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Play The Seasons: Get Lost in Bleak Winter Tales

Video games create spaces for us to go and play. These spaces are sometimes an escape from the real world. Equally, games can help us revel and celebrate the real world.

This is a list of game that take us into the long dark months. Shorter days and long nights speak of hibernation and survival. Snow and bare branches suggest that all life has left forever.

Whether they task us with resisting this or getting lost in the dark folds of winter, games of this month are a valuable reminder that life continues (often unseen) where it seems almost impossible. With the faintest foolish hope of a tiny bud read for spring.

Here are our lists of games that invite you into different seasons:
Game image A Short HikeEditor's Choice

A Short Hike

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...


Cosmic Express

Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 16/05/2017

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Genres: Puzzle

Developer: @Draknek

Players: This is a single player game

Cosmic Express is a puzzle game where you plan a train route to collect the waiting passengers. Although the gamelooks super simple, as it progresses you have to also deal with different hazards and requirements for your route.


Shaun White's Snowboarding (Series)

Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 13/11/2008

Platforms: PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and iOS

Genres: Action and Racing

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room

Shaun White's Snowboarding is a series of snowboard racing games that focus on recreating, move for move, the downhill and halfpipe snowbound experience. You race down a mountain landscape steering with intuitive controls and performing point-earning...


A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build

Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 01/12/2018

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

Genres: Creative and Puzzle

Developer: @Draknek

Players: This is a single player game

A Good Snowman (Is Hard To Build) is puzzle game about being a monster and making snowmen. On each level you must roll your snowballs to be the right size and then position them on each other to make a snowman.


Degrees of Separation

Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 14/02/2019

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

Genres: Narrative, Platform and Puzzle

Developer: @DofsGame

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

Degrees of Separation is a running and jumping game where you control two characters from different seasons, Ember and Rime. Each has different abilities to change the environment and help you to progress: freezing water, melting ice and the like.


Ord

Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 05/06/2019, updated in 2020

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

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Role-Playing

Developer: @JoniTweetsGames

Players: This is a single player game

Ord. is an unusual text adventure. Rather than one grand story, you embark on a series of distinct quests. Whether it's defeating an evil warlock or creating your own world as a god, Ord tells stories through simple series of words and word associations...


Game image Stormworks Build and RescueEditor's Choice

Stormworks: Build and Rescue

Stormworks: Build and Rescue

Expected Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 28/02/2018

Platforms: Mac and PC

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

Developer: @Dan_Games

Players: You can play this with 5 players online

Stormworks is an open world adventure where you design, build and pilot your own air sea rescue service. You create programmable vehicles using it's block-building system and pilot them into dangerous situations to rescue stricken vessels or...


Lost Winds (Series)

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 12/05/2008, updated in 2016

Platforms: Nintendo Wii, PC and iOS

Genres: Action, Adventure, Platform and Puzzle

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

LostWinds is a running and jumping video game with a difference. As well as controlling a young boy named Toku you also control the wind. On the Wii you do this by gesturing with the Wii Remote controller, on iOS you draw the direction on the screen. A...


Arise: A Simple Story

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+

Release Date: 03/12/2019

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Narrative, Platform and Puzzle

Developer: @Piccolo_Studio

Players: This is a single player game

Arise: A Simple Story is a narrative game about an old man living in a pre-agricultural tribe. He has just been cremated and as get travels to the next life, begins a pilgrimage of revisiting memories of his life.


Inmost

Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 11/10/2019, updated in 2020

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC and iOS Apple Arcade

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Platform

Developer: @HLGteam

Players: This is a single player game

Inmost is a running and jumping game with a strong emotional and atmospheric narrative. You uncover a dark and interconnected tale of three playable characters, each with their own unique gameplay styles. An adventurous young girl uncovering the past of...


Roki

Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 23/07/2020

Platforms: Nintendo Switch and PC

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: @PolyTreehouse

Players: This is a single player game

Röki is a Scandinavian folklore point-and-click style adventure game where you play Tove on a journey to save her family. As you help her to come to terms with loss, you explore deep into a snowy fairytale landscape with strange locations and creatures.


South of the Circle

Expected Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: iOS Apple Arcade

Genres: Adventure and Narrative

Developer: @State_of_Play

Players: This is a single player game

South of the Circle is a narrative adventure game about, Peter, a Cambridge academic who finds himself fighting for survival in Antarctica during the 1960’s Cold War. You must cross desolate terrain to reach British, Norwegian and Soviet Antarctic...


Darwin Project

Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 14/01/2020

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 5 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Fighting and Simulation

Developer: @DarwinProject

Players: You can play this with 11 players online

Darwin Project is a battle royale game like Fortnite. Player fight to collect resources to survive and upgrade their character. As well as surviving in extreme conditions you track opponents and set traps. In addition to the ten players is...


Omensight

Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 15/05/2018

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC and PlayStation 4

Genres: Action, Fighting, Narrative and Strategy

Developer: @SpearheadMtl

Players: This is a single player game

Omensight is a brawling adventure game where you play the role of Harbinger, a mythical warrior who only appears in times of crisis. As night falls, you witness this destruction of the world at the hands of a dark God but can relive this final day to...


Shadow Of The Colossus

Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 18/10/2005

Platforms: PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4

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

Developer: @SonyJapanStudio

Players: This is a single player game

You play a young man who enters a forbidden land to defeat sixteen massive beings to restore the life of a girl he cares about. It sounds like any other video game, although in fact, Shadow of the Colossus stands apart in many ways.


