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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.

This list includes 34 games from the last 20 years, with 341 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to find hope.

Game image

DetailsList Details

PEGI Ratings: PEGI 3+ to PEGI 16+
ESRB Ratings: ESRB EVERYONE to ESRB TEEN
Genres: Action, Adventure, Creative, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Platform, Puzzle, Racing, Rhythm, Role-Playing, Shooting, Simulation and Strategy
Total Likes: 341
 

 

Animal Crossing (Series)

Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

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

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

Genres: Open World and Simulation

Developer: @NintendoAmerica

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 8 players online

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...

Game image A Short HikeEditor's Choice

A Short Hike

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PEGI Rating 3+ for A Short HikeESRB Rating EVERYONE for A Short Hike

A Short Hike

Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 05/04/2019, updated in 2020

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch and PC

Genres: Adventure and Open World

Developer: @Adamgryu

Players: This is a single player game

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...

Microsoft Flight Simulator

Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 18/08/2020

Platforms: PC and Xbox Series X|S

Genres: Open World and Simulation

Developer: @AsoboStudio

Players: You can play this with 30 players online

Microsoft Flight Simulator (Microsoft Flight Sim 2020) is the latest flight simulator game in the long running series. Along with a huge range of aircraft you can learn to fly, the game recreates the entire Earth using textures and data from data Maps...

Alba: A Wildlife Adventure

Expected Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 11/12/2020

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and iOS Apple Arcade

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Simulation

Developer: @UsTwo

Players: This is a single player game

Alba: A Wildlife Adventure is an adventure game where you play as a young girl who starts a wildlife conservation club. When Alba visits her grandparents on a Mediterranean island, she is excited for a summer of exploring with her friend Ines. But when...

Stardew Valley

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+

Release Date: 26/02/2016, updated in 2018

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One and iOS

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

Players: You can play this with 4 players online

Stardew Valley looks like a farming simulator. That’s partly what it is, but you must also develop relationships with the other townsfolk and delve deep into the mines. Its quirky labyrinthine attention to detail is as inviting for young players to...

The Pathless

Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+

Release Date: 12/11/2020

Platforms: Mac, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, iOS and iOS Apple Arcade

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

Developer: @GiantSquidology

Players: This is a single player game

The Pathless is a mythic adventure about an archer and an eagle in a vast forest. You use timed button presses to use your bow and discover the open world, and unlock a mystical island and dispel a curse of darkness that grips the world.

If Found

Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Android, Nintendo Switch and iOS

Genres: Narrative

Developer: @DreamFeelx

Players: This is a single player game

If Found is an interactive narrative game about searching for connection. You touch the screen to rub out and erase text and drawings. Set on December 31st 1993 in the crumbling ruins of a mansion on Achill Island, you play Kasio as she destroys her diary.

Knights And Bikes!

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+

Release Date: 26/08/2019, updated in 2020

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting and Narrative

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

Enter a hand-painted adventure in a fictional late-eighties British island and work together as Nessa and Demelza to explore its coast on bikes to find treasure, mystery and trouble. There’s fighting with frisbees, water balloons, tape cassettes and...

Assemble With Care

Rating: Not rated by PEGI or ESRB

Release Date: 19/11/2019

Platforms: PC and iOS Apple Arcade

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Players: This is a single player game

From the makers of Monument Valley, this puzzle game is a unique way to consider how physical objects become meaningful and hold our memories. You play a restorer who repairs people's favourite possessions: from family heirlooms to broken statues to...

Coffee Talk

Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 29/01/2020

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Creative, Narrative and Role-Playing

Players: This is a single player game

Coffee Talk is an interactive story about a barista working in a coffee shop in Seattle. You listen to customer's concerns about life and love, in a retro pixilated world back with lo-fi chilled hip-hop music.

Mutazione

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 23/09/2019

Platforms: Mac, PlayStation 4 and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Creative and Narrative

Players: This is a single player game

In Mutazione you play as a 15-year-old girl visiting her grandfather on a faraway island inhabited by friendly but mutated villagers. By finding seeds, tending to gardens and talking to people, you uncover a tightly knit web of characters with...

Concrete Genie

Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+

Release Date: 20/08/2019

Platforms: PlayStation 4

Genres: Action, Adventure, Creative, Narrative and Puzzle

Players: This is a single player game

You play a young boy, who is isolated and bullied, in this exploration platform game with a twist. Using motion controls and buttons you can draw beautiful graffiti on the buildings, which come to life. These become the habitat for the creatures you...

Flower

Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 12/02/2009

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita and iOS

Genres: Open World, Racing and Simulation

Players: This is a single player game

Control the breeze blowing across fields of grass and blow petals into other flowers to make them bloom. Flower is simple and single-purpose in evoking the feeling of the wind. What starts as an awkward struggle to control the breeze soon turns into a...

Wattam

Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 11/06/2019

Platforms: PlayStation 4

Genres: Open World and Puzzle

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

Wattam is an absurd adventure where characters are everyday objects with problems to solve and fun interactions to enjoy. You play as The Mayor and start on your own. As you complete simple tasks you populate the world with other strange characters.

Horizon Zero Dawn (Series)

Rating: PEGI 16+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 01/03/2017

Platforms: PC and PlayStation 4

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

Players: This is a single player game

Horizon Zero Dawn, and the follow-up game Horizon Forbidden West, has a post-apocalyptic feel familiar from movies like Planet of the Apes. It plunges you into an overgrown landscape with now-crumbling remnants of modern life where animalistic machines...

