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77 Great Games Like The Long Dark

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

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 temperature, caloric intake, hunger, thirst and fatigue. This means taking on not only the harsh environment by wildlife and other environmental dangers.

Unfortunately, The Long Dark is not available on Android, Mac, PS5, Xbox Series X|S or iOS. However, we recommend the following games that offer a similar experience or theme, and at a lower age rating:

DetailsGame Details

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

Costs: Purchase cost

39 Hand Picked Games Like The Long Dark

These are our hand-picked games similar to The Long Dark. This doesn't use automatic matching, instead, we hand-pick games that are good to play if you have enjoyed The Long Dark, or as younger rated alternatives for players not ready for PEGI 16 or ESRB TEEN games. These selections also include games that offer a different experience but address a similar theme or topic.
 

Subnautica (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 10-16 year-olds

Release Date: 11/04/2016, updated in 2018

Price: 35% off

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

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

Accessibility: 14 features

Developer: @UnknownWorlds

Players: This is a single player game

Subnautica is an open-world adventure where you explore the ocean on an alien planet after crashlanding. You collect resources and fight creatures to survive. This enables you to establish an underwater base, gain new craft and equipment and explore...

Don't Starve

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

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...

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.

The Last Of Us Part II

Content Rating: PEGI 18

Skill Rating: 16-18 year-olds

Release Date: 19/06/2020

Price: 36% off

Platforms: PS4

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative, Role-Playing and Shooting

Accessibility: 47 features

Developer: @Naughty_Dog

Players: This is a single player game

The Last of Us Part II is an action-adventure game set five years after The Last of Us. You control two characters in a post-apocalyptic United States. Ellie is out for revenge after suffering a tragedy, and Abby is a...

Stormworks: Build and Rescue

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 11-16 year-olds

Release Date: 28/02/2018

Platforms: Mac and PC

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

Accessibility: 8 features

Developer: @Dan_Games

Players: You can play this with 5 players online

Stormworks is an open world adventure where you design, build and pilot your own air sea rescue service. You create programmable vehicles using it's block-building system and pilot them into dangerous situations to rescue stricken vessels or...

Minecraft

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 6-16 year-olds

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

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS, Amazon Fire, Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

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

Accessibility: 36 features

Developer: @Mojang

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 16 players online

Although Minecraft – where players place blocks to build structures, sculpt the landscape and create adventures – is the best-selling game of all time, some of the best aspects of it are little known. Along with the exploration, building and...

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)...

Stranded Deep

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Release Date: 21/04/2015, updated in 2020

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4 and Xbox One

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

Accessibility: 20 features

Developer: @BeamTeamGames

Players: This is a single player game

Stranded Deep is a survival game set in the Pacific Ocean. Taking a cue from films like Cast Away, you survive a plane crash and face life-threatening scenarios in a large open world. As the weather and time of day changes with the hours, you explore...

PixArk
PEGI Rating 12 for PixArk

PixArk

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 31/05/2019

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Open World and Simulation

Developer: @SnailGamesUSA

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

PixArk is an adventure game similar to the more complex (and violent) game Ark: Survival Evolved. With a simpler interface and Minecraft=style block building, it's a survival game that never gets too scary while also inviting ambitious play and...

The Red Lantern

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Release Date: 22/10/2020

Platforms: PC, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Open World and Simulation

Accessibility: 13 features

Developer: @TimberlineGames

Players: This is a single player game

The Red Lantern is a personal adventure about making something of your life. You and a team of sled dogs head into the wilderness and must navigate the ever-changing events of the Alaskan bush to find your way home.

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.

The Last Of Us Left Behind

Content Rating: PEGI 18

Release Date: 14/02/2014

Platforms: PS3 and PS4

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative and Shooting

Accessibility: 1 feature

Developer: @Naughty_Dog

Players: This is a single player game

The Last of Us is a survival adventure game where you play Joel, a father figure, looking to protect a girl in his care, Ellie. The game creates a fimlic and emotional experience that extends beyond the usual zombie shooting to offer an interactive...

Escape from Tarkov

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 18

Release Date: 27/07/2017

Platforms: PC

Genres: Open World, Shooting and Simulation

Accessibility: 1 feature

Developer: @BStateGames

Players: You can play this with 14 players online

Escape from Tarkov is an online shooting game set in the fictional Norvinsk region in Northwest Russia. You play during a war between two private military companies and join matches to fight others for loot, survival and ultimately escape.

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...

