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27 Games Like Outer Wilds

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 secrets of who built the strange galaxy. As you do so, the world evolves and opens up new secrets.

Unfortunately Outer Wilds is not available on Android, Mac, PS5, Switch, Xbox Series X|S or iOS. However, we recommend the following games that offer a similar experience or theme:

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+

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

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Genres: Open World and Simulation.

 

 

Among Trees

Platforms: PC

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

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

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 is a game you aim to win or dominate, but rather find your place in.


Returnal

Platforms: PlayStation 5

Genres: Action, Narrative, Puzzle and Shooting

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

Returnal is a sci-fi adventure played in repeating rounds that slowly change the world and your character. You are a pilot stranded on a mysterious planet and must investigate and fight through the world to both survive and solve the repeating problem.


Lake

Platforms: PC and PlayStation 4

Genres: Adventure and Narrative

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

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...


Elsinore

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Puzzle and Simulation

Duration: Between 7 hours and 12 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

Elsinore is a mystery-adventure set in Shakespeare's Hamlet. You play Elsinore who repeats the same four days as she tries to find a way to avoid the tragedy that lies before her.


Maquette

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5

Genres: Puzzle and Simulation

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

Maquette is a puzzle game played in a series of nested identical worlds. What you do in the larger world effects things in the smaller one, and so on. Every building, plant, and object are simultaneously tiny and staggeringly huge.


There Is No Game

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension is a comedic adventure with a strange twist. From the outset the game’s narrator insists that there is no game to play. As you inevitably ignore his instruction you go on a journey through silly and unexpected video...


Everything

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC and PlayStation 4

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Open World and Simulation

Duration: Between 3 hours and 7 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

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.


Subdefuge

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Open World, Puzzle, Simulation, Strategy and Turn-Based

Duration: Between half an hour and 1 hour to play a round.

Players: You can play with 2 players in the same room and up to 10 players online.

Costs: Free-to-start. In-game purchases.

Subterfuge is a strategy game played with human opponents. The game is designed to be played over a week or so, to give players time to talk between goes. This encourages players to team up, trick or double-cross other players to get them to make the...


Minit

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

Genres: Adventure, Fighting and Puzzle

Duration: Between 2 hours and 3 and a half hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

Minit is retro puzzle game where you complete small tasks in within a 60 second time frame. You must dodge or fight foes, cut through the undergrowth, explore your world and find keys and swords. You start from the same place for each of your 60 second...


A Dark Room

Platforms: Nintendo Switch and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Open World, Strategy and Turn-Based

Duration: Between 4 hours and 5 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

A Dark Room is an adventure where you try and survive in the wild. It has a similarly simple start – a single option to stoke a fire – but also evolves into an incrementally complex system of resource management as a larger story unfolds.


Unfinished Swan

Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Duration: Between 3 hours and 5 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

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.


Heaven’s Vault

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC and PlayStation 4

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Duration: Between 18 hours and 22 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

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...


No Man's Sky

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Open World and Simulation

Duration: Between 30 hours and 90 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 32 players online.

Costs: Purchase cost.

This game invites you to take your spaceship to explore and colonise a universe rich with diverse planets, creatures and fauna. Facing so vast a space is daunting at first, but a rhythm of survival, combat and trading draw you into a space drama of your...


Elite Dangerous

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

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

Duration: Between 60 hours and 100 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 32 players online.

Costs: Purchase cost. In-game purchases.

This is a new version of the classic 1980s space game Elite. Like the original it’s a space exploration, trading and combat game that provides a huge and rich universe rather than a specific story. You can trade goods, become a bounty hunter, fight...


Curious Expedition (Series)

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC and PlayStation 4

Genres: Adventure, Open World, Puzzle and Strategy

Duration: Between 1 and a half hours and 105 minutes to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

Curious Expedition is an expedition simulation, in the late 19th century. You join historical people to explore a world map to gain fame, science and treasures. Each time you set out the world is different, with unique challenges requiring particular...


Don't Starve

Platforms: Android, Mac, Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Wii U, PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Action, Open World, Simulation and Strategy

Duration: Between 32 hours and 46 hours to complete.

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

Costs: Purchase cost. In-game purchases.

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...


Pine

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch and PC

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

Duration: Between 15 hours and 17 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

Pine is an adventure game where you play a primitive young man searching for new land for his tribe. You discover five tribes of anthropomorphic creatures that need to be understood and overcome to enable your tribe to have somewhere to live.


To The Moon

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

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Duration: Between 5 hours and 7 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

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...


Alt-Frequencies

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Duration: Between 2 hours and 3 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

Alt-Frequencies is an adventure game played by listen to a series of radio shows. It's a story about people stuck in a time loop without realising it and what you can do to save them.