Kind Words

Rating: Not rated by PEGI or ESRB

Release Date: 12/11/2019

Platforms: PC

Genres: Creative and Narrative

Players: This is a single player game

Kind Words is unusual because of the main interaction. You write letters to real people and receive back encouraging letters in return. Set in a cosy room with soft furnishings and relaxing music, it creates a space in which to find support and...

Way To The Woods

Rating: Not rated by PEGI or ESRB

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC and Xbox

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Players: This is a single player game

Way to the Woods is an adventure game where you play a fawn and a deer trying to survive their long journey home after human civilization has collapsed. Interacting with the world and exploring both urban and barren landscapes leads you to discover the...

Lost in Random

Rating: PEGI 12+

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

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

Players: This is a single player game

Lost in Random is an adventure where you play an anthropomorphic dice and a young girl called Even. In her world, when she turns 12 she must roll a magical die to be assigned a region to live in and a life to live. But seeing her sister go through this...

A Space for the Unbound

Rating: PEGI 12+

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: @MojikenStudio

Players: This is a single player game

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...

Lost and Hound

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Nintendo Switch and PC

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: @DaisyAleSounds

Players: This is a single player game

Lost and Hound is an adventure puzzle game where you play as a scent tracking rescue dogs, Corgi and Biscuit. You use your sense of smell to find things and solve mysteries. Your heightened hearing and senses enable you find your goals, eventually...

Everwild

Rating: Not rated by PEGI or ESRB

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC and Xbox Series X|S

Genres: Adventure, Open World and Simulation

Developer: @RareLtd

Players: This is a single player game

Everwild is a fantasy adventure where characters work together to tame the wild and survive the night. Working with the indigenous creature of the land and with the power of ritual and combat you need to subdue nature by working with it.

Evergate

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 01/09/2020

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC and Xbox Series X|S

Genres: Platform and Puzzle

Developer: @StnLntrnGames

Players: This is a single player game

Evergate is a running and jumping game where you can slow down time to make difficult jumps through hand-drawn environments. It combines the need for timing and puzzle solving in a game that slowly tells the story of the characters you meet.

YesterMorrow

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 05/11/2020

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Narrative, Platform and Puzzle

Developer: @BitmapGalaxy

Players: This is a single player game

YesterMorrow is running, jumping, climbing and collecting game where you play Yui, whose world has been destroyed and family kidnapped. To save them you journey through the four islands, forest, desert, ice, and clockwork, to collect "everlight" and...

Dordogne

Expected Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC

Genres: Creative, Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: @Cedric_Babouche

Players: This is a single player game

Dordogne is a narrative adventure where you play as Mimi, a 32-year-old woman who returns to the house of her recently deceased grandmother. You explore the house and area to find letters and puzzles that bring back memories of the past.

Teacup

Expected Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: @Smarto_Club

Players: This is a single player game

Teacup is a narrative adventure about a shy young frog who loves drinking tea and reading. You explore the world and make choices that change the direction of the story. It's a gentle game about friendship, stepping out into the world and, of course,...

Wandersong

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+

Release Date: 27/09/2018

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC and PlayStation 4

Genres: Action, Platform and Rhythm

Developer: @TheBanov

Players: This is a single player game

In Wandersong you play a bard on a quest to gather parts of a song. Uniquely, you interact with the environment and inhabitants by singing. Controlled by one of the direction sticks, you can access different notes on the coloured ‘Song Wheel’. This...

The Last Campfire

Rating: PEGI 7+

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Platform and Puzzle

Players: This is a single player game

The Last Campfire, from the same developer as No Man's Sky, is an adventure about Ember who is trapped a puzzling place, searching for meaning and a way home. As you travel you take a flame with you to the world, lighting...

Game image Rime

Rime

1
PEGI Rating 7+ for RimeESRB Rating EVERYONE 10+ for Rime

Rime

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+

Release Date: 26/05/2017

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Open World

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...

Lumi Nova: Tales of Courage

Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 21/07/2020

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Creative, Puzzle and Role-Playing

Players: This is a single player game

Lumi Nova: Tales of Courage is a role-playing game with puzzles and tasks that help 7-12 year olds deal with anxiety about different situations. You create a character in the game, explore dungeons and find treasure. Along the way characters offer...

This Is Reality

Rating: Not rated by PEGI or ESRB

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC

Genres: Narrative and Platform

Developer: @scribblescape

Players: This is a single player game

This Is Reality is a running, jumping and exploration game about a couple's relationship. You play as Liam and Lana, as they navigate the highs, lows and struggles of their relationship. The twist is that the state of the relationship affects what you...

Sayonara Wild Hearts

Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+

Release Date: 19/11/2019

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and iOS Apple Arcade

Genres: Narrative and Rhythm

Players: This is a single player game

Sayonara Wild Hearts is a rhythm-action game where you control a running, flying, dancing or motorbike-riding character to collect coins and hearts in time with pop music. The neon visuals and emotively voiced story make this an unusual and compelling...

Tacoma

Rating: PEGI 16+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 24/04/2018

Platforms: Mac, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Role-Playing

Players: This is a single player game

Tacoma is set aboard a space station in the year 2088. As you explore you can discover how the station’s crew lived and worked, using an AR device that lets you review past actions and conversations, you discover clues that unravel a plot of trust,...

The First Tree

Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 11/10/2018

Platforms: Android, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and iOS

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

Players: This is a single player game

The First Tree is an exploration narrative game. In a dream, you explore a forest wilderness as a mother fox looking for her cubs. Simultaneously, you revisit childhood memories in spoken reflection from two lovers remembering the dream and their...

Koral

Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 16/05/2019

Platforms: Nintendo Switch and PC

Genres: Adventure, Open World and Simulation

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.


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