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46 Great Games Like A Short Hike Games Rated PEGI 18 and Younger

Our experts have spent time searching for great games similar to A Short Hike and have found the following:

In A Short Hike you play penguin-like character Claire, who needs to climb a mountain in a beautiful national park to receive an important phone call. Presented in cute pixel graphics, the game invites you to explore the park, help other animals, find seashells and even buried treasure. In return you’re given greater stamina and tools with special powers so you can make it to the top of the mountain. And that’s just the start.

Unfortunately, A Short Hike is not available on Android, Xbox Series X|S or iOS. However, we recommend the following games that offer a similar experience or theme:

DetailsGame Details

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Release Date: 05/04/2019, updated in 2021

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure and Open World

Accessibility: 26 features

Developer: Adam Gryu (@AdamGryu)

Players: This is a single player game

Costs: Purchase cost

46 Hand Picked Games Like A Short Hike

These are our hand-picked games similar to A Short Hike. This doesn't use automatic matching, instead, we hand-pick games that are good to play if you have enjoyed A Short Hike. These selections also include games that offer a different experience but address a similar theme or topic.
 

Proteus

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 4-12 year-olds

Release Date: 30/01/2013

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS3 and PS4

Genres: Open World and Simulation

Accessibility: 3 features

Developer: A Twisted Tree (@ATwistedTree)

Players: This is a single player game

This game takes you to a pixelated island. As you explore you discover that your presence changes the seasons and time of day. Delving deeper, there are rudimentary interactions with the creatures that inhabit the land, and rain clouds that blow in from...

Lonely Mountains Downhill

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 10-16 year-olds

Release Date: 22/10/2019

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

Genres: Action, Open World, Racing and Sports

Accessibility: 17 features

Developer: Megagon inds (@Megagon_inds)

Players: This is a single player game

Race down a mountain on a bike. Make your way through thick forests, narrow trails and wild rivers. Race, jump, slide and try not to crash all the way from the peak to the valley. You choose your route to find the fastest way to the finish line.

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: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 2 players online

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...

Welcome to Bloxburg (Roblox)

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 01/11/2014

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

Genres: Open World, Role-Playing and Simulation

Developer: RBX Coeptus (@RBX_Coeptus)

Players: You can play this with 100 players online

Welcome to Bloxburg is a simulation Roblox game where you take on daily activities in a fictional city. Drawing on gameplay from The Sims, you care for your character and keep their mood positive, by building and customizing your house, learning skills...

Moonglow Bay

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Release Date: 07/10/2021

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

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Role-Playing and Strategy

Accessibility: 23 features

Developer: Coat Sink (@CoatSink)

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

Moonglow Bay is a role play game where you play a rookie angler. Unlike other slice-of-life games, fishing isn't tucked away as a side quest here, it's front and centre. Set along the Canadian coastline in the 1980's, you live in a fishing town that has...

Seasons

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC and PS5

Genres: Adventure and Narrative

Developer: Scav Studio (@ScavStudio)

Players: This is a single player game

Seasons is a narrative adventure where you take a bicycle road trip game. You play as a young woman leaving a secluded community, exploring the world for the first time. Collect artefacts and memories as you explore because soon, a mysterious cataclysm...

Fancade

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 4-10 year-olds

Release Date: 30/04/2020

Price: Free

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Action, Creative, Fighting, Puzzle, Racing and Shooting

Accessibility: 20 features

Developer: Martin Magni (@MartinMagni)

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

Fancade is a collection of simple games played on smartphones. It offers simple running, jumping, puzzle, shooting challenges depicted with simple pixel visuals. Like Roblox, these offer simple versions of other commercial games. Unlike Roblox, these...

Go Vacation

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 3-10 year-olds

Release Date: 01/10/2011, updated in 2018

Platforms: Switch and Wii

Genres: Action, Adventure, Open World and Simulation

Developer: Bandai Namco US (@BandaiNamcoUS)

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room

This is a resort exploration game where 50 mini-games can be discovered and played. The mini-golf, skating, surfing, volleyball, car racing, tennis and other games use the Wii and Switch motion-sensitive controllers and are simple fun for youngsters....

Sago Mini (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 2-5 year-olds

Release Date: 09/06/2017

Platforms: Amazon Fire, Android and iOS

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

Developer: Sago Sago Toys (@SagoSagoToys)

Players: This is a single player game

Sago Mini games are designed for 3-5 year old pre-school children. Like Toca Boca games for younger kids, they offer interactive storybook characters with light narratives and open-ended play. Superheroes, space explorers, boat...

