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Build Personal Resilience

Psychologists define resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors. As much as resilience involves "bouncing back" from these difficult experiences, it can also involve profound personal growth.

Games, by design, present players with adversity and much of the joy of gaming comes from taking on and overcoming unnecessary obstacles. Whether you’re saving the universe from an alien invasion or tending crops in your animal community, playing games mimics the process of resilience.

This list of games that can help foster various forms of psychological resilience is compiled with the expert help of Take This. They aim to decrease the stigma, and increase the support for, mental health in the game enthusiast community and inside the game industry. They encourage a game community that welcomes and supports people experiencing mental health challenges, and that recognizes the humanity and mental health of game creators.

The Portal series tell a narrative that you are going to fail. You’re told to give up, but if you ignore this barrage of discouragement you can use it as a way to strengthen your resolve and complete the puzzles even if you have failed twenty times in the process. The Stanley Parable is all about trying again. You can try and re-try your decision making, reaching a variety of different endings.

Dark Souls is a hallmark for a punishing challenge that require resilience. You journey through elaborate lands to adventure, explore, and take heed lest they encounter a battle with a boss or enemy. Celeste is the story of Madeline and the enemies she overcomes while climbing Celeste Mountain. The game specifically calls out that Madeline has anxiety, and the challenges she faces in the environment reflect her own internal struggles and triumphs. Cuphead challenges players to battle relentless bosses in combat-heavy play. Cartoonish and playful, it balances challenging players to grow in skill and offers plenty of entertaining environments and aesthetics to keep you playing.

In Kingdom Hearts you meet many characters that need help - and many boss battles feel almost insurmountable. With help from friends like Donald and Goofy, the player character Sora overcomes the darkness to save his friends and bring hope back to the world. Death Squared is a co-op puzzle game where one player’s mistake makes everyone else lose. You learn cooperative resilience in trying again admits humorous judgments from the unseen “hosts” of the game.

In Animal Crossing you get help from the animal neighbours. You learn to lean on this social and environmental resilience to persevere at building social connections with computer villagers and friends online. Stardew Valley’s farming is about growing and maintaining a homestead. Interweaving the busy work are relationships with the other villagers, many of whom are social models for resilience in their storylines.

This list includes 125 games from the last 27 years, with 1,363 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to build resilience.

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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, Creative, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Physically Active, Platform, Point-and-Click, Puzzle, Racing, Rhythm, Role-Playing, Shooting, Simulation, Sports, Stealth, Strategy and Turn-Based
Total Likes: 1,363
 

 

Phantom Abyss

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Release Date: 21/06/2021

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Action, Adventure, Platform, Puzzle and Sports

Developer: Phantom Abyss (@PhantomAbyss)

Players: This is a single player game

Phantom Abyss is a running and jumping game where you charge through temples to get to the exit. Your only tool is a whip that interacts with objects and can propel you forward. Along the way are numerous traps and difficult jumps to avoid. There are...

Boomerang X

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 10-15 year-olds

Release Date: 08/07/2021

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Genres: Action, Platform and Shooting

Accessibility: 37 features

Developer: Video Dang (@VideoDang)

Players: This is a single player game

Boomerang X is a shooting platform game where you explore worlds and fight enemies with a boomerang-like shuriken weapon. Unusually, you can warp to your boomerang once thrown meaning you can slice, fly, and blast through arenas swarming with evil...

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...

It Takes Two

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 26/03/2021

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

Genres: Action, Adventure, Narrative, Platform and Puzzle

Accessibility: 21 features

Developer: Hazelight Games (@HazelightGames)

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

It Takes Two is a running, jumping and exploring game that tells a story of a young girl, Rose, whose parents are divorcing. The girl creates two dolls to represent her parents, which unexpectedly trap the clashing-couple in them. You and a friend...

The Last Guardian

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 28/10/2016

Price: 60% off

Platforms: PS4

Genres: Action, Narrative, Platform and Simulation

Developer: Sony Japan Studio (@SonyJapanStudio)

Players: This is a single player game

The Last Guardian is a running, jumping and exploring adventure about a boy who befriends a giant half-bird, half-mammal creature, Trico. You work together to navigate the world, solve puzzles and reach new heights. Unusually, you have to build trust...

Animal Crossing (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 9-16 year-olds

Release Date: 14/12/2001, updated in 2020

Price: 26% off

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS, DS, GameCube, Switch and Wii

Genres: Open World, Role-Playing and Simulation

Accessibility: 28 features

Developer: Nintendo (@Nintendo)

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 8 players online

You live on a small island teeming with life. Insects, fish, trees, vegetation and fossils are represented with cute cartoon visuals. Rather than the scale or grandeur of other game worlds, it’s the interconnected drama of the world and characters...

