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42 Great Games Like Don't Starve

Our experts have spent time searching for great games similar to Don't Starve and have found the following:
 

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 improve performance are common.

Unfortunately, Don't Starve is not available on PS5 or Xbox Series X|S. However, we recommend the following games that offer a similar experience or theme:

DetailsGame Details

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 23/04/2013, updated in 2014

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, Switch, Wii U, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Action, Open World, Simulation and Strategy

Accessibility: 16 features

Developer: @Klei

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

Costs: Purchase cost. In-game purchases

42 Hand Picked Games Like Don't Starve

These are our hand-picked games similar to Don't Starve. This doesn't use automatic matching, instead, we hand-pick games that are good to play if you have enjoyed Don't Starve, or as younger rated alternatives for players not ready for PEGI 12 or ESRB TEEN games. These selections also include games that offer a different experience but address a similar theme or topic.
 

Kingdom (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 9-16 year-olds

Release Date: 21/10/2015

Price: 75% off

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

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

Accessibility: 8 features

Developer: @RawFury

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

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...

The Long Dark

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 16+ year-olds

Release Date: 22/09/2014

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

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

Accessibility: 17 features

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...

BedWars

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 10-16 year-olds

Release Date: 19/01/2017

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

Genres: Action, Fighting, Open World, Platform and Strategy

Accessibility: 31 features

Developer: @BlockmanGo

Players: You can play this with 16 players online

Bed Wars is a game played on Minecraft servers. It's a game similar to the official Minecraft minigames but created by independent developers.

Welcome to Bloxburg (Roblox)

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 01/11/2014

Price: Free

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

Genres: Open World, Role-Playing and Simulation

Developer: @RBX_Coeptus

Players: You can play this with 100 players online

Welcome to Bloxburg is a simulation Roblox game where you take on daily activities in a fictional city. Drawing on gameplay from The Sims, you care for your character and keep their mood positive, by building and customizing your house, learning skills...

Stardew Valley

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

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

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

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

Accessibility: 24 features

Developer: @ConcernedApe

Players: You can play this with 4 players online

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...

Thousand Threads

Content Rating: Not rated by PEGI

Release Date: 30/07/2020

Platforms: Mac and PC

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

Developer: @ThreadsGame

Players: This is a single player game

Thousand Threads is an open world game of consequences. You are free to interact with the world, animals and people however you like, give, take, save, kill, inform, hide, befriend, betray. But how you do this will have ongoing and unavoidable...

Ark: Survival Evolved

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Release Date: 08/08/2017, updated in 2018

Price: 33% off

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Fighting, Open World and Simulation

Accessibility: 22 features

Developer: @Survivetheark

Players: You can play with 2 players in the same room and up to 8 players online

This game offers hunting-and-harvesting gameplay in a primal setting. Although not as polished or streamlined as a game like Horizon Zero Dawn, this is a more ambitiously open world where you can choose your own way to survive. With crafting and...

Rust
PEGI Rating 16 for Rust

Rust

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 16+ year-olds

Release Date: 08/02/2018

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Creative, Fighting, Open World, Shooting and Strategy

Accessibility: 28 features

Developer: @FcPnchStds

Players: You can play this with 250 players online

Rust (also, Rust: Console Edition) is an online survival game set the wilderness. You explore, gather and craft materials to manage hunger, thirst, health and protection. The preparation is to ward off the threat of bears, wolves and (more commonly)...

The Eternal Cylinder

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 30/09/2021

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

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

Developer: @TheACETeam

Players: This is a single player game

The Eternal Cylinder is a strategy game where you survive by evolving your creatures to adapt to the environment. Your herd explore a strange world filled with exotic lifeforms and environments. All the while a menacing firey cylinder rolls towards you.

The Forest

Content Rating: PEGI 18

Release Date: 30/05/2014

Platforms: PC and PS4

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Open World, Role-Playing and Simulation

Accessibility: 16 features

Developer: @EndNightGame

Players: You can play this with 4 players online

Forest is a survival horror game where you are the only passenger to live after a plane crash. You explore a mysterious forest to find food, shelter and safety but soon have to battle strange cannibalistic people.

