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Hope
Through Play
 

These games embed a sense of hope by playing them, sometimes through a hopeful story, sometimes through a hopeful interaction, and sometimes just an uplifting aesthetic to spend time in. These are games that leave you with an uplifted spirit, maybe not immediately (like Horizon Zero Dawn) but by the time you have finished them.

There is something innocent and childlike in play, and video games each have a slice of that in different ways. Sometimes simple and sometimes complex, games can help us return to the hope we had as children, or call us on to the wisdom and perspective of older years.
 
This list includes 109 games from the last 22 years, with 3,094 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to find hope.

Related Lists
 

A Short Hike

Release Date: 05/04/2019, updated in 2021

Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Open World, Pixels and Weather

A Short Hike is an adventure traversal game where you play the penguin-like character Claire, who needs to climb a mountain in a beautiful national park to receive an important phone call. Presented in cute pixel graphics, the game invites you to...

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Release Date: 25/04/2020

Out Now: Switch

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon, Day and Night, Open World, Persistant World and Weather

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a role-play collecting game where you live on a small island teeming with life. Insects, fish, trees, vegetation and fossils are represented with cute cartoon visuals. Rather than the scale or grandeur of other game...

Alba: A Wildlife Adventure

Release Date: 11/12/2020

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

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon

Alba: A Wildlife Adventure is an adventure game where you play as a young girl who starts a wildlife conservation club. Play involves exploring the island, using the bird song you hear to find and photograph all manner of real-world birds. It stands out...

Stardew Valley

Release Date: 26/02/2016, updated in 2018

Out Now: Amazon Fire, Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead, Day and Night, Grid, Open World and Pixels

Stardew Valley looks like a farming simulator. That’s partly what it is, but you also develop relationships with the other townsfolk and delve deep into the mines. Its quirky labyrinthine attention to detail is inviting for young players to try their...

Horizon Zero Dawn

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...

Hoa

Release Date: 24/08/2021

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

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Cartoon

Hoa is an adventure game where you walk and jump through a hand-painted world as the mysterious main character. You solve environmental puzzles and meet magical creatures while trying to find your way back home. It's unusual because of its handcrafted...

Knights And Bikes!

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,...

Season: A Letter to the Future

Release Date: 31/01/2023

Out Now: PC, PS4 and PS5

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon

Season: A Letter to the Future is a narrative adventure about a young woman sent out from her secluded community to explore the world for the first time. She is tasked with documenting life in a local valley before a mysterious cataclysm washes...

Dordogne

Release Date: 13/06/2023

Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

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.

Terra Nil

Release Date: 28/03/2023

Out Now: Mac, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead, Grid and Open World

Terra Nil is a strategy game where you use clean technology to bring back life to a barren world. It's a city-building game where you aren't building a city at all, but a clean thriving ecology. It raises interesting themes of how humanity plays an...

Lil Gator Game

Release Date: 14/12/2022, updated in 2023

Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

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

Lil Gator Game is an action-adventure set on an island playground where a young brother invents exciting games to try and get his older sister to play like they used to. You guide your waddling gator to explore the world as you bop cardboard baddies,...

Submerged Hidden Depths

Release Date: 04/12/2020, updated in 2022

Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox X|S

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

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

Submerged Hidden Depths is an adventure game where you sail, climb and explore the ruins of a sunken world. With light puzzle-solving and no combat, you discover a drowned city, crumbling skyscrapers and deserted villages. It's the sequel to the first...

The Last Guardian

Release Date: 28/10/2016

Out Now: PS4

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

The Last Guardian is a running, jumping and exploring adventure about a boy who befriends a giant half-bird, half-mammal creature, Trico. You work together to navigate the world, solve puzzles and reach new heights. Unusually, you have to build trust...

The Garden Path

Release Date: Coming soon

Coming Soon: Mac, PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead, Cartoon, Open World and Persistant World

The Garden Path is a slice-of-life simulation game about the small pleasures of gardening. You tend to a world and make it your own through fishing, growing, trading and making new friends. As you do an adventure emerges.

