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Time in video games is a valuable thing. Unlike in the real world where it proceeds in a linear fashion, in a game it may speed up, slow down or even go backwards. There are some games where controlling time becomes a crucial and fascinating game mechanic. The best of these integrate your time travelling powers with both characters and narrative to create a compelling experience. This list includes 128 games from the last 35 years, with 1,907 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to manipulate time to win.
Release Date: 08/04/2021, updated in 2022
Out Now: Android, PC and iOS
Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds
Components: 3D First-Person and Cartoon
Before Your Eyes is a narrative game about an 11-year-old boy revisiting his life before "crossing over" to the other side. You play by exploring scenes that represent snapshots of his life. Unusually, you make choices and interact with the game by...
Release Date: 21/03/2017, updated in 2019
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4 and Switch
Skill Rating: 3+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World
Everything 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...
Release Date: 06/01/2015
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and iOS
Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds
Components: 2D Overhead and Grid
Mini Metro is a sequencing strategy game where you create an ordered, efficient underground train system. It sounds like hard work, but the simple Tube-map visuals, calm music, and streamlined interactions make this relaxing, like sudoku. Dip your toe...
Release Date: 11/12/2018, updated in 2023
Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds
Components: 3D First-Person, Day and Night and Open World
Outer Wilds is an exploration space mystery about a solar system trapped in an endless time loop. After twenty minutes of game time, you must start again – but each time brings a new opportunity to learn how you ended up on the planet and solve the...
Release Date: 12/08/2015, updated in 2016
Out Now: Mac, PC and PS4
Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds
Components: 3D First-Person and Open World
Everybody's Gone to the Rapture lands you in a fictional deserted English village in 1984. As you walk the streets of another era you discover bright human forms who re-enact events like a radio play. Through their eyes, you see a web of fear,...
Release Date: 02/06/2021
Out Now: Android, PC, Switch and iOS
Components: 2D Side-On, Hand-Made and Text
Overboard is a murder mystery narrative game played in reverse. You murder your husband at the start of the game and then try and get away with it. It's played on a ship where the characters are affected by your choices and changes their actions...
Release Date: 05/10/2017, updated in 2019
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One
Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon and Open World
A Hat in Time is a running, jumping and exploring game inspired by retro platform games like Super Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie, Spyro the Dragon and Psychonauts. As you explore each of the worlds, you discover characters to talk to, enemies to battle and an...
Release Date: 13/06/2023
Components: 3D Third-Person and Hand-Made
Dordogne is a narrative adventure where you play as Mimi, a 32-year-old woman who returns to the house of her recently deceased grandmother. You explore the house and area to find letters and puzzles that bring back memories of the past.
Release Date: 30/01/2013
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS Vita and PS3
Skill Rating: 4+ year-olds
Components: 3D First-Person, Cartoon, Day and Night, Open World and Weather
Proteus is a narrative adventure game which takes you to a pixelated island. As you explore you discover that your presence changes the seasons and time of day. Delving deeper, there are rudimentary interactions with the creatures that inhabit the land,...
Release Date: 04/08/2022
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS
Hindsight is a narrative point-and-click game where you revisit the past by finding objects that trigger memories. Play involves exploring each scene, locating objects and listening to the story as you move the camera to look within what you've found...
Release Date: 20/09/2018
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS
Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person
The Gardens Between is a puzzle game set in dreamlike island gardens where you play as best friends Arina and Frendt. You work around the island levels collecting balls of light in your lantern, manipulating time to solve puzzles and remove obstacles...
Release Date: 19/06/2010, updated in 2023
Out Now: DS, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS
Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels
Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is a narrative brain game where you play a ghost that can stop time to solve crimes and save lives. You can inhabit and control objects and possess corpses to alter what happens. His ultimate aim is to use his memories to...
Release Date: 30/06/2023
Out Now: Mac, PC and Switch
Components: 2D Overhead, Cartoon and Hand-Made
Crime O'Clock is a point-and-click crime-solving game where you explore a detailed map to piece together timelines that prove whodunnit. You zoom in and study the detailed map to find time markers and work out the culprit of hacking, murder and theft.