The Last Of Us

Content Rating: PEGI 18

Skill Rating: 16-18 year-olds

Release Date: 14/06/2013

Platforms: PS3 and PS4

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative and Shooting

Accessibility: 21 features

Developer: @Naughty_Dog

Players: This is a single player game

You play a father, Joel, whose daughter was killed during the early stages of a deadly fungal outbreak. It’s now 20 years later, and he has clearly suffered from the loss. When Joel is given charge of a girl, Ellie, about the same age his daughter...

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...

Subnautica Below Zero (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 10-16 year-olds

Release Date: 30/01/2019, updated in 2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

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

Accessibility: 29 features

Developer: @UnknownWorlds

Players: This is a single player game

Subnautica: Below Zero is an open-world adventure game that follows the original game, Subnautica. You play a scientist on an alien planet searching for clues about the research team that vanished there. To do this you explore and...

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...

Sable

Content Rating: Not rated by PEGI

Release Date: 23/09/2021

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.

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....

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...

DayZ

Content Rating: PEGI 18

Release Date: 03/07/2019

Price: 46% off

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Open World, Shooting and Simulation

Accessibility: 1 feature

Developer: @BohemiaInteract

Players: You can play this with 60 players online

Day Z (DayZ) is a post-apocalyptic open world survival game. The population are infected with an unknown virus and you play as one of the few who are immune. You fight other survivors for limited resources and weapons. However If you die there are no...

Dysmantle

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 16

Release Date: 06/01/2020

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Action, Adventure, Open World and Strategy

Developer: @10tonsLtd

Players: This is a single player game

Dysmantle is a survival strategy game where you play a character emerging after the apocalypse. The world is now inhabited with dangerous creatures and you only have your bare hands to survive. It's novel because most items in the world can be destroyed...

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.

Noita

Content Rating: Not rated by PEGI

Release Date: 05/10/2020

Platforms: PC

Genres: Action, Fighting, Open World, Platform, Shooting and Simulation

Accessibility: 13 features

Developer: @NollaGames

Players: This is a single player game

Noita is platform adventure game in a world where each and every pixel is physically simulated. This means that the tiny elements that make up the landscape and characters have their own properties that: melt, burn, evaporate, explode, flow, float,...

Project Winter

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 23/05/2019

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure and Strategy

Developer: @ProjWinter

Players: You can play this with 8 players online

Project Winter is a multiplayer survival game. Up to 8 people work to survive the winter by gathering resources, repairing structures, and braving the wilderness dangers together. However, up to two people are traitors within the group and try to dash...

The Longing

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 05/03/2020

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Point-and-Click and Simulation

Developer: @StudioSeufz

Players: This is a single player game

The Longing is a point-and-click adventure about waiting and loneliness. It's an intentionally slow game that takes 400 elapsed days to finish. It draws on the Idle Game genre, where you use minor interactions to incrementally advance. Here though, the...

Unto The End

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 16

Release Date: 09/12/2020

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

Genres: Action, Fighting, Platform, Role-Playing and Simulation

Accessibility: 26 features

Developer: @2TonStudios

Players: This is a single player game

Unto The End is a cinematic combat-adventure where the fighting is modelled in a read-and-react style. It requires time to master the unusual system but offers many ways to take on foes. Tactics and intelligent decisions are as important for survival as...

Far Cry 6 (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 18

Release Date: 07/10/2021

Price: 2% off

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

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

Developer: @UbisoftToronto

Players: This is a single player game

Far Cry 6 is the sixth in the series of shooting games. Set on a fictional Caribbean island ruled as a dictatorship, you are guerilla fighter Dani Rojas aiming to topple the regime.

Morkredd

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 12/12/2020

Platforms: PC and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure and Puzzle

Developer: @HyperGames

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

Morkredd is a puzzle game about light and shadow, where two characters work together to push a glowing orb of light in a pitch black world, avoiding to step into shadow - even each others' - which results in their death.

Change: A Homeless Survival Experience

Content Rating: Not rated by PEGI

Release Date: 01/05/2020

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: @DelveInteractiv

Players: This is a single player game

Change is a survival game where you play a homeless person trying to make it against the odds. It's intentionally hard to do well as you explore an endless city that's different every time you play.

Darwin Project

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 14/01/2020

Price: Free

Platforms: PC, PS5 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Fighting and Shooting

Developer: @DarwinProject

Players: You can play this with 11 players online

Darwin Project is a battle royale game like Fortnite. Player fight to collect resources to survive and upgrade their character. As well as surviving in extreme conditions you track opponents and set traps. In addition to the ten players is...

