Abzu is in These Lists
In addition to the similar games listed above, which have been linked to this game specifically in the database, you may find games with a similar theme to Abzu in the following lists:
These games offer ways to consciously step outside the day's stresses and pressures to create space for self-care. This may be to distract yourself with calming unpressured tasks or to visit a world that is tranquil and relaxing or maybe just spend time reflecting on your emotions in a safe space.
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.
Video games are not often used in mature cultural spaces. We expect to find them in bedrooms, living rooms, the chip shop and the motorway services. But we don't expect to find them in arts festivals, church services or park gatherings.
Over the years Andy Robertson (@GeekDadGamer) has worked to cross this line, brining video games to be a central part of aspects of culture usually reserved for more weighty or serious things.
This has sometimes been to great outside video game experiences, with games like That Dragon Cancer
and Jesus Run, at the Greenbelt arts festival. Other times he has set-up unusual video games like Joust Mania
, in local parks. Then he has worked with the Church of England to run acts of worship in Exeter Cathedral where a video game like Flower
are a central element.
Church services integrated with video game:
Video game at Greenbelt art festival:
Video game devotions and discussions:
It’s easy to assume that video games are all about building big cities or running successful economies. There are, however, many games that offer quite the reverse. These games encourage players to consider the impact of their actions on the environment, as well as their interconnectedness to the world in which they live.
The games in this list take inspiration from Alenda Chang’s Playing Nature book
. They offer a chance to consider play from an ecological perspective. As she quotes, “games of environmental responsibility animate our capacity to respond, to affect and be affected, to engage with others: other species, other people, and the otherness of our own planet.”
This might be how a game like Terra Nil
makes the land itself a character in the experience. Or it can be how a game like Eco
establishes the connection between your actions and the other aspects of the environment. Other games, like The Wandering Village
underline how our location in the world impacts on us and others. One family told us about Final Fantasy 7 Remake's
commentary on corporations and ecology. Then there are games of dire warning that let us step into a future where humanity is all but disconnected from the wider environment and hangs on just by a thread.
Other games let us experience our connection to the environment by adventuring in it. From getting lost in Shadow of the Colossus
to finding our way in Journey
, games underline the importance of the spaces in which we play. Experiences like Cloud Gardens
or Viva Pinata
extend this by using play to put us in charge of tending to the natural world. Games like Eastshade
or The Long Dark
invite us to linger in these places and gain an understanding that is crucial to our survival.
Video games aren't high on the list of most people's spiritual spaces. However, many games offer experiences that invite you to explore buildings, worlds, cities and the countryside full of potential for spiritual reflection.
Games offer a unique way to encounter what is beyond us: other people, the world and possibly even the divine. They include themes of hope, loss and love. They invite us to reconsider how we see the outsider and the marginalised. They offer a chance for response and emotion to grow.
The games in this list have been the subject of a series of articles I have written about video games and faith. Firstly, from 2013-2015 for ThirdWay
magazine, and more recently for Youth and Children's Work
These are two publications for Christian audiences, that have invited me to shed light on what a range of video games might mean for those communities. I aim to make connections with faith, the bible and the experience of these video games. This is one way to interpret them which of course invites further and possibly counter interpretations from other perspectives.
| Bury Me My Love
| Wilmot's Warehouse
| Uncharted 3
| Alan Wake
| This War of Mine
| A Dark Room
| Altos Adventure
| A Year Walk
| Bioshock Infinite
| The Last of Us
| Disney Infinity
| Everybody's Gone to the Rapture
| That Dragon Cancer
| Spec Ops The Line
| Papo and Yo
We've worked with the Mermaids charity to find games that create space for gender identity including trans, non-binary, gender diverse perspectives. Mermaids
has been supporting trans, non-binary and gender-diverse children, young people, and their families since 1995.
The games in this list offer a chance to play as a wide range of genders as well as assigning various roles to characters regardless of their identity.
Some games, like Animal Crossing
, offer a chance to step out of the common binary choices and instead play as a character without having to define a specific gender identity. Other games, like A Fold Apart
, allow players to combine genders, roles, careers and relationships as they want. Then there are games, like The Last Of Us II
, that include trans, non-binary, gender diverse characters.
The games in this list all offer space to consider these topics and themes through different lenses and experiences. They can provide parents, carers and young people with common (non-confrontational) ground and are a unique way to gain understanding of this complex area of life.
In a culture that often assumes that the route to happiness is with another person, it can benefit us to acknowledge that being alone is not always a bad thing. We teamed up with Courtney Garcia’s Screen Therapy channel
to curate a list of games that give us a chance to experience being alone in different ways.
Garcia’s Screen Therapy
project employs Positive Media Psychology research to highlight and interpret meaningful experiences with games and movies. “With mindfulness, there are even more benefits to gain from intentional consumption of media,” she says, “games can be tools we use to recover or grow, psychologically, and our time with them isn't wasted if they provide us insights or rest we need.”
