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40 Great Games Like Horizon Zero Dawn on PlayStation 4

Our experts have spent time searching for great games similar to Horizon Zero Dawn and have found the following:

Horizon Zero Dawn, and the follow-up game Horizon Forbidden West, has a post-apocalyptic feel familiar from movies like Planet of the Apes. It plunges you into an overgrown landscape with now-crumbling remnants of modern life where animalistic machines have taken over. The exploration and combat don’t dwell on the downfall of the world, but there is an interesting undercurrent of self-annihilation that lingers as you play. It’s an impressive and enjoyable world to explore that says as much about humanity’s ability to survive as any direct narrative.

If you enjoyed Horizon Zero Dawn, there are other games in the Horizon series you should try.

DetailsGame Details

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 14-18 year-olds

Release Date: 01/03/2017

Platforms: PC and PS4

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative, Open World and Shooting

Accessibility: 29 features

Developer: Guerrilla (@Guerrilla)

Players: This is a single player game

Costs: Purchase cost. In-game purchases

26 Hand Picked Games Like Horizon Zero Dawn

These are our hand-picked games similar to Horizon Zero Dawn. This doesn't use automatic matching, instead, we hand-pick games that are good to play if you have enjoyed Horizon Zero Dawn, or as younger rated alternatives for players not ready for PEGI 16 or ESRB TEEN games. These selections also include games that offer a different experience but address a similar theme or topic.
 

Kena: Bridge of Spirits

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 11-16 year-olds

Release Date: 21/08/2021

Platforms: PC, PS4 and PS5

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative and Puzzle

Accessibility: 23 features

Developer: Ember Lab (@EmberLab)

Players: This is a single player game

Kena: Bridge of Spirits is an adventure about a young girl who travels to an abandoned village in the hope of finding a sacred mountain shrine. To get there she must find and grow a team of charming spirit companions called the Rot, enhancing their...

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 13-18 year-olds

Release Date: 13/10/2009, updated in 2015

Platforms: PS3 and PS4

Genres: Action, Adventure, Shooting and Stealth

Accessibility: 20 features

Developer: Naughty Dog (@Naughty_Dog)

Players: This is a single player game

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is an action-adventure game that puts you in the role of treasure hunter Nathan Drake. You head to Nepal looking for the lost city of Shambala, unfortunately, you're not the only one looking for it. On your journey, you'll...

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 13-18 year-olds

Release Date: 23/08/2017

Platforms: PS4

Genres: Action, Adventure, Narrative, Puzzle, Shooting and Stealth

Accessibility: 26 features

Developer: Naughty Dog (@Naughty_Dog)

Players: You can play this with 10 players online

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is an action-adventure game where you Chloe Frazer and your counterpart Nadine Ross seek the Tusk of Ganesh. Set in the Western Ghats mountain ranges of India in the midst of a civil war, it's the first Uncharted game not to...

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 13-18 year-olds

Release Date: 19/11/2016, updated in 2017

Platforms: PS3 and PS4

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative, Shooting and Stealth

Accessibility: 32 features

Developer: Naughty Dog (@Naughty_Dog)

Players: You can play this with 10 players online

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is an action-adventure game set several years after the events of Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. You play Nathan Drake, a happily married former treasure hunter coaxed out of retirement by his brother. This leads into...

Marvel's Spider-Man (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Release Date: 07/09/2018

Price: 35% off

Platforms: PS4 and PS5

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative, Open World and Stealth

Accessibility: 18 features

Developer: Insomniac Games (@InsomniacGames)

Players: This is a single player game

Marvel's Spider-Man is a series of superhero adventures where you swing through an open-world city fighting crime and advancing a film-like story. There are also many side quests and missions you can take along the way.

Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Release Date: 12/11/2020

Price: 11% off

Platforms: PS4 and PS5

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative, Open World and Stealth

Accessibility: 30 features

Developer: Insomniac Games (@InsomniacGames)

Players: This is a single player game

Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales is an action-adventure game based on the Marvel Comics superhero Miles Morales. It is similar to the first Marvel's Spider-Man game in mechanics although Miles Morales extends this...

