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Studies show that for inhabitants of the Western world, life in the modern age has gotten progressively less dangerous and more comfortable with each passing generation. So why as parents do we all seem so afraid for our children? And how do we overcome this fear and let our kids take the necessary risks they need to take in order to thrive?This is a list of games we have created with Digital Media Wellness Educator, Julia Storm, who founded ReConnect with the mission of providing parents with a whole child approach to preparing kids for life in the Digital Age. We are used to encouraging our children to take small risks in most areas of life; talking to a new child at school, trying out for a team or the school play, climbing a bit higher at the playground or walking to the market on their own for the first time. With every risk our children take, they gain confidence in their own ability to navigate the unknown and push themselves through difficulties.But many of our kids also spend large amounts of time online and specifically playing video games. In this space, with horror stories in the press, both parents and children can become risk-averse. This can mean that children don’t have a chance to make healthy mistakes in safe ways in this part of life.There’s an opportunity here for parents to leverage video games to help kids take safe risks and to learn and grow from these risks. This isn’t about using games as a safe version of risk-taking in real life, but discovering how they can be a wonderful complement to this. (We also want to note, as with all multiplayer games, parents should be sure to talk to their children about best practices for staying safe when it comes to communicating with strangers online._Collaboration: This might be working with another child in Minecraft to build something together. Or maybe playing Animal Crossing with someone who is new to the game and needs help. Or even, just allowing other players to help you in a game like Farm Together.
Release Date: 28/02/2018
Out Now: Mac and PC
Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person, Blocks, Open World, Persistant World and Weather
Stormworks: Build and Rescue is an open-world adventure where you design, build and pilot your own air-sea rescue service. You create programmable vehicles using its block-building system and pilot them into dangerous situations to rescue stricken...
Release Date: 12/11/2020, updated in 2022
Out Now: PC, PS4 and PS5
Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World
Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales is an action-adventure game based on the Marvel Comics superhero Miles Morales. It is similar to the first Marvel's Spider-Man game in mechanics although Miles Morales extends this...
Release Date: 29/10/2020, updated in 2023
Out Now: PC, PS5 and Xbox X|S
Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds
Components: 3D First-Person
Teardown is a creative traversal game where you plan and execute a heist in fully destructible environments. Play involves knocking routes through the destructible buildings to set an escape route to steal the key cards. It’s an unusual game because...
Release Date: 20/03/2018, updated in 2023
Out Now: PC, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Components: 3D First-Person, Day and Night, Open World, Persistant World and Weather
Sea of Thieves is an online game where you play a pirate searching for treasure and adventure. Cast into a large open sea you work with other online players to crew your ship and find treasure. The game has a main story but really focuses on creating...
Release Date: 28/08/2018
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One
Components: 3D Third-Person
Rocket League is a sports action game where you drive futuristic cars to score goals with an oversized football. It's a game that sounds ridiculous but is actually a huge amount of fun to play and requires a lot of expertise. What's not obvious from the...
Release Date: 01/03/2017
Out Now: PC and PS4
Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night, Open World and Weather
Horizon Zero Dawn is a post-apocalyptic action adventure where you explore an overgrown landscape with now-crumbling remnants of modern life. Play involves exploring the world, learning your new abilities as the story unfolds and using them to defeat...
Release Date: 26/08/2019, updated in 2020
Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One
Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person and Hand-Made
Knights And Bikes! is a hand-painted adventure in a fictional late-eighties British Isles. You work together as Nessa and Demelza who explore its coast on bikes to find treasure, mystery and trouble. There’s fighting with frisbees, water balloons,...
Release Date: 23/01/2018, updated in 2023
Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels
Celeste is a platform game that requires players to use jumping and climbing moves to ascend an increasingly challenging two-dimensional mountain. You play Madeline, who is haunted by self-doubt at the scale of the task at hand. She presses on but is...
Release Date: 06/08/2020
Out Now: PC and Switch
Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds
Components: 2D Side-On and Cartoon
Drink More Glurp is a wacky sports game where you take turns to play athletic challenges. The twist is that you have to control your over-long arms with a separate joystick and your body is a wheel you can roll along on if you lift your arms right up...
Release Date: 24/09/2001, updated in 2011
Out Now: PS2 and PS3
Ico is a running, jumping and exploring game where you rescue a princess from her evil mother. You take her hand to help her escape, guiding her along the pathways and protecting her from the hordes of enemies. Together, you jump chasms and scale walls...