Cozy Grove

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 19/03/2021

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

Genres: Narrative, Open World, Puzzle, Role-Playing, Simulation and Strategy

Accessibility: 22 features

Developer: Spry Fox (@SpryFox)

Players: This is a single player game

Cozy Grove is a life-simulation where you camp on a hand-drawn island. You play a scout and explore the ever changing island's forest to find secrets and help the local ghosts. Like Animal Crossing, it has a children's story-book look, but is a...

Pokemon Go!

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 06/07/2016

Price: Free

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Open World, Physically Active and Turn-Based

Accessibility: 16 features

Developer: Niantic Labs (@NianticLabs)

Players: You can play with 2 players in the same room and up to 20 players online

Pokémon Go is a game you play by walking outside. You play on a smartphone so it can use the GPS to locate, capture, battle, and train virtual creatures, called Pokémon, which appear as if they are in the player's real-world location.

The Gecko Gods

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC and Switch

Genres: Adventure, Open World, Platform and Puzzle

Accessibility: 34 features

Developer: Inresin (@Inresin)

Players: This is a single player game

The Gecko Gods is a puzzle game where you control a small lizard reptile exploring a world and solving puzzles. You interact with the flora and fauna, catch insects and visit other animals. Because you have sticky feet you can climb any surface.

A Rat's Quest

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure and Open World

Developer: Handy Games (@Handy_Games)

Players: This is a single player game

A Rat's Quest is a running, jumping, hiding adventure where you play a young male rat called Mat who lives in a burrow in an abandoned wine cellar. It's part platform game part Pixar story as you help Mat escape with his partner Nat. But out in the big...

Haven Park

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Release Date: 05/08/2021

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Genres: Creative, Narrative, Open World, Platform and Puzzle

Developer: Fabien Weibel (@FabienWeibel)

Players: This is a single player game

Haven Park is a strategy game where you build camping spots in a national park. You play Flint, who is repairing his grandma's park to attract new campers. It's an intricate open island that packs in plenty to discover. As a game made by one person,...

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...

Feather

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Release Date: 05/04/2019

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 with 4 players online

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...

Omno

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 29/07/2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Open World and Platform

Developer: Studio Inky Fox (@StudioInkyFox)

Players: This is a single player game

Omno is a running, jumping and surfing game where you explore an ancient fantastical world. As you explore you meet all manner of strange and wonderful lifeforms, from cute critters to enigmatic giants.

Rime

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 26/05/2017

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Open World and Puzzle

Developer: Tequila Works (@TequilaWorks)

Players: This is a single player game

Rime is an adventure on an island where you play a boy led a fox-like spirit as a guide. To progress through the beautiful environments you solve puzzles across five large levels. You can run, climb, carry objects, and push or pull larger objects across...

Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 28/03/2017

Platforms: PC and Switch

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Open World and Role-Playing

Developer: Castle Pixel (@CastlePixel)

Players: This is a single player game

Blossom Tales is an adventure game series where, like the Zelda series you explore an enchanted world, battle enemies and solve dungeons. It's a reimagining of the classic Zelda game, Link+to+the+Past.

Wind Peaks

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 29/07/2020, updated in 2021

Platforms: PC and Switch

Genres: Adventure, Point-and-Click and Puzzle

Developer: Actoon Studio (@ActoonStudio)

Players: This is a single player game

Wind Peaks is a puzzle game where you find hidden objects by clicking on objects. It's similar to the Where’s Wally books, but offers an ongoing narrative about children searching for treasure in a forest and campsite.

Naiad

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Adventure and Puzzle

Developer: Hi Warp (@HiWarp)

Players: This is a single player game

Naiad is a gentle adventure game where exploration is fuelled not by extreme distances, dangers or enemies, but by the simple joy of floating in rivers and pools. As a story about nature unfolds you control a nymph-like character who swims through...

Tunic

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Mac, PC and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Fighting, Platform, Puzzle and Role-Playing

Developer: Dicey (@Dicey)

Players: This is a single player game

You wake up on an island as a small fox, with no memory of how you got there. From a fixed overhead perspective, you push through trees, pick up weapons and learn new moves to discover an expanse of forests, caves and landscapes. Choose your own way...

Slash Quest

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Release Date: 02/10/2020

Platforms: iPhone, iPad

Genres: Action, Adventure and Fighting

Developer: M Gaia Studio (@MGaiaStudio)

Players: This is a single player game

Slash Quest is a fighting game where you control a talking sword rather than the character wielding it. You move by swinging left or right and pressing run to move forward. It's a simple mechanic that is intentionally unwieldily and used in ingenious...

The Garden Path

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Genres: Narrative, Open World and Simulation

Accessibility: 26 features

Developer: From Carrot Cake (@FromCarrotCake)

Players: This is a single player game

The Garden Path is a slice-of-life simulation game about the small pleasures of gardening. You tend to a world and make it your own through fishing, growing, trading and making new friends. As you do an adventure emerges.

