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Fidget Toys

Fidget spinners burst into the hands of children a number of years ago. While that initial trend subsided, the interest and enjoyment of tactile objects to fiddle with are very much with us.

Fidget toys are like the yo-yo or Rubik's cube but without the focus on skill. The enjoyment comes from doing something that isn't learning or achieving anything. It's no surprise that there are a number of video games that have picked up on this style of play.

Some games, like The Longing, Animal Crossing and Adopt Me, simple slow down the need to progress, so all you do is check-in, fiddle around with the game world and then leave. Then there are other games, like Townscaper and Pok Pok Playroom, that let you craft your own structures but with none of the usual video game emphasis on score and winning. Other games, like Everything and Proteus, offer a huge world to poke and prod without getting embroiled with progression.

Even games that do offer a strong sense of story and development often include post-game play or side-quest distractions that are simply there for you to spend time fiddling with rather than winning or losing. Games like A Short Hike, Alba A Wildlife Adventure or even No Man's Sky.

This list includes 142 games from the last 36 years, with 2,603 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to keep your hands busy.

DetailsList Details

PEGI Ratings: PEGI 3 to PEGI 16
ESRB Ratings: ESRB EVERYONE to ESRB TEEN
Australian Ratings: G to M
Genres: Action, Adventure, Brain Game, Collecting, Communication, Creative, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Physically Active, Platform, Point-and-Click, Puzzle, Race, Rhythm, Role-Play, Sequencing, Shooting, Simulation, Sports, Stealth, Strategy and Traversal
Total Likes: 2,603
 

 

Threes

Release Date: 06/02/2014

Platforms: Amazon Fire, Android, Web and iOS

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Threes is a puzzle game where you slide numbered tiles on a grid. When they collide they combine their numbers, like Triple Town. You can match 1's and 2's with each other, the white tiles can match cards that are multiples of 3...

Loop Hero

Release Date: 03/02/2021, updated in 2022

Platforms: PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Pieces: Cards

Loop Hero is a dungeon exploring adventure game where you use cards to create a world for your character to survive. Rather than control the hero yourself, you take the role of designer (or Dungeon Master) who use cards to create a world that is hard...

Proteus

Release Date: 30/01/2013

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS Vita and PS3

Skill Rating: 4+ year-olds

This game takes you to a pixelated island. As you explore you discover that your presence changes the seasons and time of day. Delving deeper, there are rudimentary interactions with the creatures that inhabit the land, and rain clouds that blow in from...

Flower

Release Date: 12/02/2009

Platforms: PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4 and iOS

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

Control the breeze blowing across fields of grass and blow petals into other flowers to make them bloom. Flower is simple and single-purpose in evoking the feeling of the wind. What starts as an awkward struggle to control the breeze soon turns into a...

Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga

Release Date: 05/04/2022

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

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is the latest in a series of Star Wars themed Lego running, jumping and building games. You work your way through all 9 of the Star Wars films unlocking new locations and characters as you go.

Dorfromantik

Release Date: 25/03/2021, updated in 2022

Platforms: PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Dorfromantik is a peaceful village-building strategy puzzle game for one player. It's inspired by tile-based board-games like Carcassonne and Tantrix.

Mini Metro

Release Date: 06/01/2015

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

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Create an ordered, efficient underground train system. It sounds like hard work, but the simple Tube-map visuals, calm music, and streamlined interactions make this relaxing, like sudoku. Dip your toe in this strategy challenge and keep the system...

World of Goo

Release Date: 13/10/2008, updated in 2017

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Switch, Wii, Wii U and iOS

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

World of Goo is a puzzle game where you use balls of goo to create bridges that span increasingly large chasms and obstacles. The game simulates real-world physics to determine if structures are strong enough and when they collapse. This means that...