Release Date: 21/12/1998, updated in 2023
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS5 and Xbox X|S
Components: 3D Third-Person, Dice and Open World
Baldur's Gate 3 is a role-playing game that recreates the Dungeons & Dragons experience in a digital world. You explore the world and fight enemies by rolling dice and weighing up your stats to see what happens. But...
Release Date: 02/11/2023
Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch and Xbox One
Thirsty Suitors is a narrative action game where you play Jala, back in her home town of Timber Hills to confront mistakes, make up with exes and reconcile cultural differences with her parents. Play involves talking to your parents and old friends,...
Release Date: 24/02/2023
Out Now: Mac, PC and Switch
Components: 2D Overhead, 2D Side-On and Day and Night
The Pale Beyond is a narrative simulation game where you captain an exploration ship stranded in the frozen Antarctic waters. You carefully manage and gather resources and keep your crew in good health to hopefully survive until the summer. It stands...
Release Date: 25/08/2021
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Components: 3D First-Person, 3D Third-Person, Cartoon, Dice and Hand-Made
Psychonauts 2 is a running, jumping and puzzle-solving game where you play Raz who has psychic abilities that let him delve into the minds of others. In the game, you control Raz as he enters their mental worlds and uses other Psi-Powers (telekinesis,...
Release Date: 27/09/2022
Dome Keeper (formerly called Dome Romantik) is a strategy game where you mine to collect resources in between defending the dome that protects your world from terrible monsters. It's a hard game and when your dome is destroyed you die permanently and...
Release Date: 14/07/2017
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Xbox One and iOS
Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon, Day and Night and Open World
Adopt Me! is one of the most popular Roblox games. In a rudimentary way, it simulates daily life. You can build a home, look after pets and make friends. Like many Roblox games, it's the combination of an avid community of players...
Release Date: 16/12/2021, updated in 2023
Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Components: 3D First-Person and Day and Night
Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach is a survival-horror game where you explore a vast pizzeria and shopping centre while hunted by a murderer. In addition to continuing the intricate and multi-layered story of the previous games, this is the first...
Release Date: 18/07/2019
Out Now: Android, Switch and iOS
Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon, Open World and Persistant World
Sky Children of the Light (Sky Children of Light) is a huge open-world online game designed to create altruism between players. From the developer of Flower and Journey, it takes you on a social adventure in an ever-expanding world with up to 8 other...
Release Date: 21/05/2019
Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon and Open World
Dauntless is an action-fighting video game where you play a monster hunter in a fantasy world. Cataclysmic events have released Behemoth creatures that prey on the surviving humans. You play a monster hunter who hunts and kills large fantasy creatures,...
Release Date: 29/05/2015, updated in 2023
Out Now: PC
Components: 3D First-Person, Day and Night, Open World and Weather
BeamNG is a super realistic vehicle simulator where individual car components rather than just the driving experience are modelled. Play involves selecting a car and a location and then exploring how the vehicle copes with different environments. It's...
Release Date: 20/01/2016, updated in 2018
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox X|S, iOS and iPhone, iPad
Components: 2D Overhead, Day and Night, Open World and Pixels
Crashlands is a world-building game where you fight monsters, craft resources, and build a base on an alien planet. As you explore, either on your own or with a friend, you encounter locals, complete quests and missions, and meet strange new enemies. It...
Release Date: 05/06/2021
Components: 3D First-Person, Blocks, Day and Night and Open World
Muck is a survival adventure game where you are trapped on an island and must survive as many days as possible by using the resources you find. Played alone, or with friends, you work hard to have the defences you need before night falls.
Release Date: 03/02/2017, updated in 2023
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4 and Xbox One
We Were Here is a series of puzzle adventures where you and a fellow explorer awake inside the sinister Castle or similar location with no way out. Play is by exploring your location to find clues and solve puzzles. Uniquely, the puzzles you encounter...
Release Date: 21/11/2022
Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night and Weather
Climber: Sky is the Limit is a survival climbing adventure, where you scale the peaks of the highest and most famous mountains in the world. Plan the best route, select the correct equipment and avoid dangerous hazards as you ascend. It's a unique blend...
Release Date: 16/04/2020
Components: 2D Side-On and Cards
Neurodeck is a psychological adventure game where you use life affirming cards to challenge a series of monsters in a fictional experimental treatment program. Each monster represents a phobia and offers a chance to explore your character's psyche and...
