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Best Narrative Free Games

Narrative video games focus on telling a story about characters, worlds and themes. Learning from the power of books and films, these games string together interactions not for excitement or competition but for storytelling beats. The best examples intertwine gameplay and storytelling, rather than interspersing short films ("Cut Scenes") between levels.

Games can use Adventure, Action and Role-Playing to communicate elements of story to players. Less obviously, games can also communicate narrative through how they Simulate the world, what needs solving in Puzzles or even the Strategies players need to employ.

The narrative of video games is not usually told (link in books) or shown (like in films) but overheard. Half caught sentences from passing characters. The architecture of the buildings. The way that levers and buttons interact. How other characters (and the world itself sometimes) reacts to your presence. What is broken in the space the game creates, and how/if it can be fixed.

DetailsGenre Details

Era: 2007 - 2022
Total Games: 54
Total Likes: 529
 

 

Blaseball

Release Date: 20/07/2020

Platforms: Web

Blaseball is an online baseball simulation. Unusually though, it blends-in an absurd horror story where players are incinerated and the rules can change -- a little like the board game Blood Bowl. Players compete not so much to get their team to win,...

Tree

Release Date: 13/08/2018

Platforms: PC

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...

Destiny 2 (Series)

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Release Date: 09/09/2014

Platforms: PC, PS4, Stadia and Xbox One

Destiny is a shooting game set in space. You have to play online as it focuses on grand sci-fi adventures with other players. From the same developer, it takes Halo towards a bigger online role play experience.

Pokémon Cafe Mix

Skill Rating: 3+ year-olds

Release Date: 15/12/2020

Platforms: Android, Switch and iOS

Pokemon Cafe Mix is a puzzle game. Similar to the icon-connection challenge of Disney Tsum Tsum, you play as Eevee and delivering orders in a cafe by linking Pokemon icons in a ring. It's a low pressure puzzle with a swirl-to-connect interaction that is...

Penrose

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 01/09/2020

Platforms: Android, Web and iOS

Penrose is a text adventure, where you don't only read the story and choose its next step, but can go back into the text to change it in all sorts of mind-bending ways. As the develop describes it, "Penrose is a non-linear narrative adventure game about...

Genshin Impact

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 27/09/2020

Platforms: Android, PC, PS4 and iOS

Genshin Impact is a role-playing adventure set in a fantastical open world you explore by walking, climbing, swimming and gliding as necessary. Like the Zelda games, you can collect items, and craft new weapons. However, in this game to create a party...

Last Minute Love

Release Date: 27/12/2018, updated in 2020

Platforms: Mac, PC and Web

Last Minute Love is an adventure where you play an "old person" in a nursing home who is looking for love. This takes the dating simulator style of game in an unusual direction. You explore the home in your wheelchair, meet a quirky cast of people and...

Ghostopia (Roblox)

Release Date: 13/08/2020

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

Ghostopia is a multiplayer role play game where you own a haunted mansion. The aim is to develop, build and decorate your grand residence to attract a collection of powerful ghosts. It's a more ambitious game than others on Roblox, because the company...

Adventures With Anxiety

Release Date: 10/12/2019

Platforms: Web

Adventures With Anxiety is a mini-adventure where you play, as a red dog who is the inner protective voice of a young person. Your role is to guard them against danger, although as you do you cause them anxiety in different ways.

June's Journey

Release Date: 05/09/2019

Platforms: Android and iOS

June’s Journey is a puzzle game where you search for objects hidden amongst the scenery that help you solve a murder. You play as June, a 1920s detective investigating the recent murder of her sister and her husband. Finding objects quickly enough...

Ensamey (Dreams)

Skill Rating: 4+ year-olds

Release Date: 28/10/2021

Platforms: PS4 and PS5

Ensamey is a narrative game where you run and jump to explore a story told by a 4 year-old and their father. As the child tells the story, what they say and draw appears in the game for you to interact and play with.

Our Personal Space

Release Date: 14/02/2015

Platforms: Android, Mac and PC

Our Personal Space is a text adventure where, rather than surviving alien attack or harsh environments, it's your marriage that you are fighting for. You play a newly married doctor on a space colony and must decide how she spends her time, responds to...

Closed Hands

Release Date: 05/03/2021

Platforms: Mac and PC

Closed Hands is a text adventure game set in the lead-up and aftermath of a terror attack in a fictional UK city. You follow five core characters brought together by the same event. It's a branching story that you discover and influence as you read and...

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Release Date: 20/12/2011

Platforms: PC

Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) is a role-playing game played with hundreds of other players online, as well as complete single-player narrative-based experiences. It's set in the Star Wars galaxy thousands of years before the films. The game is a...

Grace's Diary

Release Date: 09/08/2016

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and Web

Grace's Diary is a role playing game where you play, Grace, who is concerned about her friend Natalie who's behaviour has changed since she started dating her current boyfriend. By experiencing the conversations first hand and making notes in your...

LOCK (Dreams)

Release Date: 17/10/2020, updated in 2021

Platforms: PS4 and PS5

LOCK is a puzzle game about escaping rooms. LOCK stands for Logic Operated Combination Keep, referring to a digital password protected door lock. You must discover secret four letter word clues by exploring each space, in order to unlock panels, collect...

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...

Orchids to Dusk

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Release Date: 03/12/2015

Platforms: PC

Orchids to Dusk is a short wandering adventure. You are an astronaut stranded on an alien planet, with only a few minutes of oxygen. You explore the world and discover fantastic gardens on the planet.

A Space for the Unbound

Release Date: Coming soon

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

A Space For The Unbound is an adventure about everyday life where you explore your location, chat with people and solve puzzles. Unusually, you do this by stepping into the mind of people you meet and helping them solve their stuck and knotted...