Just Shapes & Beats

Release Date: 21/06/2018

Platforms: PC, PS4, Stadia and Switch

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Just Shapes & Beats is a two player rhythm game where you dodge bullets in time with the music. As well as this unusual premise, play extends the novelty as you have to both avoid the various shapes and move to the Beats. It’s a new spin on the shoot...

No Man's Sky

Release Date: 10/08/2016, updated in 2018

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

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

No Man's Sky is a space simulation about exploring endless planets and galaxies. It invites you to take your spaceship to explore and colonise a universe rich with diverse planets, creatures and fauna. Facing so vast a space is daunting at first, but a...

Adopt Me! (Roblox)

Release Date: 14/07/2017

Platforms: Android, PC, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Adopt Me is one of the most popular Roblox games. In a rudimentary way it simulates daily life. You can build a home, look after pets and make friends. Like many Roblox games, it's the combination of an avid community of players...

A Short Hike

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

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

In A Short Hike you play 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 explore the park, help other animals, find...

Animal Crossing (Series)

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

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

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

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...

Toca Life: World (Series)

Release Date: 01/01/2019

Platforms: Amazon Fire, Android and iOS

Skill Rating: 2+ year-olds

The Toca Boca, Toca Life, series of games comprise what are essentially toys in electronic form. They build on the Sago Mini games for 6-10-year-old children. Recreating interactive everyday settings like shopping, hospital,...

Alba: A Wildlife Adventure

Release Date: 11/12/2020

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

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

Alba: A Wildlife Adventure is an adventure game where you play as a young girl who starts a wildlife conservation club. When Alba visits her grandparents on a Mediterranean island, she is excited for a summer of exploring with her friend Ines. But when...

Totally Accurate Battle Simulator

Release Date: 01/04/2019

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

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

Totally Accurate Battle Simulator (know as TABS) is a fighting game where you choose different armies and troops to battle each other in an automatic simulation that models their offensive and defensive abilities. Once setup, the fight is largely...

Everything

Release Date: 21/03/2017, updated in 2019

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4 and Switch

Skill Rating: 3+ year-olds

This is an unusual game that simulates a world where you can become any object. It sounds strange and not much fun, but the enjoyment is in discovering how small or how big a thing you can become. From tiny atoms to whole planets and everything in between.

Storyteller

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

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...

Sago Mini (Series)

Release Date: 09/06/2017

Platforms: Amazon Fire, Android and iOS

Skill Rating: 2+ year-olds

Sago Mini games are designed for 3-5 year old pre-school children. Like Toca Boca games for younger kids, they offer interactive storybook characters with light narratives and open-ended play. Superheroes, space explorers, boat...

Farm Together

Release Date: 25/02/2018, updated in 2019

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

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Farm Together is a low-pressure farm simulator. You develop your farm by yourself or cooperate with your friends. Starting with an empty plot you can grow crops, plant trees, take care of the animals, add buildings and facilities, and unlock new items...

LocoRoco

Release Date: 23/06/2006

Platforms: PS Vita, PS4 and PSP

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

This creates a world of plants and creatures to investigate. The novelty, besides the character’s singing and cute aesthetic, is that you control the game with just two buttons, tilting and bumping your characters through each level.

Hidden Folks

Release Date: 15/02/2017

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Hidden Folks tasks you with exploring hand-drawn worlds to find particular people. It’s simple enough for youngsters to control but complex enough to keep parents and carers involved too.

Chuchel

Release Date: 07/03/2018

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 2+ year-olds

Chuchel is a comedy adventure game. You play hairy hero Chuchel and his rival Kekel to solve simple puzzles and challenges in their quest to retrieve the precious cherry. It looks like a children's storybook animation with strange, peculiar creatures.

Fugl

Release Date: 14/09/2017

Platforms: Mac and PC

Fugl is a game that simulates flying. You play a bird and launch yourself into the sky to explore a vast world. Rather than search for things, fight, or take on challenges, all you have to do is wend your way through the air currents and glide your way...