Wide Ocean Big Jacket

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 07/02/2020

Platforms: Mac, PC, Switch and iOS

Genres: Narrative, Open World and Point-and-Click

Developer: Turn Follow (@_TurnFollow)

Players: This is a single player game

This is a game about camping. Or rather, it's a game about the conversations you have while you are camping. You follow 13-year-old teenage friends Mord and Ben who recently started dating. The camping trip is with Mord’s Uncle Brad and Aunt Cloanne.

Pupperazzi

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 8-13 year-olds

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC

Genres: Adventure, Open World, Puzzle and Shooting

Developer: Kit Fox Games (@KitFoxGames)

Players: This is a single player game

Pupperazzi is an adventure game where you explore an island to find and photograph all manner of canine friends. You interact with the world, climb, skate and explore to get the perfect angle on the perfect pup. It starts as a silly challenge but turns...

Super Mario Sunshine

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 10-14 year-olds

Release Date: 26/08/2002, updated in 2020

Platforms: Switch and Wii

Genres: Action, Open World, Platform, Puzzle and Simulation

Developer: Nintendo (@Nintendo)

Players: This is a single player game

Super Mario Sunshine is a running, jumping and water-shooting game. It follows Super Mario 64 as the second 3D Mario game. You play Mario, who is marooned on Isle Delfin, convicted of vandalism and graphite. You explore the island to visit other...

Zombie Run

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 27/02/2012, updated in 2019

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Action, Adventure, Narrative and Physically Active

Developer: Six To Start (@SixToStart)

Players: This is a single player game

Zombie Run is a combination of fitness app, radio play and zombie game. You choose the distance on the app, run in the real world and the narrative plays in your headphones.

AER Memories of Old

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 28/08/2019

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Narrative, Open World, Platform, Puzzle and Simulation

Developer: Forgotten Key SE (@ForgottenKeySE)

Players: This is a single player game

AER Memories of Old is an exploration game where you transform from a woman to a golden eagle at will. As Auk, your quest is to save the world by finding the lost keys and restoring balance.

Beyond Eyes

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 04/08/2015

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Puzzle and Simulation

Developer: Team 17 (@Team17)

Players: This is a single player game

Beyond Eyes is game about a blind girl, Rae, who uses her senses to visualize the world around her. As you play, the game only shows you parts of the world you can hear. This means you can see immediately around you, and further away if things are...

Inbento

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 12/03/2020

Platforms: Android, Switch and iOS

Genres: Puzzle and Turn-Based

Developer: Afterburn Games (@AfterburnGames)

Players: This is a single player game

Inbento is a food-themed puzzle game where you solve puzzles to prepare lunch boxes. As you complete each "bento" lunch box a story unfolds about the highs and lows of parenthood. There are over 100 fun puzzles, aesthetically served with traditional...

Lifeslide

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 9-14 year-olds

Release Date: 19/09/2019

Platforms: Apple TV, PC, iOS and iPhone, iPad

Genres: Narrative, Open World, Racing and Simulation

Accessibility: 26 features

Developer: Dream Teck Studio (@DreamTeckStudio)

Players: This is a single player game

Lifeslide is an adventure where you fly a paper place through an ever-changing landscape. It's a metaphorical journey through the stages of life as you learn to use eddies and up-drafts to soar higher and further.

Rudi Rainbow

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 4-6 year-olds

Release Date: 24/06/2017

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Adventure and Puzzle

Developer: Fox and Sheep (@_FoxAndSheep)

Players: This is a single player game

Rudi Rainbow is an adventure game where you play a rainbow who has lost his colours. It's designed for really young players and offers a combination of story-book narrative and light puzzles. Along the way you learn about the weather and space.

A Walk With Yiayia

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC

Genres: Adventure and Narrative

Developer: Trent Garlipp (@TrentGarlipp)

Players: This is a single player game

A Walk with Yiayia is an adventure game where you go on a walk with your Greek grandmother after she's lost her confidence from having a fall. You reassure her and connect with conversation and help her complete small quests in a relaxing neighbourhood.

Climber: Sky is the Limit

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Simulation and Sports

Developer: Art Games Studio (@ArtGamesStudio)

Players: This is a single player game

Climber: Sky is the Limit is a survival climbing adventure, where you scale the peaks of the highest and most famous mountains in the world. Plan the best route, select the correct equipment and avoid dangerous hazards as you ascend. It's a unique blend...