Ark: Survival Evolved

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Release Date: 08/08/2017, updated in 2018

Price: 33% off

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Fighting, Open World and Simulation

Accessibility: 22 features

Developer: Survivetheark (@Survivetheark)

Players: You can play with 2 players in the same room and up to 8 players online

This game offers hunting-and-harvesting gameplay in a primal setting. Although not as polished or streamlined as a game like Horizon Zero Dawn, this is a more ambitiously open world where you can choose your own way to survive. With crafting and...

Marvel's Avengers

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 12-18 year-olds

Release Date: 04/09/2020

Platforms: PS4, PS5, Stadia, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting and Narrative

Accessibility: 24 features

Developer: Crystal Dynamics (@CrystalDynamics)

Players: You can play this with 4 players online

Marvel's Avengers is an action-adventure game based on the Avengers. You control the heroes from a third-person perspective on your own or with friends. Together you assemble a team of heroes to take on the game's main storyline, where you must clear...

Immortals Fenyx Rising

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 10-14 year-olds

Release Date: 03/12/2020

Price: 51% off

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Genres: Adventure, Fighting and Open World

Accessibility: 43 features

Developer: Ubisoft (@Ubisoft)

Players: This is a single player game

Immortals Fenyx Rising is a mythical adventure game where you play Fenyx, exploring the huge open world, solving puzzles and fighting evil fantasy creatures. Fenyx is a newly winged demigod, who was prophesied to be the one to save the Greek Gods' home...

Hogwarts Legacy

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Genres: Action, Adventure, Open World and Role-Playing

Developer: Avalanche Sweden (@AvalancheSweden)

Players: This is a single player game

Hogwarts Legacy is an open-world role play game set in the world of Harry Potter. You control a wizard character who starts as a student at Hogwarts but then ventures out on a dangerous journey with a mystery to solve. You design your character, learn...

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Content Rating: PEGI 18

Release Date: 19/05/2015

Price: 53% off

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative, Open World and Role-Playing

Accessibility: 29 features

Developer: CD Projekt Red (@CDProjektRed)

Players: This is a single player game

In this game you play monster-hunter Geralt in a vast open world as he searches for his missing adopted daughter. The game responds to your actions and has dynamic environments, weather and day–night cycles that affect the creatures you hunt. It’s a...

The Pathless

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 12/11/2020

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, PS5 and iPhone, iPad

Genres: Action, Adventure, Narrative, Open World and Simulation

Accessibility: 21 features

Developer: Giant Squidology (@GiantSquidology)

Players: This is a single player game

The Pathless is a mythic adventure about an archer and an eagle in a vast forest. You use timed button presses to use your bow and discover the open world, and unlock a mystical island and dispel a curse of darkness that grips the world.

Assassin's Creed Odyssey

Content Rating: PEGI 18

Release Date: 05/10/2018

Platforms: PC, PS4, Stadia, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Simulation and Stealth

Accessibility: 28 features

Developer: Ubisoft MTL (@UbisoftMTL)

Players: This is a single player game

Assassin's Creed Odyssey is an action role-playing game set in the years 431–422 BCE during a mythological history of the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta. You play as a male or female mercenary fighting on both sides and attempting to...

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

Content Rating: PEGI 18

Release Date: 08/08/2017, updated in 2018

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting and Narrative

Accessibility: 21 features

Developer: Ninja Theory (@NinjaTheory)

Players: This is a single player game

This is a dark fantasy adventure, drawing on Norse and Celtic mythology, where you play a young female Pict warrior, Senua. You explore and fight your way to Helheim to rescue the soul of her dead lover. As you play, though, you hear multiple voices in...

