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Get Children Into Science

Science can be a subject that many of us see as something for other people. Physics, Chemistry and Biology is something for the nerds, geeks and highly intelligent children at school and not for us or our children.

"Science is an incredibly important subject that many students never fully grasp. Knowledge of chemistry or other sciences is necessary to solve many real-world problems, but the way it's taught now often fails to capture students’ imaginations, discouraging experimentation and discovery."

That quote from the creators of Happy Atoms inspired this list of games. It's true not just about their game that unlocks the wonder of chemistry, but about many other games that often get children doing science without even realising it.

This can be the simple chemical puzzle-solving of a game like Sokobond. It can be the embodied understanding of gravity and momentum in real-time physics games like Portal. It can be the way different elements combine properties in games like Zelda Breath of the Wild. It can even be gaining a sense of scale of the universe in a game like Everything.

This list includes 47 games from the last 15 years, with 982 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to fall in love with science.


 

Subnautica (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 10-16 year-olds

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

Price: 35% off

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

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

Accessibility: 14 features

Developer: Unknown Worlds (@UnknownWorlds)

Players: This is a single player game

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...

Supraland

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 09/03/2018, updated in 2020

Price: 40% off

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Platform, Puzzle and Simulation

Accessibility: 7 features

Developer: Supra Ball (@SupraBall)

Players: This is a single player game

Supraland is an adventure game that involves exploring, running, jumping, solving puzzles, and fighting monsters. You play a member of the Red Village and you must discover why the Blue Village has sabotaged your water supply. Your character is a...

Everything

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 3+ year-olds

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

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4 and Switch

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Open World and Simulation

Accessibility: 3 features

Developer: David Oreilly (@DavidOreilly)

Players: This is a single player game

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.

The Long Dark

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 16+ year-olds

Release Date: 22/09/2014

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

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

Accessibility: 17 features

Developer: Hinterland Games (@HinterlandGames)

Players: This is a single player game

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...

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...

The Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 11-18 year-olds

Release Date: 03/03/2017

Platforms: Switch and Wii U

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Simulation and Stealth

Accessibility: 12 features

Developer: Nintendo (@Nintendo)

Players: This is a single player game

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...

Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Release Date: 06/11/2017

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Genres: Action, Platform, Simulation and Sports

Accessibility: 21 features

Developer: Bfod (@Bfod)

Players: This is a single player game

Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy is a strange game about movement and momentum. You are tasked with climbing a mountain. However, your only means of locomotion is a hammer that can stick to objects and drag you forwards.

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...

Potion Craft

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 21/09/2021

Platforms: Mac and PC

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

Developer: Tiny Build (@TinyBuild)

Players: This is a single player game

Potion Craft is a puzzle adventure game where you create potions in an ancient looking workshop. More than learning recipes, your potions need to strategically combine the qualities of each ingredient to explore the potion-map and create brews to help...

Astroneer

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 10-16 year-olds

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

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

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

Accessibility: 23 features

Developer: SES dev (@SES_dev)

Players: This is a single player game

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...

No Man's Sky

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 12-18 year-olds

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

Price: 48% off

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

Genres: Open World and Simulation

Accessibility: 23 features

Developer: Hello Games (@HelloGames)

Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 32 players online

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...

Hundred Days, Winemaking Simulator

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 13/05/2021

Platforms: Android, PC, Stadia, Switch and iOS

Genres: Creative, Puzzle, Strategy and Turn-Based

Accessibility: 27 features

Developer: Broken Arms Games (@BrokenArmsGames)

Players: This is a single player game

Hundred Days is a strategy game about making wine. You control every aspect of a new Winery, choose vines, learn how to grow them and when to harvest. You make decisions about the process with a simple interface that takes you through each day. It's a...

Surviving Mars

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 15/03/2018

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: Haemimont Games (@HaemimontGames)

Players: This is a single player game

Surviving Mars is a colony simulation game based on the real geography of Mars. You build and maintain a liveable habitat while balancing resources and researching new ways to adapt to the hostile environment. You receive occasional rockets from Earth...

Endless Ocean

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Release Date: 09/11/2007, updated in 2010

Platforms: Wii

Genres: Adventure, Open World and Simulation

Developer: Arika CO JP (@Arika_CO_JP)

Players: This is a single player game

Endless Ocean (Endless Ocean: Blue World in the US) and its sequel Endless Ocean 2: Adventures of the Deep are versions of a diving adventure game where you explore the Manaurai Sea to identify different fish and recover artefacts. As experience is...

