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Tough Decisions
 

Games create virtual worlds where you can experience life from other perspectives. This can be entertaining and light-hearted, but also presents ethical scenarios that require you to think carefully about consequences.

The games selected here each place you in a challenging situation to give you a first-hand experience of what it’s like. It may be nail-biting, heart-breaking or desperate, but often, through all the trials and tribulations, there is still hope. Either way, unlike reading books or watching films about these subjects, here you are emotionally implicated in the choices you are faced with.
 
This list includes 162 games from the last 26 years, with 1,943 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to face tough decisions.

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Fable (Series)

Release Date: 14/09/2004

Out Now: Mac, PC, Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

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

Fable is an adventure role-playing game set in a fantasy world where your interactions with the world and villagers, and decisions about your use of magical power, substantially alter the story and the environment.

Road 96

Release Date: 16/08/2021

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

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon

Road 96 is a narrative adventure where you play a teenager trying to escape an oppressive, authoritarian country by reaching the border. Through a series of vignettes, you experience the most important and poignant parts on an epic road trip through a...

Don't Starve

Release Date: 23/04/2013, updated in 2017

Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, Switch, Wii U, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

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

Don't Starve is an open-world survival game where it’s the environment and enemies, rather than other players, that you have to work with. You need to find and develop food, weapons and shelter to survive. It’s enjoyable because it’s hard, so...

Bury Me My Love

Release Date: 26/10/2017, updated in 2020

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

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On, Cartoon and Text

Bury Me My Love is a narrative adventure game where you play the husband of a Syrian woman, Nour, travelling to Europe. Play involves receiving and sending simple messages where Nout tells you how she is getting on and you influence her choices. It...

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...

Griftlands

Release Date: 14/06/2020, updated in 2021

Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Components: 2D Side-On, Cards and Hand-Made

Griftlands is an adventure game where you use cards to fight and negotiate your way through a broken-down sci-fi world. You will die or fail often, but then use your knowledge and growing deck of cards to have a better chance of survival on your next...

Jusant

Release Date: 31/10/2023

Out Now: PC, PS5 and Xbox X|S

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon

Jusant is a climbing traversal game where you take a challenging-yet-meditative climb to the top of a tall tower. You use the trigger buttons to hold on and the stick to jump and reach for the next position. In this way you methodically work your way up...

Sea of Stars

Release Date: 29/08/2023

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

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead, Open World and Pixels

Sea of Stars is an adventure role-play game about two children of the solstice. It combines turn-based combat, storytelling, exploration and interactions with the environment all in a pixel art style. Unusually for a role-play game, Sea of Stars also...

Deep Sea Adventure

Release Date: 01/01/2014

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: Dice and Placeables

Deep Sea Adventure is a pocket-sized strategy game where you dive into the sea to bring back treasure. It’s unusual because although you compete with other players for treasure you share the same limited air supply.

Cris Tales

Release Date: 20/07/2021

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

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

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...

Baldur's Gate 3

Release Date: 21/12/1998, updated in 2023

Out Now: Mac, PC, PS5 and Xbox X|S

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

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...

Saltsea Chronicles

Release Date: 12/10/2023

Out Now: Mac, PC, PS5 and Switch

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

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

Saltsea Chronicles is a point-and-click adventure where you sail the sea to rescue your ship's captain. You explore the flooded world discovering islands, meeting characters, and managing the relationships between your crew. Unlike other sailing games,...

The Pale Beyond

Release Date: 24/02/2023

Out Now: Mac, PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

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...

Barotrauma

Release Date: 13/03/2023

Out Now: PC

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On

Barotrauma is a cooperative space-submarine adventure set after humanity has fled to Jupiter's moon. You work with other players to steer your submarine, work the ageing machinery, fight monsters and fix the endless leaks. It's a game that revels in not...

X4: Foundations

Release Date: 30/11/2018

Out Now: Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person

X4: Foundations is a space adventure where every element, from planets to ships to finance, is simulated to create a living universe where actions breed deep consequences. Play is varied; you can fly every ship, explore anywhere, trade, build a space...

Life Is Strange (Series)

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...

Inscryption

Release Date: 19/10/2021, updated in 2022

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

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead, Cards and Hand-Made

Inscryption starts as a card-based adventure where you build a deck of cards to take on adventures and battles. To this, it adds escape-room style puzzles, both in the card game and in the room in which you are playing. The result is a psychological...

Paradise Killer

Release Date: 04/09/2020

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

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

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

Paradise Killer is a detective game set in the open world of Paradise Island. It's a strange place with quirky characters and an alien obsessed, demon worshiping world. You are an exiled investigator brought back to solve the mass murder of the island's...

Ghost of Tsushima

Release Date: 17/07/2020

Out Now: PS4 and PS5

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

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

Ghost of Tsushima is a stealth and action adventure set in 13th century Japan, where you play as a clan leader and samurai warrior trying to protect your people and the Tsushima Island against Mongol invaders.

Disco Elysium

Release Date: 15/10/2019, updated in 2021

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

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Hand-Made

Disco Elysium The Final Cut is a role-playing game set in the fictional city of Revachol where you play Harrier "Harry" Du Bois who must solve a complex murder. Unusually, your choices and actions not only determine how the story unfolds but affect...

