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Play The Seasons: Get Lost in Bleak Winter Tales

Video games create spaces for us to go and play. These spaces are sometimes an escape from the real world. Equally, games can help us revel in and celebrate the real world.

This is a list of games that take us into the long dark months. Shorter days and long nights speak of hibernation and survival. Snow and bare branches suggest that all life has left forever.

Whether they task us with resisting this or getting lost in the dark folds of winter, games of this season are a valuable reminder that life continues (often unseen) where it seems almost impossible. With the faintest foolish hope of a tiny bud ready for spring.

This list includes 50 games from the last 18 years, with 1,717 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to play bleak winter tales.

DetailsList Details

PEGI Ratings: PEGI 3 to PEGI 18
ESRB Ratings: ESRB EVERYONE to ESRB MATURE 17+
Australian Ratings: G to R 18+
Genres: Action, Adventure, Battle, Brain Game, Collecting, Communication, Creative, Fighting, Narrative, Platform, Point-and-Click, Puzzle, Race, Role-Play, Sequencing, Shooting, Simulation, Sports, Stealth, Strategy, Traversal and World Building
Total Likes: 1,717
 

A Short Hike

Release Date: 05/04/2019, updated in 2021

Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Coming Soon: PS5

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Open World, Pixels and Weather

A Short Hike is an adventure traversal game where you play the penguin-like character Claire, who needs to climb a mountain in a beautiful national park to receive an important phone call. Presented in cute pixel graphics, the game invites you to...

Stormworks: Build and Rescue

Release Date: 28/02/2018

Out Now: Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Blocks, Open World and Weather

Stormworks is an open world adventure where you design, build and pilot your own air sea rescue service. You create programmable vehicles using it's block-building system and pilot them into dangerous situations to rescue stricken vessels or...

Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Release Date: 12/11/2020, updated in 2022

Out Now: PC, PS4 and PS5

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World

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...

The Long Dark

Release Date: 22/09/2014

Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person, Cartoon, Day and Night and Open World

The Long Dark is a thoughtful exploration-survival game where you have crash-landed in the icy Canadian wilderness after a global disaster and must find a way to survive. Through exploring, crafting and fighting you must look after your body...

Valkyria Chronicles 4 (Series)

Release Date: 21/03/2018, updated in 2020

Out Now: Android, PC, PS Vita, PS4, PSP, Stadia, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person, 3D Third-Person, Grid, Hand-Made and Weather

Valkyria Chronicles 4 is a turn-based strategy game where you take command of a squad of soldiers and use your wits and tactics to plan and lead them to battle. You play as Commander Claude Wallace and the soldiers of Squad E and experience a gripping...

Forza Horizon 5 (Series)

Release Date: 05/11/2021

Out Now: PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night, Open World and Weather

Forza Horizon 5 is a fast-paced racing game where you drive all manner of different vehicles in races and across the vast open landscape. Building on Forza Horizon 4, this fifth entry to the series is set in Mexico,...

Shadow Of The Colossus

Release Date: 18/10/2005

Out Now: PS2, PS3 and PS4

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World

You play a young man who enters a forbidden land to defeat sixteen massive beings to restore the life of a girl he cares about. It sounds like any other video game, although in fact, Shadow of the Colossus stands apart in many ways.

Limbo

Release Date: 05/06/2013, updated in 2015

Out Now: Android, PS Vita, PS4, Switch, Wii U, Xbox One and iOS

Components: 2D Side-On

Limbo is a narrative traversal game where you control a small boy as he runs, jumps and climbs through a dark, silhouetted forest that clanks and hums with foreboding. As the age rating suggests, he is killed in all manner of gruesome ways. But this is...

This War Of Mine

Release Date: 14/11/2014, updated in 2016

Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and iOS

Components: 2D Side-On and Day and Night

This War Of Mine is a narrative strategy game inspired by the 1992–96 Siege of Sarajevo, this is a war game where you play the civilian trying to survive during the fighting. You face tough decisions on how to spend time and resources each day to...

The Falconeer

Release Date: 10/11/2020

Out Now: PC, PS4, Stadia and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night and Weather

The Falconeer is an action game where you play a pilot who flies a weaponised falcon through dramatic locations. You battle the rivalling factions to uncover the secrets of long-forgotten gods and ancestors. Although the gameplay is all flying and...