Among Trees

Content Rating: Not rated by PEGI

Release Date: 14/06/2020

Platforms: PC

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

Developer: @AmongTreesGame

Players: This is a single player game

Among Trees is a game you play in a forested wilderness full of creatures and fauna. It's handcrafted by a small team and creates a vibrant world to explore. This isn't a game you aim to win or dominate, but rather find your place in.

Grounded

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 10-16 year-olds

Release Date: 28/07/2020

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

Genres: Action, Open World, Simulation and Strategy

Accessibility: 26 features

Developer: @GroundedTheGame

Players: You can play this with 4 players online

Grounded is a survival game where you are tiny and find yourself in someone’s back garden. It’s like Honey I Shrunk The Kids meets Fortnite. Ants, cockroaches, and bees pose a threat along with environmental hazards like water, tall grass and large...

Dead by Daylight

Content Rating: PEGI 18

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

Platforms: Android, PS4, Stadia, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Action, Fighting and Strategy

Accessibility: 16 features

Developer: @Behaviour

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.

Viva Pinata

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 09/09/2006

Platforms: DS, PC, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Genres: Simulation and Strategy

Developer: @RareLtd

Players: You can play with 2 players in the same room and up to 4 players online

This game is a fantasy garden-simulation game where your tending and care encourages one of 60 different piñata animals to make it their home. You use gardening tools to plough, sow seeds, create ponds and sculpt the land. Do this well and more animals...

Unturned

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Release Date: 08/07/2014

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4 and Xbox One

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

Developer: @Sdgnelson

Players: You can play with 2 players in the same room and up to 100 players online

Unturned is a strategy survival game where you are in a Minecraft and Roblox-style world filled with zombies. You have to carefully explore the world, gather resources and craft weapons. You might go in guns blazing, sneak around making use of...

One Hour One Life

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 27/02/2018

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

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

Developer: @JasonRohrer

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

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...

Trash Sailors

Content Rating: Not rated by PEGI

Release Date: 30/08/2021

Platforms: PC and Switch

Genres: Action and Strategy

Developer: @FluckyMachine

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 4 players online

Trash Sailors is a hand-drawn sailing game, where you control the group of castaways after a tsunami flooded the world. You navigate the ocean and build your raft with trash nearby which you can recycle into fuel, raft spare parts, and even weapons....

Green Hell

Content Rating: PEGI 18

Release Date: 05/09/2019, updated in 2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Open World, Role-Playing and Simulation

Developer: @Creepy_Jar

Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 4 players online

Green Hell is an intentionally hard open-world survival game. You are abandoned in the Amazonian rain forest with no equipment or food, just your wits. In order to survive, you must utilise real-world survival technics to build your shelter; start...

Outer Wilds

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 11/12/2018, updated in 2018

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Genres: Open World and Simulation

Developer: @Mobius_Games

Players: This is a single player game

Outer Wilds is an exploration space mystery about a solar system trapped in an endless time-loop. After 20 minutes of game time, you must start again – but each time brings a new opportunity to learn how you ended up on the planet and solve the...

Distrust

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 23/11/2017, updated in 2019

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

Genres: Action, Adventure, Simulation and Strategy

Players: You can play this with 4 players online

Distrust is a survival game where you try to survive after a helicopter crash at an arctic base. Inspired by The Thing film, this is a horror game that initially seems to be about surviving the wild, but soon descends into something darker and...

Skyblock

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 10-14 year-olds

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

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

Genres: Creative, Fighting, Platform and Strategy

Accessibility: 32 features

Developer: @SkyBlockServer

Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 5 players online

Skyblock is a game played on Minecraft servers where you start on a bare island floating in the sky and must gather resources to thrive and reach other players. It's the Minecraft equivalent to being washed up on a desert island and is hugely popular....

