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53 Great Games Like Portal

Our experts have spent time searching for great games similar to Portal and have found the following:
 

You are in a science laboratory where you seem to be being tested. Watched by the artificial intelligence GLaDOS, you have a gun that can create a pair of magic portals on any surface: one is an entrance and the other is an exit. Through a series of increasingly ingenious (and malicious) test chambers, you must use your gun to escape. It’s a mind-bending challenge, but the real interest is the darkening tone of GLaDOS, who seems bent on foiling your progress, and the signs of previous test subjects spotted behind the scenes. As GLaDOS’s dysfunction turns to straight-up sociopathy, you must take on challenges with her tormenting discouragement ringing in your ears. The isolation is heightened by the introduction of a lifeless companion cube, which mocks your friendless predicament.

Unfortunately, Portal is not available on Android, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox Series X|S or iOS. However, we recommend the following games that offer a similar experience or theme:

Portal
PEGI Rating 12 for Portal

DetailsGame Details

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Release Date: 10/10/2007, updated in 2011

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS3, Web, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Narrative, Platform, Puzzle and Simulation

Accessibility: 27 features

Developer: @ValveSoftware

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

Costs: Purchase cost

37 Hand Picked Games Like Portal

These are our hand-picked games similar to Portal. This doesn't use automatic matching, instead, we hand-pick games that are good to play if you have enjoyed Portal, 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.
 

Everything

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 3+ year-olds

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

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4 and Switch

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Open World and Simulation

Accessibility: 3 features

Developer: @DavidOreilly

Players: This is a single player game

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.

Shady Part of Me

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 10/12/2020

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: @ShadyPartOfMe

Players: This is a single player game

Shady Part of Me is a narrative platform game where you play as a young girl and her shadow. You help her overcome emotional struggles through solving 2D and 3D puzzles. The game world is based within the young girl's dreams. The young girl is afraid of...

There Is No Game

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 06/10/2020

Platforms: Mac, PC, Switch and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: @ThereIsNoGame

Players: This is a single player game

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...

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 13-18 year-olds

Release Date: 19/11/2007

Platforms: PS3 and PS4

Genres: Action, Adventure, Narrative and Shooting

Accessibility: 20 features

Developer: @Naughty_Dog

Players: This is a single player game

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune is an action-adventure where you, treasure hunter Nathan Drake, follow in the footsteps of your ancestor Sir Francis Drake in search of El Dorado. You run, jump, fight, shoot, and explore a rich world that unfolds a film-like...

Superliminal

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 12/11/2019

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Open World and Puzzle

Accessibility: 10 features

Developer: @Pillowcastle

Players: This is a single player game

Superliminal is a puzzle game incorporating optical illusions and forced perspective. As you play and explore you can manipulate objects so that when put down their perspective, scale and size has changed. This enables you to progress through areas...

Daylife in Japan

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 26/10/2019, updated in 2021

Platforms: PC and Switch

Genres: Puzzle

Developer: @QuByteGames

Players: This is a single player game

Daylife in Japan is a jigsaw puzzle game. You choose the difficulty and the animated puzzle picture which is then divided in jigsaw pieces scattered around the play area. As with a real puzzle, you then need to piece it back together the picture.

Luigi's Mansion (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Release Date: 19/10/2018, updated in 2019

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS, GameCube and Switch

Genres: Action, Adventure and Puzzle

Accessibility: 16 features

Developer: @Nintendo

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

The three Luigis Mansion (Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Gamecube or Nintendo Switch) games each challenge you to investigate a haunted mansion. As longstanding Nintendo character Luigi, you play a ghostbuster to capture various mischievous ghouls. The puzzles...

Supraland

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 09/03/2018

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Platform, Puzzle and Simulation

Accessibility: 7 features

Developer: @SupraBall

Players: This is a single player game

Supraland is an adventure game that involves exploring, running, jumping, solving puzzles, and fighting monsters. You play a member of the Red Village and you must discover why the Blue Village has sabotaged your water supply. Your character is a...

Baba is You

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Release Date: 13/03/2019

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Genres: Puzzle

Accessibility: 9 features

Developer: @ESAdevlog

Players: This is a single player game

Baba is You requires some lateral thinking. Each level is controlled by rules written on the screen, such as ‘Lava is Hot’, ‘Wall is Stop’ and ‘Flag is Move’. By moving the words around with your pixilated character, you subvert the...

