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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.

A Short Hike

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Adventure and Open World

Duration: Between 1 hour and 3 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

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...


Assemble With Care

Platforms: PC and iOS Apple Arcade

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Duration: Between 1 and a half hours and 2 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

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...


Kind Words

Platforms: PC

Genres: Creative and Narrative

Duration: Between 5 minutes and 10 minutes to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

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

Platforms: PC and Xbox

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

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...


Flower

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

Genres: Open World, Racing and Simulation

Duration: Between 2 hours and 3 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

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...


Animal Crossing (Series)

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

Genres: Open World and Simulation

Duration: Between half an hour and 45 minutes to play a round.

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

Costs: Purchase cost. In-game purchases.

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 minutiae of this diorama that makes...


The First Tree

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC and PlayStation 4

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

Duration: Between 2 hours and 3 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

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...


Wattam

Platforms: PlayStation 4

Genres: Open World and Puzzle

Duration: Between 3 hours and 5 hours to complete.

Players: You can play with 2 players in the same room, but you can’t play it online.

Costs: Purchase cost.

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.


Koral

Platforms: Nintendo Switch and PC

Genres: Adventure, Open World and Simulation

Duration: Between 2 hours and 3 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

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.


Mutazione

Platforms: Mac, PlayStation 4 and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Creative and Narrative

Duration: Between 6 hours and 10 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

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...


Stardew Valley

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

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

Duration: Between 51 hours and 75 hours to complete.

Players: You can play with 2 players in the same room, but you can’t play it online.

Costs: Purchase cost.

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...


Wandersong

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC and PlayStation 4

Genres: Action, Platform and Rhythm

Duration: Between 10 hours and 12 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

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 unusual way of...


Knights And Bikes!

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting and Narrative

Duration: Between 10 hours and 12 hours to complete.

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

Costs: Purchase cost.

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...


The Last Campfire

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

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Platform and Puzzle

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

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...


Rime

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

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Open World

Duration: Between 5 hours and 6 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

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...


Concrete Genie

Platforms: PlayStation 4

Genres: Action, Adventure, Creative, Narrative and Puzzle

Duration: Between 6 hours and 10 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

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...


Sayonara Wild Hearts

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and iOS Apple Arcade

Genres: Narrative and Rhythm

Duration: Between 1 hour and 2 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

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...


Coffee Talk

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

Genres: Adventure, Creative, Narrative and Role-Playing

Duration: Between 3 hours and 5 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

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.


Lost in Random

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

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

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

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...


Tacoma

Platforms: Mac, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Role-Playing

Duration: Between 3 hours and 5 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

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,...


Horizon Zero Dawn (Series)

Platforms: PC and PlayStation 4

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

Duration: Between 22 hours and 30 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost. In-game purchases.

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...