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Gaming Projects: Craft Marvellous Machines

Video games are often thought of as turning children into small cogs in a machine. Unchangeable, uncreative and demanding repetition of players. However, there are many games that offer players a chance to be the creators, inventors and instigators of some of the most marvellous machines.

This list offers games picked out with the help of Alom Shaha, Physics teacher, author of Mr Shaha’s Marvellous Machines and father of two. His book offers playful projects that teach about the centre of gravity, toroidal vortexes, smoke-rings and electromagnetism. The games here mirror this combination of wonder and hands-on science.

Some of these, like Stormworks, offer a way to experiment with the physics of fluids and gravity. Others, like Townscaper, are a way to see the impact of the built environment. Then there are games like Chicory: A Colorful Tale, that invite players to bring a world to life with paint.

The overlap between real world messy-craft and these games can be through the inspiration of making things. But also, some of the games (like Tearaway) let you download templates to cut, stick and make the video game characters in real life.

This list includes 30 games from the last 22 years, with 767 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to use craft to learn science.


 

Kirby's Epic Yarn

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 3-10 year-olds

Release Date: 17/10/2010, updated in 2019

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS, Wii and Wii U

Genres: Platform and Puzzle

Accessibility: 18 features

Developer: Gbit Good Feel (@Gbit_GoodFeel)

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

Kirby's Epic Yarn is a running and jumping game starring Nintendo's Kirby character that can (usually) suck enemies into their large mouth to gain new abilities. It's set in Patch Land, a world made completely out of fabric. You use your platforming...

Tearaway

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Release Date: 22/11/2013, updated in 2015

Platforms: PS Vita and PS4

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Platform

Developer: Media Molecule (@MediaMolecule)

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

Tearaway on PlayStation Vita and Tearaway Unfolded on PlayStation 4 create a game world entirely from paper as the setting for this fantastical adventure. It’s beautiful and funny, and offers a running, jumping exploration challenge. Drawing on...

Stormworks: Build and Rescue

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 11-16 year-olds

Release Date: 28/02/2018

Platforms: Mac and PC

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

Accessibility: 8 features

Developer: Dan Games (@Dan_Games)

Players: You can play this with 5 players online

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...

Townscaper

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Release Date: 30/06/2020, updated in 2021

Price: Free

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Switch, Web, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and iOS

Genres: Creative and Simulation

Accessibility: 25 features

Developer: Osk Sta (@OskSta)

Players: This is a single player game

Townscaper is a town building toy. You pick colours from the range available and click to put down a house in the sea. As you continue to add houses of different colours the game automatically orientates the architecture for you.

Trailmakers

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 28/02/2020

Platforms: PC and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Creative, Open World and Racing

Developer: Flashbulbgames (@Flashbulbgames)

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

In Trailmakers, you explore an open world in vehicles you have made from Lego-like blocks. Build a car, a plane, a boat or a combination of these, a carplaneboat. The game's physics encourage players to imaginatively combine propulsion, floatation,...

BedWars

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 10-16 year-olds

Release Date: 19/01/2017

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

Genres: Action, Fighting, Open World, Platform and Strategy

Accessibility: 31 features

Developer: Blockman Go (@BlockmanGo)

Players: You can play this with 16 players online

Bed Wars is a game played on Minecraft servers. It's a game similar to the official Minecraft minigames but created by independent developers.

Chicory: A Colorful Tale

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 10/06/2021, updated in 2021

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, PS5 and Switch

Genres: Adventure, Creative, Narrative and Puzzle

Accessibility: 42 features

Developer: The Banov (@TheBanov)

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

Chicory: A Colourful Tale is an adventure where you play an everyday dog thrust into the role of wielding a magic brush. The world starts black and white and you paint to solve puzzles, help your animal friends and restore colour. It looks like a...

Scribble It

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 20/10/2020

Price: Free

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Creative and Puzzle

Accessibility: 24 features

Developer: Detach Official (@DetachOfficial)

Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 16 players online

Scribble It is a digital take on the classic board game Pictionary. You take turns drawing a word as the other players try to be the first one to guess it. The benefit is that you don't have to be in the same place to play. Also, there's the added...