Beyond Blue

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 22/04/2020, updated in 2020

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

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Open World and Simulation

Developer: Eline Media (@ElineMedia)

Players: This is a single player game

Beyond Blue is an underwater exploration game where you play Mirai, a deep-sea explorer and scientist. You see, hear, and interact with the ocean and the creatures in it as you discover an untouched world.

Splitgate Arena Warfare

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Release Date: 24/05/2019, updated in 2021

Price: Free

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Genres: Shooting and Simulation

Accessibility: 28 features

Developer: 1047 Games (@1047Games)

Players: You can play this with 10 players online

Splitgate: Arena Warfare is a movement-focused shooting game. Building on classic quick-motion gun battles, Splitgate adds a gun that can create portals between any two locations. This combines the frantic close-quarters arena combat that was popular in...

Terra Nil

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Open World, Puzzle, Simulation and Strategy

Accessibility: 6 features

Developer: Free Lives (@Free_Lives)

Players: This is a single player game

Terra Nil is a strategy game where you are using clean technology to bring back life to a barren world. It's a city building game where you aren't building a city at all, but a clean thriving ecology. It raises interesting themes of how humanity plays...

Balance - Power Grid

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 05/08/2016

Price: Free

Platforms: Android, Mac and iOS

Genres: Puzzle, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: Hyper Games (@HyperGames)

Players: This is a single player game

Balance - Power Grid is a puzzle game about power grids. You place cables, pylons and power generators to make sure there are no blackouts. Through a series of challenges you build power grids that are functional, and that produce the right amount of...

Eco

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 10-14 year-olds

Release Date: 06/02/2018

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Creative, Open World, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: Strange Loop Game (@StrangeLoopGame)

Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 100 players online

Eco extends the resource-collecting and building of Minecraft by introducing environmental implications to your actions. Using resources like trees will erode the soil; mining might pollute the river; and each animal depends on another.

TerraTech

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 04/07/2018

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

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

Developer: Payload Studios (@PayloadStudios)

Players: You can play this with 16 players online

TerraTech is a construction game where you create vehicles to explore the environment, find resources and craft upgrades. It includes a modular building element where your decisions affect the performance of what you make. Each building block has its...

QWOP

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 21/12/2010

Price: Free

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Genres: Action, Simulation and Sports

Accessibility: 10 features

Developer: Bfod (@Bfod)

Players: This is a single player game

QWOP is a sports game with a difference. You have to control each limb of your virtual athlete. This changes it from a challenge of hitting buttons to using the touch screen or keyboard to deftly co-ordinate movement to gain forward motion. It's really...

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).

In Other Waters

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 03/04/2020

Platforms: PC and Switch

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Open World, Point-and-Click, Puzzle, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: Jump Overthe Age (@JumpOvertheAge)

Players: This is a single player game

This is an underwater exploration game where you play an Artificial Intelligence assistant to a stranded xenobiologist in a mysterious alien ocean. The world is not seen except through the instrumentation available to you. This creates a non-violent...

Learning Factory

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Release Date: 18/02/2021

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4 and Switch

Genres: Puzzle and Strategy

Accessibility: 32 features

Developer: Luden io (@Luden_io)

Players: This is a single player game

Learning Factory is a strategy game where you automate an old factory. Unusually, this isn't to make money and conquer the world but a round about approach to understand cats. Peculiar backstory aside, the game tasks you with renovating the factory,...

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.

Kerbal Space Program

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 9-13 year-olds

Release Date: 31/03/2016, updated in 2021

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

Genres: Adventure, Creative, Open World and Simulation

Developer: Squad Devs (@SquadDevs)

Players: This is a single player game

Kerbal Space Program is a space flight simulation game. You direct a space program, staffed and crewed by aliens. It looks like a cute game for kids, but under its comic exterior is a hugely complex and engaging space simulation.

Wildfire

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Release Date: 26/05/2020, updated in 2020

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Fighting, Puzzle and Simulation

Accessibility: 15 features

Developer: Wildfire Game (@WildfireGame)

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

Wildfire is a running, jumping and hiding game where you hide from (and distract) enemies to get through levels and complete missions. You have specific powers to start fires, freeze water, and move earth that offer different ways to solve the puzzle of...

Breakwaters

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 10-14 year-olds

Release Date: 09/12/2021

Platforms: PC

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

Developer: Games Soaring (@GamesSoaring)

Players: You can play this with 6 players online

Breakwaters is an adventure set in an ever-changing oceanic world. Unlike other games, Breakwaters isn't satisfied with day-night and weather cycles, it stands out for the fluid mechanics of its water. You swim, sail, and fly to new islands using...

