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Autism affects the way people communicate and experience the world around them. It is a spectrum of developmental conditions, including Asperger’s Syndrome. Many autistic people play games to have fun, relax, connect with others and build skills. This is a list of games we have put together with some of Autistica’s Autistica Play Ambassadors, to highlight games that have been enjoyed by autistic people.Autistica is the UK’s national autism research charity. It focuses on giving autistic people the opportunity to live long, happy, healthy lives. It does this by funding research, shaping policy and working with autistic people to understand their needs.Cognitive Pressure: Some autistic people may take time to process information and could feel pressured by time limits. Games like A Short Hike or Roki let you progress at your own speed, without being on the clock. Other games, like Townscaper or Stardew Valley, help here by not making game tasks time-limited or requiring quick reactions. Then there are games, including Rocket League, Celeste and Eagle Island, that let you adjust the overall speed of play.Difficulty Settings: Autistic people may prefer to tailor their experience based on how they are feeling. Some days they may want more of a challenge than others. Adjust how hard the game is. Some games like Subnautica or Bad North let you set the overall difficulty. Others, like Mario Kart or The Last of Us Part II let you adjust specific aspects of difficulty. Then there are games like Marvel’s Spider-Man or Immortals Fenyx Rising, that allow you to adjust the difficulty as you play.Sense of Control: The real world can be an overwhelming place with constant change and unpredictable situations. Games like Viva Pinata, Civilization or The Sims lets you play in a world where you control the variables. Other games, like Mini Metro, Traffix or Mini Motorways offer a chance to work with systems and see how changes impact outcomes. Then there are games that magnify this, like Factorio or Planet Coaster, by letting you create interconnect systems and tweak for the desired result. As Autistica helpfully highlights, every autistic person is different. While many autistic people are able to learn, live and work independently, some have learning differences or co-occurring health conditions that require specialist support. This list includes 26 games from the last 24 years, with 2,521 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to play games good for autistic diversity.
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...
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...
Release Date: 26/02/2016, updated in 2018
Out Now: Amazon Fire, Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS
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...
Release Date: 30/06/2020, updated in 2021
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, Switch, Web, Xbox One, Xbox X|S and iOS
Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds
Components: 2D Overhead, Blocks and Hand-Made
Townscaper is a creative town-building game where you pick colours from the range available and click to put down a house in the sea. As you continue to add houses of different colours the game automatically orientates the architecture for you.
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...
Release Date: 28/04/2017, updated in 2022
Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a go-kart racing game where you race against Nintendo characters around different circuits, picking up power-ups, attacks and speed boosts. It is frantic and chaotic but still requires skills to do well.
Release Date: 28/08/2018
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One
Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds
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: 07/09/2018
Out Now: PS4 and PS5
Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World
Marvel's Spider-Man is a series of superhero adventures where you swing through an open-world city fighting crime and advancing a film-like story. Play is a combination of exploration, taking on fights and collecting items. There are also many side...
Release Date: 19/06/2020
Out Now: PS4
Skill Rating: 16+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person and Day and Night
The Last of Us Part II is an action-adventure game set five years after The Last of Us. You control two characters in a post-apocalyptic United States. Ellie is out for revenge after suffering a tragedy, and Abby is a...
Release Date: 06/01/2015
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and iOS
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: 04/03/2019
Out Now: Apple TV, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS
Mini Motorways is a sequencing strategy game by the same developer as Mini Metro but tasks you with planning a road network rather than a subway. You lay down roads, traffic lights and motorways to ensure enough cars can get to the buildings that pop up...
Release Date: 03/12/2020
Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Immortals Fenyx Rising is a mythical adventure game where you play Fenyx, exploring the huge open world, solving puzzles and fighting evil fantasy creatures. Fenyx is a newly winged demigod, who was prophesied to be the one to save the Greek Gods' home...
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: 10/11/2021, updated in 2023
Out Now: PC, PS4, Stadia, Switch and Xbox One
Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon and Open World
Wavetale is a surfing and jumping adventure in a world of sunken cities, dangerous water and oppressive fog. You play as Sigrid, a young girl who works to restore the decaying archipelago and befriends a mysterious shadow that lets her walk on water...
Release Date: 18/07/2019, updated in 2021
Eagle Island is a running and jumping adventure where you play Quill and his owl companion Koji as they uncover the secrets of Eagle Island. You work your way through levels using falconry-inspired attacks to take down enemies.
Release Date: 23/07/2020
Components: 2D Side-On and Cartoon
Röki is a Scandinavian folklore point-and-click style adventure game where you play Tove on a journey to save her family. As you help her to come to terms with loss, you explore deep into a snowy fairytale landscape with strange locations and creatures.
Release Date: 21/10/2016, updated in 2019
Components: 2D Overhead, Day and Night, Grid and Open World
Sid Meier's Civilization is a long-running strategy game where you develop a society from hunter-gatherer to space travel. There are many ways to approach this challenge; socially, militarily, politically or perhaps by building wonders to impress other...
Release Date: 19/05/2021, updated in 2023
Components: 3D First-Person
PowerWash Simulator is a puzzle game where you clean different objects and locations using a pressure washer. It's designed to be soothing with sounds of high-pressure water and satisfyingly clean results as you blast away every speck of dirt and grime.
Release Date: 09/09/2006
Out Now: DS, PC, Xbox 360 and Xbox One
Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon and Day and Night
Viva Pinata is a strategy garden simulation where you tend and care for 60 different piñata animals. Play involves interacting with the Pinata themselves, but also creating the right environment to attract new creatures and helping them thrive. It...
Release Date: 04/02/2000
Out Now: Amazon Fire, Android, PS3, PS4, Wii, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS
Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night, Grid, Open World and Persistant World
The Sims puts you in charge of a world of characters living normal lives. By providing a home, a job, leisure, friendships and even a love interest, you work to make them happy. It’s an open-ended game as well, although the altruism is focused on...
Release Date: 17/11/2016
Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Components: 3D First-Person, 3D Third-Person and Day and Night
Planet Coaster Console Edition is a pleasure park construction and management game. It draws on games like Theme Park and Rollercoaster Tycoon. You build different theme park rides and roller coasters in considerable detail, to score design points and...
Release Date: 14/08/2020, updated in 2022
Out Now: Mac, PC and Switch
Components: 2D Overhead, Grid, Open World and Pixels
Factorio is a construction strategy game where you crash-land on an alien planet and must harvest resources to create industry to build a rocket to escape (or fall in love with running your factory and stay on longer).
Release Date: 09/09/2020, updated in 2021
Out Now: Mac, PC, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Components: 2D Overhead and Blocks
Cloud Gardens is a puzzle game where you grow vegetation over a dilapidated post-apocalyptic world. It's a low-pressure puzzle, from the team behind Kingdom. It has the same pixel-art style, but here you are left to take your time...
Release Date: 08/07/2019
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC and iOS
Traffix is a puzzle game that puts you in charge of traffic lights on different road systems. By changing the lights to red, orange and green you work to get traffic to flow on increasingly complex and busy roads. It sounds complex, but with simple...
Release Date: 09/11/2018, updated in 2021
Out Now: Oculus, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One
Components: 2D Side-On
Tetris Effect: Connected is a tile-matching puzzle game (just like the original Tetris) but with a surprisingly powerful aesthetic twist. The game places each level in a themed area and ties gameplay to the beat of the music across its thirty different...
Release Date: 01/10/2020
Out Now: PC
Ekstase is a puzzle game like Tetris. Only here the falling shapes are more varied and when they hit the bottom they fall apart into their constituent parts. This creates a novel puzzle challenge requiring forward planning, quick reactions and skill...