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Space For Patience

Video games are often thought to be about the quick hit or instant rush of dopamine gratification. In fact, many video games take a long time before they are enjoyable. It takes patience and investment of effort to start making an impact in the game world, and in many ways is actually hard, slow work.

Some games double down on this mechanic, using, as Brad Gallaway recently said "using the real passage of time passing as a way to progress the story or game mechanics. Without cheating a system's clock, they're meant to play out over long periods. Seaman was something like a month, and The Longing can be as much as 400 days."

The games in this list are designed to be played slowly over a large number of days. This includes games like Animal Crossing, which requires regular visits at particular times of day to progress your island. But it also includes games like The Longing, that test the player's willingness to wait long periods of time and limit their ability to accelerate progress. Or there are games you can play quickly, but require the real passage of time for certain aspects, like Nier Replicant, forcing you to wait 24 real hours between planting a crop and harvesting it

This list includes 52 games from the last 21 years, with 615 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to play slow games in real-time.

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, Collecting, Creative, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Platform, Point-and-Click, Puzzle, Race, Rhythm, Role-Play, Sequencing, Shooting, Simulation, Sports, Stealth, Strategy, Traversal and World Building
Total Likes: 615
 

 

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...

Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine

Release Date: 24/04/2013, updated in 2019

Platforms: Mac, PC, Switch and Xbox 360

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine is a heist simulation game. You control a crew of robbers who escape from jail and take on a series of increasingly complex robberies. The novelty is the simple top-down view of proceedings that allow for complex strategies...

140

Release Date: 16/10/2013, updated in 2020

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch, Wii U and Xbox One

140 is a sliding, rolling and jumping game where you control a changing geometric shape to traverse a minimalist world. It's challenging for the timed jumps and reactions but keeps distractions to a minimum with its abstract colorful graphics.

Cozy Grove

Release Date: 19/03/2021

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

Cosy Grove is a life-simulation where you camp on a hand-drawn island. You play a scout and explore the ever changing island's forest to find secrets and help the local ghosts. Like Animal Crossing, it has a children's story-book look, but is a...

Lifeline (Series)

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

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

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

Bury Me My Love

Release Date: 26/10/2017, updated in 2020

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Don’t be put off by the name and theme of this intriguing game, an adventure played by choosing responses in what looks like a messaging app. You take the role of the husband of a Syrian migrant travelling to Europe. As the game unfolds in real time,...

PowerWash Simulator

Release Date: 19/05/2021

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

PowerWash Simulator is a puzzle game where you clean different objects and locations using a pressure washer. It's designed to be soothing with sounds of high-pressure water and satisfyingly clean results as you blast away every speck of dirt and grime.

Wytchwood

Release Date: 09/12/2021, updated in 2022

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Wytchwood is an adventure in a land of gothic fables and fairytales. You are an old witch of the woods and must explore the countryside, collect magical ingredients and brew enchantments. That much is relatively common, here though, your role is to pass...

Bird Alone

Release Date: 15/06/2020

Platforms: iOS

Bird Alone is a narrative game where you befriend a bird. Your feathered companion encourages the conversation in the direction of real life worries while you make music, draw pictures and write poetry. It’s a slow game that unfolds in real time with...

Witchbrook

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Witchbrook is a role play game that takes you through the highs and lows of school-life. You play a witch-in-training but it's not just about learning spells. The push and shove of student life at the magic school and town life are very much front and...

Build A Boat for Treasure (Roblox)

Release Date: 02/11/2016, updated in 2022

Platforms: Amazon Fire, Android, Mac, PC, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Build A Boat for Treasure (Roblox) is a strategy game where build your ship (or anything else) from different materials and set sail for adventure. Doing this successfully earns new items and materials for your next build. Although this churn does...

Nier: Automata

Release Date: 23/02/2017, updated in 2018

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Nier: Automata is a role-playing game, that span off from the Drakengard series. It's set in an alternate future where there is a war between alien machines and human androids. But this isn't a game about winning the war. It's more focused on the plight...

