comes together in a masterful blend. As a unique mix of sandbox game, platformer and open-world action game, Terraria falls into the latter category. In this rich tapestry of a game, players can delve deep into expansive caves, seek out ever-more challenging foes, or construct their very own city. 

Recommended age: Teen 

If your kid liked Minecraft and would enjoy something with a little more action, Terraria will be right up their alley. With cave crawling, sandbox mechanics and medieval themes, it’s also an ode to geekdom.

What We Love:

❤️ Fantastic mix of sandbox, platform, exploration and action game
❤️ With more levels than ever before, there’s so much to do, discover and build
❤️ Smooth controls in both local and online multiplayer mode

What We Don’t Love:

💔 Requires patience as it is very easy to die
💔 Split screen multiplayer only accommodates two players

Best First-Person Action Games

Skills promoted by this type of video game:

🧩 Problem-solving
👌 Decision making
👁️ Reading

10. Minecraft

Minecraft isn’t a new game, but its astounding popularity shows no signs of waning, so if your kid hasn’t played before, they should try it. Minecraft is a game about “placing blocks and going on adventures.” But those blocks can be combined to make spectacular constructions and those adventures are full of bizarre foes and wacky worlds.

Recommended age: 10 years and above 

The great thing about Minecraft is that it’s really what you make of it. It can be an action-packed adventure, an exploration into randomly generated worlds or a creative game where you build your dream palace. The sky’s the limit.

What We Love:

❤️ Can be relaxing, action-packed, or completely absurd — it’s up to you
❤️ The possibilities for what you can build are endless
❤️ There’s a vast community of players who inspire each other, so it never gets old

What We Don’t Love:

💔 Requires a subscription to play online
💔 Not everyone enjoys the blocky graphics and time-consuming gameplay

11. Road 96

If you’ve got a film buff kid who is beginning to dip their toes into Cohen brothers and Tarantino movies, this could be just the game for them. A cinematic, choose-your-own-adventure style game, Road 96 takes players on a journey through a totalitarian state. There’s undoubtedly action, but the magic of this game is in the human interactions and contemplative moments along the way.

Recommended age: Teen 

In the ever-evolving story of Road 96, every choice you make affects your path through the game, with thousands of potential outcomes. And it’s a wonderfully evocative path with an instantly nostalgic visual style and a retro soundtrack.

What We Love:

❤️ The storyline and characters have fantastic depth 
❤️ Perfect for fans of “choose your own adventure” stories and cinematic games
❤️ The graphics and soundtrack create an immersive experience

What We Don’t Love:

💔 Not for those who aren’t a fan of story-heavy games
💔 Not everyone will enjoy the slower pace of the game

12. Overwatch Legendary Edition

It’s not easy to find first-person shooter games appropriate for 12-year-olds, but Overwatch meets that bar. Without being overly challenging or gruesome, it is still a thrilling ride of a game full of action-packed battles and extraordinary powers. There’s also an exciting strategy component in how you assemble your team.

Recommended age: Teen 

Overwatch Legendary Edition includes all the latest heroes, maps and game updates, plus some limited edition hero skins so you can look badass while fighting for the future. Plus, fans of the game and newbies alike will love how smoothly this plays on the Switch.

What We Love:

❤️ Great introduction to first-person shooter games for tweens
❤️ Super fun action game with a good dose of strategy
❤️ The Switch edition runs smoothly and comes with limited edition hero skins

What We Don’t Love:

💔 The game is download only so requires a good internet connection
💔 It only plays at 30fps so it is better in handheld than TV mode

Best Role Playing Games (RPG)

Skills promoted by this type of video game:

🧩 Problem-solving
👌 Decision making
👁️ Reading

13. Fire Emblem Engage

In Fire Emblem Engage, players find themselves waking up as a Divine Dragon and must take on a thousand-year-old threat by defeating enemies in strategic combat. Tactical RPG games aren’t for everyone, but if your tween is a fan, they will love the latest Fire Emblem game. Think of it like chess but with tremendous powers and an actual storyline. 

Recommended age: Teen 

Engage features an intriguing addition to tactical play in the form of Emblem rings which players can use to summon heroes from past Fire Emblem games. Strategic thinkers will likely enjoy this game the most from the entire series.

What We Love:

❤️ The battle mechanics are excellent, and the boards are wonderfully detailed
❤️ Great characters, each with unique abilities that interact in exciting ways
❤️ Beautiful anime-style graphics 

What We Don’t Love:

💔 The writing feels a bit formulaic at times
💔 The storyline is a little generic – the game is more about strategic combat than story

14. Pokémon Scarlet & Pokémon Violet Double Pack

What makes a better birthday present than an awesome Switch game? Two awesome Switch games in one of course. This double pack will surely be a hit with Pokemon fans, as players get to explore an open world map of the Paldea region, discover more about Pokemon lore and, of course, build their Pokedex and train their Pokemon for battle.