Paper Mario: The Origami King (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Release Date: 11/08/2000, updated in 2020

Price: 30% off

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

Genres: Action, Fighting, Role-Playing and Turn-Based

Accessibility: 21 features

Developer: Nintendo (@Nintendo)

Players: This is a single player game

Paper Mario is a role-play game featuring Mario and other Nintendo characters. Although cute and cartoon-like in appearance, these games are known for the quality of writing and the well balanced and enjoyable turn-based combat.

Scrap Mechanic

Release Date: 20/01/2016

Platforms: PC

Genres: Action, Adventure, Creative, Open World and Simulation

Developer: Axolot Games (@AxolotGames)

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

Scrap Mechanic is an open world-building game. You collect materials that are used to design machines, vehicles and buildings. You start at the site of a crashed spaceship, with just a few items and must hunt for supplies, fuel and food in order to...

Unravel (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 09/02/2016, updated in 2018

Price: 80% off

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

Genres: Action, Adventure, Narrative, Platform and Puzzle

Accessibility: 20 features

Developer: Coldwood Game (@ColdwoodGame)

Players: This is a single player game

Unravel and the two-player Unravel Two are a pair of jumping and swinging platform games where you control a character made out of wool. As well as making him look super cute, the wool is used to swing around and interact with objects.

Yoshi's Crafted World

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 5-14 year-olds

Release Date: 29/05/2019

Price: 21% off

Platforms: Switch

Genres: Adventure and Platform

Accessibility: 20 features

Developer: Gbit Good Feel (@Gbit_GoodFeel)

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

Yoshi's Crafted World is a running and jumping game where you control a friendly dinosaur, Yoshi. You work through each level, eating or jumping on enemies while searching for hidden items and collectables.

Pile Up

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 18/03/2021

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

Genres: Platform and Puzzle

Developer: Handy Games (@Handy_Games)

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room

Pile Up is a running and jumping game where up to four of your play as boxes. You run (slide?) and jump around the level and need to jump gaps, open doors and solve puzzles to progress. You need to coordinate with each other to progress through the...

Eastshade

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 7-12 year-olds

Release Date: 14/08/2019

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4 and Xbox One

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

Developer: Eastshade (@Eastshade)

Players: This is a single player game

Eastshade is a slow exploration game in a world you explore by walking around. Here, though, you play as a painter of landscapes rather than typical hero. Your mission is to paint your deceased mother’s favourite sights, but it's the world and its...

Nintendo Labo

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 6-12 year-olds

Release Date: 27/04/2018

Platforms: Switch

Genres: Action, Creative, Physically Active and Puzzle

Developer: Nintendo (@Nintendo)

Players: This is a single player game

Nintendo Labo is a game themed around physical folding, colouring and cutting. You get a cardboard pack with the game that folds up to make objects into which you slot the screen and controllers. Whether it’s cardboard steering wheels, fishing rods,...

Build A Boat for Treasure (Roblox)

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Release Date: 02/11/2016, updated in 2022

Price: Free

Platforms: Amazon Fire, Android, Mac, PC, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Simulation and Strategy

Developer: Chillz Studios (@ChillzStudios)

Players: You can play this with 7 players online

Build A Boat for Treasure (Roblox) is a strategy game where build your a ship (or anything else) from different materials and set sail for adventure. Doing this successfully earns new items and materials for your next build. Although this churn does...

Lumino City

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 02/11/2014

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

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

Developer: State of Play (@State_of_Play)

Players: This is a single player game

Lumino City is a puzzle adventure game in a hand made world. This is not unusual for a video game, but this world was literally made by hand in a physical studio and then filmed. It creates a unique experience that feels like you are poking around a...

Vokabulantis

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Narrative, Platform and Puzzle

Developer: The Kong Orange (@TheKongOrange)

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

Vokabulantis is a puppet-animated running and jumping game about two children, Karla and Kurt, who have fallen in love. Just as they find each other though, the world starts falling apart and they discover they can’t speak to each other because their...

World of Goo

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 7-11 year-olds

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

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

Genres: Puzzle and Simulation

Accessibility: 14 features

Developer: Tomorrow Corp (@TomorrowCorp)

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room

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...