The Stanley Parable

Release Date: 31/07/2011, updated in 2022

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

The Stanley Parable is an interactive drama with no combat or action to speak of apart from walking around and interacting with everyday objects. You guide a silent protagonist, Stanley, while discouraging narration plays in your ear. As you discover...

Lawn Mowing Simulator

Release Date: 10/08/2021

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

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Lawn Mowing Simulator is an adventure game where you ride an authentic and expansive roster of lawnmowers. The novelty is a combination of absolute control over lawn care and weed eradication. This is extended beyond a brief distraction by the inclusion...

Pupperazzi

Release Date: 20/01/2022

Platforms: PC and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Pupperazzi is an adventure game where you explore an island to find and photograph all manner of canine friends. You interact with the world, climb, skate and explore to get the perfect angle on the perfect pup. It starts as a silly challenge but turns...

Far From Noise

Release Date: 14/11/2017

Platforms: PC, PS4 and iOS

Far From Noise is a narrative game where you play a car balancing on the edge of a cliff. You meet multiple animals that act as spiritual guides and discuss what it means to balance between life and death. When talking, you get the choice of two phrases...

The Longing

Release Date: 05/03/2020

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

The Longing is a point-and-click adventure about waiting and loneliness. It's an intentionally slow game that takes 400 elapsed days to finish. It draws on the Idle Game genre, where you use minor interactions to incrementally advance. Here though, the...

Home Quest

Release Date: 05/09/2021

Platforms: Android and iOS

Home Quest is a strategy game where you incrementally build a town, recruit an army and manage your economy. Like other idle games, it's a familiar set-up where you tap buttons to assign resources and then wait for the results. However, the unusual...

Lemnis Gate

Release Date: 28/09/2021

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

Lemnis Gate is a combat game that combines turn-taking with real-time shooting. At the start of the battle, you pick one of your seven operatives for the first 25 second round. The game then rewinds to the start and you go again with your second...

Please, Touch The Artwork

Release Date: 26/01/2022

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Please, Touch The Artwork is a puzzle game that tells a story with real abstract paintings. Unconventionally it asks, what would happen if we did touch the artwork in museums? The answer is revealed over three stories each focusing on a different...

Quadrilateral Cowboy

Release Date: 25/07/2016

Platforms: Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Quadrilateral Cowboy is an adventure in a 1990 retro-cyberpunk world where you take on covert mission to infiltrate buildings and security systems. You carefully explore each level hacking security by typing commands into your grey-market equipment.

Ever Seen A Cat?

Release Date: 18/01/2022

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 3+ year-olds

Ever Seen a Cat is a hidden object puzzle game where you are trying to spot monochrome cats in different scenes. It's simple enough for players of any age to enjoy it, but has some randomisation of the levels so you need to play multiple times to get...

Lushfoil Photography Sim

Release Date: Coming soon

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

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Lushfoil Photography Sim is an adventure where you explore and photograph vast faithfully recreated landscapes. While some other games offer the chance to pause and take a picture, Lushfoil doubles-down on the process, art and tranquility of photography.

Moonbreaker

Release Date: 29/09/2022

Platforms: Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Pieces: Figures

Moonbreaker is a strategy game that plays like a physical tabletop game. Using hand-painted figures you fight opponents in tactical turn-based battles in a new universe created by bestselling author Brandon Sanderson. It has the detailed painting,...

RocketPuzzle

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Android and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Rocket Puzzle is a tile-based puzzle set in space. You push and hold blocks so their attached rockets can fire them into the matching coloured space stations. It's a small but tricky game with a retro aesthetic.

Bridge Constructor (Series)

Release Date: 01/12/2011, updated in 2020

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS4, PS5, Switch, Wii U, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

The Bridge Constructor games are a series of physics-based building challenges to make stable bridges over chasms and ravines. While it's a simple concept, the variety of locations and different geometry means that building a stable bridge requires...

