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Top Toys 2011: Video games

The hottest, most awesome family video games, chosen by father-and-son gamers Dan and Erick Bortolotti. Some are so new, prices aren’t yet available

By Toy photography by Susan Ashukian
Top Toys 2011: Video games

Top Toys 2011: Video games

Video games

A)  Disney Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension Game
Play it on: Wii, PlayStation 3, Nintendo DS; $30–$40
In this tie-in to the TV series, Phineas, Ferb, Agent P. and other characters work co-operatively as they gather cartoon weapons (such as Carbonator, a kind of flame-thrower that shoots orange pop) and gadgets like the wall-climbing Ninja Glove. A great-looking game that young kids will enjoy, though older gamers may not find it challenging.
B)  Nintendo Kirby’s Return to Dreamland
Play it on: Wii
The irrepressible Kirby is better than ever in this latest adventure. Kids guide Kirby and his friends as they collect the pieces of an alien spaceship that has crashed on Planet Pop Star. For the first time, up to four players can co-operate to collect rewards and defeat their enemies. Brilliant graphics and intuitive controls will appeal to young gamers.
C)  Nintendo The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Play it on: Wii
This adventure game combines thoughtful puzzle solving with exciting hand-to-hand combat as players lead the main character, Link, on a dungeon quest. Players can perform amazing feats of swordsmanship. Also very cool: They can use the nunchuk and Wii controller in combination to wield a bow and arrow.

Top Toys 2011: Video games

Video games

A)  Nintendo Mario Kart 7
Play it on: Nintendo 3DS
One of the most popular family games of all time gets a makeover in this fast-paced version for Nintendo 3DS. In a new twist, the karts are now equipped with hang-glider wings so they can fly over big jumps, and propellers to power them under water. The game makes clever use of the console’s 3D capabilities to give the racing tracks added depth and realism.
B)  Disney Lego: Pirates of the Caribbean
Play it on: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, PSP, DS, 3DS, PC; $40
Play it on: PSP, DS, 3DS, PC; $30
Fans of Jack Sparrow will take to this adventure game, which puts players inside the most memorable scenes from the film series. Players control Lego versions of the main characters as they complete tasks and solve problems. The fighting scenes are raucous without feeling genuinely violent, and there’s a humorous feel to the whole game.
C)  Nintendo Star Fox 64 3D
Play it on: Nintendo 3DS
Another classic game gets a 3D upgrade for Nintendo’s new hand-held system. The Star Fox squadron pilot their Airwing spacecraft to defend the planet Corneria from an assault. As with many DS games, up to four players can compete at once: Each needs his own 3DS device, but only one needs the game cartridge.

Top Toys 2011: Video games

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Video games

A)  Disney Cars 2: The Video Game
Play it on: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii; $40
Play it on: DS, 3DS, PC; $30
Mario Kart meets Pixar in this visually stunning racing game inspired by the movie. Young drivers choose their favourite character/vehicle and complete a series of spy-training missions where they get to blast their opponents with an arsenal of guns and rockets. (It’s not nearly as violent as that may sound — it’s all cartoonish combat.) Great fun for kids who love racing games.
B)  Electronic Arts Canada: FIFA Soccer 12
Play it on: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, PSP, PC; $60
One of the most anticipated sports games of the year, FIFA Soccer 12 was developed in Canada, and early reviewers say it’s a major improvement over earlier versions. Soccer enthusiasts will love the precise control that players have when dribbling and the amazingly realistic bumping and jostling among players.

Top Toys 2011: Video games
This article was originally published on Oct 18, 2011

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