Inscryption

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 16

Release Date: 19/10/2021

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Puzzle and Turn-Based

Developer: @DMullinsGames

Players: This is a single player game

Inscryption starts as a card-based adventure where you build a deck of cards to take on adventures and battles. To this, it adds escape-room style puzzles, both in the card game and in the room in which you are playing. The result is a psychological...

A Monsters Expedition

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 6-10 year-olds

Release Date: 10/09/2020

Platforms: PC and iPhone, iPad

Genres: Adventure and Puzzle

Accessibility: 3 features

Developer: @Draknek

Players: This is a single player game

A Monsters Expedition is a puzzle game where a monster finds creatures on an island and learns about the history of humanity. The puzzle is how to get from one island to the next.

Gravity Rush

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 09/02/2012, updated in 2017

Price: 42% off

Platforms: PS Vita and PS4

Genres: Adventure, Fighting, Open World, Platform and Simulation

Accessibility: 1 feature

Developer: @SonyJapanStudio

Players: This is a single player game

Gravity Rush is a running, jumping and exploration adventure game. You play as Kat, an amnesiac with the power to manipulate gravity. She uses this ability to help her community and uncover the mystery of her past.

Pony Island

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 04/01/2016

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Narrative, Platform, Point-and-Click and Puzzle

Developer: @DMullinsGames

Players: This is a single player game

Pony Island is an adventure game where you are trapped in a computer by the Devil. You need to crash the computer to escape and stumble upon the Pony Island game that appears unstable. As you hack away at the game you uncover its corrupted code and your...

Braid

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 06/08/2008

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS3, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Genres: Narrative and Platform

Accessibility: 16 features

Developer: @Jonathan_Blow

Players: This is a single player game

Braid is a platform game, not dissimilar to Mario World, that appears simple but has a twist. The movement of your character is connected to the progression of time in a mind-bending manner. The resulting puzzles are fascinating and connected to a story...

Death Squared

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 14/03/2017

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

Genres: Puzzle

Developer: @SmgStudio

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

Death Squared is a cooperative puzzle game for 1, 2 or 4 players. Together, you solve puzzles by guiding a robot to a colour-coded goal. Getting there requires co-operation and communication as each player's path has deadly traps and hazards.

Kolumno

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 15/11/2018, updated in 2020

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS

Genres: Puzzle

Accessibility: 7 features

Developer: @DevilishGames

Players: This is a single player game

Kolumno is a puzzle game where you drop a ball down the side of a sphere aiming to reach the bottom without being blocked. Your task is to manipulate the ball so it fits the rotating elements with gaps in them.

Psychonauts 2 (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 25/08/2021

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS2, PS4, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Genres: Adventure, Platform and Puzzle

Accessibility: 23 features

Developer: @DoubleFine

Players: This is a single player game

Psychonauts 2 is a running, jumping and puzzle solving game where you play Raz who has psychic abilities that let him delve into the minds of others. In the game, you control Raz as he enters their mental worlds and uses other Psi-Powers (telekinesis,...

Retimed

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 25/11/2018

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Genres: Action, Platform and Shooting

Developer: @StrayFawnStudio

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

Retimed is a multiplayer shooting game where players can create a bubble that slows down time. This makes the usual frantic shooting and dodging more achievable as when you are in danger you have more time to get out of the way.

Tied Together

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 19/10/2018

Platforms: Switch

Genres: Platform and Puzzle

Developer: @HeadupGames

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

Tied Together is a platform game for two to four players tied together. Like a three-legged-race you have to co-ordinate how you move. But here you are negotiating jumps and enemies too. Any player can grab the ground and act as a fixed point for...

A Fold Apart

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 11/04/2020

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

Genres: Platform

Accessibility: 20 features

Developer: @LRGthunder

Players: This is a single player game

A puzzle game that explores the emotional rollercoaster of a long-distance relationship — in a world of folding paper. After career choices force them along separate paths, a Teacher and Architect vow to make their long-distance relationship work at...

Boom Blox (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 06/05/2008, updated in 2009

Price: 57% off

Platforms: Wii

Genres: Physically Active, Puzzle and Turn-Based

Developer: @EA_DICE

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

Boom Blox is a puzzle game on the Wii, designed by Steven Spielberg, where motion controls are used to direct projectiles at towers in surprisingly accurate and engaging ways. This extends beyond Jenga-style play to offer physics-based puzzles where you...