Okami

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 20/04/2006, updated in 2017

Platforms: DS, PC, PS2, PS3, PS4, Switch, Wii and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative, Open World and Puzzle

Developer: PG kamiya (@PG_kamiya)

Players: This is a single player game

Okami (Okamiden on Nintendo DS) is an unusual action-adventure. Combat is via interactions that are achieved with brush strokes rather than weapons. It has a unique visual style that invites you to inhabit its painted world with brushstrokes of your...

Ratchet and Clank (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 9-16 year-olds

Release Date: 04/11/2002, updated in 2016

Platforms: PS Vita, PS2, PS3, PS4, PS5 and PSP

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Platform and Shooting

Developer: Insomniac Games (@InsomniacGames)

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 4 players online

Ratchet & Clank looks more cartoony but still offers the B-movie-style action. As Ratchet, you explore planets and space stations, battling enemies with a variety of weapons and gadgets. Sidekick Clank sits on Ratchet’s back and offers more abilities,...

Star Wars: Republic Commando

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 28/02/2005, updated in 2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Genres: Action, Fighting, Role-Playing and Shooting

Accessibility: 27 features

Developer: Aspyr Media (@AspyrMedia)

Players: This is a single player game

Star Wars: Republic Commando is a shooting game set in the Star Wars universe, where you complete missions as part of an elite squad of Clones. Still regarded as one of the best Star Wars games over 16 years after its initial release, its fast-paced...

Batman: Arkham Knight

Content Rating: PEGI 18

Release Date: 23/06/2015

Platforms: PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Open World, Role-Playing and Shooting

Accessibility: 19 features

Developer: Rocksteady Games (@RocksteadyGames)

Players: This is a single player game

Batman: Arkham Knight is the final installment of the Batman: Arkham series. Nine-months after the events of Batman: Arkham City, Gotham seems safer as crime drops significantly. All good things must come to an end, as it is Halloween night and the...

Batman: Arkham City

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Release Date: 18/10/2011

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS3, PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting and Open World

Accessibility: 21 features

Developer: Rocksteady Games (@RocksteadyGames)

Players: This is a single player game

Batman: Arkham City is an open world adventure, the second instalment in the Arkham series taking place one year after the events of Batman: Arkham Asylum. You play Batman fighting crime, and his dwindling reputation,...

Destiny 2 (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 12-18 year-olds

Release Date: 09/09/2014

Price: Free

Platforms: PC, PS4, Stadia and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Role-Playing and Shooting

Accessibility: 14 features

Developer: Bungie (@Bungie)

Players: You can play with 2 players in the same room and up to 16 players online

Destiny is a shooting game set in space. You have to play online as it focuses on grand sci-fi adventures with other players. From the same developer, it takes Halo towards a bigger online role play experience.

Tomb Raider (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 18

Release Date: 09/11/2015, updated in 2019

Price: 71% off

Platforms: GameCube, Mac, PC, PS2, PS3, PS4, PSP, Wii, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Role-Playing and Shooting

Accessibility: 1 feature

Developer: Ubisoft (@Ubisoft)

Players: This is a single player game

Tomb Raider is a longstanding series that has been rebooted in recent years. This means it not only gets a fresh coat of paint like a re-release but is built from the ground up. All the games feature Lara Croft as the titular hero. She shoots, runs,...

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 18

Release Date: 30/09/2014, updated in 2017

Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Role-Playing, Simulation and Strategy

Accessibility: 1 feature

Developer: Monolith Dev (@MonolithDev)

Players: You can play this with 2 players online

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor and Middle-earth: Shadow of War is an adventure series set in Tolkein's fictional work, between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. You play Talion, a Ranger who sets out to avenge the deaths of his loved one. The...

Dragon Age (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 18

Release Date: 03/11/2009, updated in 2014

Platforms: Android, PC, PS3, PS4, Web, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative and Role-Playing

Accessibility: 19 features

Developer: Bioware (@Bioware)

Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 4 players online

The Dragon Age series are narrative-driven role playing games with an emphasis on combat and player choices. You play the hero in the medieval fantasy world of Thedas, exploring the world and using your power to stop the impending darkness spread across...

