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Get Children Into Science

Science can be a subject that many of us see as something for other people. Physics, Chemistry and Biology is something for the nerds, geeks and highly intelligent children at school and not for us or our children.

"Science is an incredibly important subject that many students never fully grasp. Knowledge of chemistry or other sciences is necessary to solve many real-world problems, but the way it's taught now often fails to capture students’ imaginations, discouraging experimentation and discovery."

That quote from the creators of Happy Atoms inspired this list of games. It's true not just about their game that unlocks the wonder of chemistry, but about many other games that often get children doing science without even realising it.

This can be the simple chemical puzzle-solving of a game like Sokobond. It can be the embodied understanding of gravity and momentum in real-time physics games like Portal. It can be the way different elements combine properties in games like Zelda Breath of the Wild. It can even be gaining a sense of scale of the universe in a game like Everything.

This list includes 33 games from the last 14 years, with 688 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to fall in love with science.

DetailsList Details

PEGI Ratings: PEGI 3 to PEGI 16
ESRB Ratings: ESRB EVERYONE to ESRB TEEN
Genres: Action, Adventure, Creative, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Physically Active, Platform, Point-and-Click, Puzzle, Role-Playing, Shooting, Simulation, Sports, Strategy and Turn-Based
Total Likes: 688
 

 

Subnautica (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 10-16 year-olds

Release Date: 11/04/2016, updated in 2018

Price: 35% off

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Open World, Simulation and Strategy

Accessibility: 14 features

Developer: @UnknownWorlds

Players: This is a single player game

Subnautica is an open-world adventure where you explore the ocean on an alien planet after crashlanding. You collect resources and fight creatures to survive. This enables you to establish an underwater base, gain new craft and equipment and explore...

The Long Dark

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 16+ year-olds

Release Date: 22/09/2014

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

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

Accessibility: 18 features

Developer: @HinterlandGames

Players: This is a single player game

The Long Dark is a thoughtful exploration-survival game where you have crash-landed in the icy Canadian wilderness after a global disaster and must find a way to survive. Through exploring, crafting and fighting you must look after your body...

Stormworks: Build and Rescue

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 11-16 year-olds

Release Date: 28/02/2018

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Action, Adventure, Creative, Open World, Simulation and Strategy

Accessibility: 8 features

Developer: @Dan_Games

Players: You can play this with 5 players online

Stormworks is an open world adventure where you design, build and pilot your own air sea rescue service. You create programmable vehicles using it's block-building system and pilot them into dangerous situations to rescue stricken vessels or...

The Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 11-18 year-olds

Release Date: 03/03/2017

Platforms: Switch and Wii U

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative, Open World and Simulation

Accessibility: 11 features

Developer: @Nintendo

Players: This is a single player game

This game departs from the previous Zelda formula with the scale and depth of its world. You walk, fly, ride and climb your way through a landscape that varies in climate, terrain, inhabitants and vegetation. Weather and the passage of the sun and moon...

Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Release Date: 06/11/2017

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Genres: Action, Platform, Simulation and Sports

Accessibility: 21 features

Developer: @Bfod

Players: This is a single player game

Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy is a strange game about movement and momentum. You are tasked with climbing a mountain. However, your only means of locomotion is a hammer that can stick to objects and drag you forwards.

Portal
PEGI Rating 12 for Portal

Portal (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Release Date: 10/10/2007, updated in 2011

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS3, Web, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Narrative, Platform, Puzzle and Simulation

Accessibility: 27 features

Developer: @ValveSoftware

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

You are in a science laboratory where you seem to be being tested. Watched by the artificial intelligence GLaDOS, you have a gun that can create a pair of magic portals on any surface: one is an entrance and the other is an exit. Through a series of...

No Man's Sky

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 12-18 year-olds

Release Date: 10/08/2016, updated in 2018

Price: 48% off

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Genres: Open World and Simulation

Accessibility: 24 features

Developer: @HelloGames

Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 32 players online

No Man's Sky is a space simulation about exploring endless planets and galaxies. It invites you to take your spaceship to explore and colonise a universe rich with diverse planets, creatures and fauna. Facing so vast a space is daunting at first, but a...

Astroneer

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 10-16 year-olds

Release Date: 16/12/2016, updated in 2019

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

Genres: Action, Adventure, Open World, Simulation and Strategy

Accessibility: 23 features

Developer: @SES_dev

Players: This is a single player game

Astroneer is an open-world space adventure where you colonize planets by creating habitable structures, farming and mining resources. There is no specific story, although the challenges of each planet give rise to struggles of achievement to placate the...

