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Develop Critical Thinking

Being able to discern between reliable sources and unreliable sources of information is an important skill for children to develop. This starts with questions of trust and authority but then leads to decisions about how we use and share information ourselves.

We've worked with Childnet International on this list of games that help children and young people experiment with what they should trust and the potential unintended consequences. Childnet International is an online safety charity working with others to help make the internet a great and safe place for children and young people. They believe that the internet is a wonderfully positive tool for children and young people. Childnet are also part of the UK Safer Internet Centre and organise Safer Internet Day in the UK every February.

Some of the games, like Thousand Threads, either put them in a world where what people say and believe impacts the other characters. Other games, like Headliner, put the player in charge of information so they can see the consequences first hand of its misuse. There are even games, like Papers Please, that enable the player to police who is and isn't allowed access to information or even access to the country.

As Childnet write, "Critical Thinking is an important skill that we need in order to navigate the internet safely and find the latest news headlines or facts and information. With the amount of content that is online sometimes it’s quite easy to be reading something that is inaccurate without realising."

These games each provide different ways for players to develop critical thinking. They provide a space where trust and authority can be experienced first hand, and where the negative and positive consequences of how we handle these topics play out.

This list includes 113 games from the last 25 years, with 675 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to Critically Assess information.


 

Overboard

Content Rating: PEGI 18

Skill Rating: 13-15 year-olds

Release Date: 02/06/2021

Platforms: Android, PC, Switch and iOS

Genres: Narrative and Point-and-Click

Accessibility: 21 features

Developer: Inkle Studios (@InkleStudios)

Players: This is a single player game

Overboard is a murder mystery narrative game played in reverse. You murder your husband at the start of the game and then try and get away with it. It's played on a ship where the characters are affected by your choices and change their actions...

Rainbow Billy

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 8-12 year-olds

Release Date: 05/10/2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Platform, Rhythm and Turn-Based

Accessibility: 32 features

Developer: We Are Mana Void (@WeAreManaVoid)

Players: This is a single player game

Rainbow Billy: The Curse of the Leviathan is a role-play adventure where you save the world from a colourless darkness. Unusually, battles are won through listening and conversation rather than traditional attacks. It combines the excitement and...

Planet of Lana

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Release Date: Coming soon

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

Genres: Adventure, Platform and Puzzle

Developer: Wishfully Games (@Wishfully_Games)

Players: This is a single player game

Planet of Lana is an adventure where you play a young girl Lana and her loyal animal friend Mui, on a rescue mission. Set on a planet under siege from cold machines and unfamiliar creatures. Rather than the war, though, this is a game about the vibrant...

Thousand Threads

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 30/07/2020

Platforms: Mac and PC

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

Developer: Threads Game (@ThreadsGame)

Players: This is a single player game

Thousand Threads is an open world game of consequences. You are free to interact with the world, animals and people however you like, give, take, save, kill, inform, hide, befriend, betray. But how you do this will have ongoing and unavoidable...

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...

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...

Storyteller

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: Daniel Ben (@DanielBen)

Players: This is a single player game

Storyteller is a puzzle game about building stories. You use a set of icons to matching what is happening in each frame of the story. It's a simple challenge that gets the mind-stretching as you construct some of history’s greatest stories using...

Orwell's Animal Farm

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 10/12/2020

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Point-and-Click, Simulation and Strategy

Accessibility: 15 features

Developer: Nerial (@Nerial)

Players: This is a single player game

Orwell's Animal Farm is an adventure game with a decent slice of strategy, all brought to life with beautiful hand-drawn storybook art. As the name suggests, the game is based on the 1945 literary classic Animal Farm by George Orwell, which uses a farm...

Umurangi Generation

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 19/05/2020

Platforms: PC and Switch

Genres: Adventure, Creative, Narrative, Puzzle and Simulation

Developer: Veselekov (@Veselekov)

Players: This is a single player game

Umurangi Generation is an adventure you play by exploring a city and taking photographs. Unlike other games where the photography is secondary, this is the main way you progress. As you do, you discover a story about ecology, friendship and the...

A Place for the Unwilling

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 25/07/2019

Platforms: Mac, PC and Stadia

Genres: Narrative and Simulation

Accessibility: 3 features

Developer: Al Pixel Games (@AlPixelGames)

Players: This is a single player game

A Place for the Unwilling is a narrative adventure set in the final 21 days of a dying city. You investigate the city and its inhabitants to piece together what has happened. However, the clock is always ticking and the city carries on, with or without...

Hitchhiker

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 12-16 year-olds

Release Date: 15/04/2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iPhone, iPad

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: Mad About Pandas (@MadAboutPandas)

Players: This is a single player game

Hitchhiker is a narrative game set on lost highways. Unlike other interactive stories, Hitchhiker is intentionally dense and hard to follow. In fact, your goal is to unravel the puzzle of your own backstory.