Stardew Valley

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 26/02/2016, updated in 2018

Platforms: Amazon Fire, Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

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

Accessibility: 24 features

Developer: Concerned Ape (@ConcernedApe)

Players: You can play this with 4 players online

Stardew Valley looks like a farming simulator. That’s partly what it is, but you must also develop relationships with the other townsfolk and delve deep into the mines. Its quirky labyrinthine attention to detail is as inviting for young players to...

Roki

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 23/07/2020

Platforms: PC and Switch

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Point-and-Click and Puzzle

Accessibility: 30 features

Developer: Poly Treehouse (@PolyTreehouse)

Players: This is a single player game

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.

Pokémon (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 8-14 year-olds

Release Date: 27/02/1996, updated in 2019

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS, DS and Switch

Genres: Role-Playing, Strategy and Turn-Based

Accessibility: 13 features

Developer: Game Freak Info (@GameFreak_Info)

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

Pokémon Sword and Shield are role-playing games where you explore a fictional world and collect different creatures called Pokémon. You progress through the game by exploring the world, talking to characters and winning turn-based battles with the...

Call of the Sea

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 12/08/2020, updated in 2020

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

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Point-and-Click

Accessibility: 24 features

Developer: Out Blue Games (@OutBlueGames)

Players: This is a single player game

Call of the Sea is a narrative adventure set in the 1930s. You explore an island in the Southern Pacific to find your missing husband. As you do you discover what happened and revisit memories of being there before.

Rust

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 16+ year-olds

Release Date: 08/02/2018

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Creative, Fighting, Open World, Shooting and Strategy

Accessibility: 27 features

Developer: Fc Pnch Stds (@FcPnchStds)

Players: You can play this with 250 players online

Rust (also, Rust: Console Edition) is an online survival game set the wilderness. You explore, gather and craft materials to manage hunger, thirst, health and protection. The preparation is to ward off the threat of bears, wolves and (more commonly)...

Ori and the Will of the Wisps (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 11/03/2015, updated in 2020

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

Genres: Action, Adventure, Narrative and Platform

Accessibility: 26 features

Developer: Moon Game Studios (@MoonGameStudios)

Players: This is a single player game

Both Ori and the Blind Forest and Ori and the Will of the Wisps place you in control of a diminutive elfish spirit called Ori. You run, jump and solve platforming challenges to progress through the world. As you do new powers are unlocked that allow you...

Five Nights at Freddy's (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 23/07/2014, updated in 2019

Platforms: Android, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Narrative, Point-and-Click, Puzzle, Simulation and Stealth

Accessibility: 2 features

Developer: Steel Wool Studio (@SteelWoolStudio)

Players: This is a single player game

Five Nights at Freddy's (FNaF) is a series of puzzle horror games with jump scares rather than blood and gore. You play the night-guard at Freddy Fazbear's Pizza and have to survive the night while in your office, checking the cameras and closing the...

Portal (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Release Date: 10/10/2007, updated in 2011

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

Genres: Action, Narrative, Platform, Puzzle and Simulation

Accessibility: 27 features

Developer: Valve Software (@ValveSoftware)

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

You are in a science laboratory where you seem to be being tested. Watched by the artificial intelligence GLaDOS, you have a gun that can create a pair of magic portals on any surface: one is an entrance and the other is an exit. Through a series of...

Seasons

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC and PS5

Genres: Adventure and Narrative

Developer: Scav Studio (@ScavStudio)

Players: This is a single player game

Seasons is a narrative adventure where you take a bicycle road trip game. You play as a young woman leaving a secluded community, exploring the world for the first time. Collect artefacts and memories as you explore because soon, a mysterious cataclysm...

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 15/07/2003, updated in 2021

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Switch, Xbox and iOS

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative, Puzzle, Role-Playing and Turn-Based

Accessibility: 10 features

Developer: Obsidian (@Obsidian)

Players: This is a single player game

The Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) is a series of hard narrative-driven role-playing and combat games set in the Star Wars universe, 4000 years before Luke Skywalker and the Empire. You fight enemies and discover secrets by talking to the...

Cuphead

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 29/09/2017, updated in 2019

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

Genres: Action and Platform

Accessibility: 21 features

Developer: Studio MDHR (@StudioMDHR)

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

Cuphead is a running, jumping and shooting game that looks like an old Mickey Mouse cartoon. You play on your own or with someone else and work across the screen, jumping gaps, shooting enemies and avoiding projectiles.