Climber: Sky is the Limit

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Simulation and Sports

Developer: Art Games Studio (@ArtGamesStudio)

Players: This is a single player game

Climber: Sky is the Limit is a survival climbing adventure, where you scale the peaks of the highest and most famous mountains in the world. Plan the best route, select the correct equipment and avoid dangerous hazards as you ascend. It's a unique blend...

Ghost Of A Tale

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 13/03/2018, updated in 2019

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Narrative, Open World, Role-Playing and Stealth

Developer: Seith CG (@SeithCG)

Players: This is a single player game

Ghost of a Tale is a swashbuckling adventure where you, as plucky rat Tilo, take on a rich world of evil creatures. It’s another game full of lore and backstory, although here it is medieval darkness rather than technological apocalypse. The work of a...

Death Trash

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Release Date: 05/08/2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Open World, Role-Playing, Shooting and Stealth

Developer: Death Trash (@DeathTrash)

Players: You can play with 2 players in the same room

Death Trash is a role-play game set in a post-apocalyptic, horror open world. Humans travelled to the stars, but unearthed machines and killer worms so had to flee into enclosed habitats. You play an outcast in the wasteland with a dangerous burden to...

16 Games Like Horizon Zero Dawn Based on Genre

These are games of a similar genre mix to Horizon Zero Dawn. This includes games from the Fighting, Action, Adventure, Shooting, Open World and Narrative genres. We pick out games of a similar PEGI rating to further hone these generated suggestions.
 

3 Games With More Documented Accessibility Features than Horizon Zero Dawn

If you like the sound of Horizon Zero Dawn but it doesn’t offer the accessibility you require, the games in this section offer a similar experience but with more Accessibility Features. You can view a full breakdown in our Horizon Zero Dawn Accessibility Report.
 

Horizon Zero Dawn is in These Lists

In addition to the similar games listed above, which have been linked to this game specifically in the database, you may find games with a similar theme to Horizon Zero Dawn in the following lists:

Designed For Easier Navigation

We invited visually impaired video gamer, activist and campaigner Dr Amy Kavanagh to compile a list of games with helpful, well thought out and intuitive navigation. As a streamer and disability consultant, Amy passionately advocates for gaming to be accessible for everyone...

One of the joys of gaming are the places you get to explore that you would never be able to visit in real life. This is particularly important to me as a low vision gamer. I often face barriers when navigating the world, so it’s thrilling when I get to experience driving a fast car in the dystopian London of Watch Dogs Legion, swinging through New York as Spider-Man or climbing a mountain on a secret pirate island as Nathan Drake in Uncharted 4.

Studies have shown that gaming improves both spatial awareness and navigation skills. However, getting unintentionally lost in a game is an all too common and very frustrating experience. Not knowing where to go or feeling confused about how to move from one location to another can be a challenge for many gamers, including new or younger players, low vision gamers like me and those with cognitive impairments.

The games in this list make exploring a virtual world smoother and finding your next mission fun rather than frustrating! There are some important factors that make games easier to navigate and can support you to improve your way-finding skills:
  • Maps: A great starting point for being able to find your way around a game is a clear and detailed map. As in games like Spider-Man, it’s important that the world map is available from the beginning and supported by an easy to follow mini-map permanently on screen.
  • Head Up Displays: Heads Up Display or Navigational Display provides information about the relationship between your character or avatar and the space they are existing in. As in games like Horizon Zero Dawn features like a compass, distance counter or radar can all be used to indicate in which direction an objective is.
  • Objectives: Giving objectives, missions, collectables or even key interactions different colours or symbols means you can learn your way around a game quickly. As in games like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, it’s even better when you can customize these symbols so they are larger or appear more frequently. Alternatively, making objectives obvious using lighting, key colours or camera views can make a game more navigable without adding complicated HUD mechanics.
  • Directional Cues: Once you have reached your destination, prompts or clues about where you might find what you are looking for are also important. As in games like The Last of Us Part II this can include a camera view that will snap in the right direction, arrows or pointers, haptic feedback, audio cues or dialogue.

