Valheim 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 Valheim in the following lists:
Video games create worlds and then invite us to play in them. These worlds are sometimes nothing like our own. Others, however, look to recreate life-like spaces, or take the real world and bend it in interesting directions.
Weather is a big part of the experience of a video game. It can create a particular mood, a sense of changing time, or can be used to change the mechanics of your interactions.
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.
Dungeons and Dragons casts its creative, communicative shadow over adventure video games, much like chess does over puzzle games. Some games try to recreate that D&D feeling with fantasy adventures and grand epic tales drawing on Tolkien-style characters. Others put you in charge of creating the sort of stories that arise during D&D role play sessions.
The games in this list are emergent ways to tell stories. Some of these, like Sea of Thieves
, put you in worlds that offer opportunities for adventures. Others, like Loop Hero
, task you with setting up a challenge for adventurers to take on. Then there are games like Wildermyth
and Road 96
, that have near-magical algorithms that let you influence and evolve adventure stories by the choices and performance of your characters.
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.
There's a gap when children are starting to outgrow PEGI 12 rated games but aren't necessarily ready for PEGI 16 rated shooting and fighting experiences. The games in this list offer some options that are genuinely exuberant and exhilarating but with lower levels of violence.
It's important to say that parents should take a close look at the rating information for these games and make their own judgement on appropriateness for their child.
These are intended as good first steps into older rating games, when you think your child is ready. We go through some really good examples of these exciting, fast-action game for a range of ages. They are mostly all PEGI 12 or under, apart from games like Halo
or Jedi Fallen Order
, which we have included as this is a lower ESRB TEEN rating in the US.
Eggplant: The Secret Lives of Games
, is a podcast that offers a candid conversation with game creators that dives deep into the art, craft, and process of making games. It's an amazing insight into the mind of people who understand and highlight how game/play mechanics can do unexpected, magical and surprising things.
This is the list of games they have picked as their Game of the Year 2018-2021. These awards also include board games, escape rooms and game-like TV series. We have included video games here, where we have them on the database. (And in many cases have added video games to the database after listening to the show.)
It's hosted by:
Nick Suttner, an independent game writer/designer/consultant, who has worked on games like Celeste, Bloodroots, and Carto.
Andy Nealen, a game creator and scholar, artist and music maker, architect and structural engineer, and professor of cinematic arts and computer science at USC.
Sarah Elmaleh, actor, consultant and event organizer with a passion for collaborative creation - both as a seasoned performer and as an advocate for best practices in the games industry.
Zach Gage, who makes deep games that are easy to get into, like Really Bad Chess and SpellTower.
Douglas Wilson, who is a co-owner of Die Gute Fabrik, a games studio based in Copenhagen, Denmark. He has worked on Johann Sebastian Joust, Sportsfriends, and Mutazione.
Laura E. Hall, is an an artist, writer, puzzle-maker, immersive environment and narrative designer focusing on the playful intersections of arts, culture, and technology, especially in gaming.
The team is usually joined by Laura E. Hall for the game of the year episodes. She is an artist, writer, puzzle-maker, immersive environment and narrative designer who focuses on the playful intersections of arts, culture, and technology, especially in gaming.
There are some games that seem inescapable. Children tell parents that there's nothing else like them, and "all their friends are playing" this one game. However, you don't need to feel pressured to letting a child play a game. Check out our page for the game and if you don't think you they are ready you can suggest one of the great alternatives.
An enduring example is Grand Theft Auto V. It's rated as suitable for adults but younger players do access the game. Children can paint a picture that this is something they need to access or be excluded from friendship groups and playground banter. Here's what to do:
Firstly, It's important to understand the content of the game before you make a decisions. Our Grand Theft Auto guide
enables you to do this in a matter of minutes. If you don't think your child is old enough, it's completely fine to say no. Many families don't let children play games until they reach the related Age Rating.
Secondly, with the breadth of video games on offer there are loads of age appropriate alternatives. Understand which is the best fit for your child depends what it is about a game that means they want to play it.
Children talking to people they don't know in a video game rings alarm bells. In fact, even if they do know online friends, it can still feel a bit worrying what might be said. Worrying headlines about these conversations going wrong or being co-opted by adults means we rush to limit them.
While it's important to ensure our children are safe, the rush to lock down communication can limit the freedom they would have had to express themselves and make sense of the world with their peers. With digital spaces becoming increasingly important, the UN has recently stated that the Rights of the Child apply to the digital environment
Sara Grimes Digital Playground
book has a chapter on this topic. "Often safety manifests as programmed design limitations and systematic restrictions on children's freedom of expression. While such mechanisms are described largely as in children's best interests, in any other context they would almost certainly be classified as censorship".