Celeste

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 23/01/2018, updated in 2018

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

Genres: Platform

Accessibility: 27 features

Developer: Exok Games (@Exok_Games)

Players: This is a single player game

This is a platform game that requires players to use jumping and climbing moves to ascend an increasingly challenging two-dimensional mountain. You play Madeline, who is, perhaps unsurprisingly, haunted by self-doubt at the task in hand. She presses on...

Brawl Stars

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 14/06/2017, updated in 2018

Price: Free

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Action and Fighting

Developer: Super Cell (@SuperCell)

Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 10 players online

Brawl Stars is a fighting game where you battle the computer or other players in all against all and team matches. You can play as any of the game's 50 plus characters, called "Brawlers", in an arena. The cartoon style lends the game a more lighthearted...

Shady Part of Me

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 10/12/2020

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: Shady Part Of Me (@ShadyPartOfMe)

Players: This is a single player game

Shady Part of Me is a narrative platform game where you play as a young girl and her shadow. You help her overcome emotional struggles through solving 2D and 3D puzzles. The game world is based within the young girl's dreams. The young girl is afraid of...

There Is No Game

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 06/10/2020

Platforms: Mac, PC, Switch and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: There Is No Game (@ThereIsNoGame)

Players: This is a single player game

There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension is a comedic adventure with a strange twist. From the outset the game’s narrator insists that there is no game to play. As you inevitably ignore his instruction you go on a journey through silly and unexpected video...

Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 16/12/2021

Platforms: PC, PS4 and PS5

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

Accessibility: 23 features

Developer: Steel Wool Studio (@SteelWoolStudio)

Players: This is a single player game

Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach is a survival-horror game where you explore a vast pizzeria and shopping centre while hunted by a murderer. In addition to continuing the intricate and multi-layered story of the previous games, this is the first...

The Crew 2 (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 02/12/2014, updated in 2018

Price: 80% off

Platforms: PC, PS4, Stadia and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Open World and Racing

Accessibility: 16 features

Developer: Ivory Tower Offic (@IvoryTowerOffic)

Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 8 players online

The Crew is a series of open-world racing and exploration games set in a scaled down version of the United States. The emphasis is on enjoyable and exciting driving more than realism. It's a lot like Forza Horizon, although can be played on PlayStation...

Skyblock

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 10-14 year-olds

Release Date: 01/01/2011, updated in 2020

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Wii U, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and iOS

Genres: Creative, Fighting, Platform and Strategy

Accessibility: 32 features

Developer: Sky Block Server (@SkyBlockServer)

Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 5 players online

Skyblock is a game played on Minecraft servers where you start on a bare island floating in the sky and must gather resources to thrive and reach other players. It's the Minecraft equivalent to being washed up on a desert island and is hugely popular....

Twelve Minutes

Content Rating: PEGI 18

Release Date: 19/08/2021

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

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Accessibility: 21 features

Developer: Faca Electrica (@FacaElectrica)

Players: This is a single player game

12 Minutes is an adventure thriller game about a single apartment building. You view things from above and can interact with a simple click and drag interface. What starts as a romantic evening with your wife turns into a nightmare when a police...

Ratchet And Clank: Rift Apart

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 10-16 year-olds

Release Date: 11/06/2021

Platforms: PS5

Genres: Action, Adventure, Narrative, Platform and Shooting

Accessibility: 25 features

Developer: Insomniac Games (@InsomniacGames)

Players: This is a single player game

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is a running, jumping and shooting game. The latest in the series, Rift Apart focuses on jumping between parallel worlds.

Sable

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 23/09/2021

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

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Open World

Accessibility: 33 features

Developer: Shedworks Greg (@ShedworksGreg)

Players: This is a single player game

Sable is an adventure game where you play a young girl, Sable, alone in the world, but bravely exploring ancient monuments, ruined architecture, and fallen ships to uncover her place in it.

Forgotton Anne

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 15/05/2018

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Platform

Developer: Through Line Game (@ThroughLineGame)

Players: This is a single player game

Forgotton Anne (Forgotten Anne) is a hand-animated adventure that combines cartoon (Ghibli-inspired) storytelling with running and jumping puzzles. You play as Anne, the enforcer who keeps order in the Forgotten Lands, as she sets out to squash a...

The Cost of Recovery

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC and Switch

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Accessibility: 35 features

Developer: Off The Btn Track (@OffTheBtnTrack)

Players: This is a single player game

The Cost of Recovery is a narrative adventure where you play as four different people, one of whom has a stroke. How this impacts each of them is experienced first hand. Can they all get through this together or will everything start to fall apart?