Despelote

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 6-12 year-olds

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC

Genres: Action, Adventure, Narrative, Simulation and Sports

Developer: Despelote Game (@DespeloteGame)

Players: This is a single player game

Despolete is a sports adventure where you play a child in school in Ecuador. All you want to do is play football. But you have to wait for the day to be over before you can play. The game is set in 2001, and Ecuador is within reach of qualifying for the...

Down in Bermuda

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Release Date: 14/01/2021

Platforms: Mac, PC, Wii U, Xbox One and iPhone, iPad

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

Developer: Yak and Co (@YakAndCo)

Players: This is a single player game

Down in Bermuda is a puzzle game where you are stranded on a set interconnected islands. You push, pull and manipulate objects to solve puzzles and explore the world. Each one you complete brings you closer to getting back home.

Dropsy

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 10/09/2015

Platforms: Mac and PC

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

Accessibility: 23 features

Developer: Tendershoot (@Tendershoot_)

Players: This is a single player game

Dropsy is an adventure video game where you move around and interact with the world by simply clicking. You play a clown called Dropsy in a surreal world. As you explore and interact with the environment, solve puzzles, and talk to characters you learn...

My Friend Peppa Pig

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 3-5 year-olds

Release Date: 22/10/2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Role-Playing

Accessibility: 24 features

Developer: Petoons (@Petoons)

Players: This is a single player game

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...

The Magnificent Trufflepigs

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 03/06/2021

Platforms: PC and Switch

Genres: Narrative and Simulation

Developer: Thunkd Games (@ThunkdGames)

Players: This is a single player game

The Magnificent Trufflepigs is a narrative game where you use a metal detector to explore an old farm. As you do you retread old relationships in the English countryside. You'll find and dig up treasures to share with your friend Beth over a...

The Walk

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Release Date: 11/12/2013

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Physically Active

Developer: Six To Start (@SixToStart)

Players: This is a single player game

The Walk is an adventure you play by walking in the real world. A device detonates in Inverness station, and you have a package that could save the world. To stay alive, you’ll need to walk the length of the UK.

Deep Time Walk

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 09/12/2016

Price: Free

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Narrative, Open World and Physically Active

Developer: Deep Time Walk (@DeepTimeWalk)

Players: This is a single player game

Deep Time Walk is a game where you go for a walk as you listen to a history of the Earth that's tied to each step. The game calculates your speed and distance to match your real-world progress and translates it to a journey across 4.6bn years of time,...

Takeshi and Hiroshi

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 6-12 year-olds

Release Date: 18/08/2020

Platforms: Mac, Switch and iPhone, iPad

Genres: Adventure and Role-Playing

Developer: Oink Gms (@OinkGms)

Players: This is a single player game

Takeshi & Hiroshi is a role-play adventure game about two brothers. Its unusual animation and light touch battles, where you chose your enemies rather than how to fight them, make it an ideal game to introduce the genre and for younger players.
...

Passage

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 01/01/2007

Price: Free

Platforms: Web

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: Jason Rohrer (@JasonRohrer)

Players: This is a single player game

Passage passage.toolness.org is a super-simple game from the same developer as One Hour One Life on the theme of a life well lived. Although just a few minutes long, it offers an unusual interactive metaphor for the...

Petting Zoo

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 2-5 year-olds

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Narrative, Puzzle and Rhythm

Developer: Fox and Sheep (@_FoxAndSheep)

Players: This is a single player game

Petting Zoo is a narrative game where you interact with hand-drawn animals to get them to do amazing and amusing things. It's ideal for very young players, but doesn't pander to simplicity. Each scene stretched reality in imaginative ways as you poke...

Lil Gator Game

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC and Switch

Genres: Adventure, Open World, Platform, Puzzle and Simulation

Developer: Lil Gator Game (@LilGatorGame)

Players: This is a single player game

Lil Gator Game is an adventure set on an island playground. You grapple with your floppy gator protagonist's unusual movement to help them explore the world as you bop cardboard baddies, climb mountain peaks, glide, fling and jump around. It's unlike...

7 Easier Games than A Short Hike

If you like the sound of A Short Hike but find it too complex or challenging, the games in this section offer a similar experience but with a lower Skill Rating required.
 

1 Game With More Documented Accessibility Features than A Short Hike

If you like the sound of A Short Hike but it doesn’t offer the accessibility you require, the games in this section offer a similar experience but with more Accessibility Features. You can view a full breakdown in our A Short Hike Accessibility Report.
 

A Short Hike 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 A Short Hike in the following lists:

Gaming 101: Open World Games

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 Open World games.

Video games create space in which to play. Open World games offer a space that is very large, and possibly unlimited. As opposed to games that funnel your movement in a particular direction to create a directed experience, Open World games let you wander in any direction.

