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Wake Up Your Emotions

Video games are known for high-octane, adrenaline-fuelled entertainment, but there are many that address the player’s emotions as much as their dexterity. Often overlooked by younger or more competitive players, these experiences can provide a helpful variety in the diet of games your family enjoys.
The games selected below create emotionally rich spaces in which to explore scenarios with feelings rather than facts. In some games this is achieved with beautiful or soothing interactive visuals; others create charged relationships and settings that invite players to take a role in processing these emotions.

This list includes 62 games from the last 22 years, with 1,243 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to engage your emotions.

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, Brain Game, Creative, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Platform, Point-and-Click, Puzzle, Rhythm, Role-Play, Shooting, Simulation, Sports, Stealth, Strategy and Traversal
Total Likes: 1,243
 

 

Iris and the Giant

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Release Date: 27/02/2020, updated in 2020

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Genres: Narrative, Puzzle and Strategy

Accessibility: 36 features

Pieces: Cards

Developer: Louis Rigaud (@LouisRigaud_)

Players: This is a single-player game

Iris and the Giant is a narrative strategy card game about a young girl named Iris who braves an imaginary world to tackle her inner demons and face her fears. It's a game about depression and anxiety and shows Iris coping with her life with escapism,...

The Unfinished Swan

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 16/10/2012

Platforms: PS Vita, PS3 and PS4

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Accessibility: 22 features

Developer: Giant Sparrow (@GiantSparrow)

Players: This is a single-player game

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.

Florence

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 14/02/2018, updated in 2020

Platforms: Android, Switch and iOS

Genres: Narrative

Developer: Mountains Games (@MountainsGames)

Players: This is a single-player game

This is a little puzzle game that tells the story of a relationship, following the usual stages of loneliness, meeting, dating, falling for and moving in with another person. At first, the puzzle interactions seem trivial and the game doesn’t change...

Journey

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 11-16 year-olds

Release Date: 14/03/2012, updated in 2019

Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4 and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Open World, Platform and Puzzle

Accessibility: 8 features

Developer: That Game Company (@ThatGameCompany)

Players: You can play this by yourself or as a 2-player online game

Journey is an adventure game set in a desert. Exploring the eerie sand-scape, you discover a world abandoned by the race that created it. The sense of space and scale evokes feelings of aloneness and being lost. But then the game pairs you with other...

Rainbow Billy

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 8-12 year-olds

Release Date: 05/10/2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Platform and Rhythm

Accessibility: 32 features

Developer: We Are Mana Void (@WeAreManaVoid)

Players: This is a single-player game

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...

Planet of Lana

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Release Date: Coming soon

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

Genres: Adventure, Platform and Puzzle

Accessibility: 1 feature

Developer: Wishfully Games (@Wishfully_Games)

Players: This is a single-player game

Planet of Lana is an adventure where you play a young girl Lana and her loyal animal friend Mui, on a rescue mission. Set on a planet under siege from cold machines and unfamiliar creatures. Rather than the war, though, this is a game about the vibrant...

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Release Date: 12/08/2015, updated in 2016

Platforms: Mac, PC and PS4

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Open World

Accessibility: 16 features

Developer: Chinese Room (@ChineseRoom)

Players: This is a single-player game

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture lands you in a fictional deserted English village in 1984. As you walk the streets of another era you discover bright human forms who re-enact events like a radio play. Through their eyes, you see a web of fear,...

Night in the Woods

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 10/01/2017, updated in 2017

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

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Accessibility: 23 features

Developer: Night In The Woods (@NightInTheWoods)

Players: This is a single-player game

Night in the Woods follows college dropout Mae Borowski returning home to the crumbling former mining town of Possum Springs. But the place is different now her friends have grown and changed. There’s something suspicious happening in the nearby...

Abzu

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 02/11/2016, updated in 2018

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure

Accessibility: 6 features

Developer: Giant Squidology (@GiantSquidology)

Players: This is a single-player game

Abzu is an adventure in a lush underwater world. You descend into the heart of the ocean to find ancient secrets and encounter majestic creatures. This combines the beautiful weightlessness of diving with an ancient story of meaning and place in the world.

