Close search results
:
Layout - grid Layout - list

Get Children Listening

Of the different senses, it's easy to overlook the importance of hearing. We encourage children to read, watch and observe. But just as important is to develop more than just cursory listening.

Despite their name, i video games use sounds just as much as visuals to create their worlds. As well as this, audio is often a crucial aspect of interactions and clues for puzzle solving.

Because of this, video games (like walking in nature) are a powerful way to learn to notice and use the sounds around us. Playing a game with headphones helps the player focus on the sound. Doing this intentionally can help younger players discover a new world of sound in the games they play.

There are games like Limbo, Hellblade, Overboard and Super Mario Odyssey that use sound to set the mood and aesthetic of the play. This is more than just background music as it reacts and integrates with the sounds the player is making while they play.

Then there are games like Uncharted, Alba, Fortnite and Sea of Thieves that use audio to indicate things happening in the game. Not only what is happening, like the sound of someone boarding your ship, but where that is happening in relation to your character with spatial audio.

There are games where you create the audio with your actions. Touching petals in Flower adds notes to the classical music. In Mini Metro you add to the ambient sounds as you place stations and new tube lines.

Finally, there are games where sound is your main way of navigating the world. Games like The Vale and Frequency Missing can be played with just sound. This not only offers an accessible experience to those without sight but a chance to engage with a virtual world using just our hearing.

This list includes 45 games from the last 20 years, with 1,566 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to play with audio.


 

The Unfinished Swan

Release Date: 16/10/2012

Platforms: PS Vita, PS3 and PS4

The Unfinished Swan invites you to explore a world by splashing paint on it. The tactile experience leads you into a fairy tale about an unfinished painting that leads a child back to his parent.

Overboard

Release Date: 02/06/2021

Platforms: Android, PC, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

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...

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...

Super Mario Odyssey

Release Date: 27/10/2017

Platforms: Switch

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Mario has stared in running and jumping Super Mario games on Nintendo hardware since the Nintendo Entertainment System in the 80's. The formula remains unchanged. Explore a level, jump on enemies, collect coins and get to the flag at the end to inch...

Osu!

Release Date: 16/09/2007, updated in 2021

Platforms: Mac, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Osu is a rhythm action game where you tap the screen in time to the music similar to the Elite Beat Agents games. This starts as a simple challenge but develops in speed and complexity. At higher levels the games is an esport with people competing to...

Sea of Thieves

Release Date: 20/03/2018

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

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Sea of Thieves is an online game where you are a pirate searching for treasure and adventure. Cast into a large open sea you work with other online players to crew your ship and find treasure. The game has a main story but really focuses on creating...

Rainbow Billy

Release Date: 05/10/2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

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...

Fe

Release Date: 16/02/2018

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

You play a fox in a magical fairy tale forest. The world extends in front of you in stylised form, with trees, mountains and streams glistening with sparkles of life. You run, jump, climb and dip your paws in every aspect of the world. But it’s the...

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...

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

Release Date: 19/11/2016, updated in 2017

Platforms: PS3 and PS4

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is an action-adventure game set several years after the events of Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. You play Nathan Drake, a happily married former treasure hunter coaxed out of retirement by his brother. This leads into...

Blind Drive

Release Date: 10/03/2021

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Blind Drive is a driving adventure game you play with audio rather than visuals. You are Donnie and are in a scientific study that has got out of control. You find yourself cuffed to the wheel of a car driving blindfolded against traffic. It's tongue in...

Bit Trip (Series)

Release Date: 28/04/2009, updated in 2018

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS3, PS4, Switch, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360 and iOS

Bit Trip (Bit.Trip) is a series of games with a focus on simple game-play, retro visuals and chip-tune music. The games range from pong to platforming but each one requires you to play in time to the music.

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

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

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

This is a dark fantasy adventure, drawing on Norse and Celtic mythology, where you play a young female Pict warrior, Senua. You explore and fight your way to Helheim to rescue the soul of her dead lover. As you play, though, you hear multiple voices in...

The Last Of Us

Release Date: 14/06/2013

Platforms: PS3 and PS4

Skill Rating: 16+ year-olds

You play a father, Joel, whose daughter was killed during the early stages of a deadly fungal outbreak. It’s now 20 years later, and he has clearly suffered from the loss. When Joel is given charge of a girl, Ellie, about the same age his daughter...

Webbed

Release Date: 09/09/2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Webbed is a running and jumping game with a twist. You play a spider who can make webs, swing, climb and all the while create music as she goes. It follows the story of our happy little spider on an adventure to save her boyfriend from a big dumb...

Fortnite

Release Date: 25/07/2017, updated in 2018

Platforms: Android, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Fortnite (sometimes misspelled Fortnight) rose to popularity via its Battle Royale mode where 100 players fight against each other in online battles to the death. While they play, using shooting, evasion and building skills to survive, a storm is...

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...

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...

Mini Motorways

Release Date: 04/03/2019

Platforms: Mac, PC, Switch and iPhone, iPad

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Mini Motorways is by the same developer as Mini Metro but tasks you with planning a road network rather than subway. You lay down roads, traffic lights and motorways to ensure enough cars can get to the buildings that pop up in your city as time passes....

My Friend Peppa Pig

Release Date: 22/10/2021

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

Skill Rating: 3+ year-olds

My Friend Peppa Pig is a narrative role-play game. It recreates the TV show Peppa Pig and features a few of the voice actors from the programme. Unlike the show, you are in the cartoon, controlling a character you create. You play with Peppa and her...

