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Best Narrative Games

Narrative video games focus on telling a story about characters, worlds and themes. Learning from the power of books and films, these games string together interactions not for excitement or competition but for storytelling beats. The best examples intertwine gameplay and storytelling, rather than interspersing short films ("Cut Scenes") between levels.

Games can use Adventure, Action and Role-Playing to communicate elements of story to players. Less obviously, games can also communicate narrative through how they Simulate the world, what needs solving in Puzzles or even the Strategies players need to employ.

The narrative of video games is not usually told (link in books) or shown (like in films) but overheard. Half caught sentences from passing characters. The architecture of the buildings. The way that levers and buttons interact. How other characters (and the world itself sometimes) reacts to your presence. What is broken in the space the game creates, and how/if it can be fixed.

DetailsGenre Details

Era: 1974 - 2023
Total Games: 656
Total Likes: 9,450
 

 

Five Nights at Freddy's (Series)

Release Date: 23/07/2014, updated in 2019

Platforms: Android, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Five Nights at Freddy's (FNaF) is a series of puzzle horror games with jump scares rather than blood and gore. You play the night-guard at Freddy Fazbear's Pizza and have to survive the night while in your office, checking the cameras and closing the...

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Release Date: 19/05/2015

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

In this game you play monster-hunter Geralt in a vast open world as he searches for his missing adopted daughter. The game responds to your actions and has dynamic environments, weather and day–night cycles that affect the creatures you hunt. It’s a...

Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga

Release Date: 05/04/2022

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

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is the latest in a series of Star Wars themed Lego running, jumping and building games. You work your way through all 9 of the Star Wars films unlocking new locations and characters as you go.

Kena: Bridge of Spirits

Release Date: 21/08/2021

Platforms: PC, PS4 and PS5

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Kena: Bridge of Spirits is an adventure about a young girl who travels to an abandoned village in the hope of finding a sacred mountain shrine. To get there she must find and grow a team of charming spirit companions called the Rot, enhancing their...

Halo (Series)

Release Date: 15/11/2001, updated in 2020

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Halo is the longstanding sci-fi shooting video game series that started when Halo: Combat Evolved launched alongside the Xbox in 2001. The franchise has featured on every Xbox platform since then, with Halo 5: Guardians serving as the latest entry in...

It Takes Two

Release Date: 26/03/2021, updated in 2022

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

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

It Takes Two is a running, jumping and exploring game that tells a story of a young girl, Rose, whose parents are divorcing. The girl creates two dolls to represent her parents, which unexpectedly trap the clashing-couple in them. You and a friend...

Florence

Release Date: 14/02/2018, updated in 2020

Platforms: Android, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

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...

Lake

Release Date: 01/09/2021

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

Lake is a narrative adventure where you play Meredith Weiss on a career break in 1986 while she returns to her hometown and ends up delivering the mail. As you talk to locals, meet up with old school friends and even fan a few romantic flames from your...

Rainbow Billy

Release Date: 05/10/2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Rainbow Billy: The Curse of the Leviathan is a role-play adventure where you save the world from a colourless darkness. Unusually, battles are won through listening and conversation rather than traditional attacks. It combines the excitement and...

Unpacking

Release Date: 02/11/2021

Platforms: Mac, PC, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Unpacking is a meditative puzzle game where you unpack belongings into a series of either spaces, each representing a stage in life. You get to know the owner of the objects by their possessions and circumstances. To finish a level you need to work out...

Everything

Release Date: 21/03/2017, updated in 2019

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4 and Switch

Skill Rating: 3+ year-olds

This is an unusual game that simulates a world where you can become any object. It sounds strange and not much fun, but the enjoyment is in discovering how small or how big a thing you can become. From tiny atoms to whole planets and everything in between.

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

Release Date: 19/11/2016, updated in 2017

Platforms: PS3 and PS4

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is an action-adventure game set several years after the events of Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. You play Nathan Drake, a happily married former treasure hunter coaxed out of retirement by his brother. This leads into...

Night in the Woods

Release Date: 10/01/2017, updated in 2017

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

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...

Hoa

Release Date: 24/08/2021

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Hoa is an adventure game where you walk and jump through a hand-painted world as the mysterious main character. You solve environmental puzzles and meet magical creatures while trying to find your way back home. It's unusual because of its handcrafted...

Stray

Release Date: 19/07/2022

Platforms: PC, PS4 and PS5

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Stray is a game about a cat lost in a futuristic city where robots live. You guide your feline friend in and out of buildings, across roads and generally poke your nose in to see what is going on.

The Last Of Us Part II

Release Date: 19/06/2020

Platforms: PS4

Skill Rating: 16+ year-olds

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...

Marvel's Spider-Man (Series)

Release Date: 07/09/2018

Platforms: PS4 and PS5

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Marvel's Spider-Man is a series of superhero adventures where you swing through an open-world city fighting crime and advancing a film-like story. There are also many side quests and missions you can take along the way.

Stardew Valley

Release Date: 26/02/2016, updated in 2018

Platforms: Amazon Fire, Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

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...