Hundred Days, Winemaking Simulator

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 13/05/2021

Platforms: Android, PC, Stadia, Switch and iOS

Genres: Creative, Puzzle, Strategy and Turn-Based

Accessibility: 28 features

Developer: @BrokenArmsGames

Players: This is a single player game

Hundred Days is a strategy game about making wine. You control every aspect of a new Winery, choose vines, learn how to grow them and when to harvest. You make decisions about the process with a simple interface that takes you through each day. It's a...

Potion Craft

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 21/09/2021

Platforms: Mac and PC

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

Developer: @TinyBuild

Players: This is a single player game

Potion Craft is a puzzle adventure game where you create potions in an ancient looking workshop. More than learning recipes, your potions need to strategically combine the qualities of each ingredient to explore the potion-map and create brews to help...

Surviving Mars

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 15/03/2018

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: @HaemimontGames

Players: This is a single player game

Surviving Mars is a colony simulation game based on the real geography of Mars. You build and maintain a liveable habitat while balancing resources and researching new ways to adapt to the hostile environment. You receive occasional rockets from Earth...

Endless Ocean

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Release Date: 09/11/2007, updated in 2010

Platforms: Wii

Genres: Adventure, Open World and Simulation

Developer: @Arika_co_jp

Players: This is a single player game

Endless Ocean (Endless Ocean: Blue World in the US) and its sequel Endless Ocean 2: Adventures of the Deep are versions of a diving adventure game where you explore the Manaurai Sea to identify different fish and recover artefacts. As experience is...

Splitgate Arena Warfare

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Release Date: 24/05/2019, updated in 2021

Price: Free

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Genres: Shooting and Simulation

Accessibility: 30 features

Developer: @1047Games

Players: You can play this with 10 players online

Splitgate: Arena Warfare is a movement-focused shooting game. Building on classic quick-motion gun battles, Splitgate adds a gun that can create portals between any two locations. This combines the frantic close-quarters arena combat that was popular in...

Balance - Power Grid

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 05/08/2016

Price: Free

Platforms: Android, Mac and iOS

Genres: Puzzle, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: @HyperGames

Players: This is a single player game

Balance - Power Grid is a puzzle game about power grids. You place cables, pylons and power generators to make sure there are no blackouts. Through a series of challenges you build power grids that are functional, and that produce the right amount of...

TerraTech

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 04/07/2018

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

Genres: Action, Creative, Open World, Shooting and Strategy

Developer: @PayloadStudios

Players: You can play this with 16 players online

TerraTech is a construction game where you create vehicles to explore the environment, find resources and craft upgrades. It includes a modular building element where your decisions affect the performance of what you make. Each building block has its...

Beyond Blue

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 22/04/2020

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

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Open World and Simulation

Developer: @ELineMedia

Players: This is a single player game

Beyond Blue is an underwater exploration game where you play Mirai, a deep-sea explorer and scientist. You see, hear, and interact with the ocean and the creatures in it as you discover an untouched world.

Everything

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 3+ year-olds

Release Date: 21/03/2017, updated in 2019

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4 and Switch

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Open World and Simulation

Accessibility: 3 features

Developer: @DavidOreilly

Players: This is a single player game

This is an unusual game that simulates a world where you can become any object. It sounds strange and not much fun, but the enjoyment is in discovering how small or how big a thing you can become. From tiny atoms to whole planets and everything in between.

Terra Nil

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Open World, Puzzle, Simulation and Strategy

Accessibility: 6 features

Developer: @Free_Lives

Players: This is a single player game

Terra Nil is a strategy game where you are using clean technology to bring back life to a barren world. It's a city building game where you aren't building a city at all, but a clean thriving ecology. It raises interesting themes of how humanity plays...

QWOP

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 21/12/2010

Price: Free

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Genres: Action, Simulation and Sports

Accessibility: 10 features

Developer: @Bfod

Players: This is a single player game

QWOP is a sports game with a difference. You have to control each limb of your virtual athlete. This changes it from a challenge of hitting buttons to using the touch screen or keyboard to deftly co-ordinate movement to gain forward motion. It's really...

Supraland

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 09/03/2018

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Platform, Puzzle and Simulation

Accessibility: 7 features

Developer: @SupraBall

Players: This is a single player game

Supraland is an adventure game that involves exploring, running, jumping, solving puzzles, and fighting monsters. You play a member of the Red Village and you must discover why the Blue Village has sabotaged your water supply. Your character is a...