Inside

Release Date: 29/06/2016, updated in 2018

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

Inside is from the same developer as Limbo. As such, you play another boy in a dark dream-light and horrific world. Here though, it's more modern-day and realistic.

Limbo

Release Date: 05/06/2013, updated in 2015

Platforms: Android, PS Vita, PS4, Wii U, Xbox One and iOS

Control a small boy as he runs, jumps and climbs through a dark, silhouetted forest that clanks and hums with foreboding. As the age-rating suggests, he is killed in all manner of gruesome ways. But this is not without reason. Rather than violent...

Frequency Missing

Release Date: 07/11/2018

Platforms: Android and iOS

This is a point and click adventure. You play young radio reporter Patricia who has just started her first job at a radio station. However, strange things are happening. Richard, her friend who got her the job has vanished and someone is tampering with...

Kine

Release Date: 19/10/2020

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

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Kine is a 3D puzzle game where you control three robot instruments: Roo, the accordion; Quat, the drum; and Euler, the trombone. To help them become a band, you solve puzzles that involve their different abilities in various ways.

Dance Central 3 (Series)

Release Date: 04/11/2010

Platforms: Oculus, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Dance Central is a dancing rhythm game you play by moving your body in front of the Xbox Kinect camera. The focus on full body movement celebrates accurate, well-timed and energetic moves. As opposed to Just Dance's rough choreography, Dance Central...

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...

Wandersong

Release Date: 27/09/2018, updated in 2019

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

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

In Wandersong you play a bard on a quest to gather parts of a song. Uniquely, you interact with the environment and inhabitants by singing. Controlled by one of the direction sticks, you can access different notes on the coloured ‘Song Wheel’. This...

Monomals

Release Date: 01/11/2019

Platforms: iPhone, iPad

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

This is a game about fishing and music. You drop your line into the water, catch a fish and make music along the way. There are different animal DJ's to choose, each with a different sound and 21 different underwater courses to fish in.

Pitch Black: A Detective's Demise

Release Date: 26/10/2020

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Pitch Black: A Detective's Demise is an adventure game set in a technological noir-detective world. You play using sound alone which offers voice acting and environmental sound effects to enable you to navigate.

Rez Infinite (Series)

Release Date: 11/01/2002, updated in 2020

Platforms: Android, Oculus, PC, PS2, PS4 and Xbox 360

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Rez is a shooting game where you fire musical energy rather than bullets. As you guide a figure through the darkness of space you bring down enemies in time with the music. Rez is novel for its use of music and vibration feedback to create a sense of...

A Blind Legend

Release Date: 07/04/2016

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

A Blind Legend is an adventure game that is played without graphics. You use headphones to play this game. You play Edward Blake, a blind knight who is guided by his daughter Louise. You use the audio based interactions to find your way, avoid traps and...

Eloh

Release Date: 11/10/2018

Platforms: Android and iOS

Eloh is a puzzle game with an unusual dual focus. You may start playing to solve the puzzles, but it soon draws you in to appreciate and take time over the rhythms you create in doing so. It creates a low pressure puzzle with a meditative feel.

Here Kitty!

Release Date: 04/05/2020

Platforms: iOS

Skill Rating: 4+ year-olds

Here Kitty! is a real-world hide and seek game you play by hiding your phone. It's from the same team behind Heads Up. When the child calls out or gets near the phone makes cat noises to give them clues to find it. When it's...

Obakeidoro

Release Date: 29/08/2019

Platforms: Switch

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Obakeidoro is a hide and seek adventure game. You play with up to four people, three are humans hiding from the other player who uses a monster to chase them down. The humans have 3 minutes to work together to get away.

The Vale: Shadow of the Crown

Release Date: 19/08/2021

Platforms: PC and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

The Vale: Shadow of the Crown is an audio-based role-play adventure where you play Alex, a blind princess. After your brother takes his place as king, you are made warden of a small castle on the outskirts of the kingdom. Without sight from birth and...

140

Release Date: 16/10/2013, updated in 2020

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch, Wii U and Xbox One

140 is a sliding, rolling and jumping game where you control a changing geometric shape to traverse a minimalist world. It's challenging for the timed jumps and reactions but keeps distractions to a minimum with its abstract colorful graphics.

Heartbeat: Regret

Release Date: 23/08/2021

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Heartbeat: Regret is a horror rhythm-typing game. It's a tough game where you are hunted in a mansion by a dark monster. Unusually, you need to press buttons in time with the audible heart beat to move around and then type directions to take specific...

Swordy Quest

Release Date: 10/12/2020

Platforms: iOS

Swordy Quest is a role-play game where you craft, gather and hunt your way through a fantasy world that gradually unlocks over time. What's unusual is the simple interface that creates an accessible way for anyone to experience the surprisingly deep...

The Spirit and the Mouse

Release Date: 26/09/2022

Platforms: PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

The Spirit and the Mouse is a puzzle game where you play a mouse with electrical powers who solves people's problems. You overhear conversations between townsfolk and use these hints as you explore and then solve simple puzzles to help them out of their...

Planet of the Eyes

Release Date: 24/08/2015, updated in 2017

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Planet of the Eyes is an atmospheric running and jumping game where you play a robot stranded on a mysterious planet. You progress by well timed jumps and puzzle solving to traverse a fantastical planet with a dark secret.

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.

Subscribe to our free newsletter

Subscribe
PlayStation
Carina Initiatives
Xbox
YouTube
Facebook
Twitter
Discord
Contact Us
About