Tenderfoot Tactics

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 21/08/2020

Platforms: Mac and PC

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

Accessibility: 33 features

Developer: @IceWaterGames

Players: This is a single player game

Tenderfoot Tactics is a role play adventure game where you play a young adventurer in a vast open world. The visuals and the Final Fantasy Tactics-style battles look simple but offer depth that requires you to learn the deterministic combat system and...

We Kill Monsters

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC

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

Developer: @Glass__Revolver

Players: You can play this with 4 players online

We Kill Monsters (in early development) is an adventure set in a land lost in a deep valley. You explore on foot through forests, mists and moors with the sole goal of reaching the bottom. The world is huge and labyrinthine and invites you to lose...

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...

Days Gone

Content Rating: PEGI 18

Release Date: 26/04/2019, updated in 2021

Price: 63% off

Platforms: PC and PS4

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

Accessibility: 27 features

Developer: @BendStudio

Players: This is a single player game

Days Gone is a survival adventure game set in a post-pandemic Oregon. You roam an open world pulsing with life (and zombies). It's unusual for its scale and sheer number of enemies. Add to that the changing light and weather and Days Gone creates a...

Trove

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 09/07/2015, updated in 2017

Price: Free

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4 and Xbox One

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

Developer: @Gamigo

Players: You can play this with 60 players online

Trove is an online adventure game that looks like Minecraft but with more role-play elements. This means you choose a class of character with specific attacks and abilities. You work through different worlds to progress different aspects of your...

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...

10 Easier Games than The Long Dark

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

12 More Accessible Games than The Long Dark

If you like the sound of The Long Dark 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 The Long Dark Accessibility Report.
 

The Long Dark 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 The Long Dark in the following lists:

Mechanical Challenge

Games offer us challenges on many levels. When someone plays a game too much it’s easy to think they are taking an easy route to something entertaining, like junk food. But video games are generally hard work. It takes time to understand their systems, mechanics, objectives and worlds.

There are a small group of games that hone this challenge down to the mechanics of moving around the environment. Whereas many games simplify getting around, these games make the complexity and depth of their movement systems part of the joy of playing them.

Rather than relying on the stats of your character or player, you have to execute the moves yourself with timing proficiency and instinct. Rather than offering assistance, these games leave you to it. Whether you rise through the league tables, or just improve compared to your family, the satisfaction or getting to grips with something so monumentally challenging is really satisfying.

This might be understanding how the propulsion of your car lets you take to the air and hit a perfect shot in Rocket League. Or, perhaps, it’s using the limited running and jumping slightly better than other players to get a win in Fall Guys. Maybe it’s learning the perfect combination of angles and trajectories in Videoball. Or it could be learning the complex move lists in a game like Street Fighter.

These games all have in common, a complex control system that can be put to use in imaginative and creative ways to get the edge over your opponents.
 
Arms
PEGI Rating 12 for Arms
Sifu
Pyre
PEGI Rating 7 for Pyre
Hitman
PEGI Rating 18 for Hitman

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.
 
Shu
PEGI Rating 7 for Shu
Fuel
PEGI Rating 7 for Fuel
Ete
Pine
PEGI Rating 12 for Pine
Hitman
PEGI Rating 18 for Hitman

DualShock Motion PlayStation 4 Games

After the Wii's success, PlayStation added motion controls to its PlayStation 3 controller. Although a novelty at first, this continued to mature in PlayStation 4 games and its DualShock 4 controller that included motion detection as well as a Touchpad and speaker.

The games in this list make intelligent use of the motion controls and other interactive features of the DualShock PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 controller.

This ranges from games like Journey that lets you control the direction you are looking with controller motion, to Tearaway that uses the gyroscope and touch pad to launch objects from the controller to the screen. Then there are games like Gravity Rush that use motion to direct movement.

Some of these games use motion controls to complement traditional use of sticks for aiming and movement. You can use the Motion Aiming accessibility search to find more of these games on the database.
 

Play The Seasons: Get Lost in Bleak Winter Tales

Video games create spaces for us to go and play. These spaces are sometimes an escape from the real world. Equally, games can help us revel and celebrate the real world.

This is a list of games that take us into the long dark months. Shorter days and long nights speak of hibernation and survival. Snow and bare branches suggest that all life has left forever.

Whether they task us with resisting this or getting lost in the dark folds of winter, games of this month are a valuable reminder that life continues (often unseen) where it seems almost impossible. With the faintest foolish hope of a tiny bud read for spring.
 

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

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.
 

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.
 

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.
 

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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