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Fidget
Toys
 

Fidget spinners burst into the hands of children a number of years ago. While that initial trend subsided, the interest and enjoyment of tactile objects to fiddle with are very much with us.

Fidget toys are like the yo-yo or Rubik's cube but without the focus on skill. The enjoyment comes from doing something that isn't learning or achieving anything. It's no surprise that there are a number of video games that have picked up on this style of play.

Some games, like The Longing, Animal Crossing and Adopt Me, simply slow down the need to progress, so all you do is check-in, fiddle around with the game world and then leave. Then there are other games, like Townscaper and Pok Pok Playroom, that let you craft your own structures but with none of the usual video game emphasis on score and winning. Other games, like Everything and Proteus, offer a huge world to poke and prod without getting embroiled in progression.

Even games that do offer a strong sense of story and development often include post-game play or side-quest distractions that are simply there for you to spend time fiddling with rather than winning or losing. Games like A Short Hike, Alba A Wildlife Adventure or even No Man's Sky.
 
This list includes 185 games from the last 38 years, with 3,786 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to keep your hands busy.

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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...

Toca Life: World

Release Date: 01/01/2019

Out Now: Amazon Fire, Android and iOS

Skill Rating: 2+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Open World

Toca Life: World is part of a series of games that comprise what are essentially toys in electronic form. They build on the Sago Mini games for 6-10-year-old children. Recreating interactive everyday settings like shopping,...

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...

Everything

Release Date: 21/03/2017, updated in 2019

Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4 and Switch

Skill Rating: 3+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World

Everything is an unusual game that simulates a world where you can become any object. It sounds strange and not much fun, but the enjoyment is in discovering how small or how big a thing you can become. From tiny atoms to whole planets and everything in...

Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga

Release Date: 05/04/2022

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

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Blocks and Cartoon

Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is the latest in a series of Star Wars-themed games where you run, jump, break and build worlds made of Lego. You work your way through all nine of the Star Wars films unlocking new locations and characters as you go...

Dorfromantik

Release Date: 25/03/2021, updated in 2022

Out Now: PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead, Grid and Hand-Made

Dorfromantik is a peaceful village-building strategy puzzle game for one player, inspired by tile-based board games like Carcassonne. You have a stack of hexagonal tiles and work to match their edges while creating areas of towns, forests and fields to...

Flower

Release Date: 12/02/2009

Out Now: PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4 and iOS

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

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

Flower is a traversal collecting game where you control the breeze across fields of grass and blow petals into other flowers to make them bloom. Flower is simple and single-purpose in evoking the feeling of the wind. What starts as an awkward struggle...

Storyteller

Release Date: 23/03/2023

Out Now: Mac, PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Hand-Made

Storyteller is a puzzle game about building stories. You use a set of icons to match what is happening in each frame of the story. It's a simple challenge that gets the mind-stretching as you construct some of history’s greatest stories using building...

Mini Metro

Release Date: 06/01/2015

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

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

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...

Wood and Weather

Release Date: Coming soon

Coming Soon: PC

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

Wood and Weather is a simulation game where you play god in a wooden toy city. You interact with the world using your floating blue hand to change switches and control the weather. It's an intriguing game that offers all manner of ways to play but...

Proteus

Release Date: 30/01/2013

Out Now: Mac, PC, PS Vita and PS3

Skill Rating: 4+ year-olds

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

Proteus is a narrative adventure game which takes you to a pixelated island. As you explore you discover that your presence changes the seasons and time of day. Delving deeper, there are rudimentary interactions with the creatures that inhabit the land,...

LocoRoco

Release Date: 23/06/2006

Out Now: PS Vita, PS4 and PSP

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

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

LocoRoco is a traversal puzzle game in a world of plants and creatures to investigate. The novelty, besides the character’s singing and cute aesthetic, is that you control the game with just two buttons, tilting and bumping your characters through...

Loop Hero

Release Date: 03/02/2021, updated in 2022

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

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead, Cards, Grid, Hand-Made and Pixels

Loop Hero is a dungeon-exploring adventure game where you use cards to create a world for your character to survive. Rather than control the hero yourself, you are tasked with playing cards to create a level that is hard enough to be rewarding without...

Threes

Release Date: 06/02/2014

Out Now: Amazon Fire, Android, PC, Web and iOS

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On

Threes is a puzzle game where you slide numbered tiles on a grid. When they collide they combine their numbers, like Triple Town. You can match 1's and 2's with each other, the white tiles can match cards that are multiples of 3...

Naiad

Release Date: Coming soon

Coming Soon: Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead, Cartoon and Hand-Made

Naiad is a gentle adventure game where exploration is fuelled not by extreme distances, dangers or enemies, but by the simple joy of floating in rivers and pools. As a story about nature unfolds you control a nymph-like character who swims through...

JellyCar Worlds

Release Date: 10/12/2022

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

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Cartoon

JellyCar Worlds is a puzzle game about a car made of jelly traversing a squishy world. You use the physics properties of the car and the objects in the world to get from A to B. It's an action puzzle game that stands out for the joyous novelty of a...

Chessplosion

Release Date: 21/09/2021

Out Now: PC

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead and Grid

Chessplosion is an action, puzzle game where you drop chess pieces on a board to trigger bombs in the shape of their related chess moves. Your aim is to use the different pieces (and bomb attacks) to trap opponents like Bomberman. No prior chess...

Slice and Dice

Release Date: 25/07/2021

Out Now: Android and PC

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead, Dice, Hand-Made and Pixels

Slice and Dice is a small retro adventure game you play by rolling dice to progress with your five heroes. More than this, the faces on the dice represent your party and determine not only who can attack or defend but how likely you are to roll them...