Buildings Have Feelings Too

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Release Date: 22/04/2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Open World, Puzzle and Strategy

Accessibility: 5 features

Developer: Blackstaff Games (@BlackstaffGames)

Players: This is a single player game

Buildings Have Feelings Too is set in a city where buildings can walk and talk. Not only that, but each has aspirations, hopes and fears. Your job is to create a city that works for all the buildings, a task that will see your city planning pulled in...

Papers, Please

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Release Date: 08/08/2013, updated in 2017

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS Vita and iOS

Genres: Narrative, Point-and-Click, Puzzle and Turn-Based

Accessibility: 19 features

Developer: Dukope (@Dukope)

Players: This is a single player game

You play the role of a border-crossing immigration officer in the fictional dystopian Eastern Bloc-like country of Arstotzka. You review each immigrant’s and returning citizens’ passports and paperwork according to an increasing list of changing...

Do Not Feed the Monkeys

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Release Date: 23/10/2018

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

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

Accessibility: 20 features

Developer: Fictiorama (@Fictiorama)

Players: This is a single player game

Do Not Feed the Monkeys is an adventure game where you sit at a computer and spy on live video feeds of various events and characters. Your job is to gather information about "the monkeys" while also looking after your character's health and apartment...

Bully

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Release Date: 17/10/2006, updated in 2016

Platforms: Android, PC, PS2, PS3, PS4, Wii, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

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

Developer: Rockstar Games (@RockstarGames)

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

Bully (Canis Canem Edit in Europe) is a role play adventure from the people who make Grand Theft Auto. You play juvenile delinquent student Jimmy Hopkins who aims to rise through the ranks of the school system in order to put a stop to bullying.

Democratic Socialism Simulator

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Release Date: 20/02/2020

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

Genres: Narrative, Puzzle, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: Molle Industria (@MolleIndustria)

Players: This is a single player game

Democratic Socialism Simulator is a puzzle game where you run for office and then run a country. It offers a flow of questions with a yes or no response. Each answer has consequences in the minds of the voters and the prosperity of the country. It's an...

Seasons After Fall

Content Rating: PEGI 3

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

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Genres: Narrative, Platform and Puzzle

Developer: Swing Swing Sub (@SwingSwingSub)

Players: This is a single player game

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...

Disco Elysium

Content Rating: PEGI 18

Release Date: 15/10/2019, updated in 2021

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

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Puzzle and Role-Playing

Accessibility: 24 features

Developer: Studio ZAUM (@StudioZAUM)

Players: This is a single player game

Disco Elysium The Final Cut is a role-playing game set in the fictional city of Revachol where you play Harrier "Harry" Du Bois who must solve a complex murder. Unusually, your choices and actions not only determine how the story unfolds but affect...

Where the Heart Leads

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Release Date: 13/07/2021

Platforms: PS4

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Simulation

Developer: Armature Studio (@ArmatureStudio)

Players: This is a single player game

Where the Heart Leads is an adventure game where you make life-choices and then see their impact. You play Whit Anderson, as he revisits and alters his past, present, and future. It's a game that creates a surreal dream-like narrative, but one that is...

Alt-Frequencies

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 16/05/2019

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Accessibility: 17 features

Developer: Accidental Q (@AccidentalQ)

Players: This is a single player game

Alt-Frequencies is an adventure game played by listening to a series of radio shows. It's a story about people stuck in a time loop without realising it and what you can do to save them.

Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 8-11 year-olds

Release Date: 05/06/2006, updated in 2021

Platforms: DS, Switch and Wii

Genres: Puzzle

Developer: Nintendo (@Nintendo)

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 2 players online

Big Brain Academy is a puzzle game designed to test and improve your mental capacity and well being. You are presented with an assortment of challenges designed to measure how smart your brain is. The focus is on fun rather than learning, and the Big...

Cloud Gardens

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Release Date: 09/09/2020, updated in 2021

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

Genres: Creative, Puzzle and Simulation

Developer: Noio Games (@Noio_Games)

Players: This is a single player game

Cloud Gardens is a puzzle game where you grow vegetation over a dilapidated post-apocalyptic world. It's a low-pressure puzzle, from the team behind Kingdom. It has the same pixel-art style, but here you are left to take your time...

Factorio

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 14/08/2020

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Creative, Open World, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: Factorio Game (@FactorioGame)

Players: You can play this with 700 players online

Factorio is a construction strategy game where you crash-land on an alien planet and must harvest resources to create industry to build a rocket to escape (or fall in love with running your factory and stay on longer).

HoloVista

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 11/09/2020

Platforms: iOS

Genres: Adventure and Narrative

Accessibility: 13 features

Developer: Aconite Co (@AconiteCo)

Players: This is a single player game

Holovista is an adventure game where you play by taking and sharing photographs. You play as Carmen an up-and-coming architect who is tasked to live in and take photographs at mysterious mansion. Your job is to take photographs of specific objects and...

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...

Pilgrims

Release Date: 07/10/2019

Platforms: PC and iPhone, iPad

Genres: Point-and-Click, Puzzle and Role-Playing

Developer: Amanita Design (@Amanita_Design)

Players: This is a single player game

Pilgrims is an adventure game where you help the characters you meet by playing cards. As you progress you assist them to complete their little stories in different ways. It's a little like Scribblenauts, but with less focus on the breadth of options...