These games populate their open worlds with architecture, characters, quests, items and discoveries. The appeal of these games is that when a particularly exciting moment of play occurs it hasn't been pre-ordained by the developer but has emerged from the interactions of the player with the game world.

Open World games come in many forms. Adventures and Role-Playing in large open spaces invite exploration and create a sense of grandeur. Simulation games that offer large explorable worlds offer a chance to experiment with how the games physics, political, economic or even religious models work at scale. Strategy games played in Open Worlds are a chance to innovate techniques that take advantage of the landscape and terrain in which you find yourself.
 

Find Calm From The Storm

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.
 

Fidget Toys

Fidget spinners burst into the hands of children a number of years ago. While that initial trend subsided, the interest and enjoyment of tactile objects to fiddle with are very much with us.

Fidget toys are like the yo-yo or Rubik's cube but without the focus on skill. The enjoyment comes from doing something that isn't learning or achieving anything. It's no surprise that there are a number of video games that have picked up on this style of play.

Some games, like The Longing, Animal Crossing and Adopt Me, simple slow down the need to progress, so all you do is check-in, fiddle around with the game world and then leave. Then there are other games, like Townscaper and Pok Pok Playroom, that let you craft your own structures but with none of the usual video game emphasis on score and winning. Other games, like Everything and Proteus, offer a huge world to poke and prod without getting embroiled with progression.

Even games that do offer a strong sense of story and development often include post-game play or side-quest distractions that are simply there for you to spend time fiddling with rather than winning or losing. Games like A Short Hike, Alba A Wildlife Adventure or even No Man's Sky.
 

Nurture Child-Like Imagination in 3-6 Year-Olds

These games are for children under seven years old, who will, with some help, discover activities they want to try that will expand their imaginations while establishing the role of your guidance and engagement as part of the gaming world as they grow up. The more open imagination of young children lends itself to games that offer an open world. Rather than forcing the player in a particular direction open world games let players explore wherever they want. The games here offer unusual and age-appropriate experiences that are often educational but keep the emphasis on the sheer joy of interactive play rather than hard learning.
 

Get Children Into Flying Things

The dream of being able to fly seems to be a universal human desire. It's not surprising then, that many video games are popular because they grant the player the ability to soar through the air.

These games can range from novel superpowers that let you swing, boost or bounce your way into the sky like Marvel's Spider-Man, to serious experiences that simulate the complexities of flying a jumbo jet in Microsoft Flight Simulator. Along with games where flying is front and centre, many other games offer nuanced flight as part of their experience, like Rocket League. There are other examples that use trajectory to get to hard platforms, like Ibb and Obb and other games like Slime Rancher where you can unlock a jetpack.

The games we have collected together in this list, enable you to experience flight in some way. Educationally, this isn't only a novelty to inspire other learning but offers an embodied appreciation of gravity, air currents, g-force, pitching, yawing and how materials respond at high speed.
 

Eggplant Podcast's Games of the Years

Eggplant: The Secret Lives of Games, is a podcast that offers a candid conversation with game creators that dives deep into the art, craft, and process of making games. It's an amazing insight into the mind of people who understand and highlight how game/play mechanics can do unexpected, magical and surprising things.

This is the list of games they have picked as their Game of the Year since 2018. These awards also include board games, escape rooms and game-like TV series. We have included video games here, where we have them on the database. (And in many cases have added video games to the database after listening to the show.)

It's hosted by:
  • Nick Suttner, an independent game writer/designer/consultant, who has worked on games like Celeste, Bloodroots, and Carto.
  • Andy Nealen, a game creator and scholar, artist and music maker, architect and structural engineer, and professor of cinematic arts and computer science at USC.
  • Zach Gage, who makes deep games that are easy to get into, like Really Bad Chess and SpellTower.
  • Douglas Wilson, who is a co-owner of Die Gute Fabrik, a games studio based in Copenhagen, Denmark. He has worked on Johann Sebastian Joust, Sportsfriends, and Mutazione.

The team is usually joined by Laura E. Hall for the game of the year episodes. She is an artist, writer, puzzle-maker, immersive environment and narrative designer who focuses on the playful intersections of arts, culture, and technology, especially in gaming.
 

Gaming 101: Indie Games

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 Indie Games.

These are games made by small studios or individual developers. This can mean that the art and production is simpler, but because of no company constraints these games are often the most inventive and enjoyable for families. They can take risks on strange ideas and push the boundaries of play in new directions.

The games in this list offer a range of acclaimed Indie games that are a good place to start. Because the games don't have big marketing budgets they are often off the radar for families.
 

