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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.

This list includes 127 games from the last 33 years, with 3,491 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to see the sun rise and set.

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, Collecting, Communication, Creative, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Physically Active, Platform, Point-and-Click, Puzzle, Race, Role-Play, Sequencing, Shooting, Simulation, Sports, Stealth, Strategy, Traversal and World Building
Total Likes: 3,491
 

 

The Crew 2 (Series)

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

Platforms: PC, PS4, Stadia and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

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...

My Time At Portia

Release Date: 15/01/2019, updated in 2019

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

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

This game is set after civilization has been destroyed, and humans are emerging from underground to rebuilding society. By gathering resources, crafting and building you slowly gain the tools to collect food, store grain, chop trees and build dwellings....

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...

Graveyard Keeper

Release Date: 15/08/2018

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Graveyard Keeper is a funeral-themed role-playing game where you are the caretaker of a local cemetery. You make choices about how to lay out the plot, what services to offer and generally how to make money from your unusual enterprise. The pixilated...

Nuts

Release Date: 20/01/2021

Platforms: PC, Switch and iPhone, iPad

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Nuts is an adventure game where you play a rookie field researcher. You use your camera, caravan, GPS and map to investigate the depths of the enigmatic Melmoth Forest. As you study the local squirrel population you uncover a strange mystery.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Release Date: 19/05/2015

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

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...

Fable (Series)

Release Date: 14/09/2004

Platforms: Mac, PC, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

This is an adventure role-playing game set in a fantasy world where your interactions with the world and villagers, and decisions about your use of magical power, substantially alter the story and the environment.

Subnautica (Series)

Release Date: 11/04/2016, updated in 2018

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

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Subnautica is an open-world adventure where you explore the ocean on an alien planet after crashlanding. You collect resources and fight creatures to survive. This enables you to establish an underwater base, gain new craft and equipment and explore...

The Long Dark

Release Date: 22/09/2014

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

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...

The Last Of Us Part II

Release Date: 19/06/2020

Platforms: PS4

Skill Rating: 16+ year-olds

The Last of Us Part II is an action-adventure game set five years after The Last of Us. You control two characters in a post-apocalyptic United States. Ellie is out for revenge after suffering a tragedy, and Abby is a...

Terraria

Release Date: 25/11/2013, updated in 2019

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS, Amazon Fire, Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, Stadia, Switch, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Terraria looks like a 2D, lesser, version of Minecraft. However, this is a game every bit as complex and creative as the better-known block building game. To the world-crafting and survival it adds hundreds of items to collect, characters to defeat and...

Stardew Valley

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

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

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

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...

The Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild

Release Date: 03/03/2017

Platforms: Switch and Wii U

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

This game departs from the previous Zelda formula with the scale and depth of its world. You walk, fly, ride and climb your way through a landscape that varies in climate, terrain, inhabitants and vegetation. Weather and the passage of the sun and moon...

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...

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Release Date: 23/11/2011, updated in 2021

Platforms: Switch, Wii and Wii U

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is an adventure game in the Zelda series. You play Link and navigate the floating island of Skyloft before diving down to the land below it. While the island locations and flight drew from Wind Waker, the combat and...

Subnautica Below Zero (Series)

Release Date: 30/01/2019, updated in 2021

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

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Subnautica: Below Zero is an open-world adventure game that follows the original game, Subnautica. You play a scientist on an alien planet searching for clues about the research team that vanished there. What develops is a light...

Microsoft Flight Simulator

Release Date: 18/08/2020

Platforms: PC and Xbox Series X|S

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Microsoft Flight Simulator (Microsoft Flight Sim 2020) is the latest flight simulator game in the long running series. Along with a huge range of aircraft you can learn to fly, the game recreates the entire Earth using textures and data from data maps...

Grand Theft Auto V (Series)

Release Date: 01/01/1997, updated in 2019

Platforms: Android, DS, PS2, PS3, PS4, PSP, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 15+ year-olds

Grand Theft Auto is a series of action-adventure game where you travel around one large location taking part in different criminal activities: pulling off heists, with lots of shooting and stealing and driving a variety of cars and other vehicles.

Minecraft

Release Date: 23/11/2017, updated in 2019

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS, Amazon Fire, Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Although Minecraft – where players place blocks to build structures, sculpt the landscape and create adventures – is the best-selling game of all time, some of the best aspects of it are little known. Along with the exploration, building and...