Skye Tales

Release Date: 26/05/2023

Out Now: PC, PS4 and Switch

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On, Hand-Made and Open World

Skye Tales is a gentle adventure about exploring a rich playground of floating islands as a dragon called Skye. Play involves traversing each chapter, meeting and interacting with different creatures and solving puzzles along the way. It's a game that...

Vane

Release Date: 15/01/2019, updated in 2019

Out Now: PC and PS4

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World

Vane is an ethereal adventure in a ruined desert where strange golden dust transforms a free-spirited bird into a determined young child. The premise is not all that uncommon, but Vane stands out for how you soar over the desert and climb your way...

Paper Trail

Release Date: Coming soon

Coming Soon: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox X|S and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead and Grid

Paper Trail is a traversal puzzle game about Paige, a budding academic who is leaving home. Play is set in a foldable paper world that you manipulate to join paths, move rocks and overlap the two sides of reality. It's a unique two-sided puzzle that...

Miska

Release Date: Coming soon

Coming Soon: PC

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person and Day and Night

Miska is a relaxing narrative adventure game about the flora and fauna of Australia. Rekindle your connection to family and nature through acts of restoration.

Sayonara Wild Hearts

Release Date: 19/11/2019

Out Now: Apple TV, Mac, PS4, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Sayonara Wild Hearts is a rhythm-action game where you control a running, flying, dancing or motorbike-riding character to collect coins and hearts in time with pop music. The neon visuals and emotively voiced story make this an unusual and compelling...

Sword of the Sea

Release Date: Coming soon

Coming Soon: PC and PS5

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon

Sword of the Sea is a traversal game where you are a Wraith resurrected to restore life to a desolate world. Play involves exploring submerged ruins to discover the cultures that built them. It stands out for the flowing movement and beautiful vistas...

Farewell North

Release Date: Coming soon

Coming Soon: PC

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon

Farewell North is an adventure where you play a collie dog who restores colour to a desolate Scottish island. You explore with your owner who you help by uncovering hidden paths, evading monsters, and freeing wildlife. It stands out for the fluid canine...

Jett: The Far Shore

Release Date: 05/10/2021

Out Now: PC, PS4 and PS5

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World

Jett: The Far Shore is a sci-fi adventure where you play inquisitive pilot Mei, exploring a mysterious planet on a nimble jet-powered craft. It draws on films like 2001: Space Odyssey and takes its time building atmosphere. Once it gets going it becomes...

Behind the Frame

Release Date: 25/08/2021, updated in 2022

Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and iOS

Components: 2D Side-On and Hand-Made

Behind the Frame is a narrative adventure where you click and interact with different scenes to help a young woman become an artist. You explore the different locations to uncover and work on the different paintings. It's a combination of escape room...

Far: Lone Sails

Release Date: 02/04/2019

Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On

Far: Lone Sails is an exploration adventure video game. You pilot a ramshackle amphibious vehicle propelled by large sails to explore a post-apocalypse world.

Death Stranding

Release Date: 08/11/2019, updated in 2021

Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, PS5 and iOS

Skill Rating: 16+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Open World, Persistant World and Weather

Death Stranding is an exploration game where you deliver supplies across a vast shattered, post-apocalyptic America while protecting and caring for a baby. It's intentionally slow, sometimes excruciatingly so, which means you carefully consider your...

Tacoma

Release Date: 24/04/2018

Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Components: 3D First-Person

Tacoma is set aboard a space station in the year 2088. As you explore you can discover how the station’s crew lived and worked, using an AR device that lets you review past actions and conversations, you discover clues that unravel a plot of trust,...

Everyday Shooter

Release Date: 14/02/2008

Out Now: PC, PS Vita and PS3

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels

Everyday Shooter is a collection of shooting games presented as a music album. The shooting action is familiar but here the dissolute sounds of destruction are replaced with guitar riffs harmonizing over the soundtrack. The visuals join in the...

