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Happy Brain with Serotonin Games

You can aid the happiness of your brain by taking on activities that generate key experiences and chemicals:

  • Dopamine for motivation, learning and pleasure.
  • Oxytocin for trust and building relationships.
  • Serotonin for significance and importance.
  • Endorphins for euphoria and elation.

Without serotonin you can feel unstable and find your mood changing rapidly. It's a chemical that helps us with routines where we accept ourselves and find calm. With low serotonin it is hard to feel confident in who we are. This can mean that we worry more and find it harder to learn and remember things.

Along with getting outside for exercise, eating well and nurturing conversations, video games can also help. Games that generate serotonin are those that give to regular simple activities you can complete each day. Games that help build routine are helpful. We may not play these games for long, but they help structure other things around them. Fitness games also complement this, particularly those games that give us a reason to get outside.

This list includes 42 games from the last 21 years, with 944 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to generate serotonin.

DetailsList Details

PEGI Ratings: PEGI 3 to PEGI 18
ESRB Ratings: ESRB EVERYONE to ESRB MATURE 17+
Australian Ratings: G to MA 15+
Genres: Action, Adventure, Brain Game, Collecting, Creative, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Physically Active, Platform, Point-and-Click, Puzzle, Race, Rhythm, Role-Play, Sequencing, Shooting, Simulation, Sports, Stealth, Strategy, Traversal and World Building
Total Likes: 944
 

 

Threes

Release Date: 06/02/2014

Platforms: Amazon Fire, Android, Web and iOS

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Threes is a puzzle game where you slide numbered tiles on a grid. When they collide they combine their numbers, like Triple Town. You can match 1's and 2's with each other, the white tiles can match cards that are multiples of 3...

Loop Hero

Release Date: 03/02/2021, updated in 2022

Platforms: PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Pieces: Cards

Loop Hero is a dungeon exploring adventure game where you use cards to create a world for your character to survive. Rather than control the hero yourself, you take the role of designer (or Dungeon Master) who use cards to create a world that is hard...

Alto's Odyssey (Series)

Release Date: 19/02/2015, updated in 2018

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

Skill Rating: 4+ year-olds

Descend beautiful mountains, dunes and canyons on a snowboarding journey full of serenity and secrets. All you have to worry about is tapping to jump to avoid chasms, rockfall and other hazards. It’s simple and moreish due to the stunning landscapes...

Osu!

Release Date: 16/09/2007, updated in 2021

Platforms: Mac, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Osu is a rhythm action game where you tap the screen in time to the music similar to the Elite Beat Agents games. This starts as a simple challenge but develops in speed and complexity. At higher levels the games is an esport with people competing to...

Unpacking

Release Date: 02/11/2021

Platforms: Mac, PC, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Unpacking is a meditative puzzle game where you unpack belongings into a series of either spaces, each representing a stage in life. You get to know the owner of the objects by their possessions and circumstances. To finish a level you need to work out...

Mini Metro

Release Date: 06/01/2015

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

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Mini Metro is a game where you create an ordered, efficient underground train system. It sounds like hard work, but the simple Tube-map visuals, calm music, and streamlined interactions make this relaxing, like sudoku. Dip your toe in this strategy...

Animal Crossing (Series)

Release Date: 14/12/2001, updated in 2020

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS, DS, GameCube, Switch and Wii

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

You live on a small island teeming with life. Insects, fish, trees, vegetation and fossils are represented with cute cartoon visuals. Rather than the scale or grandeur of other game worlds, it’s the interconnected drama of the world and characters...

Wordle

Release Date: 20/12/2021

Platforms: Web

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Wordle is a daily puzzle game where you (and anyone else playing that day) try and guess the secret word. You get six guesses that must be real words. Each letter is then coloured to provide clues: green for right letter in the right place, yellow for...

Pokemon Go!

Release Date: 06/07/2016

Platforms: Android and iOS

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.

Orchids to Dusk

Release Date: 03/12/2015

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

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.