Signs of the Sojourner

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 14/05/2020

Platforms: Mac, PC, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Accessibility: 31 features

Pieces: Cards

Developer: Echodog Games (@EchodogGames)

Players: This is a single-player game

Signs of the Sojourner, an introspective narrative where you interact with characters by solving puzzles with cards that represent emotions. It's a coming-of-age story set in the near-future and explores how relationships form, break, and mend in the...

Concrete Genie

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 20/08/2019

Platforms: PS4

Genres: Action, Adventure, Creative, Narrative and Puzzle

Accessibility: 14 features

Developer: Pixelopus (@Pixelopus)

Players: This is a single-player game

Concrete Genie is a running and jumping game about a young boy, who is isolated and bullied, in this exploration platform game with a twist. Using motion controls and buttons you can draw beautiful graffiti on the buildings, which come to life. These...

Shady Part of Me

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 10/12/2020

Price: 66% off

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: Shady Part Of Me (@ShadyPartOfMe)

Players: This is a single-player game

Shady Part of Me is a narrative platform game where you play as a young girl and her shadow. You help her overcome emotional struggles through solving 2D and 3D puzzles. The game world is based within the young girl's dreams. The young girl is afraid of...

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

Content Rating: PEGI 18

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

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting and Narrative

Accessibility: 21 features

Developer: Ninja Theory (@NinjaTheory)

Players: This is a single-player game

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...

What Remains of Edith Finch

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Release Date: 18/04/2017, updated in 2017

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

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: Giant Sparrow (@GiantSparrow)

Players: This is a single-player game

Edith Finch is the surviving member of the Finch family, who seem to have died from a curse. In first-person perspective, you return to the family’s coastal home to learn about each relative’s final hours by exploring their rooms in turn.

Celeste

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 23/01/2018, updated in 2018

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

Genres: Narrative, Platform and Traversal

Accessibility: 27 features

Developer: Exok Games (@Exok_Games)

Players: This is a single-player game

This is a platform game that requires players to use jumping and climbing moves to ascend an increasingly challenging two-dimensional mountain. You play Madeline, who is, perhaps unsurprisingly, haunted by self-doubt at the task in hand. She presses on...

Life Is Strange (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 18

Release Date: 19/01/2016

Price: 60% off

Platforms: Android, PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and iOS

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

Accessibility: 17 features

Developer: DONTNOD Ent (@DONTNOD_Ent)

Players: This is a single-player game

This is a click/tap-to-move adventure where you play a student at high school in a sleepy American town. Despite the idyllic setting, you have a foreboding premonition of a disastrous storm. Along with this prophetic vision, you discover the ability to...

Sky Children of the Light

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 18/07/2019

Price: Free

Platforms: Android, Switch and iOS

Genres: Action, Open World and Simulation

Developer: That Game Company (@ThatGameCompany)

Players: You can play this by yourself or as a 8-player online game

Sky Children of the Light (Sky Children of Light) is a huge open-world online game designed to create altruism between players. From the developer of Flower and Journey, it takes you on a social adventure in an ever-expanding world with up to 8 other...

Assemble With Care

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 6-9 year-olds

Release Date: 19/11/2019

Platforms: PC and iPhone, iPad

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: Us Two Games (@UsTwoGames)

Players: This is a single-player game

From the makers of Monument Valley, this puzzle game is a unique way to consider how physical objects become meaningful and hold our memories. You play a restorer who repairs people's favourite possessions: from family heirlooms to broken statues to...

The Last Of Us Part II

Content Rating: PEGI 18

Skill Rating: 16-18 year-olds

Release Date: 19/06/2020

Price: 67% off

Platforms: PS4

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative, Role-Play, Shooting and Stealth

Accessibility: 48 features

Developer: Naughty Dog (@Naughty_Dog)

Players: This is a single-player game

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...