Be A Good Neighbour

In this list, provided by the LTN (Love Thy Nerd) editors, we bring together video games that have the potential to offer more than entertainment. It starts with 12 with a challenge us to be a good neighbour, and follows with others added over time. LTN exists to be the love of Jesus to nerds and nerd culture, you can read more about them on their website.

"What if video games have more to offer than just an exciting diversion into a digital battlefield, fantasy war, or alien invasion? While these types of games are certainly the loudest and most financially successful, there are a growing number of games asking important questions about life, the human condition, and even God."

"Our list is not 'Christian' games, but rather a list of games that pose important spiritual questions to those who play them. These are games that provide us with the opportunity to consider what a truly 'spiritual' life looks like by encouraging us to have empathy for the suffering, love for our neighbours and our enemies, and an imagination vivid enough to contemplate a better world."

Journey's understated yet deep mythology, lack of guidance and mysterious ways it brings players together will have players thinking about the course of their own lives. Dropsy is, on the surface, a silly point-and-click adventure game about a creepy but misunderstood clown, dig deeper and you’ll see this a game that challenges players to love everyone, even their enemies. Kentucky Route Zero is at its core, about rediscovery, of adventure-game mechanics and modernist aesthetics, of a more spiritual outlook on the physical world.

Gris is a platformer about the stages of grief that highlights the indelible impact of our most sacred relationships. That Dragon, Cancer is a game where Ryan and Amy Green share their grief and their hope by drawing us not only into their lives but into the common grace of the Christian faith. Myst, one of the best selling titles of all time, is a puzzle game about the beauty and mystery of creation. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a game about the spiritual impact our most precious relationships have on us. Wandersong is a game about transforming the world with music. Heroism isn’t measured in bulk or recognition but in the melodic tones of compassion and kindness. The Last Guardian confronts us with our own self-centredness and challenges us to give rather than merely take.

Pyre is a game about mercy that deconstructs player’s perceptions of winning and losing, encouraging them to see and meet the needs of those who are oppressed. My Child Lebensborn is a game that challenges players to care for a child born into a fascist regime--this is a game about the power of empathy. Celeste strikes at the centre of what it means to be a person in all of our messy humanity a wonderful reminder that even when we fall, we are lifted up again through redemptive love, forgiveness, and grace—both for ourselves and for one another.
 

Play At Working

Video games and work don’t usually go together. Not, that is, unless you work in the video game industry. The Safe In Our World charity addresses this world of work and video games to foster positive mental health wellbeing and deliver support for players, developers, publishers and retailers.

Image 244“The worlds we create are a refuge for many,” they say about video games, to highlight the importance of also looking after those people who make these amazing spaces. They have some excellent resources available for free and global helplines for a range of emotions and stresses people might be feeling, not to mention some great training resources for companies. Most recent is their Level Up campaign that challenges businesses within the video games industry to unite and commit to change.

The games in this list offer space to reflect and escape work for a while. But not only to get some distance, but to play something that shines a light on why we do what we do. Some address the world of work directly, while others enable us to consider our choices about how we spend our working hours.

Whether it’s escaping for a lunchtime walk with A Short Hike. Trying to manage crunch time with Going Under, or not succumbing to Tom Nook’s invitation for ever bigger mortgages in Animal Crossing, there are lots of games that can help us find some balance.

Other games, like Coffee Talk and Neo Cab help us consider the people we serve at work. This might be conversations with customers, but also the other people we work with in the office or workplace we find ourselves in. Like the game Good Job encourages us to do.

Then there are games that make us aware of our co-workers. Whether it’s collaborating to identify and store stock in Wilmot’s Warehouse or getting the furniture into the van neatly in Moving Out, how we work together and treat the people around us is important.
 

Hope Through Play

Games that embed a sense of hope by playing them. Sometimes a hopeful story, sometimes a hopeful interaction, and sometimes just an uplifting aesthetic to spend time in. These are games that leave you with an uplifted spirit, maybe not immediately (like Horizon Zero Dawn) but by the time you have finished them.

There is something innocent and childlike in play, and video games each have a slice of that in different ways. Sometimes simple and sometimes complex, games can help us return to the hope we had as children, or call us on to the wisdom and perspective of older years.
 

Digital Nutrition

Jocelyn Brewer coined the phrase Digital Nutrition to introduce a way of thinking about technology that went beyond screen time worries, drug analogies and detoxes. Instead, she encourages us to think about the variety, context and patterns of digital consumption.

"Digital Nutrition is a guilt-free philosophy that guides you towards healthful technology habits and improving your digital literacy and wellbeing. Rather than digital detoxing and unplugging, Digital Nutrition is about intentional and intelligent use of devices and the conscious consumption of news, media and information."

I’ve worked with her on this list of games that provide particularly underserved aspects of our digital play diet. These are the vitamins of the gaming world. Essential to a healthy diet and easy to overlook if we just follow where video game advertising leads us.

