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Finding the right games and apps for your family tablet

By Andy Robertson, editor of FamilyGamerTV

Whether you have new technology for Christmas or are looking to find new ways to enjoy older devices, downloading the right apps and games can take some time.

Finding games that contain appropriate content is also a little more complex than with console video games.

Although there are PEGI ratings for both apps and games, not all platforms currently support them.

The PEGI system applies the same traffic light system as for other video-games. Ages 3 and 7 are green and advisory. Ages 12 and 16 have an orange badge and 18 rated games with the most mature content have a red badge. On the box or online you can also find the descriptor badges that indicate what aspect of the game has it has been rated for — violence, sex or language for example.

This is used in the Google Store, but Apple’s App Store uses its own system.

  • 4+ apps have no concerning content.
  • 9+ apps may contain instances of mild violence, profanity, horror or cartoon violence.
  • 12+ apps may contain medical, gambling, mild sexual content or frequent or intense swearing or violence.
  • 17+ apps may include web browsing, intense mature, sexual, alcohol or drug content.

The Apple App Store offers useful additional information that can be referenced alongside the PEGI details. Where an app exists in both the App and Google Play Store, it can help to look it up on both to get the full ratings picture.

A nice addition in the App Store is the inclusion of top in-app purchases. This gives you an idea how players are spending additional money in addition to the initial cost of purchasing a game. For apps this is often free, but with in-app purchases existing in excess of £60.

Here are our suggestions for apps to check out this year.

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Mini Metro
Apple: £3.99, 4+
Android: £4.29, PEGI 3+

Design your own underground system in this mind stretching game that simulates city transport with diagrammatic visuals. It starts simply but soon gets complicated. This is a lot of fun for all ages and encourages players to develop strategic thinking and forward planning.

Steam World Heist
Apple: £7.99, 9+ (infrequent/mild cartoon or fantasy violence)

This is a beautifully crafted turn based shooting game where players control a team of steam powered space robots. It sounds far fetched but the excitement and knife edge decisions will work well for a range of players. Team work, quick thinking and fast reactions are the order of the day.

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Apple: 79p, 9+ (infrequent/mild horror/fear themes)
Android: £1.89, PEGI 3+

This is a text driven adventure where the player is contacted by a fictional character lost on a distant planet. The player is asked to answer questions (and sometimes Google answers) to help the character survive the harsh environment. Everything is communicated by short messages on the Smartphone that create a strong bond with the game and a very unusual experience.

For more information about video-games for families visit Ask About Games , the industry funded website. Along with details on setting up your consoles parental controls and more on PEGI ratings it also has stories from real families getting more from games in the home.

And one for parents to try themselves

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That Dragon, Cancer
Apple: £3.99, 12+ (infrequent/mild medical/treatment information)
Android: £4.89, PEGI 3+

A very unusual game created by the father of a child with terminal brain cancer. It offers not only a unique way to engage with a difficult topic but also an insightful interactive documentary into the experience of having cancer in the family. One for parents to play on their own, or possibly to share with the family once they’ve completed it first to check the content is suitable for their children.

Further reading

PEGI ratings explained

Choosing the right console games for Christmas

Main image: KW Barrett, CC BY 2.0