Gris

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 06/10/2019

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

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Platform

Accessibility: 14 features

Developer: Nomada Studiobcn (@NomadaStudiobcn)

Players: This is a single-player game

Gris is a platform game where you guide a young girl through a crumbling world. Through beautiful metaphoric landscapes and soaring music, the game touches on emotions of loss and longing but doesn’t resolve to a firm narrative. Although not hugely...

Horace

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 18/07/2019, updated in 2020

Platforms: PC and Switch

Genres: Adventure and Platform

Accessibility: 6 features

Developer: Horace Dev (@HoraceDev)

Players: This is a single-player game

Horace is a platform adventure full of nostalgic pop-culture references and British humour. You run and jump through a funny and heartfelt story told by Horace, the game's charming robot protagonist. Adopted by a wealthy family for reasons unknown,...

Feather

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Release Date: 05/04/2019

Price: 55% off

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

Genres: Open World and Simulation

Accessibility: 23 features

Developer: Samurai Punk (@SamuraiPunk)

Players: You can play this by yourself or as a 4-player online game

This game brings you, as a bird, to a beautiful island. You can explore freely, collecting items and soaring on the breeze. Often, other players will join you to create a flock of birds to fly together, making music on the wind. Communication is kept to...

The Last Guardian

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 28/10/2016

Platforms: PS4

Genres: Action, Narrative, Platform and Simulation

Developer: Sony Japan Studio (@SonyJapanStudio)

Players: This is a single-player game

The Last Guardian is a running, jumping and exploring adventure about a boy who befriends a giant half-bird, half-mammal creature, Trico. You work together to navigate the world, solve puzzles and reach new heights. Unusually, you have to build trust...

My Child Lebensborn

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 08/05/2018, updated in 2021

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

Genres: Narrative, Point-and-Click, Puzzle and Role-Play

Accessibility: 22 features

Developer: Sareptastudio (@Sareptastudio)

Players: This is a single-player game

You nurture a Lebensborn child in Norway after World War II who faces a hostile community because they’ve been born to parents of both occupied and occupying forces. With meagre resources yourself, you must feed, clothe and bathe the child, but more...

To The Moon

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 10/11/2011, updated in 2020

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Accessibility: 14 features

Developer: Reives Free Bird (@Reives_FreeBird)

Players: This is a single-player game

To the Moon is a story-adventure following two doctors trying to fulfil a dying man's last wish to go to the moon. With only a few ways to interact with the game, you control the doctors, exploring and solving puzzles to reconstruct the dying man's...

The Cost of Recovery

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC and Switch

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Accessibility: 35 features

Developer: Off The Btn Track (@OffTheBtnTrack)

Players: This is a single-player game

The Cost of Recovery is a narrative adventure where you play as four different people, one of whom has a stroke. How this impacts each of them is experienced first hand. Can they all get through this together or will everything start to fall apart?

Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Release Date: 07/08/2013, updated in 2015

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, PS3, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Action, Adventure, Platform and Puzzle

Developer: Starbreeze AB (@StarbreezeAB)

Players: You can play with 1 to 2 players in the same room

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is an action-adventure game where you control two brothers at the same time with a single controller. After their mother passes away, they must find some water from the Tree of Life to save their father. The controls weave...

The First Tree

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 11/10/2018

Price: 80% off

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

Genres: Narrative, Open World, Platform and Puzzle

Developer: David Wehle (@DavidWehle)

Players: This is a single-player game

The First Tree is an exploration narrative game. In a dream, you explore a forest wilderness as a mother fox looking for her cubs. Simultaneously, you revisit childhood memories in spoken reflection from two lovers remembering the dream and their...

When The Past Was Around

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 22/09/2020, updated in 2020

Price: 40% off

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

Genres: Adventure, Point-and-Click and Puzzle

Accessibility: 9 features

Developer: Mojiken Studio (@MojikenStudio)

Players: This is a single-player game

When The Past Was Around is a short adventure puzzle game, where you point and click on items to gather clues, unlock doors and unraveling the secrets of its silent narrative. Without any words it tells the tale of a young woman, Eda, and her love, the...