Dear Esther

Release Date: 14/02/2012, updated in 2016

Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Components: 3D First-Person and Open World

In Dear Esther you explore an uninhabited Hebridean island while an old man reads a series of letters to his eponymous deceased wife. Themes of love, loss, guilt and redemption intertwine with the bleak geography and orchestral music. As you explore the...

The Longing

Release Date: 05/03/2020

Out Now: Mac, PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead and Pixels

The Longing is a point-and-click adventure about waiting and loneliness. It's an intentionally slow game that takes 400 elapsed days to finish. It draws on the Idle Game genre, where you use minor interactions to incrementally advance. Here though, the...

Röki

Release Date: 23/07/2020

Out Now: Switch

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

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Cartoon

Röki is a Scandinavian folklore point-and-click style adventure game where you play Tove on a journey to save her family. As you help her to come to terms with loss, you explore deep into a snowy fairytale landscape with strange locations and creatures.

Detroit: Become Human

Release Date: 25/05/2018

Out Now: PS4

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

This is a branching narrative game from Quantic Dream, the studio behind Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls. This is the third game in the series and offers a more refined version of the filmic branching experience.

The Red Lantern

Release Date: 22/10/2020

Out Now: PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person and Open World

The Red Lantern is an adventure with a team of husky dogs in the alaskan wilderness. You and a team of sled dogs head into the wilderness and traverse the ever-changing events of the Alaskan bush to find your way home. The result is a game that...

Dead by Daylight

Release Date: 14/06/2016, updated in 2020

Out Now: Android, PS4, Stadia, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Coming Soon: Xbox Series X|S

Components: 3D Third-Person

Dead by Daylight is a survival horror game where one player takes on the role of a killer and another other four try and work together to survive. It's unusual because of this asynchronous play and its cross-over with different franchise-inspired themes.

Lifeline (Series)

Release Date: 16/04/2015, updated in 2016

Out Now: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person and Text

Lifeline is a narrative adventure where you interact with an astronaut, Taylor via text messages. You help him return home after crashing his aircraft on a foreign planet.

Beyond: Two Souls

Release Date: 08/10/2013, updated in 2019

Out Now: PC, PS3 and PS4

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Beyond: Two Souls is from the same developer as Detroit: Become Human and Heavy Rain. Although not a series, they follow a similar style and approach. They provide a filmic interactive experience of a story that branches in substantial ways depending on...

Inside

Release Date: 29/06/2016, updated in 2018

Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Components: 2D Side-On

Inside is from the same developer as Limbo. As such, you play another boy in a dark dream-light and horrific world. Here though, it's more modern-day and realistic.

Never Alone

Release Date: 18/12/2014

Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS3, PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Components: 2D Side-On and Hand-Made

Never Alone is a running, jumping and exploring game based on the traditional Iñupiaq tale, "Kunuuksaayuka". You swap between controlling an Iñupiaq girl named Nuna and her Arctic fox companion as you complete puzzles and move the story forwards.

MudRunner

Release Date: 31/10/2017, updated in 2020

Out Now: Android, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night, Open World and Weather

Mudrunner is an off-roading simulation where you drive ageing Soviet vehicles in extreme, muddy and unpaved environments. It's novel because of the simulated driving and that you just have a map and a compass to navigate.

SnowRunner

Release Date: 28/04/2020, updated in 2021

Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night and Open World

SnowRunner is an off-road driving simulation game that follows up MudRunner. You drive all-terrain vehicles to traverse between locations and complete deliveries. You need to use the vehicle's gears, all-wheel-drive, fuel levels and other features to...

A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build

Release Date: 01/12/2018

Out Now: Android, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead, Grid and Hand-Made

A Good Snowman (Is Hard To Build) is puzzle game about being a monster and making snowmen. On each level you must roll your snowballs to be the right size and then position them on each other to make a snowman.

Seasons After Fall

Release Date: 02/09/2016, updated in 2017

Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Components: 2D Side-On and Hand-Made

Seasons After Fall is a running and jumping game where you traverse through forests in search of the lost spirits of the four seasons. As you progress, you unlock the ability to change the season at will, altering the dynamic of the level and letting...

Arctico

Release Date: 15/02/2022

Out Now: Mac and PC

Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon and Open World

Arctico is a meditative, exploration and base-building game where you play a lone scientist on a quest to continue your mentor's legacy and grow food in the arctic. You explore the vast frigid wilds of the island of Arctico with your sledge dogs, create...

