Townscaper 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 Townscaper in the following lists:
These games offer ways to consciously step outside the day's stresses and pressures to create space for self-care. This may be to distract yourself with calming unpressured tasks or to visit a world that is tranquil and relaxing or maybe just spend time reflecting on your emotions in a safe space.
Many games use rhythm as a mechanic to involve the player. But this list is devoted to the games that go one step further, and make you feel like you are creating music while to interact with the game. This may be the singing to other characters in Wandersong
, or be contributing to the orchestral soundtrack in games like Flower
These are games that almost feel like you are playing a music album. They invite you to spend time in a meditative musical state that leaves you with their songs and rhythms in your head for the rest of the day - Pata Pata Pata Pon
These games are perfect if you’ve never played one before, opening the door to the gaming world for non-gaming parents and carers. They are short, straightforward and easy to understand, so you don’t need to commit hours to learn to play them, and they are played on technology you probably already have in your pocket or in your home. They address mature themes such as love, hope, power, homelessness and even traffic planning by inviting you to interact and play a part in these worlds and stories.
We've found that it's not just parents who have enjoyed the way these games let them in on the world of gaming, but grandparents, uncles and aunts. In fact it's a great list for anyone who's never played a game and wants to know what all the fuss is about.
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.
Many games let you create your own items, object or levels. But some are specifically designed for you to do this in order to attract characters and visitors to your creation in the game.
Whether it's the perfect garden in Viva Pinata
, the ideal visitor island in Animal Crossing
or the most thrilling ride in Planet Coaster
, these games are fun because they combine creativity and management.
Then there are games where your attractions are more understated. The ideal home and live to keep your Sims
happy. Or maybe create something that doesn't impact the environment negatively like in Eco
Whatever you create, as well as attract characters in the game, the creations you make are ideal to share with other people (parents and carers maybe) to show them what you've been doing.
These games go above and beyond just adding a few difficulty settings. They consider a wide range of ability and accessibilities by offering customisable difficulty settings as well as special low pressure or assist modes that aid progress.
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.
These are games that involve actual Lego bricks or offer an experience that has the same plug and play building and creating as the classic toy.
Video games and toys are two seperate things in a child's life. Online and in stores they are sold separately. At home, however, children will move from toys to video games without such strong distinctions. This list draws together all the games that cross over with toys in this way.
Very young players are often drawn to games with toy-like play. Whether Toca Boca
or Sago Mini offer video game interactions but without missions, tasks or scores. They are games that create space, characters, locations and items for children to make up their own fun.
Then there are games that import physical toys into the play-process of the game. Sometimes this is to have a figure unlock items and save progress like in Skylanders
or sometimes this is to create new ways to interact like Tori
, Hotwheels id or game/Anki.
Jocelyn Brewer coined the phrase Digital Nutrition
to introduce a way of thinking about technology that went beyond screen time worries, drug analogies and detoxes. Instead, she encourages us to think about the variety, context and patterns of digital consumption.
"Digital Nutrition is a guilt-free philosophy that guides you towards healthful technology habits and improving your digital literacy and wellbeing. Rather than digital detoxing and unplugging, Digital Nutrition is about intentional and intelligent use of devices and the conscious consumption of news, media and information."
I’ve worked with her on this list of games that provide particularly underserved aspects of our digital play diet. These are the vitamins of the gaming world. Essential to a healthy diet and easy to overlook if we just follow where video game advertising leads us.
Unlike the other lists on the site, it’s an eclectic collection of games. But this is for good reason. These are the games that supplement your digital diet with variety, fibre, vitamins and minerals. They are the “digital super-foods” as Jocelyn puts it.
Digital Nutrition is a brilliant antidote to the guilt, muddled advice and finger-pointing of screen time focus advice. Instead, we can consider what specific games have to offer our children and our family.
This leads to other questions about how, where and when we play. Grabbing a Pizza on the street isn’t the same as sitting down to share a slice around the meal table. Only eating Kale is as problematic disordered eating as eating too many sweets. The same is true with video games, so this list is here to offer a varied diet.
Autism affects the way people communicate and experience the world around them. It is a spectrum of developmental conditions, including Asperger’s Syndrome. Many autistic people play games to have fun, relax, connect with others and build skills. This is a list of games we have put together with some of Autistica’s Autistica Play
Ambassadors, to highlight games that have been enjoyed by autistic people.Autistica
is the UK’s national autism research charity. It focuses on giving autistic people the opportunity to live long, happy, healthy lives. It does this by funding research, shaping policy and working with autistic people to understand their needs.Cognitive Pressure:
Some autistic people may take time to process information and could feel pressured by time limits. Games like A Short Hike
let you progress at your own speed, without being on the clock. Other games, like Townscaper
or Stardew Valley
, help here by not making game tasks time-limited or requiring quick reactions. Then there are games, including Rocket League
and Eagle Island
, that let you adjust the overall speed of play.Difficulty Settings:
Autistic people may prefer to tailor their experience based on how they are feeling. Some days they may want more of a challenge than others. Adjust how hard the game is. Some games like Subnautica
or Bad North
let you set the overall difficulty. Others, like Mario Kart
or The Last of Us Part II
let you adjust specific aspects of difficulty. Then there are games like Marvel’s Spider-Man
or Immortals Fenyx Rising
, that allow you to adjust the difficulty as you play.Sense of Control:
The real world can be an overwhelming place with constant change and unpredictable situations. Games like Viva Pinata
or The Sims
let you play in a world where you control the variables. Other games, like Mini Metro
or Mini Motorways
offer a chance to work with systems and see how changes impact outcomes. Then there are games that magnify this, like Factorio
or Planet Coaster
, by letting you create interconnect systems and tweak for the desired result.
As Autistica helpfully highlights, every autistic person is different. While many autistic people are able to learn, live and work independently, some have learning differences or co-occurring health conditions that require specialist support. Finding a game that can be a positive experience can therefore take some time and investigation.
Video games are often thought of as turning children into small cogs in a machine. Unchangeable, uncreative and demanding repetition of players. However, there are many games that offer players a chance to be the creators, inventors and instigators of some of the most marvellous machines.
This list offers games picked out with the help of Alom Shaha, Physics teacher, author of Mr Shaha’s Marvellous Machines
and father of two. His book offers playful projects that teach about the centre of gravity, toroidal vortexes, smoke-rings and electromagnetism. The games here mirror this combination of wonder and hands-on science.
Some of these, like Stormworks, offer a way to experiment with the physics of fluids and gravity. Others, like Townscaper, are a way to see the impact of the built environment. Then there are games like Chicory: A Colorful Tale, that invite players to bring a world to life with paint.
The overlap between real world messy-craft and these games can be through the inspiration of making things. But also, some of the games (like Tearaway) let you download templates to cut, stick and make the video game characters in real life.