Release Date: 05/10/2020
Components: 2D Side-On, Open World and Pixels
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,...
Release Date: Coming soon
Coming Soon: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Components: 3D Third-Person and Dice
Dustborn is a road-trip adventure set in America 2030 where all information has been lost. You and your misfit friends must cross this divided world to deliver a package from California to Nova Scotia. It's unusual not only because of the setting but...
Release Date: 20/04/1990, updated in 2023
Out Now: 3DS and 2DS, Android, DS, GBA, GameCube, Switch, Wii, Wii U and iOS
Components: 2D Overhead, Cartoon, Day and Night and Grid
Fire Emblem Engage is a series of strategy games where you help an ensemble cast of characters fight off evil. You gather heroes, unlock weapons and special abilities to aid your fight in tactical turn-based combat. It's not just a tactics game though,...
Release Date: 13/03/2023
Components: 2D Side-On, Cards, Dice and Grid
Rough Justice '84 is a chance-based strategy game where you manage a private investigation firm. Like a traditional tabletop board game with cards and dice, you direct your agents to take on jobs, make vital judgement calls and complete a variety of...
Release Date: 04/11/2021
Components: 3D Third-Person, Hand-Made and Open World
Demon Turf is a 3D running, jumping, rolling and flying game set in a world inhabited by all kinds of enemies. As a young demon, your job is to take on the different gangs and bring them down. It's unusual because you can shape-shift but also stands out...
Release Date: 12/01/2016, updated in 2020
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4 and Switch
Components: 2D Overhead, Dice and Grid
Tharsis is a tough strategy-simulation game where you must survive a doomed mission to Mars. You roll dice whose outcome can either help repair the ship or make things worse by injuring crew mates or causing further damage. The dice foreground the...
Release Date: 13/03/2015
Out Now: 3DS and 2DS
Components: 3D Third-Person, Blocks and Cartoon
Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. is a turn-based strategy game where an elite group of soldiers (inspired by characters from American literature) defend Earth from alien invaders in an alternate steam-powered future. While it sounds wacky, there's a surprising...
Release Date: 26/01/2022
Dread Hunger is a strategy survival game where you venture into the arctic wastes to find coal and food to keep your ship running, while trying to uncover the players who are two secret killers. In many ways like the hugely popular [link to...
Release Date: 14/09/2012, updated in 2014
Out Now: Mac, PC and iOS
Components: 2D Overhead and Grid
FTL: Faster Than Light is a strategic simulation game where you combat enemy spaceships and survive the dangers of the galaxy. Unusually, you have complete control of every function of your ship and must manage systems, crew and scenarios. It's a hard...
Release Date: 22/02/2020, updated in 2020
Out Now: PS4 and PS5
Rally 2020 is a single-player rally racing game. Drive through a cross-country course in Germany from the viewpoint of the driver with your co-driver giving you navigation. It's novel because of the simple intensity of this task. Don't fall in the water...
Release Date: 28/08/2013, updated in 2021
Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon
Shelter and its sequels are traversal games where you play as a mother animal guiding her cubs to safety. Across different environments, you need to forage for food to feed your young, protect them from predators, and get them to safety. It stands out...
Release Date: 09/05/2016, updated in 2021
Components: 2D Side-On and Grid
Stellaris is a strategy game where you play a space-faring empire seeking to expand your territory. It offers complete customisation of your civilisation, with different sets of ethics and morals to choose from that change how you play, from limiting...
Release Date: 19/11/2019, updated in 2022
Out Now: Android, PC, PS5, Switch, Xbox X|S and iOS
The Legend of Bum-bo is a puzzle game where you match tiles to attack enemies. A prequel to The Binding of Isaac, it tells a standalone story with similar play till you die and then try again mechanics. Here though,...
Release Date: 23/05/2018, updated in 2021
Out Now: Android and iOS
Dr Meep is a matching puzzle game about feelings. You play telepathic psychiatrist Dr Meep and are visited by different patients. You help them come to terms with their colour- and shape-coded feelings by getting them to match.
Coming Soon: PC
Feed the Deep is an underwater diving and collecting adventure. You control a diver who must traverse a system of caves to find gold and other items they can sell for more equipment. It stands out for how it uses light and sound to create an eerie...