Halo Infinite

Release Date: 15/11/2021

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

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

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

Halo Infinite is the latest release in the longstanding Halo series of first-person shooting games. This latest entry continues the story, while adding new abilities, such as the grapple and weapons, differentiating it from the other...

This War Of Mine

Release Date: 14/11/2014, updated in 2016

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

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Day and Night

This War Of Mine is a narrative strategy game inspired by the 1992–96 Siege of Sarajevo, this is a war game where you play the civilian trying to survive during the fighting. You face tough decisions on how to spend time and resources each day to...

Closed Hands

Release Date: 05/03/2021

Out Now: Mac and PC

Components: 2D Side-On and Text

Closed Hands is a text adventure game set in the lead-up and aftermath of a terror attack in a fictional UK city. You follow five core characters brought together by the same event. It's a branching story that you discover and influence as you read and...

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy

Release Date: 26/10/2021

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

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy is an action adventure where you play the Guardians heroes as they explore diverse worlds, shoot enemies and learn to live with each other (while also attempting to get out of debt and save the galaxy). Unlike similar...

Orwell: Keeping an Eye On You

Release Date: 27/10/2016

Out Now: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Components: 2D Side-On and Text

Orwell: Keeping an Eye On You is a narrative game where you play fictional research using a surveillance program called Orwell. Through a series of episodes, you are tasked with using Orwell to help solve mysteries like the bombing of a public plaza. To...

Not For Broadcast

Release Date: 30/01/2020

Out Now: Mac and PC

Components: 2D Side-On

Not For Broadcast is a narrative puzzle game where you control the National Nightly News just as a radical government comes to power. By deciding the angles, adverts, images and censoring in the show you control what the people see and determine...

The Banner Saga (Series)

Release Date: 14/01/2014, updated in 2016

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

Components: 2D Overhead and Grid

The Banner Saga is a beautiful fantasy adventure where your strategic choices directly affect your personal story and the world around you. You play as two characters, each with their own related story.

Lies of P

Release Date: 19/09/2023

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

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Lies of P is a fighting game where you try to survive in a dark twist on the Pinnochio story. You explore a gothic steam-powered world, fighting off enemies with well-timed moves and choosing whether to tell the truth or lie in ways that alter the...

Darkest Dungeon

Release Date: 19/01/2016, updated in 2018

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

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels

Darkest Dungeon is a turn-based battling game where you fight monsters in dungeons to restore your ancestor's hamlet to its former glory. From a side-on perspective, you recruit an adventurer team to take on quests in the dank, dim dungeons that make...

Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach

Release Date: 16/12/2021, updated in 2023

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

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

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...

One Hour One Life

Release Date: 27/02/2018

Out Now: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

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

One Hour One Life is a civilisation survival game where each player lives a whole life in an hour of play and then passes away. Born as a baby into the care of anonymous other online players, you initially depend on them for food. Quickly growing, you...

Detroit: Become Human

Release Date: 25/05/2018

Out Now: PS4

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Detroit: Become Human is a branching narrative game from Quantic Dream, the studio behind Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls. This is the third game in the series and offers a more refined version of the filmic branching experience.

Cyberpunk 2077

Release Date: 10/12/2020

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

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person and Open World

Cyberpunk 2077 is a sprawling open-world action-adventure that takes you to the seething underbelly of Night City, where low-life and high-tech meet in an obsession with body modification. You play V, a mercenary dealing with a botched heist, and...

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Release Date: 15/07/2003, updated in 2021

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

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) is a series of hard narrative-driven role-playing and combat games set in the Star Wars universe, 4000 years before Luke Skywalker and the Empire. You fight enemies and discover secrets by talking to the...

Beyond: Two Souls

Release Date: 08/10/2013, updated in 2019

Out Now: PC, PS3 and PS4

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Beyond: Two Souls is from the same developer as Detroit: Become Human and Heavy Rain. Although not a series, they follow a similar style and approach. They provide a filmic interactive experience of a story that branches in substantial ways depending on...

Heavy Rain

Release Date: 06/10/2010, updated in 2019

Out Now: PC, PS3 and PS4

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Weather

Heavy Rain is from the same Quantic Dream studio who made Beyond: Two Souls and Detroit: Become Human. It preceded these games but shared the same branching narrative and photo-realistic aspirations.

Papers, Please

Release Date: 08/08/2013, updated in 2017

Out Now: Mac, PC, PS Vita and iOS

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels

Papers, Please is a narrative puzzle game where you play the role of a border-crossing immigration officer in the fictional dystopian Eastern Bloc-like country of Arstotzka. You review each immigrant’s and returning citizen’s passports and paperwork...

Stacklands (Sokpop)

Release Date: 08/04/2022

Out Now: Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead, Day and Night and Hand-Made

Stacklands is a strategy game where you stack cards so that your village can survive. You combine cards to grow food, build structures and fight monsters. Each of these three actions is a choice, make the right choices and your village grows, make the...

Bioshock

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...

Octopath Traveler II

Release Date: 13/07/2018, updated in 2023

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

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

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

Octopath Traveler and Octopath Traveller II are combat-focused role-playing games where you follow eight characters on their personal quests. Like other role-playing games, you explore the vast open world, interact with citizens and fight enemies as you...

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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