Some of my favourite games bring together these elements to make exploring a virtual world a treat rather than a chore. The standout example has to be The Last of Us Part II, designed with blind and low vision consultants, the game is possible to find your way through even with no useful vision. The combination of audio cues and haptic feedback means you can enable constant prompts to help you navigate a dystopian and sometimes terrifying world.

A game that combines a range of directional information into a fun experience is Spider-Man and the sequel Miles Morales. From the option to swing through the city in high contrast mode, to the large objective icons and pinging backpacks, it’s easy to find your way around the richly detailed environment of New York city. So now it’s time to voyage into the digital unknown, here are some easier to navigate game to help you on your way.
 

Gaming Projects: Photography

The spaces and places that video games create are often designed with a particular interaction or way to progress through them. However, because games are open to the player, how you play, the direction you move and what you do in the game is up to you.

This means that you can often put video games to unusual uses. Photography is one aspect of this as Paul Buttle recently highlight on Twitter. All modern video game consoles enable you to capture an image of the screen. At a rudimentary level this allows you to take pictures of your adventures. Beyond this, many games offer a Photo mode that allows you to freeze the action and take control of the camera -- even letting you control effects, depth of field and shutter speed in some cases.

This means you can take really beautiful and engaging pictures in the games you play. Some families have tasked their expert players with capturing a certain type of photograph as they play:
  • Portraiture - capture images of the people you meet.
  • Photojournalism - create a photo diary of the events of the game to be annotated later.
  • Fashion - document the different outfits and wardrobe styles your character chooses.
  • Sports - capture sporting moments, including not only players, but the crowd and coaches.
  • Still Life - capture the inanimate, mundane and overlooked elements that make the game world what it is.
  • Architectural - find ways to photograph the buildings in various states of build, decay and renewal.

Some examples of these projects include:
 

The Besties Podcast's Games of the Years

The Besties is a podcast about video games with a focus on a Game of Year format. Although episodes do cover new games like other podcasts, much of the content builds towards yearly Game of the Year shows, and head-to-head showdowns for best games in a series (Zelda, Grand Theft Auto and so on).

"It's Game of the Year meets King of the Hill as four of Earth's best friends – Griffin McElroy, Justin McElroy, Chris Plante, and Russ Frushtick – rank and review their favorite video games. Because shouldn't the world's best friends pick the world's best games?"

This is a list of the games that they have picked for their final game of the year show from 2014 to the current year. In some cases we didn't have the game on the database, but generally this is a good representation of their picks over the time of the show.
 

BAFTA Nominated Games

The British Academy Games Awards are presented annually to recognise, honour and reward outstanding creative achievement in Games. The awards categories reflect the wealth and diversity of the games sector.

The awards started in 2004 and are presented by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). For parents, they are a great way of discovering brilliant games to play in their family. The games included here are from these categories:
  • The Family Games Award highlights games that will work really well for parents and children. These often include multiplayer features and feature a cast of family-friendly characters.
  • The Games Beyond Entertainment award is also of interest as this highlights more unusual games with an emphasis on storytelling that addresses topics that parents may find appealing themselves.

 

Get Children Into The Environment

It’s easy to assume that video games are all about building big cities or running successful economies. There are, however, many games that offer quite the reverse. These games encourage players to consider the impact of their actions on the environment, as well as their interconnectedness to the world in which they live.

The games in this list take inspiration from Alenda Chang’s Playing Nature book. They offer a chance to consider play from an ecological perspective. As she quotes, “games of environmental responsibility animate our capacity to respond, to affect and be affected, to engage with others: other species, other people, and the otherness of our own planet.”

This might be how a game like Terra Nil makes the land itself a character in the experience. Or it can be how a game like Eco establishes the connection between your actions and the other aspects of the environment. Other games, like The Wandering Village underline how our location in the world impacts on us and others. One family told us about Final Fantasy 7 Remake's commentary on corporations and ecology. Then there are games of dire warning that let us step into a future where humanity is all but disconnected from the wider environment and hangs on just by a thread.

