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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 102 games from the last 21 years, with 2,319 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to find hope.

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, Communication, Creative, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Physically Active, Platform, Point-and-Click, Puzzle, Race, Rhythm, Role-Play, Sequencing, Shooting, Simulation, Sports, Stealth, Strategy and Traversal
Total Likes: 2,319
 

 

Submerged Hidden Depths

Release Date: 04/12/2020, updated in 2022

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

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Submerged: Hidden Depths is an adventure game where you boat, climb and explore the ruins of a sunken world. With light puzzle solving and no combat you discover a drowned city, crumbling skyscrapers and deserted villages. It's the sequel to the first...

Knights And Bikes!

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

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

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...

Rainbow Billy

Release Date: 05/10/2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Rainbow Billy: The Curse of the Leviathan is a role-play adventure where you save the world from a colourless darkness. Unusually, battles are won through listening and conversation rather than traditional attacks. It combines the excitement and...

Horizon Zero Dawn

Release Date: 01/03/2017

Platforms: PC and PS4

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

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...

Hoa

Release Date: 24/08/2021

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

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Hoa is an adventure game where you walk and jump through a hand-painted world as the mysterious main character. You solve environmental puzzles and meet magical creatures while trying to find your way back home. It's unusual because of its handcrafted...

Stardew Valley

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

Platforms: Amazon Fire, Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

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...

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...

Sunlight

Release Date: 14/01/2021

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Sunlight is a short adventure game where you explore an uncharted forest, guided by harmonised whispers. As you move from tree to tree you discover different voices, genders and dialects, speaking as one. Taking artistic inspiration from expressionist...

Concrete Genie

Release Date: 20/08/2019

Platforms: PS4

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Concrete Genie is a running and jumping game about 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...

Mutazione

Release Date: 23/09/2019

Platforms: Mac, PS4 and iOS

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

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...

A Short Hike

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

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

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

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...

Alba: A Wildlife Adventure

Release Date: 11/12/2020

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

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

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...

Assemble With Care

Release Date: 19/11/2019

Platforms: PC and iPhone, iPad

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

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...

Microsoft Flight Simulator

Release Date: 18/08/2020

Platforms: PC and Xbox Series X|S

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

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...

Season: A Letter to the Future

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC, PS4 and PS5

Season: A Letter to the Future 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,...

Haven Park

Release Date: 05/08/2021

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

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,...

House Flipper

Release Date: 17/05/2018, updated in 2019

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

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

House Flipper is a simulation game where you renovate old broken houses to make money. It's a blend of money management, detailed interior design and repair right down to the electric circuitry. It fosters a sense of creativity and imagination in how...

Coffee Talk

Release Date: 29/01/2020

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

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

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 backed with lo-fi chilled hip-hop music.

Dordogne

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC

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.

The Pathless

Release Date: 12/11/2020, updated in 2022

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch and iPhone, iPad

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

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.

The Last Guardian

Release Date: 28/10/2016

Platforms: PS4

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

The Last Guardian is a running, jumping and exploring adventure about a boy who befriends a giant half-bird, half-mammal creature, Trico. You work together to navigate the world, solve puzzles and reach new heights. Unusually, you have to build trust...

The Longest Road on Earth

Release Date: 20/05/2021

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

The Longest Road on Earth is a narrative game of four chapters about everyday life. You play as different anthropomorphic animals living mundane lives. Its combination of minimal interaction and slow-paced stories aims to uncover moments in time that...

Rime

Release Date: 26/05/2017

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

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...

Teacup

Release Date: 23/09/2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

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

This Is Reality

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC

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...

The Garden Path

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

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.

The Last Campfire

Release Date: 27/08/2020

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

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

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...

Unruly Heroes

Release Date: 23/01/2019

Platforms: Android, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Unruly Heroes is a hectic martial arts running, jumping and hitting game. You play one of four heroes on a quest to collect all the scroll fragments and restore balance.

If Found

Release Date: 19/05/2020

Platforms: Android, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

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.

Lost in Random

Release Date: 10/09/2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Pieces: Cards and Dice

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...

Hitchhiker

Release Date: 15/04/2021

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

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Hitchhiker is a narrative game set on lost highways. Unlike other interactive stories, Hitchhiker is intentionally dense and hard to follow. In fact, your goal is to unravel the puzzle of your own backstory.

Terra Nil

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

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...

The Wild At Heart

Release Date: 20/05/2021

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

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

The Wild At Heart is an adventure puzzle game where you play two children fleeing hardship. Unlike other adventures, play here extends beyond conversations, exploring and fetch quests. You interact with the world by collecting a swarm of small magical...

Voyage

Release Date: 19/02/2021, updated in 2022

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

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Voyage is a cinematic adventure puzzle game, where you play alone or cooperatively to guide two survivors on their journey to unravel a mystery from the past and find their way home. You move through the world without guidance and must experiment to...

Far: Changing Tides

Release Date: 01/03/2022

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

Far: Changing Tides is an exploration adventure that follows Far: Lone Sail. You work to keep your dilapidated craft from breaking as you explore the ruins of a flooded world.

The First Tree

Release Date: 11/10/2018

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

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

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...

AER Memories of Old

Release Date: 28/08/2019

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

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.

Cloud Gardens

Release Date: 09/09/2020, updated in 2021

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

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Cloud Gardens is a puzzle game where you grow vegetation over a dilapidated post-apocalyptic world. It's a low-pressure puzzle, from the team behind Kingdom. It has the same pixel-art style, but here you are left to take your time...

Behind the Frame

Release Date: 25/08/2021, updated in 2022

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

Behind the Frame is a narrative adventure where you click and interact with different scenes to help a young woman become an artist. You explore the different locations to uncover and work on the different paintings. It's a combination of escape room...

Far: Lone Sails

Release Date: 02/04/2019

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Far: Lone Sails is an exploration adventure video game. You pilot a ramshackle amphibious vehicle propelled by large sails to explore a post-apocalypse world.

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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