Recommended age: 3 years and above 

Paldea is a fascinating world to explore, and these games both feel as though they are brimming with open-ended possibilities without being too overwhelming. Kids will also love that the set has a 200 Poke ball bonus.

What We Love:

❤️ A fun open world brimming with possibilities – but not too overwhelming for beginners
❤️ The characters are lovable, and the stories are well written
❤️ Comes with 200 extra poke balls

What We Don’t Love:

💔 It’s a pricey game even for a double pack
💔 The graphics are not the best

15. Xenoblade Chronicles 2

Join Rex and his new friend Pyra, a living weapon known as a Blade, in this new adventure in the Xenoblade Chronicles series. Together, the two search for Pyra’s long-lost home Elysium, exploring diverse regions full of colossal beasts and meeting many hostile foes. The Xenoblade Chronicles games aren’t for beginners, but those who love challenging battles amidst a complex storyline will have a blast.

Recommended age: Teen 

What makes Xenoblade Chronicles 2 even more impressive than its predecessor is its fantastically layered narrative full of unexpected twists. It also offers 100s of hours of gameplay and constantly breathtaking environments.

What We Love:

❤️ Fantastic storyline full of twists and layers
❤️ Over 100 hours of gameplay in the main story plus lots of side quests
❤️ Gorgeous graphics in a vast and varied world

What We Don’t Love:

💔 Some areas are confusing and difficult to navigate
💔 Combat is pretty slow at first so some may find it too much of a grind

Best Party / Multiplayer Games

Skills promoted by this type of video game:

📖 Familiarity with game rules
👌 Hand-eye coordination

16. Super Smash Bros Ultimate

Is your 12-year-old more into smashing buttons with friends than disappearing into solo adventures? If so, you’ve got to check out the Ultimate edition of Super Smash Bros. This edition features every fighter from previous editions of Smash Bros. games and new ones. It also offers more than 100 stages to fight on and loads of excellent new techniques to try.

Recommended age: 10 years and above 

Fans of the Smash. Bros. series will discover amazingly crisp graphics and combat that is faster and more fluid than ever before. Plus, you can battle it out with up to eight players, so it’s perfect for hangouts with friends.

What We Love:

❤️ Features new characters plus all the ones from previous Smash Bros. games
❤️ Amazingly fluid combat mechanics plus lots of fun new techniques
❤️ Accommodates up to 8 players

What We Don’t Love:

💔 The online version doesn’t work as well as local
💔 Not everyone enjoys the chaos of button smashing games

17. Super Mario Party

It goes without saying, but Super Mario Party is also perfect for hangouts with friends and family. A little less chaotic than Super Smash Bros., this lighthearted romp is about outwitting your fellow players as you race across the board. This edition feels faithful to the original while incorporating fun new features like the character-specific Dice Blocks that add another layer of strategy.

Recommended age: 3 years and above 

The main game is fun, but the real star of Super Mario Party is the 80+ mini-games. These are a blast to jump into anytime and with anyone, whether online or in local tabletop mode.

What We Love:

❤️ A fun and lighthearted multiplayer game that accommodates all ages and ability levels
❤️ The 80+ mini-games are a blast and very competitive
❤️ Feels true to the original Mario Party with some fun new features

What We Don’t Love:

💔 Only works with individual joy cons
💔 There are only 4 different boards

💡 Already completed Super Mario Party? Add the latest version, Mario Party Superstars, to your next family game night.

18. Splatoon 3

Kids who have played all the Mario titles and are looking for something new will love Splatoon 3. This lighthearted turf-war game is fast-paced, action-packed and full of color. Splatoon is paintball on steroids, set in a futuristic world inhabited by cute, fashionable creatures. The Inklings and Octolings may be little, but they’ll fight fiercely for their territory.

Recommended age: 10 years and above 

Splatoon 3 returns with everything that worked from the previous games, plus new stages, maneuvers, outfits, weapons and a brand new story mode. It’s perfect if you’re looking for a fun combat game free of gore and violence.

What We Love:

❤️ Fast-paced and lighthearted turf war game that also has a great story mode
❤️ Vibrantly colorful graphics in a unique style
❤️ This latest edition has loads of fun new modes and weapons

What We Don’t Love:

💔 You need a Nintendo membership to play online
💔 Those who already have Splatoon 2 may find this too similar

Best Music & Fitness Games

Skills promoted by this type of video game:

👌 Hand-eye coordination

19. Nintendo Switch Sports

With seven sports to choose from (Golf, Soccer, Volleyball, Bowling, Tennis, Badminton and Chambara), players can kick, swing, bat, and sword fight their way to sporting glory. Nintendo Switch Sports uses motion-activated controls down to the leg strap that tracks your kicks while playing soccer, so it’s the perfect way to get your tween off the couch.