Unlike the other lists on the site, it’s an eclectic collection of games. But this is for good reason. These are the games that supplement your digital diet with variety, fibre, vitamins and minerals. They are the “digital super-foods” as Jocelyn puts it.

Digital Nutrition is a brilliant antidote to the guilt, muddled advice and finger-pointing of screen time focus advice. Instead, we can consider what specific games have to offer our children and our family.

This leads to other questions about how, where and when we play. Grabbing a Pizza on the street isn’t the same as sitting down to share a slice around the meal table. Only eating Kale is as problematic disordered eating as eating too many sweets. The same is true with video games, so this list is here to offer a varied diet.
 

Great Single Developer Games

Video games are complicated. The era of a lone developer making a hit game in their bedrooms is long gone. Or is it? We have found a swath of amazing games that have been driven into existence by just one person.

These games often stand out because of their singular vision and focused scope. Although, as the discussion surrounding this list has uncovered, almost all games have some contribution from other people. Coding, designing, creating art, writing music, recording dialogue.

Still, these are games where there has been a single driving force (auteur) willing their creation into existence. This list aims to highlight these games not to hold up the ideal of solo development (which can lead to unhealthy work-life balance) but to uncover this deep pool of fascinating games with a singular vision.

As Lewis Procter tweeted, it's exciting to realise that "you can make a game without needing permission or support from a big company, and many great tools are readily available." But, as he continued, in reality "games are almost always at some level a collaborative effort."

The games we are including here are those that were created by a single person. Sometimes this is in a final form, sometimes a single developers vision was released and has subsequent versions that expands this with more people. This is our thank-you to all these tireless individuals who have created something singular and pure that we now enjoy.
 

Play The Seasons: Get Lost in Bleak Winter Tales

Video games create spaces for us to go and play. These spaces are sometimes an escape from the real world. Equally, games can help us revel and celebrate the real world.

This is a list of games that take us into the long dark months. Shorter days and long nights speak of hibernation and survival. Snow and bare branches suggest that all life has left forever.

Whether they task us with resisting this or getting lost in the dark folds of winter, games of this month are a valuable reminder that life continues (often unseen) where it seems almost impossible. With the faintest foolish hope of a tiny bud read for spring.
 

Playful By Design

The Digital Futures Commission's A Vision of Free Play in a Digital World report that outlines the key qualities of "free play" for what "good" looks like in a digital world. The team from 5 Rights Foundation and Digital Futures LSE set out ambitious expectations for children’s free play in all contexts. To claim the label ‘Playful by Design’, digital products and services should adopt seven principles:
  • Be Welcoming: Prioritise digital features that are inclusive, sociable and welcoming to all, reducing hateful communication and forms of exclusion and reflecting multiple identities.
  • Enhance Imagination: Prioritise creative resources and imaginative, open ended play over pre-determined pathways built on popularity metrics or driven by advertising or other commercial pressures.
  • Enable Open-Ended Play: Provide and enhance features that offer easy-to use pathways, flexibility and variety as these support children’s agency and encourage their imaginative, stimulating and open-ended play.
  • No commercial exploitation: Reduce compulsive features designed to prolong user engagement or cultivate dependency on games, apps or platforms, so children’s immersive play is intrinsically motivated and freely chosen.
  • Ensure safety: Ensure children’s play in online spaces is safe, including by giving them control over who can contact them and supplying help when needed.
  • Allow for experimentation: Recognise that exploration, invention and a degree of risk taking is important in children’s play and that the burden should not fall on them always to be cautious or anxious, or to follow rules set by others.
  • Be age-appropriate: Respect the needs of children of different ages by providing age-appropriate opportunities for play, while also allowing for safe intergenerational play.

I asked Sonia Livingstone, lead researcher and report author, whether there were many games that already met this criteria. "Children bring a lot to their play that for them is imaginative and sociable. Where it's more difficult is in the voluntary and intrinsically motivated play. Games very rarely leave children to play at their own pace and rate. The freedom for risk taking is sometimes present but here, children themselves take on the safety burden from society at large and limit play themselves."

Inspired and challenged by the report, we searched our database to identify games that came closest to meeting these high standards. Like the report, this aims to concentrate energy on identifying opportunities for free play that should be enriched and expanded to make play online more child-centred.

In the report, children identify their need to play in ways that perhaps adults don’t understand or that some digital designs deny. They don't want a completely "whole-food experience", nor to turn back the clock to an offline world. They want digital products designed to enhance the qualities of play and at the same time want those aspects of design that are exploitative or invasive to be dialled down.