Castaway Paradise

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 08/01/2018

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

Genres: Open World and Simulation

Developer: @StolenCouch

Players: This is a single player game

This game places you on your own tropical island. Make the place your own with decorations and furniture, dress up, collect bugs, fish, grow crops and help your new neighbours. It's an open-world game that offers an Animal Crossing style experience on...

Dwarf Fortress

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 08/08/2006

Price: Free

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Adventure, Open World, Role-Playing and Strategy

Developer: @Bay12Games

Players: This is a single player game

Dwarf Fortress is a longstanding strategy game set in a fantasy world where you control a group of dwarves wanting to construct a wealthy fortress. It's unusual not only for it's text-based appearance but for it's expansive scope, and intricately...

Terra Nil

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Open World, Puzzle, Simulation and Strategy

Accessibility: 6 features

Developer: @Free_Lives

Players: This is a single player game

Terra Nil is a strategy game where you are using clean technology to bring back life to a barren world. It's a city building game where you aren't building a city at all, but a clean thriving ecology. It raises interesting themes of how humanity plays...

Factorio

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 14/08/2020

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Creative, Open World, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: @FactorioGame

Players: You can play this with 700 players online

Factorio is a construction strategy game where you crash-land on an alien planet and must harvest resources to create industry to build a rocket to escape (or fall in love with running your factory and stay on longer).

Piggy (Roblox)

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 23/01/2020, updated in 2021

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

Genres: Adventure, Platform and Role-Playing

Developer: @DaRealMiniToon

Players: This is a single player game

Piggy Roblox game is an adventure horror game where you are a police officer trying and survive from being killed by a Piggy character. Through a series of chapters, you play in a range of scenarios where you are under threat of murder from a family of...

The Sims 4 (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 10-16 year-olds

Release Date: 04/02/2000

Price: 54% off

Platforms: Amazon Fire, Android, PS3, PS4, Wii, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Narrative and Simulation

Accessibility: 21 features

Developer: @EA

Players: This is a single player game

The Sims puts you in charge of a world of characters living normal lives. By providing a home, a job, leisure, friendships and even love interest, you work to make them happy. It’s an open-ended game as well, although the altruism is focused on...

Eco
PEGI Rating 7 for Eco

Eco

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 10-14 year-olds

Release Date: 06/02/2018

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Creative, Open World, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: @StrangeLoopGame

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

Eco extends the resource-collecting and building of Minecraft by introducing environmental implications to your actions. Using resources like trees will erode the soil; mining might pollute the river; and each animal depends on another.

Learning Factory

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Release Date: 18/02/2021

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4 and Switch

Genres: Puzzle and Strategy

Accessibility: 32 features

Developer: @Luden_io

Players: This is a single player game

Learning Factory is a strategy game where you automate an old factory. Unusually, this isn't to make money and conquer the world but a round about approach to understand cats. Peculiar backstory aside, the game tasks you with renovating the factory,...

Costume Quest (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 10-14 year-olds

Release Date: 19/10/2010, updated in 2011

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, PS3, PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Action, Adventure, Narrative, Role-Playing and Turn-Based

Accessibility: 13 features

Developer: @DoubleFine

Players: This is a single player game

Costume Quest is an adventure game where you play a trick-or-treating child when they encounter a monster that kidnaps your sibling. You travel the neighbourhood collecting items for your costume, candy and fellow children as companions in order to face...

Dreamscaper

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 08/04/2020, updated in 2020

Platforms: PC and Switch

Genres: Action, Adventure and Fighting

Developer: @DreamscaperGame

Players: This is a single player game

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...

Rim World

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 16

Release Date: 17/10/2018

Platforms: PC

Genres: Open World, Simulation and Strategy

Accessibility: 1 feature

Developer: @LudeonStudios

Players: This is a single player game

RimWorld is a sci-fi strategy game about survival, trading, exploring and developing your colony. You start the game with three survivors of a shipwreck on a distant planet and begin to craft structures, weapons and clothes. The objective of the game is...