The Falconeer

Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 10/11/2020

Platforms: PC and Xbox One

Genres: Action and Shooting

Developer: @TheFalconeer

Players: This is a single player game

The Falconeer is an action game where you play a pilot who flies a weaponised falcon through dramatic locations. You battle the rivalling factions to uncover the secrets of long-forgotten gods and ancestors. Although the game-play is all flying and...


Never Alone

Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+

Release Date: 18/12/2014

Platforms: Android, Mac, Nintendo Wii U, PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Action, Adventure, Narrative and Platform

Developer: @NeverAloneGame

Players: This is a single player game

Never Alone is a running, jumping and exploring game based on the traditional Iñupiaq tale, "Kunuuksaayuka". You swap between controlling an Iñupiaq girl named Nuna and her Arctic fox companion as you complete puzzles and move the story forwards.


Dear Esther

Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 14/02/2012

Platforms: Mac, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Open World

Developer: @ChineseRoom

Players: This is a single player game

In Dear Esther you explore an uninhabited Hebridean island while an old man reads a series of letters to his eponymous deceased wife. Themes of love, loss, guilt and redemption intertwine with the bleak geography and orchestral music. As you explore the...


Frostpunk

Rating: PEGI 16+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 29/03/2018, updated in 2019

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Strategy

Players: This is a single player game

Frostpunk is a city-building survival game set in an alternate 1886 with a devastating winter setting in. You are tasked with running a city by managing resources to ensure the city’s survival. Your choices can have negative and positive consequences.


Limbo

Rating: PEGI 16+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 05/06/2013, updated in 2015

Platforms: Android, Nintendo Wii U, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Narrative, Platform and Puzzle

Players: This is a single player game

Control a small boy as he runs, jumps and climbs through a dark, silhouetted forest that clanks and hums with foreboding. As the age-rating suggests, he is killed in all manner of gruesome ways. But this is not without reason. Rather than violent...


The Long Dark

Rating: PEGI 16+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 22/09/2014

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

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Open World, Role-Playing and Simulation

Developer: @HinterlandGames

Players: This is a single player game

The Long Dark is a thoughtful exploration-survival game where you have crash-landed in the icy Canadian wilderness after a global disaster and must find a way to survive. Through exploring, crafting and fighting you must look after your body...


Unto The End

Expected Rating: PEGI 16+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 09/12/2020

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Stadia, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Genres: Fighting, Narrative, Role-Playing and Simulation

Developer: @2TonStudios

Players: This is a single player game

Unto The End is a cinematic combat-adventure where the fighting is modelled in a read-and-react style. It requires time to master the unusual system but offers many ways to take on foes. Tactics and intelligent decisions are as important for survival as...


Beyond: Two Souls

Rating: PEGI 16+, ESRB MATURE 17+

Release Date: 08/10/2013, updated in 2019

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4

Genres:

Developer: @Quantic_Dream

Players: This is a single player game

Beyond: Two Souls is from the same developer as Detroit: Become Human and Heavy Rain. Although not a series, they follow a similar style and approach. They provide a filmic interactive experience of a story that branches in substantial ways depending on...


The Red Lantern

Rating: PEGI 16+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 22/10/2020

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Open World and Simulation

Developer: @TimberlineGames

Players: This is a single player game

The Red Lantern is a personal adventure about making something of your life. You and a team of sled dogs head into the wilderness and must navigate the ever-changing events of the Alaskan bush to find your way home.


Lifeline (Series)

Rating: PEGI 16+, ESRB MATURE 17+

Release Date: 16/04/2015, updated in 2016

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

Genres: Adventure and Narrative

Developer: @3MinuteGames

Players: This is a single player game

Lifeline is a narrative adventure where you interact with am astronaut, Taylor via text messages. You help him return home after crashing his aircraft on a foreign planet.


Deadlight

Rating: PEGI 18+, ESRB MATURE 17+

Release Date: 10/07/2012, updated in 2013

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Genres: Narrative and Platform

Developer: @TequilaWorks

Players: This is a single player game

Deadlight takes the monochrome running, jumping and shooting action in a more mature direction and with a deeper and coherent story. It draws on older (and equally excellent) platform games Another World and Flashback. You control Randall Wayne, a...


Dead by Daylight

Rating: PEGI 18+, ESRB MATURE 17+

Release Date: 14/06/2016, updated in 2020

Platforms: Android, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and iOS

Genres: Action, Fighting and Strategy

Players: You can play this with 5 players online

Dead by Daylight is a survival horror game where one player takes on the role of a killer and another other four try and work together to survive. It's unusual because of this asynchronous play and its cross-over with different franchise-inspired themes.


Inside

Rating: PEGI 18+, ESRB MATURE 17+

Release Date: 29/06/2016, updated in 2018

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

Genres: Action, Adventure, Narrative and Platform

Players: This is a single player game

Inside is from the same developer as Limbo. As such, you play another boy in a dark dream-light and horrific world. Here though, it's more modern-day and realistic.


Detroit: Become Human

Rating: PEGI 18+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 25/05/2018

Platforms: PlayStation 4

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative and Shooting

Developer: @Quantic_Dream

Players: This is a single player game

This is a branching narrative game from Quantic Dream, the studio behind Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls. This is the third game in the series and offers a more refined version of the filmic branching experience.


This War Of Mine

Rating: PEGI 18+, ESRB MATURE 17+

Release Date: 14/11/2014

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

Genres: Narrative, Role-Playing, Shooting, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: @11BitStudios

Players: This is a single player game

Inspired by the 1992–96 Siege of Sarajevo, this is a war game where you play the civilian trying to survive during the fighting. You face tough decisions on how to spend time and resources each day to maintain health, hunger and mood levels until a...



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