Reading Sara's chapter led to this list of games that avoid the usual curtailment of children's speech with limitations, allowed phrases or the absence of verbal interactions. We wanted to highlight, as Sara puts it, "opportunities for children to construct types of secret spaces that once characterised childhood," rather than "adult-made embodiments of idealised visions of what children's play space should be".
These are games that provide a "forum for engaging with the exceptional, the repulsive, the taboo, the dark, transgressive play" and a break from "the beautiful, the sanctioned, and the sacred". This is uncomfortable ground for parents and guardians, but as Sara puts it, "provides valuable space for processing and rejecting social roles and expectations." "Within the secret spaces of childhood, children exercise their agency and authority, experiment with ideas and social norms."
Proximity Chat in games like Roblox, Sea of Thieves and Ark Survival Evolved offer players a way to communicate without censorship, and is usually accompanied by tools to ensure they are actually children talking rather than interloping adults.
Text Chat in games like Stardew Valley and Grounded, where it is not heavily filtered for phrases and terms that limit self expression and collaboration. Or games like Valheim that offer both whisper (to players following you on your team) and shout (to everyone and appears above your head) chat options.
Letters can be a way for children to speak to unknown others. This can be specific part of the design like in Kind Words, or as a message left for other players in The First Tree or Animal Crossing. Or naming planets for other players to discover in No Man's Sky. Then there's leaving time capsules with items and message for others to discover in Subnautica.
The Digital Futures Commission's A Vision of Free Play in a Digital World report
that outlines the key qualities of "free play" for what "good" looks like in a digital world. The team from 5 Rights Foundation and Digital Futures LSE set out ambitious expectations for children’s free play in all contexts. To claim the label ‘Playful by Design’, digital products and services should adopt seven principles:
Be Welcoming: Prioritise digital features that are inclusive, sociable and welcoming to all, reducing hateful communication and forms of exclusion and reflecting multiple identities.
Enhance Imagination: Prioritise creative resources and imaginative, open ended play over pre-determined pathways built on popularity metrics or driven by advertising or other commercial pressures.
Enable Open-Ended Play: Provide and enhance features that offer easy-to use pathways, flexibility and variety as these support children’s agency and encourage their imaginative, stimulating and open-ended play.
No commercial exploitation: Reduce compulsive features designed to prolong user engagement or cultivate dependency on games, apps or platforms, so children’s immersive play is intrinsically motivated and freely chosen.
Ensure safety: Ensure children’s play in online spaces is safe, including by giving them control over who can contact them and supplying help when needed.
Allow for experimentation: Recognise that exploration, invention and a degree of risk taking is important in children’s play and that the burden should not fall on them always to be cautious or anxious, or to follow rules set by others.
Be age-appropriate: Respect the needs of children of different ages by providing age-appropriate opportunities for play, while also allowing for safe intergenerational play.
I asked Sonia Livingstone, lead researcher and report author, whether there were many games that already met this criteria. "Children bring a lot to their play that for them is imaginative and sociable. Where it's more difficult is in the voluntary and intrinsically motivated play. Games very rarely leave children to play at their own pace and rate. The freedom for risk taking is sometimes present but here, children themselves take on the safety burden from society at large and limit play themselves."
Inspired and challenged by the report, we searched our database to identify games that came closest to meeting these high standards. Like the report, this aims to concentrate energy on identifying opportunities for free play that should be enriched and expanded to make play online more child-centred.
In the report, children identify their need to play in ways that perhaps adults don’t understand or that some digital designs deny. They don't want a completely "whole-food experience", nor to turn back the clock to an offline world. They want digital products designed to enhance the qualities of play and at the same time want those aspects of design that are exploitative or invasive to be dialled down.
Examples on this list include playful offline video games. Games like Lonely Mountains Downhill
and Microsoft Flight Simulator
offer open-ended play where you can go where you want and make your own fun. Spelunky 2
, Mini Metro
enable free-play that is intrinsically and experimentally motivated without commercial exploitation. Then games like A Short Hike
and Wilmot's Warehouse
offer play that is welcoming for newcomers and specifically age appropriate. Risk taking and rule breaking play that doesn't become a burden on the child is found in games like Untitled Goose Game
and The Longing
Examples on this list also include playful online video games. Games like Journey
and One Hour One Life
offer a welcoming experience by encouraging (in some cases requiring) other players to help newcomers. Phantom Abyss
offers an unusual competitive play space that celebrates experimentation and is safe by design through minimal communication. Sea of Thieves
offer age appropriate play for older teenagers that is built around experimentation and discovery through risk taking that is lead by imagination. Stormworks
combines open ended play like Minecraft
, but offers a context more age appropriate to ambitious teenagers through its float-mechanics and boat design. Sky Children of the Light
combines many of the criteria, offering a welcoming experience for newcomers, imaginative play. It subverts the commercial feel of other app games by focusing purchases on items that are primarily to give away to other players.
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.