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Gaming 101:
Action Games
 

In this series, we are learning how different aspects of video games work by playing games that offer an easy introduction to this one concept. This is designed for people new to gaming and aims to identify games with the least barriers. In this entry, we are looking at Action games.

Action video games focus on exciting or challenging activities. They are a call to "action", to play your part in exciting events that require hand-eye coordination, good timing, quick reactions and learned skills.

Commonly you will control a character to navigate a level, collect objects, avoid obstacles, and battle enemies. Equipment in the game can help progress. There will be certain points in the game where the action reaches a crescendo, perhaps with a harder "boss" enemy that must be defeated before moving on.

As opposed to Turn-Based games, that pause while the player decides their next move, action games are usually time-pressured.

In Sports games this action is focused on team or individual performance in rounds of play. In Open World games the action arises through encounters with situations and characters. In platform games the action focuses on exploration and timed jumps.
 
This list includes 18 games from the last 25 years, with 867 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to play your first action game.

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Rainbow Billy

Release Date: 05/10/2021

Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon and Hand-Made

Rainbow Billy: The Curse of the Leviathan is a role-play adventure where you save the world from colourless darkness. Unusually, battles are won through listening and conversation rather than traditional attacks. It combines the excitement and strategy...

TowerFall Ascension

Release Date: 25/06/2013, updated in 2017

Out Now: Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels

TowerFall Ascension is a running, jumping and archery game where each player selects a pixelated knight and fights to eliminate opponents by shooting them with arrows or jumping on their heads. Play is about quick reactions and second-guessing what your...

Minecraft Dungeons

Release Date: 26/05/2020

Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Blocks

Minecraft Dungeons is an action-adventure game that takes place in the Minecraft universe. You explore various dungeons to complete missions and collect new gear by exploring and finding treasure chests, or by defeating enemies...

The Alto Collection

Release Date: 19/02/2015, updated in 2018

Out Now: Android, Apple TV, Mac, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 4+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On, Day and Night and Weather

The Alto Collection is a series of games including Alto's Odyssey and Alto's Adventure. Both are action traversal games where you explore beautiful mountains, dunes and canyons on a snowboarding journey full of serenity and secrets. All you have to...

Boomerang Fu

Release Date: 13/08/2020

Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead and Cartoon

Boomerang Fu is a fighting game where you control small food-like characters. Using your boomerang the aim is to slice the other players with ranged or melee attacks. You can use a large range of power-ups such as explosive boomerangs, disguises and...

OCO

Release Date: 11/08/2021

Out Now: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On

OCO is a sliding and jumping game set with simple colourful levels each set in a rotating planetoid. Unlike other platform games, you control everything with a single button. Each different colour of platform you slide along grants different abilities...

Sackboy: A Big Adventure

Release Date: 12/11/2020

Out Now: PC, PS4 and PS5

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Hand-Made

Sackboy: A Big Adventure is a running and jumping game. It's a spinoff of the LittleBigPlanet series and follows Sackboy and three friends as they explore, collect and battle their way through a fantasy world. It stands out for the simple exuberant...

Lego (Series)

Release Date: 01/02/2005, updated in 2020

Out Now: 3DS and 2DS, Android, DS, GameCube, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS2, PS3, PS4, PSP, Switch, Wii, Wii U, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Blocks, Cartoon and Open World

Lego, a popular film franchise and a video game is a rich recipe for gaming fun. The series of Lego games has been developed since the first release on Nintendo DS. Not only do these games offer a chance to explore, destroy and fight in a world made of...

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Release Date: 21/01/1999, updated in 2018

Out Now: Switch

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a light-hearted cartoon-style brawling game where multiple players choose well-known video game characters to fight. Play involves using your character's move-set to outwit and beat your opponents. You wear down their...

Heave Ho

Release Date: 29/08/2019

Out Now: Mac, PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On

Heave Ho is a game where up to four players try and swing themselves across a level. But you can only hang on to certain points and must dangle and swing with both arms to progress. The twist is that you can also hold hands with other players and make...

Paper Mario: The Origami King (Series)

Release Date: 11/08/2000, updated in 2020

Out Now: 3DS and 2DS, DS, GameCube, Switch, Wii and Wii U

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Hand-Made

Paper Mario: The Origami King is a role-play game featuring Mario and other Nintendo characters. Although cute and cartoon-like in appearance, these games are known for the quality of writing and the well-balanced and enjoyable turn-based combat.

Super Mario 3D World

Release Date: 21/11/2013, updated in 2013

Out Now: Switch and Wii U

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon

Super Mario 3D World (known as Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury on the Switch) is a platform game you can play with up to 4-players in the same place. While all Mario games are good for families, this cooperative and competitive play makes it great...

Super Mario Run

Release Date: 15/12/2016, updated in 2017

Out Now: Android and iOS

Skill Rating: 4+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On

Super Mario Run is a running and jumping game you play by simply tapping the screen to jump. Your character automatically runs and you just tap at the right time to avoid obstacles and jump on enemies. It sounds too simple to be fun but is cleverly...

Doodle Jump (Series)

Release Date: 06/04/2009, updated in 2020

Out Now: 3DS and 2DS, Amazon Fire, Android, DS, Xbox 360 and iOS

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Hand-Made

Doodle Jump is a jumping video game where you guide a hand-drawn four-legged creature up an endless series of platforms. Once you fall to the bottom of the screen it's game over.

GigaBash

Release Date: 05/08/2022

Out Now: PC, PS4 and PS5

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Blocks

GigaBash is a fighting game where you brawl against other players in matches of up to four people, each of whom controls a huge, city-destroying monster. With a wide array of moves to perfect for each character, there's not only silly fun but also deep...

Temple of Rubbo (Sokpop)

Release Date: 08/03/2022

Out Now: Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead and Pixels

Temple of Rubbo is an action adventure game where you fight through dungeons to rescue an ancient wizard as a band of pirates trapped on an island and transformed into animals. Desperate to become human again, they fight their way through all kinds of...

Skies of Chaos

Release Date: 28/10/2022

Out Now: Android and iOS

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels

Skies of Chaos is a frantic shooting game about a pilot on a mission to shoot down enemy planes. It's not a hugely inventive story and doesn't need to be, this is all about the bright frenetic action. To play you quickly move your plane around to shoot...

Oceanhorn: Chronos Dungeon

Release Date: 08/01/2021

Out Now: Apple TV, Mac and iOS

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead and Pixels

Oceanhorn: Chronos Dungeon is an action-fighting game where you battle floors of enemies through ancient towers to save the world. You switch between four heroes, each with randomly assigned skills and abilities, and use the weapons you find to defeat...

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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