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Worried about your children's video games? Get the book that inspired the database. This guide will grant you the confidence to understand and anchor video games as a healthy part of family life. Discover practical advice and insights from the latest research and guidance from psychologists, industry experts, educational bodies and children's charities.
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41 Great Games Like Heaven’s Vault

These are hand-picked games similar to Heaven’s Vault. Our experts have spent time searching for great games like Heaven’s Vault. We don't use automatic matching, instead, we identify games that are good to play if you have enjoyed Heaven’s Vault. These selections also include games that offer a different experience but address a similar theme or topic.
 

In Heaven’s Vault you play an archaeologist translating an ancient alien language whose decrypting weaves through an unfolding drama. While doing real linguistic work you interact with companions and locals. Your choices can open or close vast swathes of investigative opportunities. In turn, this directs the branching narrative in different ways. Intelligent guesswork is required to translate a large number of inscriptions, while deciphering the motivations of those around you. An ingenious timeline documents every move, and a brief synopsis each time you start playing keeps things accessible even to infrequent players.

Unfortunately, Heaven’s Vault is not available on Android, Mac, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S or iOS. However, we recommend the following games that offer a similar experience or theme:

DetailsGame Details

Rating:

Release Date: 16/04/2019

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC and PlayStation 4

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: @InkleStudios

Players: This is a single player game

Costs: Purchase cost

Paradise Killer

Rating:

Release Date: 04/09/2020

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch and PC

Genres: Narrative, Open World and Puzzle

Developer: @KaizenGameWorks

Players: This is a single player game

Paradise Killer is a detective game set in the open world of Paradise Island. It's a strange place with quirky characters and an alien obsessed, demon worshiping world. You are an exiled investigator brought back to solve the mass murder of the island's...

Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney (Series)

Rating:

Release Date: 12/12/2014, updated in 2019

Price: Free-to-start

Platforms: Android, Nintendo 2DS|3DS, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Puzzle and Role-Playing

Developer: @CapcomUSA_

Players: This is a single player game

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is a courtroom murder mystery series where you piece together clues to challenge testimonies and uncover the truth. It’s like a visual novel, although you must interact with characters and evidence to progress.

The Witness

Rating:

Release Date: 14/12/2015, updated in 2018

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Narrative, Open World and Puzzle

Developer: @Thekla_inc

Players: This is a single player game

The Witness combines maze puzzles in an abandoned world with its own mythology, secrets, themes and story. It’s a game with puzzles at the core, but the real mystery is solving what has happened in the world you find yourself in.

Coffee Talk

Rating:

Release Date: 29/01/2020

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

Genres: Adventure, Creative, Narrative and Role-Playing

Developer: @TogeProductions

Players: This is a single player game

Coffee Talk is an interactive story about a barista working in a coffee shop in Seattle. You listen to customer's concerns about life and love, in a retro pixilated world backed with lo-fi chilled hip-hop music.

Nuts

Expected Rating:

Release Date: 20/01/2021

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC and iOS Apple Arcade

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Puzzle and Simulation

Developer: @JoonTurbo

Players: This is a single player game

Nuts is an adventure game where you play a rookie field researcher. You use your camera, caravan, GPS and map to investigate the depths of the enigmatic Melmoth Forest. As you study the local squirrel population you uncover a strange mystery.

Game image Gris

Gris

6

Gris

Rating:

Release Date: 06/10/2019

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

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Platform

Developer: @NomadaStudiobcn

Players: This is a single player game

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...

Beyond: Two Souls

Rating:

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...

Closed Hands

Expected Rating:

Release Date: 05/03/2021

Price: Free

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Narrative

Developer: @PassengerGames

Players: This is a single player game

Closed Hands is an text adventure game set in the lead-up and aftermath of a terror attack in a fictional UK city. You follow five core characters brought together by the same event. It's a branching story that you discover and influence as you read and...

As Dusk Falls

Rating:

Release Date: 23/07/2020

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

Genres: Action, Adventure and Narrative

Developer: @Int_Night

Players: This is a single player game

As Dusk Falls is an interactive Drama following two families that intertwine with each other over thirty years, set in Arizona.