Examples on this list include playful offline video games. Games like Lonely Mountains Downhill and Microsoft Flight Simulator offer open-ended play where you can go where you want and make your own fun. Spelunky 2, Mini Metro and Teardown enable free-play that is intrinsically and experimentally motivated without commercial exploitation. Then games like A Short Hike and Wilmot's Warehouse offer play that is welcoming for newcomers and specifically age appropriate. Risk taking and rule breaking play that doesn't become a burden on the child is found in games like Untitled Goose Game and The Longing.

Examples on this list also include playful online video games. Games like Journey and One Hour One Life offer a welcoming experience by encouraging (in some cases requiring) other players to help newcomers. Phantom Abyss offers an unusual competitive play space that celebrates experimentation and is safe by design through minimal communication. Sea of Thieves and Valheim offer age appropriate play for older teenagers that is built around experimentation and discovery through risk taking that is lead by imagination. Stormworks combines open ended play like Minecraft, but offers a context more age appropriate to ambitious teenagers through its float-mechanics and boat design. Sky Children of the Light combines many of the criteria, offering a welcoming experience for newcomers, imaginative play. It subverts the commercial feel of other app games by focusing purchases on items that are primarily to give away to other players.
 

Good For Reduced Fine Motor Control

We've worked with SpecialEffect on this list of games which aims to highlight games that are good for people with reduced fine motor control.

Special Effect is a charity that aims to put fun and inclusion back into the lives of people with physical disabilities by helping them to play video games. They use technology ranging from modified joypads to eye control to find a way for people to play to the very best of their abilities.

“We discussed several conditions which can impact fine motor control such as cerebral palsy, brain injury, digital amputation, Nerve conditions, chronic pain, arthritis/RSI or high spinal injury. People with these and similar conditions might identify with some of the following phrases:
  • “I can hold on to things well, but I find it difficult to let go”
  • “I have one hand stronger than the other”
  • “My fingers don’t move much, but I can move my arms in big movements”
  • “Doing things with one hand or one hand at a time is easier than using both hands”
  • “Holding and using a standard controller at the same time can be tricky”
  • “I would find larger joysticks and buttons potentially helpful”

Along with physical input considerations like mounting your controller to access to more buttons or using peripherals with larger buttons and joysticks, this list focuses on games that meet some of the following criteria:
  • Require one input at a time either joystick or button: like Mario Kart, Bubbles the Cat or Sonic the Hedgehog.
  • Offer button remapping: Such as Marvel's Spider-Man or Stardew Valley.
  • fewer buttons: like Oco, Mario Kart 8, Alto's Odyssey.
  • Offer motion control: Such as Splatoon, Wii Sports, Arms, Just Dance, Kinect Sports.
  • Support gamepads rather than requiring keyboards: Such as Luigi's Mansion, New Pokemon Snap, Kirby's Epic Yarn.
  • Low time pressure and give more time for larger movements: Such as Flower, A Short Hike, Alba, Firewatch, Rocket League.
  • Turn off the need for rapidly repeated button presses: Such as Sea of Thieves, Biomutant, Assassin's Creed Valhalla.

As well as the games we have picked out below that meet these criteria, there are some common searches on the database that are good for people with reduced fine motor control: 1 Stick + 1 button, 1 Stick, 1 Button, Motion Controls, Reamp Buttons or Remap Keys, Low Pressure, Rapid Pressing Optional and Co-Piloting

We hope this list helps you discover games that work for you. If you are struggling to game due to access issues caused by a physical disability do contact SpecialEffect who will offer support free of charge, as capacity allows.
 

Independent Games Festival Awards

Independent Games Festival (IGF) was founded in 1998 to promote independent video game developers, and innovation in video games. It cultivates innovation and artistry in all forms of interactive media. This aims to uncover how games are rich, diverse, artistic, and culturally significant.

It chooses games in a series of categories: Grand Prize, Innovation, Visual Art, Audio, Design, Technical Excellence, Best Mobile Game and Audience Award. This list highlights the games that were nominated and/or won.
 

Commit No Violence

While a significant portion of video games focus on combat and competition, these titles offer a less aggressive way to progress and win. None of these games enable or require the player to cause harm to another living thing -- even Mario's merciless campaign to stomp on every Goomba he meets bars him from this list. Or then there's catching and selling fish in Animal Crossing that rule that one out.

Many of them are aimed at children and families, but you'll be surprised how many explore deeper, more mature themes in their narratives, or require just as much skill as a fast-paced first-person shooter. This means there's plenty of offer for parents who might lack the reflexes (or interest) to survive a round of Fortnite.

We've focused on the games you might not expect to be played non-violently here, but you can find the full list at Non-Violent Games Of the Day curated by James Batchelor.