Hot Swap

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 10/11/2016

Price: Free

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Platform and Puzzle

Accessibility: 1 feature

Developer: @JoGribbin

Players: This is a single player game

Hop Swap is a platform game where you can flip gravity and jump through the ground. The sky becomes the ground and the ground becomes the sky. This simple premise is used to create a complex and weaving puzzle adventure where you journey through two...

World Splitter

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Release Date: 21/04/2021

Price: 50% off

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Switch

Genres: Action, Platform and Puzzle

Developer: @NeoBirdSoft

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

World Splitter is a platform puzzle game with a dual dimension challenge. In each level, you need to collect a series of characters and get to the exit. Sounds familiar, but adds a unique dimensional line that gives you access to two different versions...

Blind Drive

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Release Date: 10/03/2021

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Accessibility: 26 features

Developer: @LoFiPeople

Players: This is a single player game

Blind Drive is a driving adventure game you play with audio rather than visuals. You are Donnie and are in a scientific study that has got out of control. You find yourself cuffed to the wheel of a car driving blindfolded against traffic. It's tongue in...

Dish Life: The Game

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 24/02/2020

Price: Free

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

Genres: Puzzle, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: @DishLifeGame

Players: This is a single player game

Dish Life: The Game is a puzzle narrative game where you play a stem cell researcher, managing a laboratory and growing stem cells.

Happy Atoms

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 18/11/2016

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Creative, Physically Active and Puzzle

Developer: @SchellGames

Players: This is a single player game

Happy Atoms is a puzzle game about the world of chemistry and molecules. It has teaching aims but ensures this doesn't eclipse the game. You take on quests to discover molecules as you explore the world.

Observation

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Release Date: 21/05/2019

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Narrative, Puzzle and Simulation

Developer: @_NoCode

Players: This is a single player game

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,...

The Beginner's Guide

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 01/10/2015

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Adventure and Narrative

Developer: @HelloCakeBread

Players: This is a single player game

The Beginner's Guide is a narrative game where you explore a series virtual environments while the game's creator tells a story about the person who made each space. This introspection presents a raw and at times heart breaking look into the mind of the...

The Swapper

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 30/05/2013, updated in 2019

Platforms: PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, Wii U and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Platform

Developer: @FacePalmGames

Players: This is a single player game

The Swapper is a platform-adventure where you explore a damaged space station to collect orbs that open doors into other areas. Unusually, you can clone your character multiple times and then control it to help you solve puzzles and progress in various...

World of Goo

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 7-11 year-olds

Release Date: 13/10/2008, updated in 2017

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Switch, Wii, Wii U and iOS

Genres: Puzzle and Simulation

Accessibility: 14 features

Developer: @TomorrowCorp

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

World of Goo is a puzzle game where you use balls of goo to create bridges that span increasingly large chasms and obstacles. The game simulates real-world physics to determine if structures are strong enough and when they collapse. This means that...

Not Not, A Brain-Buster

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 20/04/2017, updated in 2019

Platforms: Android, Switch and iOS

Genres: Action and Puzzle

Accessibility: 2 features

Developer: @QubicGames

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

Not Not is a puzzle game about following simple instructions in limited time. All you have to do is read the instructions and then direct your character in one of four directions. It sounds simple but the instructions get increasingly convoluted and...

A Little Perspective (Dreams)

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Release Date: 06/04/2020, updated in 2020

Platforms: PS4 and PS5

Genres: Platform, Puzzle and Simulation

Accessibility: 3 features

Developer: @RbdJellyFish

Players: This is a single player game

A Little Perspective is a puzzle game where you rotate the world to see things from a different angle and find new paths to the goal. Like an Escher picture (and like the PlayStation 3 game, Echochrome) the perspective affects which platforms you can...

Cubric (Dreams)

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 15/06/2019, updated in 2020

Platforms: PS4 and PS5

Genres: Platform and Puzzle

Accessibility: 12 features

Developer: @VVanderMedia

Players: This is a single player game

Cubric is a puzzle game where you play a robot trapped inside a maze. Unusually, the maze is three dimensions and made up of six moveable cubes. To escape you turn and twist the cubes in three dimensions to match up paths, avoid hazards, and enable your...