Call of the Sea

Release Date: 12/08/2020, updated in 2020

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

Call of the Sea is a narrative adventure set in the 1930s. You explore an island in the Southern Pacific to find your missing husband. As you do you discover what happened and revisit memories of being there before.

Roki

Release Date: 23/07/2020

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

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

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.

Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Release Date: 12/11/2020

Platforms: PS4 and PS5

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales is an action-adventure game based on the Marvel Comics superhero Miles Morales. It is similar to the first Marvel's Spider-Man game in mechanics although Miles Morales extends this...

Before Your Eyes

Release Date: 08/04/2021, updated in 2022

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Before Your Eyes is a narrative game about an 11-year-old boy revisiting his life before "crossing over" to the other side. You play by exploring scenes that represent snapshots of his life. Unusually, you make choices and interact with the game by...

Alba: A Wildlife Adventure

Release Date: 11/12/2020

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

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

Alba: A Wildlife Adventure is an adventure game where you play as a young girl who starts a wildlife conservation club. When Alba visits her grandparents on a Mediterranean island, she is excited for a summer of exploring with her friend Ines. But when...

Raft

Release Date: 23/05/2018

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Raft is a survival game where you work to build a raft while stranded at sea. You start the game on a small raft with only a hook made of old plastic, with which you use to pull in floating barrels and planks of wood.

Assemble With Care

Release Date: 19/11/2019

Platforms: PC and iPhone, iPad

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

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...

Firewatch

Release Date: 20/09/2016

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Firewatch is an explorative adventure where you play a fire lookout in America’s Shoshone National Forest. It has a relational and conspiracy undertone similar to the podcast/radio drama and Netflix show [link to...

Pokémon Cafe Mix

Release Date: 15/12/2020

Platforms: Android, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 3+ year-olds

Pokemon Cafe Mix is a puzzle game. Similar to the icon-connection challenge of Disney Tsum Tsum, you play as Eevee and delivering orders in a cafe by linking Pokemon icons in a ring. It's a low pressure puzzle with a swirl-to-connect interaction that is...

Venba

Release Date: 28/11/2021

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Venba is a narrative-cooking game about an Indian mother who immigrated to Canada in the 1980s. You cook various traditional Indian dishes and restore the lost recipes which were damaged in the move to Canada. As you talk to your mother's family you...

A Little To The Left

Release Date: 01/08/2022

Platforms: Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

A Little To The Left is a puzzle game where you are tidying a house into meticulous order. Each puzzle presents everyday objects and some evidence of how they should be organised. The challenge is you have to deal with the mischievous cat who likes to...

Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach

Release Date: 16/12/2021, updated in 2022

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

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach is a survival-horror game where you explore a vast pizzeria and shopping centre while hunted by a murderer. In addition to continuing the intricate and multi-layered story of the previous games, this is the first...

Ori and the Will of the Wisps (Series)

Release Date: 11/03/2015, updated in 2020

Platforms: PC, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Both Ori and the Blind Forest and Ori and the Will of the Wisps place you in control of a diminutive elfish spirit called Ori. You run, jump and solve platforming challenges to progress through the world. As you do new powers are unlocked that allow you...

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Release Date: 10/04/2020

Platforms: PS4

Final Fantasy VII Remake is an action role-playing game set in a decaying cyberpunk metropolis. It is the first in a series of games that remake the 1997 PlayStation game Final Fantasy VII. You play the role of a mercenary named Cloud Strife who joins...

Penrose

Release Date: 01/09/2020

Platforms: Android, Web and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Penrose is a text adventure, where you don't only read the story and choose its next step, but can go back into the text to change it in all sorts of mind-bending ways. As the develop describes it, "Penrose is a non-linear narrative adventure game about...

Genshin Impact

Release Date: 27/09/2020

Platforms: Android, PC, PS4 and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Genshin Impact is a role-playing adventure set in a fantastical open world you explore by walking, climbing, swimming and gliding as necessary. Like the Zelda games, you can collect items, and craft new weapons. However, in this game to create a party...

Spiritfarer

Release Date: 18/08/2020

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Stadia, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Spiritfarer is a boat building exploration game. Unusually though, you play Stella, ferry master to the deceased and the boat you manage takes them to the next life.

The Long Dark

Release Date: 22/09/2014

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

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...

Assassin's Creed Valhalla

Release Date: 10/11/2020

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

Assassin's Creed Valhalla is the twelfth game in the Assassins Creed Series, an open world action-adventure that takes place over several main story quests as well as many optional side missions.

Endling

Release Date: 19/07/2022

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Endling is an exploration platform game where you struggle to survive. It's a game about extinction with a strong ecological conscience. You are the last fox on earth, trying to survive a world ravaged by the human race.

I Am Dead

Release Date: 07/10/2020, updated in 2021

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

I Am Dead is a puzzle game from the creators of Wilmot's Warehouse. You play a recently-deceased museum curator trying to avert a disaster from his home town of Shelmerston.

Chicory: A Colorful Tale

Release Date: 10/06/2021, updated in 2021

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, PS5 and Switch

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Chicory: A Colourful Tale is an adventure where you play an everyday dog thrust into the role of wielding a magic brush. The world starts black and white and you paint to solve puzzles, help your animal friends and restore colour. It looks like a...

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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