Lawn Mowing Simulator

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 10/08/2021

Platforms: PC and Xbox Series X|S

Genres: Action, Creative, Platform and Simulation

Developer: Skyhook Games (@SkyhookGames)

Players: This is a single player game

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...

Rain on Your Parade

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 15/04/2021

Platforms: PC, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Puzzle and Simulation

Developer: Unbound Creations (@UnboundCreations)

Players: This is a single player game

Rain on Your Parade is a slapstick puzzle game where you play a mischievous cloud ruining everybody’s day. "You are a cloud jerk," says the trailer. In each of the varied levels you have to work out what it is you need to do to make people's lives a...

Tori

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 4-10 year-olds

Release Date: 08/11/2019

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Action, Physically Active, Puzzle, Racing and Shooting

Developer: Bandai Namco US (@BandaiNamcoUS)

Players: This is a single player game

Tori combines physical and virtual play. The game comes with toys that you place on a play surface to control the game’s spaceships and catapults. Children can also create and colour their own cardboard versions of the toys and use them to control the...

Art Academy

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 25/12/2009, updated in 2016

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS, DS and Wii U

Genres: Creative

Accessibility: 10 features

Developer: Headstrong Games (@HeadstrongGames)

Players: This is a single player game

Art Academy is a creative painting game for Nintendo systems, that leads children through step-by-step art lessons. An in-game tutor teaches you to develop basic art skills and techniques. Along with the lessons, there's a free paint mode with all the...

Colors!

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Release Date: 05/04/2012, updated in 2020

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS, Android, PS Vita, Switch and iOS

Genres: Creative

Developer: Llerd (@Llerd)

Players: This is a single player game

Colors! is a painting game for handheld gaming devices. It introduces concepts of creating digital art in an easy and accessible way. You take on challenges to draw pictures and can share them with others online. You can also play back your drawings to...

Pok Pok Playroom

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 2-6 year-olds

Release Date: 20/05/2021

Platforms: iOS

Genres: Creative and Puzzle

Accessibility: 23 features

Developer: Play Pok Pok (@PlayPokPok)

Players: This is a single player game

Pok Pok Playroom is a storybook game, filled with interactive digital toys for children to discover and explore as they scroll through a series of settings. It's for children 2-6 years-old and offers open-ended play where the focus isn't on right and...

Stonefly

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 7-12 year-olds

Release Date: 02/06/2021

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

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Platform and Strategy

Developer: Flight School HQ (@FlightSchoolHQ)

Players: This is a single player game

Stonefly is a tranquil adventure game where you play the pilot of insect-like mechanical craft. Tiny and living in an outsized world, you use your vehicle to harness the wind and explore the wilderness. As you meet inhabitants, collect resources and...

Jett: The Far Shore

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 05/10/2021

Platforms: PC, PS4 and PS5

Genres: Action, Adventure, Narrative, Open World, Racing and Stealth

Developer: Super Brothers HQ (@SuperBrothersHQ)

Players: This is a single player game

Jett: The Far Shore is a sci-fi adventure where you play inquisitive pilot Mei, exploring a mysterious planet on a nimble jet-powered craft. It's a fast action game but with deeper aspirations. Through characters, the world and its history there is a...

Sloppy Forgeries

Release Date: 26/04/2018

Platforms: PC

Genres: Creative and Simulation

Developer: Sloppy Forgeries (@SloppyForgeries)

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

Sloppy Forgeries is a painting game where you race an opponent at copying a famous art piece as quickly and accurately as possible. You win by having the largest percentage of paint in the correct areas. The game randomly selects a painting to copy and...

Weaving Tides

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 27/05/2021

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Genres: Creative, Platform and Puzzle

Accessibility: 22 features

Developer: Follow Feathers (@FollowFeathers)

Players: This is a single player game

Weaving Tides is a puzzle game set in a magical woven world. You ride a carpet dragon that both transports you and weaves fabric into the world to help you advance.

Craftlands Workshoppe

Release Date: 13/10/2020

Platforms: PC

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

Accessibility: 11 features

Developer: Craftlands Game (@CraftlandsGame)

Players: This is a single player game

Craftlands Workshoppe is a strategy game where you build and manage a crafting empire. You start the game by opening your own workshop that can specialize in one of three trades: Blacksmithing, Alchemy, or Cooking.

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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