Lock (Dreams)

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 17/10/2020, updated in 2021

Platforms: PS4 and PS5

Genres: Narrative, Point-and-Click and Puzzle

Accessibility: 18 features

Developer: @800PixelGorilla

Players: This is a single player game

Lock is a puzzle game about escaping rooms. You must discover secret four letter word clues by exploring each space, in order to unlock panels, collect keys, and unlock further rooms. You will need all your powers of observation, codebreaking, and...

Press X to Puzzle (Dreams)

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Release Date: 26/07/2020, updated in 2021

Platforms: PS4 and PS5

Genres: Puzzle and Simulation

Accessibility: 19 features

Developer: @800PixelGorilla

Players: This is a single player game

Press X to Puzzle is a one button puzzle game. You press or hold a single button in order to progress to the next screen. Sounds simple, but it's actually more cryptic as you have to decipher the instruction. For some screens the solution is obvious,...

Sensorium

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Release Date: 28/08/2020

Platforms: PC

Genres: Adventure, Point-and-Click and Puzzle

Developer: @RbdJellyFish

Players: This is a single player game

Sensorium is a puzzle game set in a freely explorable island. You need to solve puzzle to access rooms, which usually contain more puzzles granting access to deeper recesses of the buildings.

Seven Scrolls

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 16/03/2020

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Puzzle and Turn-Based

Developer: @JesseVenbrux

Players: This is a single player game

Seven Scrolls is a puzzle game where you explore a dungeon, kill enemies and get to the exit. What's unusual is that the rule of the game change as you pick up scrolls.

17 Games Like Portal Based on Genre

These are games of a similar genre mix to Portal. This includes games from the Puzzle, Simulation, Action, Platform and Narrative genres. We pick out games of a similar PEGI rating to further hone these generated suggestions.
 

1 Easier Game than Portal

If you like the sound of Portal but find it too complex or challenging, the games in this section offer a similar experience but with a lower Skill Rating required.
 

Portal 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 Portal in the following lists:

Build Personal Resilience

Psychologists define resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors. As much as resilience involves "bouncing back" from these difficult experiences, it can also involve profound personal growth.

Games, by design, present players with adversity and much of the joy of gaming comes from taking on and overcoming unnecessary obstacles. Whether you’re saving the universe from an alien invasion or tending crops in your animal community, playing games mimics the process of resilience.

Image 163 This list of games that can help foster various forms of psychological resilience is compiled with the expert help of Take This. They aim to decrease the stigma, and increase the support for, mental health in the game enthusiast community and inside the game industry. They encourage a game community that welcomes and supports people experiencing mental health challenges, and that recognizes the humanity and mental health of game creators.

The Portal series tell a narrative that you are going to fail. You’re told to give up, but if you ignore this barrage of discouragement you can use it as a way to strengthen your resolve and complete the puzzles even if you have failed twenty times in the process. The Stanley Parable is all about trying again. You can try and re-try your decision making, reaching a variety of different endings.

Dark Souls is a hallmark for a punishing challenge that require resilience. You journey through elaborate lands to adventure, explore, and take heed lest they encounter a battle with a boss or enemy. Celeste is the story of Madeline and the enemies she overcomes while climbing Celeste Mountain. The game specifically calls out that Madeline has anxiety, and the challenges she faces in the environment reflect her own internal struggles and triumphs. Cuphead challenges players to battle relentless bosses in combat-heavy play. Cartoonish and playful, it balances challenging players to grow in skill and offers plenty of entertaining environments and aesthetics to keep you playing.

In Kingdom Hearts you meet many characters that need help - and many boss battles feel almost insurmountable. With help from friends like Donald and Goofy, the player character Sora overcomes the darkness to save his friends and bring hope back to the world. Death Squared is a co-op puzzle game where one player’s mistake makes everyone else lose. You learn cooperative resilience in trying again admits humorous judgments from the unseen “hosts” of the game.

In Animal Crossing you get help from the animal neighbours. You learn to lean on this social and environmental resilience to persevere at building social connections with computer villagers and friends online. Stardew Valley’s farming is about growing and maintaining a homestead. Interweaving the busy work are relationships with the other villagers, many of whom are social models for resilience in their storylines.
 