Recommended age: 10 years and above 

Whether you want to practice sports techniques or simply have some active fun with friends, Nintendo Switch Sports does the job. There’s also a range of online play options, like teaming up with a friend to take on other teams online.

What We Love:

❤️ Like Wii Sports but with upgraded graphics and gameplay
❤️ Great way to get everyone moving as it accommodates folks with disabilities too
❤️ Excellent motion controls – it even comes with a leg strap to track your kicks in soccer

What We Don’t Love:

💔 Some of the games are a bit too similar
💔 The price is quite steep considering there are only seven games

20. Just Dance 2023

Just Dance is a firm favorite among tweens worldwide and pairs well with the Switch thanks to the motion-activated controllers. The 2023 edition features 40 of the latest hits to dance to, including Harry Styles, Billie Eilish and a generous helping of K-pop. And thanks to the improved user interface, you can get dancing in no time.

Recommended age: 3 years and above 

With Just Dance 2023, kids can unlock custom-made dance challenges and songs tailored to their unique listening habits. And if you pair it with a Just Dance Unlimited subscription, you can get stacks more tracks for limitless dance party fun.

What We Love:

❤️ Packed with the latest hits including a generous dose of K-pop
❤️ You can unlock song selections and sessions custom made for you
❤️ Greatly improved user interface makes it easy to get started

What We Don’t Love:

💔 Requires a strong internet connection
💔 The song selection is limited without a subscription

21. Ring Fit Adventure

Looking for an engaging adventure game that actually gives you a thorough workout at the same time? Well, Ring Fit Adventure is the one. Using the included leg strap and innovative Ring-Con, you control your character with real life exercise moves. Players will find themselves jogging, kicking, pushing, pulling and more to overcome obstacles and battle enemies in a fantastical world.

Recommended age: 10 years and above 

Ring Fit Adventure provides a proper workout, so it’s best for kids who genuinely want to get fit while defeating fearsome monsters on screen. However, it adjusts according to your fitness level, making it accessible to everyone.

What We Love:

❤️ Genuinely fun way to get a workout
❤️ Adventure Mode is full of fun worlds and cool monsters to defeat
❤️ Adjusts based on your fitness level

What We Don’t Love:

💔 Some customers found that the leg strap slips off sometimes
💔 Experienced gamers may find the storyline a little boring

Best Sports & Racing Games

Skills promoted by this type of video game:

👌 Hand-eye coordination

22. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the most extensive version of the game yet, featuring every track of the Wii U version and new ones. Fans will love all the karts and characters you can play, such as the Inklings from Splatoon. And if your kiddo hasn’t played before, it’s high time they do if they enjoy other racing games.

Recommended age: 3 years and above 

The graphics of this edition are off the charts, from the colors to the crispness to the cinematic feel. It also features a new Smart Steering feature so kids can introduce their newbie friends to the game.

What We Love:

❤️ Loads of new and returning courses and a fun story mode as well
❤️ The graphics are wonderfully crisp and cinematic
❤️ Tons of different characters plus excellent mechanics, both new and familiar

What We Don’t Love:

💔 It would be nice if battle mode had more arenas to fight in
💔 Not great for those who enjoy unlocking characters as they are all available from the start

23. FIFA 2023

For soccer fans, playing Fifa offers hours of fun. The 2023 edition features all the latest teams, players, kits and stadiums worldwide. And for the first time, it also includes the top women’s league teams. Whether kids want to take on their friends in a once-off match or build themselves up to the top in Career Mode, they can do so.

Recommended age: 3 years and above 

Fifa 2023 boasts the most realistic player movements yet, as well as updated graphics and a new broadcast overlay. Kids in soccer may find themselves learning techniques they can implement in real-life games.

What We Love:

❤️ Perfect for soccer kids as they can learn techniques and strategies as they play
❤️ Features up-to-date teams as well as Women’s League teams
❤️ Multiple modes and ways to play 

What We Don’t Love:

💔 Doesn’t include World Cup mode
💔 The Switch version is missing a few features available on other devices

💡 If your kid prefers shooting hoops to scoring goals, then NBA 2k23 might be more their jam.

24. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered

Need for Speed has long been the gold standard of realistic racing games. There is lots for car enthusiasts to love here — authentic supercars to drive, stunning graphics and an engaging story mode. And in Hot Pursuit, kids can play on both sides of the law, embarking on high-speed chases/escapes that end in a crash more often than not. 

Recommended age: 10 years and above 

Whether it’s speeding down a winding coastline or drifting down country roads, this game will take players on a thrilling journey. There’s also lots to explore and in free mode, you can see what’s out there while you practice your drifts.