Ender Lillies: Quietus of the Knights

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 21/01/2021

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

Genres: Action, Adventure and Platform

Developer: @LiveWire

Players: This is a single player game

Ender Lillies: Quietus of the Knights is a platform game based in a fictional world called Land's End. Rainfall has transformed all living things into monsters known as the Blighted. You control Lily, a bright white figure, who awakens as the last...

Gemini

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 18/02/2021

Platforms: Switch

Genres: Action, Fighting and Strategy

Developer: @QuByteGames

Players: This is a single player game

Gemini is a fighting game where you defend a Crystal from waves of enemies. It's super simple in both visuals and gameplay. As you defend each wave you can collect coins to upgrade your character and purchase weapons. It's a great introduction to tower...

Ashwalkers

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 16

Release Date: 15/04/2021

Platforms: PC

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Role-Playing and Simulation

Developer: @_Nameless_XIII_

Players: This is a single player game

Ashwalkers is an adventure survival game where you play a small group facing the aftermath of an apocalyptic volcano. You journey through a wild landscape, encountering dangers and strangers. It's a challenge of survival notable for its understated...

Nira

Nira

Content Rating: Not rated by PEGI

Release Date: 24/04/2020

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Role-Playing, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: @BaselineGames_

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

Nira is a survival game where pixilated characters explore the primitive world to find resources to survive. It's unusual not only because of its basic art-style but because its simplicity gives rise to emergent and open play. Something like a cross...

Rogue Legacy (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 27/06/2013, updated in 2019

Platforms: PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Fighting and Platform

Developer: @CellarDoorGames

Players: This is a single player game

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...

Sunless Sea

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Release Date: 06/02/2015

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

Genres: Action, Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Accessibility: 19 features

Developer: @FailbetterGames

Players: This is a single player game

Sunless Sea is a sea-faring adventure where you pilot a small steamship to explore a Victorian-era London that has been moved beneath the earth's surface. You take on the role of captain but select different ambitions that determine how you will play.

Cook-Out: A Sandwich Tale

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Release Date: 20/04/2021

Platforms: PC

Genres: Action, Physically Active, Puzzle and Strategy

Developer: @ResolutionGame

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

Cook-Out is a strategy game where you are preparing food in a restaurant kitchen. Like Overcooked, you need to make the different dishes, wash up and serve customers. Unliked Overcooked, you aren't pressing buttons but performing the cutting, brushing,...

Death Trash

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Release Date: 05/08/2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

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

Developer: @DeathTrash

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

Death Trash is a role-play game set in a post-apocalyptic, horror open world. Humans travelled to the stars, but unearthed machines and killer worms so had to flee into enclosed habitats. You play an outcast in the wasteland with a dangerous burden to...

The Garden Path

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Genres: Narrative, Open World and Simulation

Accessibility: 26 features

Developer: @FromCarrotCake

Players: This is a single player game

The Garden Path is a slice-of-life simulation game about the small pleasures of gardening. You tend to a world and make it your own through fishing, growing, trading and making new friends. As you do an adventure emerges.

Wizard With A Gun

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC and Switch

Genres: Action, Adventure, Role-Playing and Shooting

Developer: @DevolverDigital

Players: You can play this with 4 players online

Wizard with a Gun is a survival game where you play a wizard in a magical wilderness wrought with dangerous creatures and arcane mysteries. Either alone or with other players online you embark on a journey to collect, craft, and outfit your wizard to...

1 Game Like Don't Starve Based on Genre

These are games of a similar genre mix to Don't Starve. This includes games from the Simulation, Action, Strategy and Open World genres. We pick out games of a similar PEGI rating to further hone these generated suggestions.
 

11 More Accessible Games than Don't Starve

If you like the sound of Don't Starve but it doesn’t offer the accessibility you require, the games in this section offer a similar experience but with more Accessibility Features. You can view a full breakdown in our Don't Starve Accessibility Report.
 