Ico
PEGI Rating 7 for Ico
Rust
PEGI Rating 16 for Rust
Roki
PEGI Rating 12 for Roki
Portal
PEGI Rating 12 for Portal

Space For Loneliness

In a culture that often assumes that the route to happiness is with another person, it can benefit us to acknowledge that being alone is not always a bad thing. We teamed up with Courtney Garcia’s Screen Therapy channel to curate a list of games that give us a chance to experience being alone in different ways.

Garcia’s Screen Therapy project employs Positive Media Psychology research to highlight and interpret meaningful experiences with games and movies. “With mindfulness, there are even more benefits to gain from intentional consumption of media,” she says, “games can be tools we use to recover or grow, psychologically, and our time with them isn't wasted if they provide us insights or rest we need.”

This list was inspired by the experience of playing the unusually solitary (and long) game The Longing and the Twitter thread that followed. In it, you spend 400 elapsed days waiting for the King to wake up and living at a slow pace. The other games offer their own lens on loneliness and solitary seasons of life. These games offer us insight into the benefits of appreciating time alone, such as opportunities for self-reflection, self-discovery, and the chance to curate enriching experiences or environments for ourselves.

Some of the games, like Never Alone, Journey and The Long Dark place you in a harsh environment that emphasises your diminutive size when faced with the expanse of nature. Other games in the list, like Thomas Was Alone and Bird Alone offer you the chance to reflect on friendship and the need to nurture relationships. Then there are games we included like Shadow of the Colossus that let you get lost in the vastness of its landscape. Finally, a few of the games like The First Tree and Sunlight invite you to make a connection to other players, once you have come to terms with a journey on your own.
 

Play With Experts And Novices

We all have a different level of experience, ability and connection to video games. Finding a game to play with another person who has less (or more) expertise of playing can be a challenge.

This list is designed to help you find games to solve this. Some of these games, like Super Mario Odyssey or Spiritfarer, let one player help the other. Other games, like Kingdoms or Chariot let you work together to progress with enough time for one player to help the other. Then there are games, like Affordable Space Adventures or Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes where each player takes on a different role. Some games like Tick Tock A Tale For Two or Get Together let you play on separate devices and talk to each other to solve collaborative puzzles. Finally, there are single player games, like Detroit Become Human or Return of the Obra Dinn where one player can control things while the other makes suggestions.

Whether you are a parent playing with a gaming expert son or daughter, or a partner of someone who plays less or more games, these are a great place to find common ground.
 

Edge Magazine's 10 out of 10 Awards

Edge Magazine is a prestigious and long running print magazine. Started in 1993, it became known for good writing and a high bar for game scores. It was three years before Edge gave a game a rating of ten out of ten. These perfect scores are far and few between:
  • Elite (1984)
  • Super Mario Bros. (1985)
  • Exile (1988)
  • Super Mario 64 (1996)
  • GoldenEye 007 (1997)
  • Gran Turismo (1997)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998)
  • Advance Wars (2001)
  • Halo: Combat Evolved (2001)
  • Half-Life 2 (2004)
  • Resident Evil 4 (2005)
  • Halo 3 (2007)
  • The Orange Box (Portal) (2007)
  • Super Mario Galaxy (2007)
  • Grand Theft Auto IV (2008)
  • LittleBigPlanet (2008)
  • Bayonetta (2009)
  • Drop7 (2009)
  • Red Dead Redemption (2010)
  • Super Street Fighter IV (2010)
  • Super Mario Galaxy 2 (2010)
  • Rock Band 3 (2010)
  • Dark Souls (2011)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (2011)
  • The Last of Us (2013)
  • Grand Theft Auto V (2013)
  • Bayonetta 2 (2014)
  • Bloodborne (2015)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (2017)
  • Super Mario Odyssey (2017)

 

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.
 

Remote Play Together With Steam

Some games are designed with online play. For those that only have local multiplayer, you can use a feature on Steam called Steam Remote Play Together to play these games with a friend in another place as if they were sat next to you. You can use online chat pass the controls back and forth or each control different players to co-operate or compete.

Not all games support these feature but for those that do, listed here, all you need is one copy of the game for the two of you, an account on Steam and a PC to play on in your separate locations and a good internet connection.

You can also use the Steam Remote Play Anywhere feature to stream your games from you PC to another device like a smartphone or tablet. This enables you to play in a different room of the house or on the go.
 