Hypnospace Outlaw

Release Date: 12/04/2019, updated in 2020

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

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Hypnospace Outlaw is a puzzle game where you explore a simulation of the internet in the 1990s. Your role is to enforce good behaviour by finding misconduct on the pixelated pages. It's not only a unique piece of historical fiction but because its web...

Marching Order

Release Date: 28/11/2018

Platforms: Android and iOS

Skill Rating: 2+ year-olds

Marching Order puts you in charge of a disorderly animal marching band. Listen to each animal’s requests to get them in the right order in the game about sequence, rules and order.

Ring Fit Adventure

Release Date: 18/10/2019

Platforms: Switch

This is a running and jumping adventure game with a difference. You control your character with the circular plastic Ring-Con in your hands and Leg-Strap on your leg. The game can then tell how much you are moving and relate that to progress in the game.

Spring Falls

Release Date: 17/11/2019

Platforms: Mac, PC and iOS

Spring Falls is a puzzle where you erode a geometric landscape to let water flow down the mountain and help plants grow. Along with the low-pressure puzzle play, the game offers a calming experience with soft visuals, ambient music and interactive...

Zombies, Run

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

Platforms: Android and iOS

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.

Cats Are Cute

Release Date: 02/09/2020

Platforms: Android and iOS

Cats are Cute is a pet care game where you look after cats and build a town. You collect a variety of cats and buildings around which the cats play and hide. It's really easy to play for youngsters and relaxing for older players.

Good Soduku

Release Date: 20/07/2020

Platforms: iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Good Soduku is the classic puzzle game but made more accessible by removing the leg work of counting and tracking which numbers have been used where.

Hunt: Showdown

Release Date: 20/09/2019

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Hunt: Showdown is a high stakes shooting game set in the 1895 swamps of Louisiana, where you are hunting savage, nightmarish monsters. Either alone or in teams you search for clues to find and defeat the target before other players. You are then...

Project Zomboid

Release Date: 08/11/2013

Platforms: Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Project Zomboid is a zombie-infested open-world strategy game. It's a survival game that's designed to be really hard. In fact, the game's tagline is "no help is coming, how will you die?" You of course do your best not to die by looting houses,...

SpellTower

Release Date: 25/06/2012

Platforms: iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Spelltower+ is a word-spotting game a little like Boggle mixed with Tetris. As you play, more tiles rise from the bottom of the screen so you need to pick good words to clear down the letters and avoid any letters make it to the top row.

Time on Frog Island

Release Date: 12/07/2022

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Time on Frog Island is a world building adventure set on an island of anthropomorphised frogs where you solve puzzles to survive and thrive on an island after a shipwreck. You explore at your own pace and solve sticky situations for the colourful locals...

Wii Fit (Series)

Release Date: 25/04/2008

Platforms: Wii and Wii U

Wii Fit is a collection of games designed to help you exercise. They use the Wii Balance Board peripheral that works with both Wii Fit on the Wii and Wii Fit Plus on the Wii U. The Balance Board measures the pressure you place on it and enables a range...

Card of Darkness

Release Date: 16/09/2019

Platforms: iPhone, iPad

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Pieces: Cards

Card of Darkness is a hand-animated adventure game where you attack enemies represented on cards. This isn't unusual. What is, however, are the small set of intricate rules and charm of each character.

Cinco Paus

Release Date: 25/12/2017, updated in 2021

Platforms: iOS

Cinco Paus is a puzzle game where you try and get through 5 rooms picking up treasure as you go. What makes it unusual are the magic wands that help you do this. What appears to be a maze game turns out to be a challenge to discover the effects of each...

Letter Rooms

Release Date: 26/05/2021

Platforms: iOS

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Letter Rooms is a simple anagram puzzle game. You get a hint and a set of letters and rearrange them to create the answer. This starts simply but adds more complexity like turning letters on and off or flipping letters.

Jump Rope Challenge

Release Date: 15/06/2020

Platforms: Switch

Skill Rating: 4+ year-olds

Jump Rope Challenge is a virtual skipping game where you hold the Switch controllers like rope handles and skip. The game displays an on-screen counter and you can play with another person at the same time as you compete for a high score.