My Brother Rabbit

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 21/11/2018

Price: 90% off

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

Genres: Narrative, Point-and-Click and Puzzle

Developer: Artifex Mundi (@ArtifexMundi)

Players: This is a single-player game

My Brother Rabbit is a hand-drawn hidden-object puzzle game about an ill sister. As her plight is told through water-colour animation, you play her brother's rabbit and unfold a parallel story in a fantasy world.

Half Past Fate (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Release Date: 12/03/2020

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

Genres: Narrative, Point-and-Click and Puzzle

Developer: Serenity Forge (@SerenityForge)

Players: This is a single-player game

Half Past Fate is a romantic comedy adventure. You explore the lives of six different modern day characters and their romantic relationships over eight hours, eight days, and finally eight years later. It's a point-and-click adventure where you explore...

As Dusk Falls

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Release Date: 23/07/2020, updated in 2022

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

Genres: Action, Adventure and Narrative

Accessibility: 23 features

Developer: Int Night (@Int_Night)

Players: You can play this by yourself or as a 8-player online game

As Dusk Falls is an interactive Drama following two families that intertwine with each other over thirty years, set in Arizona. You can play on your own, but it's best in a group of up to 8 players who use a smartphone app to make choices, like PlayLink...

Tree

Release Date: 13/08/2018

Price: Free

Platforms: PC

Genres: Narrative

Accessibility: 11 features

Players: This is a single-player game

Tree is a short 15 minute game that tells the story of a boy who plants a small tree. You control the planting, watering and how the tree grows each season. As you do this the years pass and the boy...

Last Day of June

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 31/08/2017

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Switch

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: Ovosonico (@Ovosonico)

Players: This is a single-player game

Last Day of June is a game about a couple called Carl and June, who suffer a tragedy when a car accident takes June's life and leaves Carl in a wheelchair. You control Carl, remembering life with June and discover that you can interact with her...

The Stillness of the Wind

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 07/02/2019

Platforms: Mac, PC, Switch and iOS

Genres: Narrative, Point-and-Click and Puzzle

Accessibility: 10 features

Developer: Stillness Game (@StillnessGame)

Players: This is a single-player game

In The Stillness of the Wind you are an old woman who looks after a dilapidated farm. Over the course of a few hours, no matter what your efforts, the farm falls apart as you learn about the woman’s family and have the chance to ruminate on her...

Where Cards Fall

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 15/09/2019, updated in 2021

Platforms: PC, Switch and iPhone, iPad

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Platform and Puzzle

Pieces: Cards

Developer: The Game Band (@TheGameBand)

Players: This is a single-player game

Where Cards Fall, from the same developer as Alto's Adventure, is an adventure where you build houses of cards to advance. In a beautifully hand-drawn world, you need to create pathways with the cards through the dreamlike...

Ete

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Simulation

Players: This is a single-player game

Ete (été, which means summer) is a gentle adventure where you discover memories by exploring with your camera, music and paint. The screen starts almost entirely blank, and as you move around and interact you create vivid colourful memories.

Love - A Puzzle Box Filled with Stories

Release Date: 21/10/2020

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Narrative, Point-and-Click and Puzzle

Accessibility: 9 features

Developer: Rocketship Park (@Rocketship_Park)

Players: This is a single-player game

Love - A Puzzle Box Filled with Stories is a puzzle game about regret. You interact with and explore a single apartment building. As you do you learn about the lives of the people that live there. You can manipulate the building to move floors between...

Papo and Yo

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 14/08/2012

Platforms: Mac, PC and PS3

Genres: Narrative, Platform and Puzzle

Developer: We are minority (@We_are_minority)

Players: This is a single-player game

Papo & Yo pits you as a young boy, Quico, exploring a Brazilian city slum. As you solve puzzles and perform well-timed jumps to progress through the city, you must also deal with a monster – both real and metaphorically representing your alcoholic...

Sunset

Release Date: 21/05/2015

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Role-Play

Developer: Tale Of Tales (@TaleOfTales)

Players: This is a single-player game

Sunset tasks you with cleaning a large apartment in a fictional 1970s South American city. But outside the apartment, there is unrest and rioting. The chaos of the country and the repetitive daily chores grate against one another to create a meditative...

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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