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Persevere After Losing

Video games where you adventure into a harsh setting, try your hardest to survive and slowly develop your abilities but then inevitably die are often called Rogue-likes. This is because one of the first games that offered this style of play was called Rogue.

These are interesting games for families, not only because their difficult nature leads to shorter sessions, but also because they foster perseverance and coping with losing. After dying you are sent back to some sort of central village where you can choose upgrades for your next attempt. The incentive to play again once you have been killed is usually that you start with some more equipment or skills.

In this way, by belligerence and a slowly learned understanding of how the game world works and how best to survive, you incrementally get a bit further each time you play. Here are some really good roguelike games for families:

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Wildfire

Wildfire

Platforms: PC

Genres: Action, Fighting, Puzzle and Simulation

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

Costs: Purchase cost.

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...


Elsinore

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Puzzle and Simulation

Duration: Between 7 hours and 12 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

Elsinore is a mystery-adventure set in Shakespeare's Hamlet. You play Elsinore who repeats the same four days as she tries to find a way to avoid the tragedy that lies before her.


Alto’s Adventure (Series)

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

Genres: Action, Platform and Racing

Duration: Between 1 minute and 20 minutes to play a round.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

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...


Dicey Dungeons

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

Genres: Adventure, Fighting, Puzzle, Strategy and Turn-Based

Duration: Between 22 hours and 28 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

Dicey Dungeons is video game adventure where you build a deck of cards to represent characters, attacks and weapons. Here the novelty is that these cards combine with dice roles to determine who wins battles.


Ghost Grab

Platforms: Nintendo Switch and PC

Genres: Action, Puzzle and Shooting

Duration: Between 1 minute and 3 minutes to play a round.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

Ghost Grab is a puzzle game where you shoot a beam of light at ghosts to chain them together before popping them to score points. It's simple to start with but soon gives way to a frantic score-attack challenge with it's unique way to score points.


Reigns (Series)

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

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Puzzle and Strategy

Duration: Between 10 minutes and 1 hour to play a round.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

Take charge of a kingdom, one decision at a time. Each choice is presented to you as a playing card with some advice or a question from one of the 38 different characters. Swipe left or right to make a decision that will impact the church, people,...


Kingdom (Series)

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

Genres: Action, Fighting, Open World, Role-Playing and Strategy

Duration: Between 8 hours and 15 hours to complete.

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

Costs: Purchase cost.

In this retro-look strategy game, you must defend your town from the nightly attack of zombies as you develop your technology and civilisation day-by-day. But unlike other tower-defence games – where you set up defences and fend off waves of attacking...


One Hour One Life

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

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

Duration: Between 1 hour and 1 hour to complete.

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

Costs: Purchase cost.

This is a civilisation survival game where each player lives a whole life in an hour of play and then passes away. Born as a baby into the care of anonymous other online players, you initially depend on them for food. Quickly growing, you can soon fend...


Curious Expedition (Series)

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC and PlayStation 4

Genres: Adventure, Open World, Puzzle and Strategy

Duration: Between 1 and a half hours and 105 minutes to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

Curious Expedition is an expedition simulation, in the late 19th century. You join historical people to explore a world map to gain fame, science and treasures. Each time you set out the world is different, with unique challenges requiring particular...


Mana Spark

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch and PC

Genres: Action, Adventure, Simulation and Strategy

Duration: Between 5 minutes and half an hour to play a round.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

Mana Spark is a fantasy adventure where you explore a Tolkein-esque dungeon to fight smart enemies that will plan and collaborate between themselves to defeat you. It's a game you play over and over, improving not only your skill but equipment and...


Dreamscaper

Platforms: Nintendo Switch and PC

Genres: Action, Adventure and Fighting

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost. In-game purchases.

Dreamscaper is an adventure where you control a woman's subconscious whilst she dreams. In the dreams you battle enemies with different surrealist abilities and weapons: finger guns, move the earth, control time, warp landscapes, many melee weapons and...


Bad North

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

Genres: Action, Fighting, Puzzle, Simulation and Strategy

Duration: Between 6 hours and 15 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost. In-game purchases.

Bad North is a stylised strategy fighting game. You control an army defending an island and must train and develop your forces efficiently. The simple visuals and knife-edge Viking combat along with the jeopardy of losing precious troops make this a lot...


Don't Starve

Platforms: Android, Mac, Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Wii U, PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Action, Open World, Simulation and Strategy

Duration: Between 32 hours and 46 hours to complete.

Players: You can play with 2 players in the same room and up to 6 players online.

Costs: Purchase cost. In-game purchases.

This is an open-world survival game. Here it’s the environment and enemies, rather than other players, that you work with. You need to find and develop food, weapons and shelter to survive. It’s enjoyable because it’s hard, so repeat-plays to...


Children of Morta

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

Genres: Action, Fighting, Narrative and Role-Playing

Duration: Between 13 hours and 15 hours to complete.

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

Costs: Purchase cost.

Children of Morta is an adventure game about a family of heroes, each with different abilities and enhancements. You battle enemies and bosses while exploring dungeons within the cavern of Mount Morta and must avoid the corruption as it spreads.


Rogue Legacy (Series)

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Fighting and Platform

Duration: Between 16 hours and 18 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

Rogue Legacy is a dungeon fighting game. Each time you die you go back to the start. However, you are resurrected as a character with different challenges: colourblind, dyslexic, a dwarf and so on. You can use gold, collected form previous lives, to...


Colt Canyon

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC and Xbox One

Genres: Action and Shooting

Duration: Between 5 minutes and half an hour to play a round.

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

Costs: Purchase cost.

Colt Canyon is a pixel-styled shooting game where you play a cowboy, whose mission is to save his kidnapped partner from the bandits and get back home. Players shoot their way through a hostile canyon using their guns and TNT. Hidden treasures and...


Dark Souls (Series)

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Narrative and Strategy

Duration: Between 50 hours and 100 hours to complete.

Players: You can play this with 6 players online.

Costs: Purchase cost.

Souls is a series of fighting and exploration games. From third-person perspective you navigate interconnected locations while fighting enemies with weapons and magic. Larger boss enemy encounters progress the story. The games are known for their...


Void Bastards

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

Genres: Action and Shooting

Duration: Between 12 hours and 15 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost. In-game purchases.

Void *!@?* is an inglorious tongue-in-cheek shooting game, where you control misfit prisoners out of the Sargasso Nebula. You decide which shops to investigate, what to do and who to fight. When you die, you start again with some of the loot you've...