Bury Me My Love

Rating:

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

Platforms: Android, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Turn-Based

Developer: @BMMLgame

Players: This is a single player game

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,...

Agent A: A Puzzle In Disguise

Rating:

Release Date: 28/10/2015, updated in 2019

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

Genres: Adventure and Puzzle

Developer: @Yakandco

Players: This is a single player game

Agent A: A Puzzle In Disguise is a puzzle game where you infiltrate a spy hideaway to stop an evil plan. Each location is full of retro futuristic contraptions, hidden gizmos, gadgets and clever logic based puzzles.

Detroit: Become Human

Rating:

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.

Outer Wilds

Rating:

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

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 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...

WordHunters

Rating:

Release Date: 14/11/2018

Platforms: PlayStation 4

Genres: Puzzle

Developer: @Thumbfood

Players: You can play with 6 players in the same room

This is a world-travelling word game you play on the PlayStation using a smartphone or tablet rather than controller. The smartphone and tablet screens makes picking letters easy for all ages and the camera on these devices is used to put each...

Patterned

Rating:

Release Date: 15/09/2019

Platforms: iOS Apple Arcade

Genres: Puzzle

Developer: @BorderLeap

Players: This is a single player game

Patterned is a puzzle game where you piece together beautiful patterns. It's a bit like a jigsaw but without the stress of forever finding more blue sky pieces. Each pattern begins as a sketch and you use visual clues to reassemble its scrambled pieces.

Pilgrims

Rating:

Release Date: 07/10/2019

Platforms: PC and iOS Apple Arcade

Genres: Puzzle and Role-Playing

Developer: @Amanita_Design

Players: This is a single player game

Pilgrims is an adventure game where you help the characters you meet by playing cards. As you progress you assist them to complete their little stories in different ways. It's a little like Scribblenauts, but with less focus on the breadth of options...

Fire Escape

Rating:

Release Date: 29/04/2020

Platforms: Android and PC

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: @iNKStories

Players: This is a single player game

Fire Escape is a murder mystery styled on Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window. You sit on a fire escape and can see into the apartments opposite as well as hear the intimate conversations of your neighbours across the alleyway. You peer into the lives of the...

Goodbye Volcano High

Rating:

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5

Genres: Adventure and Narrative

Developer: @KOOPMode

Players: This is a single player game

Goodbye Volcano High is a high school coming of age adventure set in a world of anthropomorphic dinosaur characters. You play as band members, non-binary Fang and best friend Trish. Then there's student council president Naomi, and Fang's brother Naser....

Sable

Rating:

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Open World

Developer: @ShedworksGreg

Players: This is a single player game

Sable is an adventure game where you play a young girl, Sable, alone in the world, but bravely exploring ancient monuments, ruined architecture, and fallen ships to uncover her place in it.

Typoman

Rating:

Release Date: 19/11/2015

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

Genres: Adventure, Platform and Puzzle

Developer: @BrainSeed_Fcty

Players: This is a single player game

Typoman is a running, jumping puzzle game where you use letters and words to solve puzzles and progress. You play as a character made of letters in a hostile land with evil creatures. As this unusual character, you make your way through the world...

The Talos Principle

Rating:

Release Date: 11/12/2014, updated in 2019

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

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: @Croteam

Players: This is a single player game

The Talos Principle is a narrative driven puzzle game, praised for its cerebral and philosophical nature, where you play an android with a human conscience. You explore environments to complete complex brain-teasing puzzles to collect "sigils".

Heavy Rain

Rating:

Release Date: 06/10/2010, updated in 2019

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4

Genres: Action, Adventure and Narrative

Developer: @Quantic_Dream

Players: This is a single player game

Heavy Rain is from the same Quantic Dream studio who made Beyond: Two Souls and Detroit: Become Human. It preceded these games but shared the same branching narrative and photo-realistic aspirations.

Black Mirror Bandersnatch

Rating:

Release Date: 28/12/2018

Platforms: Web Browser

Genres: Action, Narrative and Role-Playing

Players: This is a single player game

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (Netflix) takes the interactive mystery genre a step further towards a traditional TV series. You watch it on your television but make decisions for the characters which then branches the narrative. With 150 minutes to watch...