Release Date: 20/07/2021
Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Stadia, Switch and Xbox One
Components: 2D Side-On and Hand-Made
Cris Tales is a role-playing game where you see how your actions in the present affect the past and future. You play as Crisbell in a cartoon-looking adventure through four Kingdoms in a bid to stop the powerful Time Empress and rewrite the future of...
Release Date: 19/01/2016
Out Now: Android, PC, PS3, PS4, Stadia, Switch, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Xbox X|S and iOS
Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon
Life Is Strange is a click/tap-to-move adventure where you play a student at a high school in a sleepy American town. Despite the idyllic setting, you have a foreboding premonition of a disastrous storm. Along with this prophetic vision, you discover...
Release Date: 18/10/2019
Out Now: PS4, Switch and Xbox One
Components: 3D First-Person and Pixels
Return of the Obra Dinn is a narrative puzzle game where you play a shipping company agent assessing what happened on board a fictional East India Company ship where all the passengers have mysteriously died. Exploring the ship, you can revisit the...
Release Date: 25/02/2016, updated in 2019
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, Stadia, Switch, Web and Xbox One
Superhot is a shooting game with a twist. Time only moves forward (bullets, enemies, damage) when you move your character. This is still a violent game, in fact, in slow motion, it feels more violent.
Release Date: 16/04/2019
Out Now: PC, PS4 and Switch
Heaven's Vault is a communication adventure game you play an archaeologist translating an ancient alien language whose decrypting weaves through an unfolding drama. While doing real linguistic work you interact with companions and locals. Your choices...
Release Date: 03/10/2017, updated in 2023
Out Now: PC, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Components: 3D First-Person, 3D Third-Person and Weather
Forza Motorsport 7 immerses players in the exhilarating thrill of competitive racing. From mastering the new motorsport-inspired campaign to collecting a wide range of cars to experiencing the excitement of driving at the limit, this is Forza reimagined.
Release Date: 27/02/2018, updated in 2020
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, Stadia, Switch and iOS
Components: 2D Overhead, Grid, Hand-Made and Pixels
Into the Breach is a fantasy turn-based battle. It's set in a future where humanity fights an army of giant monsters. You control mechs equipped with a variety of weapons and armour in carefully coordinated actions played out on super-small tile-based...
Release Date: 28/08/2018
Out Now: Android, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One
Components: 2D Overhead and Pixels
Minit is a retro puzzle game where you complete small tasks within a 60-second time frame. You must dodge or fight foes, cut through the undergrowth, explore your world and find keys and swords. You start from the same place for each of your 60-second...
Release Date: 05/03/2020
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS
Components: 2D Overhead, Persistant World and Pixels
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...
Release Date: 06/09/2019, updated in 2023
Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One
Components: 2D Overhead and Hand-Made
Creature in the Well is a pinball-inspired fighting game that reimagines the ball-bouncing fun of Arkanoid. You play the last remaining robot who ventures deep into a desert mountain to restore power to an ancient facility and save the village that...
Release Date: 22/07/2019
Out Now: Mac and PC
Components: 2D Overhead and Cartoon
Elsinore is a mystery-adventure set in Shakespeare's Hamlet. You play Elsinore who repeats the same four days as she tries to find a way to avoid the tragedy that lies before her.
Release Date: 08/11/2023
Out Now: PC and Switch
Components: 2D Overhead, Cards and Pixels
Cobalt Core is a tactical battle game where you build a deck of cards to give orders and help your (doomed) crew battle enemies. Play involves picking characters for each encounter, to influence your attacks and cards and then choosing which to use each...
Release Date: 01/09/2020
Out Now: Android, Web and iOS
Components: 2D Side-On and Text
Penrose is a text adventure, where you don't only read the story and choose its next step, but can go back into the text to change it in all sorts of mind-bending ways. As the developer describes it, "Penrose is a non-linear narrative adventure game...
Release Date: 24/09/2020
Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds
Components: 2D Side-On
Trollhunters: Defenders of Arcadia is a running and jumping game in the world of Trollhunters. You play Jim Lake Jr. and work to stop Porgon the Trickster Troll and his sneaky plans. With the help of other characters and their abilities, you solve...