Dwarf Fortress

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 08/08/2006

Price: Free

Platforms: Mac and PC

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

Developer: Bay 12 Games (@Bay12Games)

Players: This is a single player game

Dwarf Fortress is a longstanding strategy game set in a fantasy world where you control a group of dwarves wanting to construct a wealthy fortress. It's unusual not only for it's text-based appearance but for it's expansive scope, and intricately...

Adventures With Anxiety

Release Date: 10/12/2019

Price: Free

Platforms: Web

Genres: Narrative

Accessibility: 23 features

Developer: Ncasenmare (@Ncasenmare)

Players: This is a single player game

Adventures With Anxiety is a mini-adventure where you play, as a red dog who is the inner protective voice of a young person. Your role is to guard them against danger, although as you do you cause them anxiety in different ways.

Kingdom Hearts (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 28/03/2002, updated in 2019

Platforms: PS2, PS3, PS4 and Xbox One

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

Accessibility: 21 features

Developer: Square Enix (@SquareEnix)

Players: This is a single player game

Kingdom Hearts is a series of action role-playing games that combine video game and Disney characters in popular adventures. You play Sora, as he journeys with various Disney, Square Enix and Pixar characters and fight multiple incarnations of games...

Persona

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Release Date: 20/09/1996, updated in 2017

Price: 80% off

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS, DS, PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4 and PS5

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Role-Playing and Turn-Based

Accessibility: 3 features

Developer: Atlus jp (@Atlus_jp)

Players: This is a single player game

Persona 5 (also known as Shin Megami Tensei: Persona) is the latest game in a series of role-playing games that focus on a group of students. You explore the world and take on enemies like other role play games. Here though, you manage relationships...

112 Operator (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 23/04/2020, updated in 2020

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Role-Playing, Simulation and Strategy

Accessibility: 21 features

Developer: Jutsu Games (@JutsuGames)

Players: This is a single player game

112 Operator and its predecessor, 911 Operator, are strategy games that put you in control of the emergency services as they fight natural disasters, crime and terrorism. You choose how to deal with each scenarios and work your way up the chain of...

Demon's Souls (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Release Date: 04/10/2011

Platforms: PS3 and PS5

Genres: Action, Adventure and Narrative

Accessibility: 8 features

Developer: From Software PR (@FromSoftware_PR)

Players: You can play this with 6 players online

Demons Souls is first a series of fighting and exploration games recently re-released on PlayStation 5. From third-person perspective you navigate interconnected locations while fighting enemies with weapons and magic. Larger boss enemy encounters...

Into The Breach

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 27/02/2018, updated in 2020

Platforms: Mac, PC, Stadia and Switch

Genres: Fighting, Puzzle, Strategy and Turn-Based

Accessibility: 17 features

Developer: Subset Games (@SubsetGames)

Players: This is a single player game

Into the Breach is a fantasy turn-based battle. It's set in a future where humanity fights an army of giant monsters. You control mechs equipped with a variety of weapons and armour in carefully coordinate actions played out on super-small tile-based...

Rescue: Mayday

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 9-12 year-olds

Release Date: 15/09/2021

Price: Free

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Adventure, Puzzle and Strategy

Accessibility: 34 features

Developer: Tech People Lab (@TechPeopleLab)

Players: You can play this with 2 players online

Rescue: Mayday is a helicopter adventure where you are putting out fires and rescuing civilians. You play the game in a team of two, each on your own device. The Pilot player flies the helicopter but has no visibility and must use information from the...

She Dreams Elsewhere

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 16

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Mac, PC, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Role-Playing

Accessibility: 31 features

Developer: Studio Zevere (@StudioZevere)

Players: This is a single player game

She Dreams Elsewhere is a surreal adventure. You explore the dreams and real life of Thalia, an anxiety-ridden, comatose woman on a journey to confront the nightmares preventing her from awakening.

The Forgotten City

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Release Date: 28/07/2021

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

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

Developer: Mod N Story Teller (@ModNStoryTeller)

Players: This is a single player game

The Forgotten City is a mystery adventure. You explore and relive the final days of a cursed Roman city, where if one person sins, everyone dies. It starts as a bewildering array of characters, locations and information but over multiple goes your...

Hyper Light Drifter

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 31/03/2016, updated in 2019

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Action, Role-Playing and Shooting

Accessibility: 11 features

Developer: Heart Machine Z (@HeartMachineZ)

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

Hyper Light Drifter is a fast action role-play game that combines exploration and puzzles with arcade style shooting. You play a Drifter who can access technology in a post-technological world. This grants access to upgradable energy weapons to help you...

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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