Return of the Obra Dinn

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Duration: Between 9 hours and 13 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

You play a shipping company agent assessing what happened on board a fictional East India Company ship where all the passengers have all mysteriously died. Exploring the ship, you can revisit the moment of death for each body in order to identify each...


Observation

Platforms: PC and PlayStation 4

Genres: Action, Narrative, Puzzle and Simulation

Duration: Between 6 hours and 8 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

Observation puts you on a space station to solve a power outage and find missing crew. However, here you play the role of the SAM, the System Administration Maintenance artificial intelligence software, rather than human protagonist. Your limited view,...


Little Misfortune

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Duration: Between 2 hours and 4 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

Little Misfortune is a dark adventure where you play a small girl called, Misfortune, who, guided by a voice in her head, seeks the prize of eternal happiness for her mother. It's played side-on and unfolds a narrative about the girl's family as you...


Everybody's Gone to the Rapture

Platforms: Mac, PC and PlayStation 4

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Open World

Duration: Between 5 hours and 7 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

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,...


Telling Lies

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

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Duration: Between 4 hours and 6 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

Telling Lies is from the same developer as Her Story. It's named as an investigative thriller game with non-linear storytelling by the developer.


Void Bastards

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

Genres: Action and Shooting

Duration: Between 12 hours and 15 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost. In-game purchases.

Void *!@?* is an inglorious tongue-in-cheek shooting game, where you control misfit prisoners out of the Sargasso Nebula. You decide which shops to investigate, what to do and who to fight. When you die, you start again with some of the loot you've...


Bioshock (Series)

Platforms: Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative and Shooting

Duration: Between 13 hours and 20 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost. Season pass and in-game purchases.

Bioshock is a first-person shooting game set in a fantastical underwater city. A dark story unfolds about the misuse of surgery and gene therapy. Players must make a decision about whether to save the children they find or harvest their energy for the...


Twelve Minutes

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

Genres: Narrative, Puzzle and Role-Playing

Duration: Between 7 hours and 9 hours to complete.

Players: This is a single player game.

Costs: Purchase cost.

Twelve Minutes is an adventure thriller game about a single apartment building. You view things from above and can interact with a simple click and drag interface. What starts as a romantic evening with your wife turns into a nightmare when a police...


 
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Outer Wilds 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 Outer Wilds 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.
 

Inhabit Another World

Whether it’s a simple puzzle grid, a battlefield or a universe of planets to visit, all games create virtual spaces in which to play. Some of these are simply the background to a campaign - the game’s unfolding drama, missions or challenge. But others invite you to invest in the worlds they create, move in, tend to and inhabit in fantastical ways.

The games in this section invite you to spend time in spaces that have a sense of place, life and character. Worlds that hold history and lore in their landscapes, flora, fauna and inhabitants; environments that respond to your presence and invite you to restore them to their former glory.
 

BAFTA Nominated Games

The British Academy Games Awards are presented annually to recognise, honour and reward outstanding creative achievement in Games. The awards categories reflect the wealth and diversity of the games sector.

The awards started in 2004 and are presented by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). For parents, they are a great way of discovering brilliant games to play in their family. The games included here are from the:
  • The Family Games award highlights games that will work really well for parents and children. These often include multiplayer features and feature a cast of family-friendly characters.
  • The Games Beyond Entertainment award is also of interest as this highlights more unusual games with an emphasis on storytelling that addresses topics that parents may find appealing themselves.

 

Free With Xbox Game Pass

Xbox Game Pass is a subscription service that provides 100 top-tier games. Once subscribed you can download the game at no extra cost. Of the 100 games available the ones in our recommended database are listed below.

You cannot play games you install when your Xbox Game Pass expires, although you do keep any games you have purchased at a discount with your membership. You will need to purchase any in-game extra content in addition to the subscription, although some games include this content for free.
  • Xbox Game Pass £7.99/month
  • Xbox Game Pass Ultimate including Xbox Live Gold for online play £10.99/month
  • Xbox Game Pass PC £7.99/month
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate also enables you to stream over 100 Xbox Game Pass titles, similar to the service offered by PlayStation Now, on mobile devices.

Xbox Live Gold usually costs £6.99/month and is the Xbox service that lets you play with others online. It also offers a few free games each month and substantial discounts.
 

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.
 

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.
 

Bend Time To Your Advantage

Time in video games is a valuable thing. Unlike in the real world where it proceeds in a linear fashion, in a game it may speed up, slow down or even go backwards. There are some games where controlling time becomes a crucial and fascinating game mechanic. The best of these integrate your time travelling powers with both characters and narrative to create a compelling experience.
 
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