Reigns (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 11/08/2016

Platforms: Amazon Fire, Android, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Puzzle, Strategy and Turn-Based

Accessibility: 21 features

Developer: Devolver Digital (@DevolverDigital)

Players: This is a single player game

Take charge of a kingdom, one decision at a time. Each choice is presented to you as a playing card with some advice or a question from one of the 38 different characters. Swipe left or right to make a decision that will impact the church, people,...

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...

Cart Life

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 25/04/2019

Price: Free

Platforms: PC

Genres: Narrative, Role-Playing and Simulation

Developer: Richard Hofmeier (@RichardHofmeier)

Players: This is a single player game

Cart Life is a simulation game where you play one of three street vendors. You attempt to run their shop whilst looking after their health, interests, and families. It has simple visuals, but depicts the realities of the thin-end of life.

Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 22/04/2021

Platforms: PC and Switch

Genres: Action, Puzzle and Role-Playing

Accessibility: 8 features

Developer: Y Wainczak (@YWainczak)

Players: This is a single player game

Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion is an action role-play game where you play a Turnip working hard to pay off a massive tax bill to Mayor Onion. The set-up soon gives way to a series of Zelda-style quests, dungeons and puzzles that earn new items and...

Wildermyth

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 9-12 year-olds

Release Date: 15/06/2021

Platforms: PC

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

Accessibility: 32 features

Developer: Wildermyth (@Wildermyth)

Players: This is a single player game

Wildermyth is a medieval role-playing game about diverse heroes and themes. You take on evil in a number of stories, each with different heroes and settings. The focus is on the characters as much as their adventures, who are believable, diverse and...

Bomber Crew

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 12/08/2018

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

Genres: Action, Shooting, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: Runner Duck Games (@RunnerDuckGames)

Players: This is a single player game

Bomber Crew is a cartoon-styled World War 2 strategic bombing simulator. While it avoids the grim reality of these missions, it connects players to the extreme difficulty and danger of making it out and back again.

Change: A Homeless Survival Experience

Release Date: 01/05/2020

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: Delve Interactiv (@DelveInteractiv)

Players: This is a single player game

Change is a survival game where you play a homeless person trying to make it against the odds. It's intentionally hard to do well as you explore an endless city that's different every time you play.

Death Crown

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 23/08/2013, updated in 2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Puzzle and Strategy

Accessibility: 5 features

Developer: Co 5 monaut (@Co5monaut)

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

Death Crown is a minimalist strategy game where you play Death commanding her legions and punishing humanity. You play in a world of hexagons to place buildings and send troops to attack or defend as you try and defeat the opposing castle.

Fête de Famille

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Adventure and Narrative

Developer: Atomic Raccoon FR (@AtomicRaccoonFR)

Players: This is a single player game

Fete de Famille (Family Gathering) is a text adventure about families. About what happens when families get together. It's an acid portrait of a contemporary French family that asks why, how and what are the bonds that tie them together.

Gravity Rush

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 09/02/2012, updated in 2017

Price: 60% off

Platforms: PS Vita and PS4

Genres: Adventure, Fighting, Open World, Platform and Simulation

Accessibility: 13 features

Developer: Sony Japan Studio (@SonyJapanStudio)

Players: This is a single player game

Gravity Rush is a running, jumping and exploration adventure game. You play as Kat, an amnesiac with the power to manipulate gravity. She uses this ability to help her community and uncover the mystery of her past.

Headliner: NoviNews

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 05/10/2019

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

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Simulation

Accessibility: 18 features

Developer: Unbound Creation (@UnboundCreation)

Players: This is a single player game

Headliner: NoviNews is a narrative-driven simulation game where you play as the person in charge of the headlines and stories that are released to the public. Each article you approve from your office has a direct impact of the world outside. Which news...

Not For Broadcast

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 18

Release Date: 30/01/2020

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Narrative, Puzzle and Simulation

Developer: Tiny Build (@TinyBuild)

Players: This is a single player game

Not For Broadcast is a narrative puzzle game where you control the National Nightly News just as a radical government comes to power. By deciding the angles, adverts, images and censoring in the show you control what the people see and determine...

Suzerain

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 04/12/2020

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Role-Playing, Simulation and Strategy

Accessibility: 25 features

Developer: Torpor Games (@TorporGames)

Players: This is a single player game

Suzerain is a role-play strategy game where you are the president of the fictional country, Sordland. By choosing conversations and life path you use your skills of persuasion and political values to reform your country after the downfall of a dictator.

The Talos Principle

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 11/12/2014, updated in 2019

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

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: Croteam (@Croteam)

Players: This is a single player game

The Talos Principle is a narrative driven puzzle game, praised for its cerebral and philosophical nature, where you play an android with a human conscience. You explore environments to complete complex brain-teasing puzzles to collect "sigils".

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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