Over The Alps

Expected Rating:

Release Date: 31/03/2020

Platforms: PC and iOS Apple Arcade

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Puzzle and Turn-Based

Developer: @StaveStudios

Players: This is a single player game

Over The Alps is an adventure with intrigue and espionage set in 1939 Switzerland. Designed to look like retro photographs. The story unfolds as you select stamps to indicate how your character should approach interactions. Discover a secret history in...

Milkmaid of the Milky Way

Rating:

Release Date: 22/08/2019

Platforms: Android, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC and iOS

Genres: Adventure and Narrative

Developer: @MachineboyCom

Players: This is a single player game

Milkmaid of the Milky Way is a puzzle game where you play a milkmaid Ruth in a remote farm, who is kidnapped by a spaceship. It sounds strange, but what unfolds is a story about boredom, parental expectation and the desire for change.

80 Days

Rating:

Release Date: 31/07/2014, updated in 2019

Platforms: Android, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC and iOS

Genres: Adventure and Turn-Based

Developer: @InkleStudios

Players: This is a single player game

80 Days is a travel and culture discovery game set in 1872, where decisions about your journey around the world impact the course of the story and characters.

Dragon Box

Rating:

Release Date: 09/05/2012

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Genres: Puzzle

Developer: @DragonBox

Players: This is a single player game

DragonBox is an educational series of games that teaches young children maths, such as algebra using pattern matching with symbols. Unlike other educational games, the fun is in the doing in DragonBox, rather than incentivising learning with separate...

The Walking Dead (Series)

Rating:

Release Date: 24/04/2012, updated in 2018

Price: Free-to-start

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

Genres: Action and Narrative

Developer: @TelltaleGames

Players: This is a single player game

Walking Dead is a survival adventure game series. You explore locations and gather a ragtag group of survivors. How you interact with each of them and make decisions about various dangers results in a branching story where no one is guaranteed to survive.

Aviary Attorney

Rating:

Release Date: 22/12/2015, updated in 2020

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch and PC

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: @Sketchy_Jeremy

Players: This is a single player game

A courtroom drama set in nineteenth-century Paris, populated with beautifully drawn animals. Guiding JayJay Falcon, defence attorney, you help investigate each case before each of the four court dates; combing crime scenes, interrogating suspects and...

Pendragon

Rating:

Release Date: 22/09/2020

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Action, Narrative, Strategy and Turn-Based

Developer: @InkleStudios

Players: This is a single player game

Pendragon is a character-driven strategy game, from the creators 80 Days and Heaven’s Vault where you rally the Knights of the Round Table to reach Arthur before he meets his fate.

Lost Words: Beyond the Page

Rating:

Release Date: 01/12/2019

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

Genres: Narrative, Platform and Puzzle

Developer: @GamesSketchbook

Players: This is a single player game

Lost Words is an adventure game where you run, jump and explore inside a young girl’s diary. You control Izzy as she writes her diary by walking on words, move them around and solve different puzzles. This develops two parallel stories, one about Izzy...

Assassin's Creed Discovery Tour

Rating:

Release Date: 10/09/2018, updated in 2019

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure and Simulation

Developer: @Ubisoft

Players: This is a single player game

Discovery Tour is a special mode that uses the worlds created for the main Assassin’s Creed games to offer an educational exploration experience. It is available both as a free part of the original games and as a...

Remember Me

Rating:

Release Date: 03/06/2013

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting and Platform

Developer: @DONTNOD_Ent

Players: This is a single player game

Remember Me is an adventure game developed where you play Nilin, a memory hunter working for an underground resistance. The game is set in the year 2084, in a futuristic version of Paris called Neo-Paris, where the Memorize corporation has made memories...

PiAwk

Rating:

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: @HiWarp

Players: This is a single player game

PiAwk is an adventure you explore as PiAwk, a little bird-like creature that is both a little awkward and shy, but also bold and curious. As you interact with the environment, architecture, landscape and other characters you realised you are enclosed in...