Argument Wars

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 16/09/2016, updated in 2020

Platforms: Android, Web and iOS

Pieces: Cards

Argument Wars is an adventure game where you play a lawyer in a U.S. Supreme Court. It's a card game that recreates constitutional arguments behind some important historical cases.

Cart Life

Release Date: 25/04/2019

Platforms: PC

Cart Life is a simulation game where you play one of three street vendors. You attempt to run their shop whilst looking after their health, interests, and families. It has simple visuals, but depicts the realities of the thin-end of life.

Samsara Room

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Release Date: 06/09/2013, updated in 2020

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Samsara Room is an abstract point-and-click puzzle-horror game. By solving the puzzles hidden throughout the room, you uncover an uneasy story about judgement and atonement told through the things you find.

The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit

Release Date: 26/06/2018

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is an adventure game set between Life Is Strange and Life is Strange 2. You play Chris Eriksen, a young boy who creates the superhero alter ego Captain Spirit to deal with the loss of his mother.

The Kingdom of Istyald

Release Date: 28/11/2020

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

The Kingdom of Istyald is a text adventure that takes you on a strange journey while also introducing Fantasy as a literary genre. As you play you not only meet fantastic creatures but meet its main tropes: Elves, Dwarves, Warlocks, Dragons. Whether...

The Snowgardens (Dreams)

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 14/07/2020, updated in 2021

Platforms: PS4 and PS5

The Snowgardens is a running, jumping and exploration game where you are a child stranded on a beautiful archipelago. Once the home to an ancient time-altering civilisation but now abandoned, leaving strange technology for you to operate to progress.

Depression Quest

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Release Date: 14/02/2013

Platforms: PC

Depression Quest is a narrative game about dealing with depression. You play the story of a someone suffering from depression and their attempts to deal with their condition. With emotive still images and atmospheric music that responds to your mood,...

Digital Compass

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Release Date: 07/08/2015, updated in 2019

Platforms: Web

Digital Compass is an adventure game set in a fictional fantasy town. You choose from a series of eight young characters facing tough decisions about civic life: social media, homework, popularity, sports and romance to name a few.

Eidolon

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Release Date: 01/08/2021

Platforms: Mac and PC

Eidolon is a narrative game where you slowly explore a massive, post-human Western Washington. Unlike other action-oriented adventures, here you navigate an open world without threat. It's simply been reclaimed by nature, so your task is to discover...

Plasticity

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 24/05/2019

Platforms: Mac and PC

Plasticity is a running and jumping puzzle game about a world overrun with plastic waste. You collect and recycle the plastic to transform your environment back to health. It's a short game designed to raise awareness of the long-lasting damage that...

Six Cats Under

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Release Date: 10/07/2020

Platforms: PC and Web

Six Cats Under is a cute point-and-click puzzle where you are a deceased cat-lady trying to rescue your herd of cats by directing them with your poltergeist powers. The challenge is that you can only move very small things, so have to get the cats...

Bad News

Release Date: 01/12/2019

Platforms: Web

Bad News is a role-play game about building a news media organisation. It's designed to highlight bias in the news by putting you in charge of a series of decisions to build a profitable company. All you do is answer questions, but as you do the...

Evergreen Blues

Release Date: 20/02/2020

Platforms: Mac and PC

Evergreen Blues is a rhythm narrative game where you and a friend build lyrics to a song in real time. You select the words and timing and the game puts them together into lines of a song. What's unexpected and unusual about the game is that the songs...

Khan Academy Kids

Skill Rating: 2+ year-olds

Release Date: 12/08/2018

Platforms: Amazon Fire, Android and iOS

Khan Academy Kids is a free series of game activities staring bright animal characters. Matching animals and photos, solving maths, social scenarios or enjoying some art time, Khan Academy Kids provides a playful framework.

One Night Hot Springs

Release Date: 30/08/2018

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

One Night, Hot Springs is a narrative game where you play Haru, a 19-year-old transgender woman in Japan. She's invited by an old friend on an overnight trip to a hot springs resort. You make dialogue and interactive choices as you discover that Haru is...

The War to End All Wars (Dreams)

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Release Date: 14/02/2021

Platforms: PS4 and PS5

The War to End All Wars is a point-and-click game set in a World War One battlefield visitor centre. However, as you interact with the exhibits you get taken back in time to live the experience through the eyes of a soldier. Unusually, it uses...

Dot's Home

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 22/10/2021

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Dot's Home is a narrative game where you play a black woman in Detroit exploring the impact of racism in the past and the results of it today. You travel through time and interact with the characters you meet, learning about redlining, gentrification...

Immigration Nation

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Release Date: 31/07/2018, updated in 2020

Platforms: Android, Web and iOS

Immigration Nation is a strategy game about guiding newcomers to the country along their path to citizenship. You are in charge of Immigration Bay with an inflow of boats, each with their own story to understand.

Karawan

Release Date: 04/10/2021

Platforms: Mac and PC

Karawan is a meditative puzzle game where you journey to escape a desolate, crumbling world. It requires significant route-planning strategy, as you work to find optimum path to gather resources without running out of food. The novelty is extended by...

Sequence Storm

Release Date: 21/12/2018

Platforms: PC

This is a rhythm game where you press buttons in time with the music to score points. It sounds simple, but similar to games like Guitar Hero, it soon gets more complex. Unusually the rhythm play has a futuristic racing story.

Art's Dream (Dreams)

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 11/02/2020, updated in 2021

Platforms: PS4 and PS5

Art's Dream is an adventure game featuring different game styles, including running and jumping, combat and puzzle solving. It's particularly unusual as it has music threading through it like a musical. You play as Art, a depressed double bass player,...

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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