Games from Taming Gaming Book

When we wrote the Taming Gaming book we packed the second half with full colour game ‘recipes’ as a resource for parents and families. They are grouped in categories depending on the style of game you are looking for, whether you want to play on your own, or with your family and friends.

The Family Gaming Database grew out of the book. At first it was just going to be a way to search the 60 or so games in the book. With 1000’s of parents soon using the database it became clear we should grow it to cover more games. So, today we have 1467 games.

Here are all the games from the book:

Games for non-gaming grown-ups

These games are perfect if you have never played one before. They open the door to the gaming world for non-gaming parents and carers.

Nurture child-like imagination

These games are for children under seven years old who will, with some help, discover activities they want to try that will expand their imaginations, while establishing the role of your guidance and engagement as part of the gaming world as they grow up.

Nourish Youthful Ambition

As children get older, they develop stronger ideas of what they want to play. Friends at school and YouTube stars create popular gaming fabs for the latest titles. The games suggested here go beyond the usual suspects.

Laugh at Silliness

Video games have their roots in fun and play. This makes them an excellent way to forget the worries of the day and dive into some silly fun together. The games on this list have been selected because they get players doing absurd activities and chuckling together.

Inhabit Another World

The games in this list invite you to spend time in spaces that have a sense of place, life and character.

Compete on the Couch

Raucous, unbounded, exuberant all-age, competitive fun is something video games are known for. These games can play a bit-part in raising children to be magnanimous in victory and generous in defeat.

Work Together to Thrive

Play is more fun when it’s shared. Along with team work the games on this list use the fact that the players are all sitting next to each other. The fun is often as much about the conversations (and arguments) that happen in the room as what’s happening on the screen.

Walk in Someone Else’s Shoes

While many games include characters to interact with, some are specifically designed to make relationships a central element. These games offer a unique way to think deeply about how we relate to each other to the games people play.

Wake up Your Emotions

Video games are known for high-octane, adrenaline fuelled entertainment, but there are many that address the players emotions as much as their dexterity. The games in the following list create emotionally rich spaces in which to explore scenarios with feelings rather than facts.

Matinee Fisticuffs and Shoot-outs

Sometimes you just want to play the hero. These games are violent and include shooting but as with B-movies and 1980’s TV series, it’s as much about the quips, characters and fantasy settings as it is about the killing.

Face Tough Decisions

Games create virtual worlds where you can experience life from another perspective. This can be lighthearted but also presents ethical scenarios that require you to think carefully about consequences. These games each place you in a challenging situation to give you a first hand experience of what it’s like.

Solve a Mystery

Like a good crime drama or whodunnit, solving mysteries and puzzles is a good way to engage in a story. The following 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.

 
Portal
PEGI Rating 12 for Portal

Get Children Into Science

Science can be a subject that many of us see as something for other people. Physics, Chemistry and Biology is something for the nerds, geeks and highly intelligent children at school and not for us or our children.

"Science is an incredibly important subject that many students never fully grasp. Knowledge of chemistry or other sciences is necessary to solve many real-world problems, but the way it's taught now often fails to capture students’ imaginations, discouraging experimentation and discovery."

That quote from the creators of Happy Atoms inspired this list of games. It's true not just about their game that unlocks the wonder of chemistry, but about many other games that often get children doing science without even realising it.

This can be the simple chemical puzzle-solving of a game like Sokobond. It can be the embodied understanding of gravity and momentum in real-time physics games like Portal. It can be the way different elements combine properties in games like Zelda Breath of the Wild. It can even be gaining a sense of scale of the universe in a game like Everything.
 

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.
 
Ico
PEGI Rating 7 for Ico
Nuts
Kine
PEGI Rating 3 for Kine
Pode
PEGI Rating 3 for Pode
Roki
PEGI Rating 12 for Roki
Eco
PEGI Rating 7 for Eco
Fez
PEGI Rating 3 for Fez
Gris
PEGI Rating 7 for Gris
Portal
PEGI Rating 12 for Portal

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.
 
Nuts
Roki
PEGI Rating 12 for Roki
Stray
Fez
PEGI Rating 3 for Fez
Portal
PEGI Rating 12 for Portal


Image of the cover of the hardback edition of the Taming Gaming book  by Andy Robertson Image 311 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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