Really Bad Chess

Release Date: 13/10/2016, updated in 2017

Platforms: Android, iOS and iPhone, iPad

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Really Bad Chess is like chess, but with random pieces selected for each player. Try 8 Knights, 4 Bishops, and 3 pawns. Starting positions are also non-standard. It sounds like a bad idea (hence the name) but actually opens the imposing chess challenge...

Toroa

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Toroa is a traversal game where you soar, swoop and glide across the vast Pacific Ocean as a Northern Royal Albatross. You take on an epic journey to help of Māori God of the winds, Tāwhirimātea and discover the wonders of the sea and sky.

Yugo Puzzle

Release Date: 14/10/2021

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Yugo Puzzle is a simple puzzle game where you move jelly blocks left and right to combine them with the same colour. The novelty is the ingenious challenges this simple premise is used to create. It's the kind of game where a single level might take you...

Foretales

Release Date: 15/09/2022, updated in 2022

Platforms: PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Pieces: Cards

Foretales is a narrative role-playing adventure where every action, choice, item and character is represented by a card. By choosing cards you not only decide your fate but shape your story. Fight or avoid violence, kindness or play it safe, these...

Islands & Trains

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 4+ year-olds

Islands & Trains is a world building game where you place landscape, buildings, bridges, tracks and trains for no other purpose than to make satisfying vignettes. Inspired by games like Townscaper and Dorfromantik you play at your own pace, clicking to...

Rain World: Downpour

Release Date: 28/03/2017

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Switch

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Rain World, and the expansion Downpour, are traversal and survival games where you play a half cat, half slug in a living breathing world. You must venture out and brave the other predatory creatures to find food before the rain comes and you have to...

Ruya

Release Date: 01/11/2017, updated in 2018

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Ruya is a narrative puzzle game about a mother on a journey of healing after love leaves her. You play as Ruya, meditating and remembering important parts of her life, shown through simple matching puzzles, with each colour tied to one of her children....

Salt and Sacrifice (Series)

Release Date: 10/05/2022

Platforms: PC, PS Vita, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Salt and Sacrifice (and its prequel Salt and Sanctuary) is an fighting adventure game that's intentionally difficult and dark. You play by exploring the side-on world, fighting enemies with swords and other weapons. It's a strange combination of cartoon...

Stick Fight: The Game

Release Date: 28/09/2017, updated in 2021

Platforms: Android, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and iOS

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Stick Fight is a vicious fighting game depicted with stick men. You play by controlling small coloured stick men, who mimic real world physics and bodily movement. To win you need to use the physics-based movement to land punches, kicks and use weapons...

Wii Play (Series)

Release Date: 02/12/2006, updated in 2011

Platforms: Wii

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Wii Play is a collection of multi-player party games originally designed for the Nintendo Wii and its motion controller.

Wurdweb

Release Date: 08/07/2021

Platforms: Apple TV, iOS and iPhone, iPad

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Wurdweb is a word puzzle game modelled on the feeling you get from completing a crossword. Only, unlike a crossword, you are given the words. You select words from your list and connect them to existing words on the board.

Clive ‘N’ Wrench

Release Date: 28/02/2023

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5 and Switch

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Clive ‘N’ Wrench is a 3D running and jumping game where you play duo, Clive the rabbit and Wrench the monkey on his back. Like Banjo Kazooie and more recent Yooka Laylee, you explore the world to collect tokens and unlock new areas. It's novel as a...

Crawl

Release Date: 11/04/2017, updated in 2017

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

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Crawl is a dungeon fighting game where your friends control the monsters and traps. The hero player moves around, break boxes and attack enemies while the ghost players try and stop him. Once the hero dies they become another ghost and the next player...

Little Hellions

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Little Hellions is a retro brawling game where you can't actually fight the other players directly. You kill the other players by putting yourself in harms way and then using your hook-shot to switch places at the last minute. Like Towerfall, it's not...

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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