Sneaky Sasquatch

Release Date: 30/07/2019, updated in 2021

Platforms: Mac and iPhone, iPad

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Sneaky Sasquatch is an adventure game where you sneak around in campsites and try to find food from coolers and picnic baskets without getting caught. There's a large variety of things to do. For example you can race, play golf, ski, find buried...

Biomutant

Release Date: 25/05/2021, updated in 2022

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

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Biomutant is an open world role-play adventure game where you play a Raccoon warrior in a large world filled with mutated animals. Exploring this living breathing ecosystem has the feel of Zelda Breath of the Wild, but in a broken down steampunk...

Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach

Release Date: 16/12/2021, updated in 2022

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

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

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...

Ark: Survival Evolved

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

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

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

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...

Astroneer

Release Date: 16/12/2016, updated in 2019

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Astroneer is an open-world space adventure where you colonize planets by creating habitable structures, farming and mining resources. There is no specific story, although the challenges of each planet give rise to struggles of achievement to placate the...

Assassin's Creed Valhalla

Release Date: 10/11/2020

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

Assassin's Creed Valhalla is the twelfth game in the Assassins Creed Series, an open world action-adventure that takes place over several main story quests as well as many optional side missions.

Rust

Release Date: 08/02/2018

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

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)...

Pikmin 3

Release Date: 26/10/2013, updated in 2020

Platforms: Switch and Wii U

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Pikmin 3 Deluxe is the latest in a series of puzzle games where you direct hordes of titular plant-like creatures to navigate garden locations. Different colour Pikmins have different abilities so the challenge is to get enough of the right ones to...

Don't Starve

Release Date: 23/04/2013, updated in 2017

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, Switch, Wii U, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Don't Starve is an open-world survival game. Here it’s the environment and enemies, rather than other players, that you work with. You need to find and develop food, weapons and shelter to survive. It’s enjoyable because it’s hard, so repeat-plays...

The Forest

Release Date: 30/05/2014

Platforms: PC and PS4

Forest is a survival horror game where you are the only passenger to live after a plane crash. You explore a mysterious forest to find food, shelter and safety but soon have to battle strange cannibalistic people.

Horizon Zero Dawn

Release Date: 01/03/2017

Platforms: PC and PS4

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

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...

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...

Valheim

Release Date: 02/02/2021

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Valheim is a Viking inspired strategy game for up to 10 players. You build, survive, conquer, and explore the world. It's popular because it combines strategy of building your town stronghold with tough adventures and encounters with the enemies of the...

Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles

Release Date: 18/07/2017, updated in 2018

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles is an adventure where you explore a world seeking out and collecting magical creatures, known as sprites, to banish an ominous shroud known as the Murk. As you do this, you make your way in the world, farming,...

Grounded

Release Date: 28/07/2020, updated in 2022

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

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Grounded is a survival game where you are tiny and find yourself in someone’s back garden. It’s like Honey I Shrunk The Kids meets Fortnite. Ants, cockroaches, and bees pose a threat along with environmental hazards like water, tall grass and large...

My Time at Sandrock

Release Date: 26/05/2022

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

My Time at Sandrock is a life-simulating role-play game where you restore a run down town. It's set in the same wholesome yet post-apocalyptic world as My Time at Portia. You start by working as a builder, but soon...

Okami

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

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

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

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...

Sid Meier's Civilization (Series)

Release Date: 21/10/2016, updated in 2019

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Civilization is a long running strategy game where you develop a society from hunter gatherer to space travel. There are many ways to approach this challenge; socially, militarily, politically or perhaps building wonders to impress other nations.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

Release Date: 24/03/2003, updated in 2013

Platforms: GameCube and Wii U

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is an adventure game in the Zelda series. This one is set on a group of islands in a vast sea, and follows Link as he attempts to save his sister from the sorcerer Ganon. This soon develops into a struggle to find the...

Red Dead Redemption 2 (Series)

Release Date: 18/05/2010, updated in 2019

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

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Red Dead Redemption is a series of open world adventures with a wild west theme. The rich world offers many things to do along with a main story line. It's this living breathing world that attracts players, both in its diversity and beauty.

Summer in Mara

Release Date: 15/06/2020, updated in 2021

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

Summer in Mara is a farming game with a strong narrative about an adventurous girl called Koa. With a full day-night and season cycle, you can take the challenge on at your own pace as you build your farm and explore the world around 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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