Other games let us experience our connection to the environment by adventuring in it. From getting lost in Shadow of the Colossus to finding our way in Journey, games underline the importance of the spaces in which we play. Experiences like Cloud Gardens or Viva Pinata extend this by using play to put us in charge of tending to the natural world. Games like Eastshade or The Long Dark invite us to linger in these places and gain an understanding that is crucial to our survival.
 

Matinee Fisticuffs and Shootouts

Sometimes you just want to play the hero. These games are violent and include shooting but, as with B-movies and 1980s TV series, it’s as much about the quips, characters and fantasy settings as it is about killing. The drama may be peppered with cinematic gunfire but, like those TV series, the real draw is spending time with the heroes every week.
 

Get Children Taking (Healthy) Risks

Studies show that for inhabitants of the western world, life in the modern age has gotten progressively less dangerous and more comfortable with each passing generation. So why as parents do we all seem so afraid for our children? And how do we overcome this fear and let our kids take the necessary risks they need to take in order to thrive?

This is a list of games we have created with Digital Media Wellness Educator, Julia Storm, who founded ReConnect with the mission of providing parents a whole child approach to preparing kids for life in the Digital Age.

We are used to encouraging our children to take small risks in most areas of life; talking to a new child at school, trying out for a team or the school play, climbing a bit higher at the playground or walking to the market on their own for the first time. With every risk our children take they gain confidence in their own ability to navigate the unknown and to push themselves through difficulties.

But many of our kids also spend large amounts of time online and specifically playing video games. In this space, with horror stories in the press, both parents and children can become risk-averse. This can mean that children don’t have a chance to make healthy mistakes in safe ways in this part of life.

There’s an opportunity here for parents to leverage video games to help kids take safe risks and to learn and grow from these risks. This isn’t about using games as a safe version of risk-taking in real life, but discovering how they can be a wonderful compliment to this. (We also want to note, as with all multiplayer games, parents should be sure to talk to their children about best practices for staying safe when it comes to communicating with strangers online._

Collaboration: This might be working with another child in Minecraft to build something together. Or maybe playing Animal Crossing with someone who is new to the game and needs help. Or even, just allowing other players to help you in a game like Farm Together.
  • Generosity: This might be giving new players items they need to get started in a game like Adopt Me. It could be sharing some candles in Sky Children of Light. Or maybe it’s just letting a new player get a win in Drink More Glurp. This might be playing a game where you are rescuing another character, like Ico.
  • Ambition: This might be trying to play a game that seems too difficult, like Stormworks or Rocket League. It could be trying out a more mature game with a parent, like Spider-Man or Horizon Zero Dawn. It could be teaming up with friends for large challenges in Sea of Thieves or Dauntless. Or maybe dealing with real physics in Teardown or Noita.
  • Identity: This might be working out mental health scenarios in a game like Psychonauts 2. It could be learning to help others with their fears and anxiety in Rainbow Billy. Or maybe playing a game like Celeste that creates space to consider gender and self-doubt.

Playing these games with your child offers a unique way to start open and curious conversations about technology while they are still young and receptive. They are an opportunity for parents to be allies and mentors, not adversaries and monitors.
 

Games Picked For Taming Gaming Book

When we wrote the Taming Gaming book we packed the second half with full colour game ‘recipes’ as a resource for parents and families. They are grouped in categories depending on the style of game you are looking for, whether you want to play on your own, or with your family and friends.

The Family Gaming Database grew out of the book. At first it was just going to be a way to search the 60 or so games in the book. With 1000’s of parents soon using the database it became clear we should grow it to cover more games. So, today we have 1607 games.

Here are all the games from the book:

Games for non-gaming grown-ups

These games are perfect if you have never played one before. They open the door to the gaming world for non-gaming parents and carers.

Nurture child-like imagination

These games are for children under seven years old who will, with some help, discover activities they want to try that will expand their imaginations, while establishing the role of your guidance and engagement as part of the gaming world as they grow up.