What We Love:

❤️ Gameplay is just as good as the original but with tighter controls
❤️ Fun and realistic high-octane racing (and wrecking cars.)
❤️ Great selection of supercars to drive

What We Don’t Love:

💔 No multiplayer split screen
💔 Requires a download before you can start

Best Simulation Games

Skills promoted by this type of video game:

🧩 Problem-solving
👁️ Reading

25. Stardew Valley

In Stardew Valley, players must build their farm from the ground up and protect it from a variety of threats. With a wealth of customization options and ways to build your farming life, this game achieves an addictive balance of challenge and relaxation. Wind down after a long day in your other life as a farmer in Pelican Town.

Recommended age: 12 years and above 

If your kid enjoys Animal Crossing but wants more of a challenge, this is a must-buy. From raising animals to growing crops, building a family and exploring the surrounding areas if you dare, there is always something new to discover in this verdant valley.

What We Love:

❤️ With so much to learn and do, the game sucks you in while still being relaxing
❤️ New things to discover and unlock every day, so it never feels stale
❤️ Similar to Animal Crossing but with more depth and realism

What We Don’t Love:

💔 The simple retro graphics won’t appeal to everyone
💔 There isn’t a lot of guidance so it’s quite a steep learning curve

💡 Think your tween would prefer a more laid-back Simulation game? Give them a ticket to their own idyllic island with Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

26. Untitled Goose Game

First, feel yourself inhabiting the role of the goose. Then, head out to wreak havoc on the unsuspecting townspeople in countless small and infuriating ways. This game may not have a complex storyline or demanding battles, but it does have laughs in spades. Perfect for playing in groups, Untitled Goose Game is just as wacky and hilarious as it sounds.

Recommended age: 3 years and above 

Tweens will begin by unleashing consequence-free chaos and then get hooked on the brain-teasing puzzles. And despite the mayhem and dedicated honk button, the game is surprisingly relaxing, perhaps due to the jazzy backing track.

What We Love:

❤️ Hilariously chaotic but relaxing game
❤️ The puzzles are fun and sometimes surprisingly challenging
❤️ Kids get to cause repercussion-free mayhem to a relaxing soundtrack 

What We Don’t Love:

💔 It is pretty short but has some replay value
💔 If you aren’t into the humor you may find it repetitive after a while

27. Spiritfarer

At 12, many kids don’t just want to race, battle and chase, but can appreciate something that makes them think. Spiritfarer is a game’s emotional rollercoaster that encourages players to think about grief and acceptance. It’s also set in an extremely imaginative world with properly fleshed-out characters, so fans of fantasy stories will find a lot to love.

Recommended age: Teen 

Spiritfarer is predominantly a platform game, but the artwork that makes up the world is exquisite. The music also helps draw you in and kids may cry more than once simply due to the moving storyline and characters.

What We Love:

❤️ A relaxing, touching and sometimes heart-wrenching game about grief and acceptance
❤️ Amazing depth to the characters and storyline
❤️ Beautiful graphics and music draw you in

What We Don’t Love:

💔 Gameplay feels a bit repetitive at times
💔 While most players connected to the characters, some found them annoying


Frequently Asked Questions About Nintendo Switch Games for Pre-Teens

🙋  Is Nintendo Switch good for a 12-year-old?

If you’re looking for a gaming console for your 12-year-old, the Nintendo Switch is a great option thanks to its versatility. It also offers a massive range of titles suitable for younger players and loads of multiplayer options perfect for games night with friends. 

Whether playing the Switch is ideal for kids depends on how much and what they play, as we all know the dangers of too much screen time. However, many Switch games improve dexterity, problem-solving and quick-thinking skills and there are even sports and fitness games available so that gaming doesn’t have to mean vegging out. 

🙋  Why is the Switch so popular?

A key reason why the Switch is so popular is one we mentioned above: the sheer volume of games that folks of all ages can enjoy. Adults and preschoolers can use the same console, so you don’t have to buy a separate device for every family member. 

Another critical factor is the Switch’s versatility – it works as a traditional home console or a portable handheld system and offers additional play options like motion controls. It’s not miles ahead when it comes to technology, but it has its finger on the pulse of what people want to play and how they want to do so.

So… What Nintendo Switch Game Should You Get?

While we don’t have a magic bullet answer for you, it all depends on the tween in your life and the kind of gamer they are. If they love kicking it on the couch with friends, one of the party games or a couch co-op could be ideal. If, on the other hand, they like to dive into complex adventures in fantastical realms, one of the RPG or action & adventure games is probably a better bet.

Do you think we missed out on the best Nintendo Switch game for 12-year-olds? Pop us a message to let us know.

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