Release Date: 20/04/2006, updated in 2017
Out Now: DS, PC, PS2, PS3, PS4, Switch, Wii and Xbox One
Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night, Hand-Made and Open World
Okami (Okamiden on Nintendo DS) is an unusual action-adventure. Combat is via interactions that are achieved with brush strokes rather than weapons. It has a unique visual style that invites you to inhabit its painted world with brushstrokes of your...
Release Date: 25/04/2019, updated in 2021
Out Now: PS4 and PS5
Splatty's Adventure is a running, jumping and fighting game where you play a small (4-year-old) hero who must escape an oversized bedroom and get on your way to save the world from destruction. Like stepping into a Toy Story film, but here you wield a...
Release Date: 09/11/1996, updated in 2020
Out Now: DS, GBA, GameCube, PC, PS2, PS3, PS4, PS5, Switch, Wii, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Xbox X|S and iOS
Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time is the latest game in the Crash Bandicoot series, where you play a genetically enhanced bandicoot called Crash and run, jump and bash your way through levels while avoiding hazards.
Release Date: 18/11/2019
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC and iOS
Skill Rating: 15+ year-olds
Little Misfortune is a dark adventure where you play a small girl called, Misfortune, who, guided by a voice in her head, seeks the prize of eternal happiness for her mother. It's played side-on and unfolds a narrative about the girl's family as you...
Release Date: 19/08/2021, updated in 2021
Components: 2D Overhead
Twelve Minutes is an adventure thriller game about a single apartment building. You view things from above and can interact with a simple click-and-drag interface. What starts as a romantic evening with your wife turns into a nightmare when a police...
Release Date: 21/08/2007, updated in 2016
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS3, PS4, Switch, Xbox 360 and Xbox One
Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds
Components: 3D First-Person
Bioshock is a first-person shooting game set in a fantastical underwater city. A dark story unfolds about the misuse of surgery and gene therapy, and what happens when a society develops with a power mad genius in control. It's an unusual combination of...
Release Date: 25/07/2019
Out Now: Mac, PC and Stadia
Components: 2D Overhead and Open World
A Place for the Unwilling is a narrative adventure set in the final 21 days of a dying city. You investigate the city and its inhabitants to piece together what has happened. However, the clock is always ticking and the city carries on, with or without...
Release Date: 16/03/2018, updated in 2018
Out Now: GameCube, PC, PS3, PS4, Switch, Xbox 360 and Xbox One
Components: 3D First-Person, 3D Third-Person, Day and Night and Open World
Burnout Paradise is the latest game in the Burnout series, an over-the-top racing game where you’re encouraged to crash, bash and ram other cars. Throughout the series the bravado and crashing increase, but they all have the same novel core gameplay.
Release Date: 10/11/2011, updated in 2020
To the Moon is a story-adventure following two doctors trying to fulfil a dying man's last wish to go to the moon. With only a few ways to interact with the game, you control the doctors, exploring and solving puzzles to reconstruct the dying man's...
Release Date: 03/04/2019
Photographs - Puzzle Stories is a narrative puzzle game where you witness the lives and memories of five different characters. You investigate old photos for memories that advance the story and solve simple puzzles that reflect their lives. It stands...
Release Date: 23/01/2024
Components: 2D Side-On and Cartoon
Lil’ Guardsman is a puzzle adventure where you play a 12-year-old covering her dad's shift at the guardhouse. Play involves questioning each person who wants to pass to determine who to admit or deny. It combines Papers Please border-control decisions...
Release Date: 30/04/2021, updated in 2023
Out Now: PC and PS5
Returnal is a sci-fi shooting game played in repeating rounds that slowly change the world and your character. You are a pilot stranded on a mysterious planet and must investigate and fight through the world to both survive and solve the repeating...
Release Date: 06/10/2020
Out Now: Mac and iOS
All of You is a platform game where you can pause time and control the levels rather than the character. By rearranging the timing, order and orientation of the world you play in you can help the mother hen get her chicks back.