Kuro: A Shadow's Dream (Dreams)

Release Date: 20/02/2020, updated in 2021

Out Now: PS4 and PS5

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On

Kuro: A Shadow's Dream is a running and jumping puzzle game. You play as a boy ninja called Kuro who is chasing a mysterious caped figure through a colourful painted landscape. It's unusual because although you collect special abilities (higher jumps or...

Climber: Sky is the Limit

Release Date: 21/11/2022

Out Now: PC

Coming Soon: PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night and Weather

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...

Inmost

Release Date: 11/10/2019, updated in 2020

Out Now: Apple TV, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS

Components: 2D Side-On and Hand-Made

Inmost is a running and jumping game with a strong emotional and atmospheric narrative. You uncover a dark and interconnected tale of three playable characters, each with their own unique gameplay styles. An adventurous young girl uncovering the past of...

Unto The End

Release Date: 09/12/2020

Out Now: PC, PS4, Stadia, Switch and Xbox One

Components: 2D Side-On and Cartoon

Unto The End is a cinematic combat-adventure where the fighting is modelled in a read-and-react style. It requires time to master the unusual system but offers many ways to take on foes. Tactics and intelligent decisions are as important for survival as...

Darwin Project

Release Date: 14/01/2020

Out Now: PC and Xbox One

Coming Soon: PS5

Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon

Darwin Project is a battle royale game like Fortnite. Player fight to collect resources to survive and upgrade their character. As well as surviving in extreme conditions you track opponents and set traps. In addition to the ten players is...

South of the Circle

Release Date: 20/10/2020

Out Now: Apple TV, Mac, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon

South of the Circle is a narrative adventure game about, Peter, a Cambridge academic who finds himself fighting for survival in Antarctica during the 1960’s Cold War. You must cross desolate terrain to reach British, Norwegian and Soviet Antarctic...

Ord

Release Date: 05/06/2019, updated in 2020

Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Text

Ord is an unusual text adventure, rather than one grand story, you embark on a series of distinct quests. Whether it's defeating an evil warlock or creating your own world as a god, Ord tells stories through simple series of words and word associations...

Arise: A Simple Story

Release Date: 03/12/2019

Out Now: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Components: 3D Third-Person

Arise: A Simple Story is a narrative game about an old man living in a pre-agricultural tribe. He has just been cremated and as get travels to the next life, begins a pilgrimage of revisiting memories of his life.

Chrono Sword

Release Date: Coming soon

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

Components: 2D Overhead and Pixels

Chrono Sword is an adventure game about Aenor, a time traveller attempting to prevent the death of her loved ones. You learn technical combat, explore the world, switch timelines and fight off enemies to discover the secrets of the past.

Frostpunk

Release Date: 29/03/2018, updated in 2019

Out Now: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Components: 2D Overhead and Grid

Frostpunk is a city-building survival game set in an alternate 1886 with a devastating winter setting in. You are tasked with running a city by managing resources to ensure the city’s survival. Your choices can have negative and positive consequences.

Dice Legacy

Release Date: 09/09/2021

Out Now: PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead, Day and Night, Dice, Grid and Weather

Dice Legacy is a city-building simulation game where dice represent your civilians. You roll the dice and then place the skill that lands face-up on the map to gather resources, expand your outpost, or fight hostile invaders in real time. It combines...

Lost Winds (Series)

Release Date: 12/05/2008, updated in 2016

Out Now: PC, Wii and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On

LostWinds is a running and jumping video game with a difference. As well as controlling a young boy named Toku you also control the wind. On the Wii, you do this by gesturing with the Wii Remote controller, on iOS you draw the direction on the screen. A...

Against the Storm

Release Date: 18/10/2021

Out Now: PC

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead, Day and Night, Grid and Weather

Against the Storm is a construction-based strategy game where you build outposts, towns and villages in an eternally rainy world. Unlike other city builders, this is a game where you attempt and fail over and over. Each run you use intricate gameplay...

Deadlight

Release Date: 10/07/2012, updated in 2016

Out Now: PC, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Components: 2D Side-On

Deadlight takes the monochrome running, jumping and shooting action in a more mature direction and with a deeper and coherent story. It draws on older (and equally excellent) platform games Another World and Flashback. You control Randall Wayne, a...

Degrees of Separation

Release Date: 14/02/2019

Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Components: 2D Side-On

Degrees of Separation is a running and jumping game where you control two characters from different seasons, Ember and Rime. Each has different abilities to change the environment and help you to progress: freezing water, melting ice and the like.

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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