Everdale

Release Date: 18/08/2021

Platforms: Android and iOS

Everdale is an online strategy game where you build a village. With the help of friends you develop a society that survives on the basis of savvy cooperation. Unlike other civilisation games though, there is no fighting or combat. The focus is on...

Dwarf Fortress

Release Date: 08/08/2006

Platforms: Mac and PC

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...

Cloud Gardens

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

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

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

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...

Naiad

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Naiad is a gentle adventure game where exploration is fuelled not by extreme distances, dangers or enemies, but by the simple joy of floating in rivers and pools. As a story about nature unfolds you control a nymph-like character who swims through...

Pocket City

Release Date: 21/07/2018

Platforms: Android and iOS

You build your own living breathing city by creating residential, commercial, and industrial zones, as well as placing special buildings. In addition to this Sim City-style play you earn points to upgrade by competing missions.

Railbound

Release Date: 06/09/2022

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Railbound is a track-bending puzzle game where you lay track, switch points and use tunnels to get the carriages to the engine in the right order. Although it's the puzzles that keep you playing, there's also a real joy in connecting tracks and seeing...

Zen Bound

Release Date: 24/02/2009, updated in 2018

Platforms: Android, PC, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Zen Bound is a puzzle game about wrapping objects in rope. With a relaxing soundtrack and calm visuals you are present with different objects with an attached rope of a specific length. Using a mouse, touch or tilt controls you transfer paint from the...

Lawn Mowing Simulator

Release Date: 10/08/2021

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

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Lawn Mowing Simulator is an adventure game where you ride an authentic and expansive roster of lawnmowers. The novelty is a combination of absolute control over lawn care and weed eradication. This is extended beyond a brief distraction by the inclusion...

Pupperazzi

Release Date: 20/01/2022

Platforms: PC and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Pupperazzi is an adventure game where you explore an island to find and photograph all manner of canine friends. You interact with the world, climb, skate and explore to get the perfect angle on the perfect pup. It starts as a silly challenge but turns...

Tetris 99 (Series)

Release Date: 20/09/2019

Platforms: Switch

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Tetris is a longstanding puzzle game where you make horizontal lines by placing different shaped tiles in a well. It's simple and fun, but as the pieces speed up it gets increasingly difficult.

From Dust

Release Date: 27/07/2011, updated in 2011

Platforms: PC, PS3 and Xbox 360

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

From Dust is a strategy game. You play as an all powerful God of a primitive people. The land is ancient but devoid of humans. Unusually, you control the landscape rather than the people, moving land and water and lava to give villagers pathways to...

Shine – Journey of Light

Release Date: 17/11/2018

Platforms: Android and iOS

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Shine – Journey of Light is an adventure puzzle game where you guide a ball of light through a world of light and shadow. As you delve deep into the world you discover a lost civilisation and piece together the stories of the past.

Bubble Bobble

Release Date: 01/10/1986, updated in 2016

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS, DS, PS4, Switch, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Bubble Bobble is a running and jumping game where you control a small dragon that can blow and jump on bubbles. It rose to popularity in the arcades when released in 1986. In each of the 100 levels you and another player defeat each enemy by trapping...

Secret Shuffle

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Android and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Secret Shuffle is a rhythm game where up to 60 players dance to music and have to try and spot who is listening to the same track as they are. It's unusual because the action happens in the room rather than on the screen, but the app is essential for...

Aurascope

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Aurascope is a retro running and jumping game that combines elements from other genres. The platform action is central but you also have a lot of collecting and exploration to do. As much as the gameplay, the game stands out for its fast skill-based...

Fingle

Release Date: 21/12/2011, updated in 2016

Platforms: iOS

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Fingle is a Twister-style physical puzzle game played on a smartphone or tablet screen with your fingers rather than limbs. Like the popular tangley board game, it plays to this physical interaction with other players. "Explore the intimate touch of...

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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