Dustborn

Rating:

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting and Narrative

Developer: @RedThreadGames

Players: This is a single player game

Dustborn is a road-trip adventure set in America 2030 where all information has been lost. You and your misfit friends must cross this divided world to deliver a package from California to Nova Scotia. It's unusual not only because of the setting but...

Opus Magnum

Rating:

Release Date: 08/12/2017

Platforms: PC

Genres: Puzzle and Simulation

Developer: @Zachtronics

Players: This is a single player game

Opus Magnum is a puzzle game about assembling machines to convert spherical chemicals into different compounds. Each challenge can be tackled by creating different machine configurations, and each is awarded points on how compact, quick and efficient...

Nanotale - Typing Chronicles (Series)

Rating:

Release Date: 23/09/2019, updated in 2020

Platforms: PC and Stadia

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

Developer: @FishingCactus

Players: This is a single player game

Nanotale is an adventure game where you type to progress through a magical planet on the brink of extinction. You play as Rosalind, a novice Archivist, in a journey to study and catalogue the mysteries of the dying planet. Your goal is to gather rock &...

Where the Heart Leads

Rating:

Release Date: 13/07/2021

Platforms: PlayStation 4

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Simulation

Developer: @ArmatureStudio

Players: This is a single player game

Where the Heart Leads is an adventure game where you make life-choices and then see their impact. You play Whit Anderson, as he revisits and alters his past, present, and future. It's a game that creates a surreal dream-like narrative, but one that is...

Words For A Bird

Rating:

Release Date: 04/06/2020

Price: Free

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Puzzle

Developer: @BartBonte

Players: This is a single player game

Words For A Bird is a short adventure you play by completing sentences. You follow the story of a purple bird. Each sentence is completed with letters from the tree in which the bird sits, along with a clue tile in the middle of the screen.

Genesis Noir

Rating:

Release Date: 26/03/2021

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC and Xbox One

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: @FellowTravellr

Players: This is a single player game

Genesis Noir is a narrative-driven puzzle game. It's a time travelling mystery to save your lover, by intervening through the history of the world to ultimately stop the expansion of the universe. Although it sounds bizarre, existential and confusing,...

Ashwalkers

Expected Rating:

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...

Heaven’s Vault 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 Heaven’s Vault in the following lists:

Solve a Mystery

Like a good crime drama or whodunnit novel, solving mysteries and puzzles is a good way to engage in a story. However, rather than just watching these mysteries while someone else does the heavy lifting, these video games place you firmly in the role of the detective. Gathering statements, sifting evidence and making intelligent leaps of deduction requires care and attention. These investigations makes these games slower than others, but it’s worth the effort each time you find the correct conclusion and move the story on.

These games present you with a mysterious scenario to be solved. Whether with direct puzzles, locations to investigate or crime scenarios to deduce, they offer a unique, first-hand sleuthing challenge.
 
Game image Roki

Roki

60
Game image Portal

Portal

12

Educational Games That Are Also Good Games

These games have an educational element to them, but also offer experiences that are good games in their own right. This isn't busywork to trick you into learning, but clever and innovative ways to encounter history, physics, engineering, maths, geography and language subjects without feeling like you are in school. They also teach softer, deeper skills like long term strategy, planning, balancing systems, emotional intelligence, compassion, team-work and self-care.

Some of these games are aimed at younger players to play on their own, but others (as indicated by their PEGI ratings) are better for teenagers or played together in a family. Find some games that pique your interest, read through the details and decide how your child might benefit from playing them.
 
Game image Qomp

Qomp

4
Game image Gris

Gris

6
Game image Eco

Eco

3

Wield Absolute Control

Things don’t stay put. You’re the only one keeping the ship afloat. You can’t get people to do what you tell them. The effort you spend doesn’t produce the results it deserves. Well, in these video games you get to wield complete control over people, things, situations or even whole worlds.

If games offer an escape from chaos, these games are particularly good at granting a sense of satisfying agency and power as they do that. Whether it’s ordering the perfect stock room in Wilmot’s Warehouse, organising your island in Animal Crossing, perfectly controlling the flow of traffic in Mini Motorways or even build civilisation just the way you want it in Civilization the sense of satisfaction and calm from the achievement is second to none.
 