Don't Starve is in These Lists

In addition to the similar games listed above, which have been linked to this game specifically in the database, you may find games with a similar theme to Don't Starve in the following lists:

Face Tough Decisions

Games create virtual worlds where you can experience life from other perspectives. This can be entertaining and light-hearted, but also presents ethical scenarios that require you to think carefully about consequences.

The games selected here each place you in a challenging situation to give you a first-hand experience of what it’s like. It may be nail-biting, heart-breaking or desperate, but often, through all the trials and tribulations, there is still hope. Either way, unlike reading books or watching films about these subjects, here you are emotionally implicated in the choices you are faced with.
 

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:
 

Attempt The Impossible

How hard a game is considered to be depends on who is playing it. A three-year-old tackling Zelda will struggle. But equally a new-to-games-parents will find Mutant Mudds quickly gets beyond them. The games in this list are known for being difficult. They wear the difficulty as a badge of honour. "None shall pass," except this with the will, time and belligerence to get good enough at this particular activity to beat the high bar the game sets.

This might be grappling with the flying mechanics in Rocket League, getting endlessly lost trying to find the next guardian in Shadow of the Colossus or coming up with the right tactic to get enough money for the ship you need in Elite. Of course, some of these games can be made easier, but to play them at their best is to ramp up the difficulty to max (crushing on The Last Of Us for example) and let them give you all they've got.
 
Ico
PEGI Rating 7 for Ico
Horace
PEGI Rating 12 for Horace
Qomp
Ord
PEGI Rating 3 for Ord
Rust
PEGI Rating 16 for Rust
ITTA
PEGI Rating 12 for ITTA

Survive The Night

Surviving in games is often a key element. Some games, however, make it the main focus. With minimal resources and little light can you make it through to the morning? Can you prepare a shelter as the daylight dwindles in time for you to cope with the lurking creatures of the dark?

Whether this is as simple as closing the door to keep the zombies out in Minecraft or as complex as crafting food, clothing and medicine to cope with the freezing blackness of The Long Dark, these games are exhilarating as they pose a strategic puzzle with personal consequences.

Many of these games offer an open world in which to survive, which opens up more ways of preparing for and then making it through the night time. This, of course, leads to another day where you need to spend time and resources wisely while exploring your surroundings.
 

Get Children Into The Environment

It’s easy to assume that video games are all about building big cities or running successful economies. There are, however, many games that offer quite the reverse. These games encourage players to consider the impact of their actions on the environment, as well as their interconnectedness to the world in which they live.

The games in this list take inspiration from Alenda Chang’s Playing Nature book. They offer a chance to consider play from an ecological perspective. As she quotes, “games of environmental responsibility animate our capacity to respond, to affect and be affected, to engage with others: other species, other people, and the otherness of our own planet.”

This might be how a game like Terra Nil makes the land itself a character in the experience. Or it can be how a game like Eco establishes the connection between your actions and the other aspects of the environment. Other games, like The Wandering Village underline how our location in the world impacts on us and others. One family told us about Final Fantasy 7 Remake's commentary on corporations and ecology. Then there are games of dire warning that let us step into a future where humanity is all but disconnected from the wider environment and hangs on just by a thread.

Other games let us experience our connection to the environment by adventuring in it. From getting lost in Shadow of the Colossus to finding our way in Journey, games underline the importance of the spaces in which we play. Experiences like Cloud Gardens or Viva Pinata extend this by using play to put us in charge of tending to the natural world. Games like Eastshade or The Long Dark invite us to linger in these places and gain an understanding that is crucial to our survival.
 

Game Time Has Day-Night Cycle

Games use the spaces they create to tell stories. Some games do this by locking you in a key moment where the time of day doesn't change. Other games let you explore and revisit places at different times of day.

These day-night cycles invite players to explore at different times not only to find different things to do but to see how different locations change visually and audibly at different times of day.

Some games, like The Long Dark, do this to offer a different environmental challenge at night, when the sun is in and the cold wind really affects your character. Other games offer more unusual ways to tie in-game light levels to the real world, like Unmaze that uses your smartphone's camera to determine how much light there is in the game.
 


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