Video games are known for high-octane, adrenaline-fuelled entertainment, but there are many that address the player’s emotions as much as their dexterity. Often overlooked by younger or more competitive players, these experiences can provide a helpful variety in the diet of games your family enjoys.The games selected below create emotionally rich spaces in which to explore scenarios with feelings rather than facts. In some games this is achieved with beautiful or soothing interactive visuals; others create charged relationships and settings that invite players to take a role in processing these emotions.
This list includes 46 games from the last 12 years, with 189 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to engage your emotions.
We have other mental health lists of games:
The Last Of Us Part II
Rating: PEGI 18+, ESRB MATURE 17+
Release Date: 19/06/2020
Platforms: PlayStation 4
Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative, Role-Playing, Shooting and Simulation
Players: This is a single player game
The Last of Us Part II is an action-adventure game set five years after The Last of Us. You control two characters in a post-apocalyptic United States. Ellie is out for revenge after suffering a tragedy, and Abby is a...
Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB TEEN
Release Date: 18/07/2019, updated in 2020
Platforms: Nintendo Switch and PC
Genres: Adventure and Platform
Horace is a platform adventure full of nostalgic pop-culture references and British humour. You run and jump through a funny and heartfelt story told by Horace, the game's charming robot protagonist. Adopted by a wealthy family for reasons unknown,...
Shady Part of Me
Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB EVERYONE
Release Date: 10/12/2020
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
Genres: Narrative and Puzzle
Shady Part of Me is a narrative platform game where you play as a young girl and her shadow. You help her overcome emotional struggles through solving 2D and 3D puzzles. The game world is based within the young girl's dreams. The young girl is afraid of...
Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+
Release Date: 23/01/2018, updated in 2018
Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
This is a platform game that requires players to use jumping and climbing moves to ascend an increasingly challenging two-dimensional mountain. You play Madeline, who is, perhaps unsurprisingly, haunted by self-doubt at the task in hand. She presses on...
Release Date: 14/03/2012, updated in 2019
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and iOS
Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 2 players online
This is an adventure in a desert. Exploring the eerie sand-scape, you discover a world abandoned by the race that created it. The sense of space and scale evokes feelings of aloneness and being lost. But then the game pairs you with other players, one...
To The Moon
Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+
Release Date: 10/11/2011, updated in 2020
Platforms: Android, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC and iOS
Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle
To the Moon is a story-adventure following two doctors trying to fulfil a dying man's last wish to go to the moon. With only a few ways to interact with the game, you control the doctors, exploring and solving puzzles to reconstruct the dying man's...
The Cost of Recovery
Expected Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+
Release Date: Coming soon
The Cost of Recovery is a narrative adventure where you play as four different people, one of whom has a stroke. How this impacts each of them is experienced first hand. Can they all get through this together or will everything start to fall apart?
Release Date: 06/10/2019
Platforms: Android, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and iOS
Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Platform
Gris is a platform game where you guide a young girl through a crumbling world. Through beautiful metaphoric landscapes and soaring music, the game touches on emotions of loss and longing but doesn’t resolve to a firm narrative. Although not hugely...
Release Date: 02/11/2016, updated in 2018
Abzu is an adventure in a lush underwater world. You descend into the heart of the ocean to find ancient secrets and encounter majestic creatures. This combines the beautiful weightlessness of diving with an ancient story of meaning and place in the world.
Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE
Release Date: 14/02/2018, updated in 2020
Platforms: Android, Nintendo Switch and iOS
This is a little puzzle game that tells the story of a relationship, following the usual stages of loneliness, meeting, dating, falling for and moving in with another person. At first, the puzzle interactions seem trivial and the game doesn’t change...
Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
Release Date: 08/08/2017, updated in 2018
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting and Narrative
This is a dark fantasy adventure, drawing on Norse and Celtic mythology, where you play a young female Pict warrior, Senua. You explore and fight your way to Helheim to rescue the soul of her dead lover. As you play, though, you hear multiple voices in...
Assemble With Care
Rating: Not rated by PEGI or ESRB
Release Date: 19/11/2019
Platforms: PC and iOS Apple Arcade
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...
Night in the Woods
Release Date: 10/01/2017, updated in 2017
Platforms: Android, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and iOS
Night in the Woods follows college dropout Mae Borowski returning home to the crumbling former mining town of Possum Springs. But the place is different now her friends have grown and changed. There’s something suspicious happening in the nearby...