Branching Stories With Multiple Endings

All games offer you agency. You can win or lose. You can complete them or stop at any time. But there are some games that offer a story that genuinely branches. Where you end up will be different from other players. This not only makes your actions really matter but also gives you a reason to play them again.

Setting aside games that evolve through simulation, or games where once you die it's game over, these branching narrative games tell a story that ends in a certain way because of the choices you made.
 
Game image Ord

Ord

3
Game image Lake

Lake

7
Game image Pyre

Pyre

2

Commit No Violence

While a significant portion of video games focus on combat and competition, these titles offer a less aggressive way to progress and win. None of these games enable or require the player to cause harm to another living thing -- even Mario's merciless campaign to stomp on every Goomba he meets bars him from this list. Or then there's catching and selling fish in Animal Crossing that rule that one out.

Many of them are aimed at children and families, but you'll be surprised how many explore deeper, more mature themes in their narratives, or require just as much skill as a fast-paced first-person shooter. This means there's plenty of offer for parents who might lack the reflexes (or interest) to survive a round of Fortnite.

We've focused on the games you might not expect to be played non-violently here, but you can find the full list at Non-Violent Games Of the Day curated by James Batchelor.
 
Game image Ico

Ico

3
Game image Hoa

Hoa

12
Game image Kine

Kine

7
Game image Pode

Pode

2
Game image Roki

Roki

60
Game image Gris

Gris

6
Game image Eco

Eco

3
Game image Portal

Portal

12

Get Children Reading

Image 221We have partnered with the National Literacy Trust to create this resource of video games that encourage and enable reading and writing skills.

The National Literacy Trust is a charity dedicated to improving the reading, writing, speaking and listening skills of children and young people who need it most, giving them the best possible chance of success in school, work and life.

Video games have significant benefits for children who are reluctant or struggling readers. They give them access to stories through interaction and world building which they may not have been able to read in print. Video games also have benefits for families where parents may not be confident readers, meaning that sharing stories as a family is still accessible to all. The rise of video games on smartphones and tablets, as well as more affordable game consoles has made the sharing of interactive stories easier.

Image 241There are different ways that video games create this kind of collateral reading and aid literacy:
  • Reading In Games: Video games offer all sorts of reading at all levels. This can be from simple narrative in a game like Florence to dialogue in a game like Mutazione or even just identifying useful items and game mechanics with in-game descriptions in a game like Zelda Breath of the Wild. Then there are games like Thousand Threads that help players think about the power and the consequence of words.
  • Reading Around Games: Video games create worlds that often spawn secondary texts. This can be official novels that expand the world or guide books that offer instructions and help. Knights and Bikes, for example, has spin off books, a cartoon series and recipes to read.
  • Routes Into Books: Many popular book series, such as Beast Quest, offer a range of video games as an easy first step into those worlds that lead to then reading the books themselves.
  • Communication Around Games: As well as reading, games encourage all sorts of creative output. This can be to contribute to the many online forums and message boards to talk about the game. This can also be to write fan-fiction after being inspired about a game world or character. The Sims, for example, has an avid community writing and creating all kinds of content online.

 

Rearrange Your Mental Furniture

We are used to books, films and radio programs challenging our assumptions on subjects. Adam Curtis, Louis Theroux and David Attenborough have powerfully used film to change perspectives and values.

Less well known is how many video games tread a similar furrow. These are games that not only tackle difficult subjects, but get beneath the usual binary perspectives to create new ways of thinking about these themes.
 


Image 242 Image 243 Thank you for using our resource, supported by AskAboutGames, ParentZone and PlayAbility Initiative. We are editorially independent, written by parents for parents, but welcome sponsorship, partnership and suggestions. Email our editor for details on these opportunities.

The information on this database is designed to support and complement the in-depth discussion and advice about video game "addiction", violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. If you have any concerns or questions in these areas, email our editor who is quick to respond or can arrange for a one-to-one conversation.

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