Nourish Youthful Ambition

As children get older, they develop stronger ideas of what they want to play. Friends at school and YouTube stars create popular gaming fabs for the latest titles. The games suggested here go beyond the usual suspects.

Laugh at Silliness

Video games have their roots in fun and play. This makes them an excellent way to forget the worries of the day and dive into some silly fun together. The games on this list have been selected because they get players doing absurd activities and chuckling together.

Inhabit Another World

The games in this list invite you to spend time in spaces that have a sense of place, life and character.

Compete on the Couch

Raucous, unbounded, exuberant all-age, competitive fun is something video games are known for. These games can play a bit-part in raising children to be magnanimous in victory and generous in defeat.

Work Together to Thrive

Play is more fun when it’s shared. Along with team work the games on this list use the fact that the players are all sitting next to each other. The fun is often as much about the conversations (and arguments) that happen in the room as what’s happening on the screen.

Walk in Someone Else’s Shoes

While many games include characters to interact with, some are specifically designed to make relationships a central element. These games offer a unique way to think deeply about how we relate to each other to the games people play.

Wake up Your Emotions

Video games are known for high-octane, adrenaline fuelled entertainment, but there are many that address the players emotions as much as their dexterity. The games in the following list create emotionally rich spaces in which to explore scenarios with feelings rather than facts.

Matinee Fisticuffs and Shoot-outs

Sometimes you just want to play the hero. These games are violent and include shooting but as with B-movies and 1980’s TV series, it’s as much about the quips, characters and fantasy settings as it is about the killing.

Face Tough Decisions

Games create virtual worlds where you can experience life from another perspective. This can be lighthearted but also presents ethical scenarios that require you to think carefully about consequences. These games each place you in a challenging situation to give you a first hand experience of what it’s like.

Solve a Mystery

Like a good crime drama or whodunnit, solving mysteries and puzzles is a good way to engage in a story. The following games present you with a mysterious scenario to be solved. Whether with direct puzzles, locations to investigate or crime scenarios to deduce, they offer a unique first-hand sleuthing challenge.

 

Hope Through Play

Games that embed a sense of hope by playing them. Sometimes a hopeful story, sometimes a hopeful interaction, and sometimes just an uplifting aesthetic to spend time in. These are games that leave you with an uplifted spirit, maybe not immediately (like Horizon Zero Dawn) but by the time you have finished them.

There is something innocent and childlike in play, and video games each have a slice of that in different ways. Sometimes simple and sometimes complex, games can help us return to the hope we had as children, or call us on to the wisdom and perspective of older years.
 

Game Time Has Day-Night Cycle

Games use the spaces they create to tell stories. Some games do this by locking you in a key moment where the time of day doesn't change. Other games let you explore and revisit places at different times of day.

These day-night cycles invite players to explore at different times not only to find different things to do but to see how different locations change visually and audibly at different times of day.

Some games, like The Long Dark, do this to offer a different environmental challenge at night, when the sun is in and the cold wind really affects your character. Other games offer more unusual ways to tie in-game light levels to the real world, like Unmaze that uses your smartphone's camera to determine how much light there is in the game.
 

Game Has Changing Weather

Video games create worlds and then invite us to play in them. These worlds are sometimes nothing like our own. Others, however, look to recreate life-like spaces, or take the real world and bend it in interesting directions.

Weather is a big part of the experience of a video game. It can create a particular mood, a sense of changing time, or can be used to change the mechanics of your interactions.
 

Gaming 101: Big Budget Games

In this series, we are learning how different aspects of video games work by playing games that offer an easy introduction to this one concept. This is designed for people new to gaming, and aims to identify games with the least barriers. In this entry we are looking at big budget games.

These games are big, brash and popular. They have big budgets which means the visual and interactive quality is particularly high. They also have strong and wide ranging player communities.

For new players these can be overwhelming as they combine a number of genres like Strategy games, Shooting games, Adventure games, Role Play games. Still, they are a good way to see how these different elements combine in a large and ambitious experience.
 
Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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