As Dusk Falls
Release Date: 23/07/2020
Platforms: PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S
Genres: Action, Adventure and Narrative
As Dusk Falls is an interactive Drama following two families that intertwine with each other over thirty years, set in Arizona.
The Unfinished Swan
Release Date: 16/10/2012
Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita
The Unfinished Swan invites you to explore a world by splashing paint on it. The tactile experience leads you into a fairy tale about an unfinished painting that leads a child back to his parent.
Sky Children of the Light
Release Date: 18/07/2019
Genres: Action, Open World and Simulation
Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 8 players online
Sky Children of the Light (Sky Children of Light) is a huge open-world online game designed to create altruism between players. From the developer of Flower and Journey, it takes you on a social adventure in an ever-expanding world with up to 8 other...
Life Is Strange
Release Date: 19/01/2016
Platforms: Android, PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS
Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Puzzle and Role-Playing
This is a click/tap-to-move adventure where you play a student at high school in a sleepy American town. Despite the idyllic setting, you have a foreboding premonition of a disastrous storm. Along with this prophetic vision, you discover the ability to...
A Juggler's Tale
Expected Rating: PEGI 16+, ESRB TEEN
Release Date: 27/08/2020
Genres: Action, Adventure, Platform and Puzzle
A Juggler's Tale is a running and jumping game where you guide Abby, a string puppet through a dangerous world where you need to solve puzzles and avoid traps. You move crates, pull levers, jump over hazards and try to outrun chasers.
Release Date: 20/08/2019
Genres: Action, Adventure, Creative, Narrative and Puzzle
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...
What Remains of Edith Finch
Rating: PEGI 16+, ESRB TEEN
Release Date: 18/04/2017, updated in 2017
Genres: Narrative, Puzzle and Role-Playing
Edith Finch is the surviving member of the Finch family, who seem to have died from a curse. In first-person perspective, you return to the family’s coastal home to learn about each relative’s final hours by exploring their rooms in turn.
Where Cards Fall
Release Date: 15/09/2019
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC and iOS Apple Arcade
Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Platform and Puzzle
Where Cards Fall, from the same developer as Alto's Adventure, is an adventure where you build houses of cards to advance. In a beautifully hand-drawn world, you need to create pathways with the cards through the dreamlike...
Love - A Puzzle Box Filled with Stories
Release Date: 21/10/2020
Platforms: Mac and PC
Love - A Puzzle Box Filled with Stories is a puzzle game about regret. You interact with and explore a single apartment building. As you do you learn about the lives of the people that live there. You can manipulate the building to move floors between...
Love You To Bits
Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and iOS
Genres: Narrative, Platform and Puzzle
Love You to Bits is an adventure where you tap to move and interact with objects, like classic point-and-click games. You play Kosmo, a clumsy, rookie space explorer in search of Nova, his robot girlfriend. After a fatal accident, all of Nova’s pieces...
My Child Lebensborn
Release Date: 08/05/2018
Platforms: Android and iOS
You nurture a Lebensborn child in Norway after World War II who faces a hostile community because they’ve been born to parents of both occupied and occupying forces. With meagre resources yourself, you must feed, clothe and bathe the child, but more...
Release Date: 05/04/2019
Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch and PC
Genres: Open World and Simulation
Players: You can play this with 4 players online
This game brings you, as a bird, to a beautiful island. You can explore freely, collecting items and soaring on the breeze. Often, other players will join you to create a flock of birds to fly together, making music on the wind. Communication is kept to...
Everybody's Gone to the Rapture
Release Date: 12/08/2015, updated in 2016
Platforms: Mac, PC and PlayStation 4
Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Open World
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture lands you in a fictional deserted English village in 1984. As you walk the streets of another era you discover bright human forms who re-enact events like a radio play. Through their eyes, you see a web of fear,...
Signs of the Sojourner
Release Date: 14/05/2020
Signs of the Sojourner, an introspective narrative where you interact with characters by solving puzzles with cards that represent emotions. It's a coming-of-age story set in the near-future and explores how relationships form, break, and mend in the...
My Brother Rabbit
Release Date: 21/11/2018
My Brother Rabbit is a hand-drawn hidden-object puzzle game about an ill sister. As her plight is told through water-colour animation, you play her brother's rabbit and unfold a parallel story in a fantasy world.
Release Date: 13/08/2018
Tree is a short 15 minute game that tells the story of a boy who plants a small tree. You control the planting, watering and how the tree grows each season. As you do this the years pass and the boy...