Eco
PEGI Rating 7 for Eco

Eco

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 10-14 year-olds

Release Date: 06/02/2018

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Creative, Open World, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: @StrangeLoopGame

Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 100 players online

Eco extends the resource-collecting and building of Minecraft by introducing environmental implications to your actions. Using resources like trees will erode the soil; mining might pollute the river; and each animal depends on another.

Learning Factory

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Release Date: 18/02/2021

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4 and Switch

Genres: Puzzle and Strategy

Accessibility: 32 features

Developer: @Luden_io

Players: This is a single player game

Learning Factory is a strategy game where you automate an old factory. Unusually, this isn't to make money and conquer the world but a round about approach to understand cats. Peculiar backstory aside, the game tasks you with renovating the factory,...

Wildfire

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Release Date: 26/05/2020

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Fighting, Puzzle and Simulation

Accessibility: 15 features

Developer: @WildfireGame

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

Wildfire is a running, jumping and hiding game where you hide from (and distract) enemies to get through levels and complete missions. You have specific powers to start fires, freeze water, and move earth that offer different ways to solve the puzzle of...

Factorio

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 14/08/2020

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Creative, Open World, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: @FactorioGame

Players: You can play this with 700 players online

Factorio is a construction strategy game where you crash-land on an alien planet and must harvest resources to create industry to build a rocket to escape (or fall in love with running your factory and stay on longer).

Gravity Rush

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 09/02/2012, updated in 2017

Price: 42% off

Platforms: PS Vita and PS4

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

Developer: @SonyJapanStudio

Players: This is a single player game

Gravity Rush is a running, jumping and exploration adventure game. You play as Kat, an amnesiac with the power to manipulate gravity. She uses this ability to help her community and uncover the mystery of her past.

Sokobond

Content Rating: Not rated by PEGI

Release Date: 27/08/2013

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Creative and Puzzle

Developer: @Draknek

Players: This is a single player game

Sokobond is a puzzle game where you create chemical molecules by manoeuvring atoms around the screen, avoiding obstacles. The game is streamlined to not need instructions with its minimalistic design the enables ease of use. As you move through the...

In Other Waters

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 03/04/2020

Platforms: PC and Switch

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Open World, Point-and-Click, Puzzle, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: @JumpOvertheAge

Players: This is a single player game

This is an underwater exploration game where you play an Artificial Intelligence assistant to a stranded xenobiologist in a mysterious alien ocean. The world is not seen except through the instrumentation available to you. This creates a non-violent...

Elite Dangerous

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Release Date: 15/12/2015, updated in 2016

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Open World, Shooting and Simulation

Accessibility: 1 feature

Developer: @Frontierdev

Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 32 players online

This is a new version of the classic 1980s space game Elite. Like the original it’s a space exploration, trading and combat game that provides a huge and rich universe rather than a specific story. You can trade goods, become a bounty hunter, fight...

Kerbal Space Program

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 9-13 year-olds

Release Date: 31/03/2016

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Creative, Open World and Simulation

Developer: @SquadDevs

Players: This is a single player game

Kerbal Space Program is a space flight simulation game. You direct a space program, staffed and crewed by aliens. It looks like a cute game for kids, but under its comic exterior is a hugely complex and engaging space simulation.

Koral

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

Release Date: 16/05/2019

Platforms: PC and Switch

Genres: Adventure, Open World and Simulation

Accessibility: 1 feature

Developer: @CarlosGameDev

Players: This is a single player game

Koral is a diving exploration game where you play the sea current. This sounds a little odd, playing a flow of energy, but works brilliantly.

Opus Magnum

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 08/12/2017

Platforms: PC

Genres: Puzzle and Simulation

Developer: @Zachtronics

Players: This is a single player game

Opus Magnum is a puzzle game about assembling machines to convert spherical chemicals into different compounds. Each challenge can be tackled by creating different machine configurations, and each is awarded points on how compact, quick and efficient...

Dish Life: The Game

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 24/02/2020

Price: Free

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

Genres: Puzzle, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: @DishLifeGame

Players: This is a single player game

Dish Life: The Game is a puzzle narrative game where you play a stem cell researcher, managing a laboratory and growing stem cells.

Happy Atoms

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 18/11/2016

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Creative, Physically Active and Puzzle

Developer: @SchellGames

Players: This is a single player game

Happy Atoms is a puzzle game about the world of chemistry and molecules. It has teaching aims but ensures this doesn't eclipse the game. You take on quests to discover molecules as you explore the world.


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