Kamikaze Veggies

Release Date: 15/02/2022

Platforms: PC and Switch

Kamikaze Veggies (previously called Suicide Vegetables) is a stealth adventure game starring an absurd cast of vegetable characters. You carefully choose a vegetable with the right specialist skills for each level and set about bringing the enemy down...

VVVVVV

Release Date: 11/01/2010, updated in 2017

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS, Android, PC, PS Vita, PS4, Switch, Web and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

VVVVVV is a running and jumping game, without the jumping. Not having the ability to jump may seem like a disadvantage, but instead you can flip gravity to get around the various rooms of the abandoned space station. It looks like a 1980's game for the...

A Puzzle in Time (Dreams)

Release Date: 12/02/2021, updated in 2022

Platforms: PS4 and PS5

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

A Puzzle in Time is a puzzle game set in a laboratory. Your task is to escape the room and prove time travel is possible by solving puzzles set over four different years. Inspired by games like Portal and The Witness this short but challenging game has...

Aaero

Release Date: 11/04/2017, updated in 2018

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Aaero is a rhythm game where you control a spacecraft with one stick and target with the other. At times it's like flying an X-Wing on a trench run while at others it's like soaring high and free targeting enemies in a Starfox game. It's an on-rails...

Deru - The Art of Cooperation

Release Date: 07/11/2018

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Deru is a cooperative puzzle game about the flow and interaction of colour. Its stylised design hides within it complex conundrums you must work closely together to solve. Each of the two players can only touch streams of their colour, so must carefully...

Dr Umgebung's School of Life (Sokpop)

Release Date: 31/01/2018

Platforms: Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Dr Umgebung's School of Life is a strategy simulation game. The life it simulates is a sealed terrarium that you must maintain by completing certain tasks. It's an unusual combination of science, gardening and pet simulation that educates as well as...

Goop Loop

Release Date: 21/07/2021

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Goop Loop is a traversal game where you control a sticky lump of goo stuck inside a concrete loop. You can use the momentum of your goo and the world's gravity to get the loop to roll through the level. In this way you face all sorts of physics...

Gridland

Release Date: 25/08/2014

Platforms: Android, Web and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Gridland (also Super Gridland on mobile) is a puzzle strategy game where you build a town by day and defend zombie attackers at night. Unusually, resources are gathered by completing match-three puzzles. This puzzle switches from building to defending...

Puddle Knights

Release Date: 07/10/2020

Platforms: PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Puddle Knights is a puzzle game where you use your cape to protect nobles from stepping in mud. While it may not challenge the ruling elites, it does create an intriguing challenge with steadily increasing difficulty.

Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey

Release Date: 27/08/2019

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey is a survival adventure. But rather than controlling a specific character, you guide an entire lineage of primates trying to survive in prehistoric Africa and facilitate its evolution. It's unusual not only for this...

Golf Story

Release Date: 28/09/2017

Platforms: Switch

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Golf Story is an adventure game where you play golf over eight different courses as a story unfolds. You play a golfer forced to give up all that he holds dear for one last shot at accomplishing his dreams.

Kick Bot

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Kick Bot is a pixelated platform game you play with just two buttons. An evil computer is out for revenge. You must stop its giant robot from kicking Earth into oblivion. As Kick Bot, you jump, dash and collect your way through each level to infiltrate...

Letter²

Release Date: 31/10/2017, updated in 2018

Platforms: Android and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Letters is a puzzle game where you place letters in a small grid and then swipe across words to score points and clear off the letters. Unlike other Letter-puzzles you can't see what's coming next and you can't move letters once placed, which makes it a...

Master Key

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Master Key is a retro-style action adventure like Zelda. It focuses on exploration, finding items and secrets and keeps the rest of the play simple. As well as matching classic games of the era, it offers an interesting look into the joy of the journey...

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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