This list was inspired by the experience of playing the unusually solitary (and long) game The Longing
and the Twitter thread
that followed. In it, you spend 400 elapsed days waiting for the King to wake up and living at a slow pace. The other games offer their own lens on loneliness and solitary seasons of life. These games offer us insight into the benefits of appreciating time alone, such as opportunities for self-reflection, self-discovery, and the chance to curate enriching experiences or environments for ourselves.
Some of the games, like Never Alone
and The Long Dark
place you in a harsh environment that emphasises your diminutive size when faced with the expanse of nature. Other games in the list, like Thomas Was Alone
and Bird Alone
offer you the chance to reflect on friendship and the need to nurture relationships. Then there are games we included like Shadow of the Colossus
that let you get lost in the vastness of its landscape. Finally, a few of the games like The First Tree
invite you to make a connection to other players, once you have come to terms with a journey on your own.
These games offer worlds you explore in unusual ways. Maybe it’s hard to put one foot in front of the other, or maybe you get a chance to climb and jump athletically. These games put you in touch what it’s like to move more easily or more difficulty than real life.
These games are perfect if you’ve never played one before, opening the door to the gaming world for non-gaming parents and carers. They are short, straightforward and easy to understand, so you don’t need to commit hours to learn to play them, and they are played on technology you probably already have in your pocket or in your home. They address mature themes such as love, hope, power, homelessness and even traffic planning by inviting you to interact and play a part in these worlds and stories.
We've found that it's not just parents who have enjoyed the way these games let them in on the world of gaming, but grandparents, uncles and aunts. In fact it's a great list for anyone who's never played a game and wants to know what all the fuss is about.
Video games offer an opportunity to inhabit another body. Whether we step into the powerful frame of a trained marksman or brave adventurer, while we play we have a different sense of our physicality.
This is not only an enjoyable way to escape the reality of daily life but a chance to reflect on and understand ourselves, and our bodies, better. Stepping into the shoes of a vulnerable, small or endangered character can help us understand for a short while some of what it is like to be someone else.
Whether this is into the awkward teenage years of Mord and Ben in Wide Ocean Big Jacket
, the grandparent-escaping Tiger and Bee in Kissy Kissy
, the fractured heartbroken body in Gris
or the haphazard movement of Octodad
we have a chance to reassess our own physicality and how we respond to and treat other people's physicality.
More specifically, to use body therapy language, games offer us a chance to discover the inviolability of our bodies, personal autonomy, self-ownership, and self-determination. In travel, as Andrew Soloman says, we go somewhere else to see properly the place where we have come from. In video games, we step into other bodies so we can better understand our own and those of the people around us.
In this series, we are learning how different aspects of video games work by playing games that offer an easy introduction to this one concept. This is designed for people new to gaming, and aims to identify games with the least barriers. In this entry we are looking at Adventure games
Adventure video games invite you to attempt dangerous or mountainous experiences. This is the hero's journey where you play a protagonist who must take on daring deeds to reclaim a precious item, get to the top of the mountain or go there and back again and survive the ordeal.
games offer exuberance and adrenaline, they focus on the mechanics of the fight rather than the narrative of the journey. Some combine the two with a campaign mode adventure and online pure shooting modes. Some adventure games also include Fighting
, Role Playing
. But to stay in the Adventure genre, the arc of the quest needs to be the main focus rather than play in arenas or rounds.
Adventure games that double down on the Narrative
of the characters and world expand the experience to include wider reflection, consequences and tensions as you would find in a novel.
There are many reasons, stages of life and circumstances that can leave us feeling isolated and lonely. Being unable to be in the same place as loved ones. Not understanding the modern world. Barriers of mobility or impairments. Social anxiety and other mental health issues.
Video games are one way that we can reconnect with each other, without needing to be in the same place. Finding games to play online with grandparents and carers is not only a good way to keep in touch but a lot of fun.
The games on this page are part of the PLAY&TALK Weekend
, which has launched in time for National Loneliness Awareness Week, aims to reduce feelings of isolation by getting people to talk with friends or family safely online. Backed by over 30 companies in the games industry, the Play&Talk weekend hopes to initiate 10,000 extra conversations across the UK through the power of games.
Co-operative: Some of the games are good ways to connect and play co-operatively online (like Feather, Overcooked 2, Ibb and Obb, Skylanders Children of Light).
Competitive: With some practice there are easy and fun online competitive games (like Tricky Towers, Videoball)
Asynchronous: Other games are a way to connect and play without being online at the same time (like Horizon Chase Turbo, Worms, Words With Friends, Wargroove, Animal Crossing).
Community: Then there are games that connect you with a wider player community in a gentle non-invasive way (like The First Tree, Journey, Lost Words, The Endless Forrest).
All the games have been select to be easy to play for new gamers and many of them have been used in a broad range of cultural settings, being incorporated into Cathedral services, arts festivals, well-being retreats and educational contexts.