Summerhill

Release Date: Coming soon

Coming Soon: Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

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

Summerhill is a narrative traversal game where you are a young shepherd and their dog. Play involves exploring a mysterious land to find your lost flock to guide them back home. It draws on the unusual subject matter of sheep herding to create an...

PinOut

Release Date: 27/10/2016

Out Now: Android and iOS

Skill Rating: 4+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead

PinOut is an action pinball game played against the clock in a Tron-like world. You use your flippers to work up through an endless series of tables, collecting time to stay alive. It stands out not only for the endless pinball challenge but the...

Rekt 2

Release Date: Coming soon

Coming Soon: PC

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Rekt 2 is a stunt racing game where your car works like a skateboard. Play brings the previous game's fast action jumps, tricks and battles to 16-player online matches. It stands out for the simple joys of landing jumps and bumping other players off...

Shogun Showdown

Release Date: 27/06/2023

Out Now: PC and Web

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On, Cards, Grid and Pixels

Shogun Showdown is a tactical fighting game where you play a Japanese-inspired warrior batting to be ready to face the Shogun. Each run you choose a character and attack cards to work through a series of miniature turn-based battles.

Super Algebrawl (Punkcake)

Release Date: 16/01/2024

Out Now: PC

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels

Super Algebrawl is a battle adventure where you are a boar king with magical mathematical powers. Play involves adding, multiplying and cloning your animal underlings to match the numbers of your enemies.

Pepper Grinder

Release Date: 28/03/2024

Coming Soon: PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels

Pepper Grinder is an action adventure game about a hero with an unusual weapon: a super-powered drill. Play is all about using this drill in interesting ways, combining running and jumping with tunnelling through the dirt of the terrain. It's a novel...

No Man's Sky

Release Date: 10/08/2016, updated in 2022

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

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

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

No Man's Sky is a space simulation about exploring endless planets and galaxies. It invites you to take your spaceship to explore and colonise a universe rich with diverse planets, creatures and fauna. Facing so vast a space is daunting at first, but a...

Kids

Release Date: 31/05/2019

Out Now: iOS

Skill Rating: 2+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead and Hand-Made

Kids is an unusual game where you tap to interact with groups of monochrome cartoon children. Seeing the little kids run around and respond to each other creates a playful and intriguing game that only lasts half an hour but will be played many times.

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...

Adopt Me! (Roblox)

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...

Totally Accurate Battle Simulator

Release Date: 01/04/2019, updated in 2022

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

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Totally Accurate Battle Simulator (known as TABS) is a fighting game where you choose different armies and troops to battle each other in an automatic simulation that models their offensive and defensive abilities. Once set up, the fight is largely...

Farm Together

Release Date: 25/02/2018, updated in 2019

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

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

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

Farm Together is a low-pressure farm simulator where you develop your farm by yourself or cooperate with your friends. Starting with an empty plot you can grow crops, plant trees, take care of the animals, add buildings and facilities, and unlock new...

Sago Mini (Series)

Release Date: 09/06/2017

Out Now: Amazon Fire, Android and iOS

Skill Rating: 2+ year-olds

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

Sago Mini games are designed for 3-5-year-old preschool children. Like Toca Boca games for younger kids, they offer interactive storybook characters with light narratives and open-ended play. Superheroes, space explorers, boat...

Chuchel

Release Date: 07/03/2018

Out Now: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 2+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Hand-Made

Chuchel is a comedy adventure game. You play hairy hero Chuchel and his rival Kekel to solve simple puzzles and challenges in their quest to retrieve the precious cherry. It looks like a children's storybook animation with strange, peculiar creatures.

Hidden Folks

Release Date: 15/02/2017

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

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead and Hand-Made

Hidden Folks tasks you with exploring hand-drawn worlds to find particular people. It’s simple enough for youngsters to control but complex enough to keep parents and carers involved too.

Dwarf Fortress

Release Date: 08/08/2006, updated in 2022

Out Now: PC

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

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

Dwarf Fortress is a longstanding strategy game set in a fantasy world where you control a group of dwarves wanting to construct a wealthy fortress. It's unusual not only for it's text-based appearance but for it's expansive scope, and intricately...

Everdale

Release Date: 18/08/2021

Out Now: Android and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead and Grid

Everdale is an online strategy game where you build a village. With the help of friends you develop a society that survives on the basis of savvy cooperation. Unlike other civilisation games though, there is no fighting or combat. The focus is on...

Just Shapes & Beats

Release Date: 21/06/2018

Out Now: PC, PS4, Stadia and Switch

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels

Just Shapes & Beats is a two player rhythm game where you dodge bullets in time with the music. As well as this unusual premise, play extends the novelty as you have to both avoid the various shapes and move to the Beats. It’s a new spin on the shoot...

Railbound

Release Date: 06/09/2022, updated in 2022

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

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead and Grid

Railbound is a track-bending puzzle game where you lay track, switch points, and use tunnels to get the carriages to the engine in the right order. Although it's the puzzles that keep you playing, there's also a real joy in connecting tracks and seeing...

Fugl

Release Date: 14/09/2017

Out Now: Mac and PC

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

Fugl is a flying simulation game where you play a bird and launch yourself into the sky to explore a vast world. Rather than search for things, fight, or take on challenges, all you have to do is wend your way through the air currents and glide your way...

From Dust

Release Date: 27/07/2011, updated in 2011

Out Now: PC, PS3 and Xbox 360

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

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

From Dust is a strategy game. You play as an all powerful God of a primitive people. The land is ancient but devoid of humans. Unusually, you control the landscape rather than the people, moving land and water and lava to give villagers pathways to...

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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