Assemble With Care

Release Date: 19/11/2019

Out Now: Apple TV, Mac, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Hand-Made

Assemble With Care is a narrative puzzle game from the makers of Monument Valley and is a unique way to consider how physical objects become meaningful and hold our memories. You play a restorer who repairs people's favourite possessions: from family...

Microsoft Flight Simulator

Release Date: 18/08/2020

Out Now: PC and Xbox X|S

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person, 3D Third-Person, Day and Night, Open World and Weather

Microsoft Flight Simulator (Microsoft Flight Sim 2020) is a flight simulator game in the long-running series. Along with a huge range of aircraft, you can learn to fly, the game recreates the entire Earth using textures and data from maps and...

House Flipper

Release Date: 17/05/2018, updated in 2019

Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox X|S and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person

House Flipper is a simulation game where you renovate old broken houses to make money. It's a blend of money management, detailed interior design and repair right down to the electric circuitry. It fosters a sense of creativity and imagination in how...

Coffee Talk

Release Date: 29/01/2020, updated in 2023

Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels

Coffee Talk is an interactive story about a barista working in a coffee shop in Seattle. You listen to customers' concerns about life and love, in a retro-pixilated world backed with lo-fi chilled hip-hop music.

Haven Park

Release Date: 05/08/2021

Out Now: Mac, PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead, Hand-Made and Open World

Haven Park is a strategy game where you build camping spots in a national park. You play Flint, who is repairing his grandma's park to attract new campers. It's an intricate open island that packs in plenty to discover. As a game made by one person,...

The Pathless

Release Date: 12/11/2020, updated in 2023

Out Now: Apple TV, Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox X|S and iOS

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World

The Pathless is a mythic adventure about an archer and an eagle in a vast forest. You use timed button presses to use your bow and discover the open world, unlock a mystical island and dispel a curse of darkness that grips the world.

Rime

Release Date: 26/05/2017

Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

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

Rime is an adventure on an island where you play a boy led by a fox-like spirit as a guide. To progress through the beautiful environments you solve puzzles across five large levels. You can run, climb, carry objects, and push or pull larger objects...

Teacup

Release Date: 23/09/2021

Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Hand-Made

Teacup is a narrative adventure about a shy young frog who loves drinking tea and reading. You explore the Wind In The Willows world and make choices that change the direction of the story. It's a gentle game about friendship, stepping out into the...

Unruly Heroes

Release Date: 23/01/2019

Out Now: Android, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On

Unruly Heroes is a hectic martial arts running, jumping and hitting game. You play one of four heroes on a quest to collect all the scroll fragments and restore balance.

If Found

Release Date: 19/05/2020

Out Now: Android, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Hand-Made

If Found is an interactive narrative game about searching for connection. You touch the screen to rub out and erase text and drawings. Set on December 31st 1993 in the crumbling ruins of a mansion on Achill Island, you play Kasio as she destroys her diary.

The Last Campfire

Release Date: 27/08/2020

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

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon

The Last Campfire, from the same developer as Lost Winds, is an adventure about Ember who is searching for meaning and a way home. As you travel you take a flame with you to the world, lighting torches, bringing life to...

The Longest Road on Earth

Release Date: 20/05/2021

Out Now: Android, PC and iOS

Components: 2D Side-On and Cartoon

The Longest Road on Earth is a narrative game of four chapters about everyday life. You play as different anthropomorphic animals living mundane lives. Its combination of minimal interaction and slow-paced stories aims to uncover moments in time that...

Mutazione

Release Date: 23/09/2019

Out Now: Mac, PS4 and iOS

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Day and Night

Mutazione is a narrative adventure game where you play as a 15-year-old girl visiting her grandfather on a faraway island inhabited by friendly but mutated villagers. By finding seeds, tending to gardens and talking to people, you uncover a tightly knit...

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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