Koral

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

Release Date: 16/05/2019

Platforms: PC and Switch

Genres: Adventure, Open World and Simulation

Accessibility: 1 feature

Developer: Carlos Game Dev (@CarlosGameDev)

Players: This is a single player game

Koral is a diving exploration game where you play the sea current. This sounds a little odd, playing a flow of energy, but works brilliantly.

Sokobond

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 27/08/2013, updated in 2021

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Genres: Creative, Puzzle and Turn-Based

Developer: Draknek (@Draknek)

Players: This is a single player game

Sokobond is a puzzle game where you create chemical molecules by manoeuvring atoms around the screen, avoiding obstacles. The game is streamlined to not need instructions and its minimalistic design enables ease of use. As you move through the levels...

Dish Life: The Game

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 24/02/2020

Price: Free

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

Genres: Puzzle, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: Dish Life Game (@DishLifeGame)

Players: This is a single player game

Dish Life: The Game is a puzzle narrative game where you play a stem cell researcher, managing a laboratory and growing stem cells.

Elite Dangerous

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Release Date: 15/12/2015, updated in 2016

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

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

Accessibility: 1 feature

Developer: Frontier Dev (@FrontierDev)

Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 32 players online

This is a new version of the classic 1980s space game Elite. Like the original it’s a space exploration, trading and combat game that provides a huge and rich universe rather than a specific story. You can trade goods, become a bounty hunter, fight...

Kitty Q

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 8-12 year-olds

Release Date: 08/10/2021

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Puzzle

Accessibility: 15 features

Developer: Kamibox Ph (@Kamibox_Ph)

Players: This is a single player game

Kitty Q A Quantum Adventure is an escape-room where you use outside-the-box thinking to solve puzzles in an odd world with quantum physics themes. It's unusual not only because the puzzles are approachable and visual appealing but because they each...

Opus Magnum

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 08/12/2017

Platforms: PC

Genres: Creative, Puzzle, Simulation and Turn-Based

Developer: Zachtronics (@Zachtronics)

Players: This is a single player game

Opus Magnum is a puzzle game about assembling machines to convert spherical chemicals into different compounds. Each challenge can be tackled by creating different machine configurations, and each is awarded points on how compact, quick and efficient...

RocketPuzzle

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Puzzle, Simulation and Turn-Based

Developer: 29 Games Official (@29GamesOfficial)

Players: This is a single player game

Rocket Puzzle is a tile-based puzzle set in space. You push and hold blocks so their attached rockets can fire them into the matching coloured space stations. It's a small but tricky game with a retro aesthetic.

Thinkrolls: Kings and Queens (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 5-10 year-olds

Release Date: 16/11/2016, updated in 2021

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Narrative, Platform and Puzzle

Accessibility: 3 features

Developer: Avokiddo Games (@AvokiddoGames)

Players: This is a single player game

Thinkrolls: Kings and Queens is a puzzle game where you roll your character around castles to collect keys, food and gems for the dragon that lives there. Complete a level to be awarded with customising pieces to decorate your ball as a king or queen....

Time Loader

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 8-12 year-olds

Release Date: 03/11/2021

Platforms: PC

Genres: Narrative, Platform, Puzzle and Simulation

Developer: Flazm Games (@FlazmGames)

Players: This is a single player game

Time Loader is a rolling, climbing, jumping robot puzzle game where you have travelled back in time to prevent a tragic accident. With a Back To The Future 90s vibe, you control a rover-style robot and use various tools and features to navigate the...

VVVVVV

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Release Date: 11/01/2010, updated in 2017

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS, Android, PC, PS Vita, PS4, Switch, Web and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Platform and Puzzle

Developer: Terry Cavanagh (@TerryCavanagh)

Players: This is a single player game

VVVVVV is a running and jumping game, without the jumping. Not having the ability to jump may seem a disadvantage, but instead you can flip your character from walking on the floor to walking on the ceiling. With this ability, puzzle your way through...

Defunct

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Release Date: 29/01/2016, updated in 2018

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Open World, Platform, Racing and Simulation

Accessibility: 8 features

Developer: FS Game Studio (@FSGameStudio)

Players: This is a single player game

Defunct is an adventure game where you race through a post-human landscape. You play an old, broken racing robot with little propulsion left. However, by using the landscape and varying your gravitation pull you learn how to speed through the world....

Happy Atoms

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 18/11/2016

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Creative, Physically Active and Puzzle

Developer: Schell Games (@SchellGames)

Players: This is a single player game

Happy Atoms is a puzzle game about the world of chemistry and molecules. It has teaching aims but ensures this doesn't eclipse the game. You take on quests to discover molecules as you explore the world.

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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