Child of Light
Release Date: 30/04/2014
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Wii U, PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360 and Xbox One
Genres: Narrative and Platform
Child of Light is a platform game presented like a fairy tale, where you play a young girl, Aurora, on a quest to save her kingdom from the darkness. Battle encounters break up the adventure and power up your character. To finally make it home, you must...
Papo and Yo
Release Date: 14/08/2012
Platforms: Mac, PC and PlayStation 3
Papo & Yo pits you as a young boy, Quico, exploring a Brazilian city slum. As you solve puzzles and perform well-timed jumps to progress through the city, you must also deal with a monster – both real and metaphorically representing your alcoholic...
The Stillness of the Wind
Release Date: 07/02/2019
Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC and iOS
In The Stillness of the Wind you are an old woman who looks after a dilapidated farm. Over the course of a few hours, no matter what your efforts, the farm falls apart as you learn about the woman’s family and have the chance to ruminate on her...
Release Date: 21/05/2015
Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Role-Playing
Sunset tasks you with cleaning a large apartment in a fictional 1970s South American city. But outside the apartment, there is unrest and rioting. The chaos of the country and the repetitive daily chores grate against one another to create a meditative...
Last Day of June
Release Date: 31/08/2017
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC and PlayStation 4
Last Day of June is a game about a couple called Carl and June, who suffer a tragedy when a car accident takes June's life and leaves Carl in a wheelchair. You control Carl, remembering life with June and discover that you can interact with her...
SoundSelf: A Technodelic
Release Date: 22/04/2020
SoundSelf is an interactive guided meditation. Using the microphone, and optionally enhanced by VR, the game leads you through a landscape that responds to the sounds of your breath. This encourages you to make the Ujjayi Pranayama sound on your...
Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Simulation
Ete (été, which means summer) is a gentle adventure where you discover memories by exploring with your camera, music and paint. The screen starts almost entirely blank, and as you move around and interact you create vivid colourful memories.
When The Past Was Around
Release Date: 22/09/2020
Genres: Adventure and Puzzle
When The Past Was Around is a short adventure puzzle game, where you point and click on items to gather clues, unlock doors and unraveling the secrets of its silent narrative. Without any words it tells the tale of a young woman, Eda, and her love, the...
She Remembered Caterpillars
Release Date: 17/01/2017
She Remembered Caterpillars is a colour-matching puzzle game with an unusual look and emotional story to tell. Through the unsettling fungi-punk aesthetic you work out how to get your characters to the endpoint of each stage. As you do you eavesdrop on...
Yi and the Thousand Moons
Expected Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE
Release Date: 24/11/2017
Platforms: Mac and PlayStation 2
Genres: Adventure and Narrative
Yi and the Thousand Moons is an adventure game in the form of a musical. You follow Yi who is told by the gods to bring down the moons, but then has to try and save the people of her village from the unforeseen results.
The First Tree
Release Date: 11/10/2018
Genres: Creative, Narrative, Open World, Platform and Puzzle
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...
N.E.R.O.: Nothing Ever Remains Obscure
Release Date: 15/05/2015
Genres: Narrative, Open World and Puzzle
N.E.R.O. is a story-driven first-person indie game with puzzles to solve and story threads to follow. The player character essentially walks a linear path and solves puzzles blocking their way, while a story is narrated.
Release Date: 29/07/2019
#SelfCare is a companion game that aims to create space for your feelings. Unlike other apps that remind or incentivize you to take a break, breath or even just to stand up, #SelfCare offers interactions and narrative that create a context for you to...
Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons
Release Date: 07/08/2013
Platforms: Android, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and iOS
Players: You can play with 2 players in the same room
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is an action-adventure game where you control two brothers at the same time with a single controller. After their mother passes away, they must find some water from the Tree of Life to save their father. The controls weave...
Release Date: 15/06/2009
Platforms: Nintendo Wii and Nintendo Wii U
Genres: Action, Narrative and Rhythm
Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room
This is a game on the Wii about catching. It's created by Prope, who made the Sonic the Hedgehog games. You use the Wii Remote controller to motion a catch or a throw to a player in the game. The challenge is to learn how to press the button just right...
Release Date: 01/07/2014, updated in 2018
Platforms: Mac, PC and iOS
Genres: Creative and Simulation
This is a game from the same developer as Everything that simulates a mountain. You influence how each of the rising land masses turns out by drawing different objects. The game then evolves before you, offer a gentle...
Arise: A Simple Story
Release Date: 03/12/2019
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.
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