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Video games are often thought to be about the quick hit or instant rush of dopamine gratification. In fact, many video games take a long time before they are enjoyable. It takes patience and investment of effort to start making an impact in the game world, and in many ways is actually hard, slow work.Some games double down on this mechanic, using, as Brad Gallaway recently said "using the real passage of time passing as a way to progress the story or game mechanics. Without cheating a system's clock, they're meant to play out over long periods. Seaman was something like a month, and The Longing can be as much as 400 days."The games in this list are designed to be played slowly over a large number of days. This includes games like Animal Crossing, which requires regular visits at particular times of day to progress your island. But it also includes games like The Longing, that test the player's willingness to wait long periods of time and limit their ability to accelerate progress. Or there are games you can play quickly, but require the real passage of time for certain aspects, like Nier Replicant, forcing you to wait 24 real hours between planting a crop and harvesting it This list includes 73 games from the last 15 years, with 928 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to play slow games in real-time.
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: 26/10/2017, 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...
Release Date: 30/03/2023
Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon, Day and Night and Weather
Dredge is a fishing adventure set in a remote archipelago called ‘The Marrows’ with a dark past. You explore the surrounding waters to fish for hundreds of different sea creatures and other resources. It stands out for the clever rhythm-based...
Release Date: 01/12/2009, updated in 2011
Out Now: DS, PC, PS3, PS4, Switch, Xbox 360 and Xbox One
Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds
Components: 2D Side-On, Grid and Pixels
Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes is a strategic battle puzzle where you position units to form patterns that determine how they behave. The play combines the simple matching of Candy Crush with the complex strategy of Advance Wars or Fire Emblem. It...
Release Date: 05/05/2016, updated in 2023
Out Now: 3DS and 2DS, Apple TV, Mac, Switch and iOS
Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds
Components: 2D Side-On, Cards and Grid
Pocket Card Jockey is a horse racing game you participate in by playing a series of Solitaire card games. You race, breed and nurture a stable of horses for a range of owners, trainers and other interesting individuals. It stands out as both a brilliant...
Release Date: Coming soon
Coming Soon: Mac and PC
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...
Release Date: 23/02/2017, updated in 2018
Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One
Components: 3D Third-Person
Nier: Automata is a role-playing game, that span off from the Drakengard series. It's set in an alternate future where there is a war between alien machines and human androids. But this isn't a game about winning the war. It's more focused on the plight...
Release Date: 25/07/2016
Out Now: Mac and PC
Quadrilateral Cowboy is an adventure in a 1990 retro-cyberpunk world where you take on covert mission to infiltrate buildings and security systems. You carefully explore each level hacking security by typing commands into your grey-market equipment.
Release Date: 24/04/2013, updated in 2019
Out Now: Mac, PC, Switch and Xbox 360
Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds
Components: 2D Overhead and Pixels
Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine is a heist simulation game. You control a crew of robbers who escape from jail and take on a series of increasingly complex robberies. The novelty is the simple top-down view of proceedings that allow for complex strategies...
Release Date: 19/03/2021, updated in 2023
Out Now: Apple TV, Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and iOS
Components: 2D Overhead, Hand-Made and Open World
Cozy Grove is a life simulation where you camp on a hand-drawn island. You play a scout and explore the ever-changing island's forest to find secrets and help the local ghosts. Like Animal Crossing, it has a children's storybook look but is a...
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: 16/04/2015, updated in 2016
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC and iOS
Components: 3D First-Person and Text
Lifeline is a narrative adventure where you interact with an astronaut, Taylor via text messages. You help him return home after crashing his aircraft on a foreign planet.
Release Date: 31/12/2022
Components: 2D Side-On
The Professional is a traversal game where you attempt to steal a diamond from the museum with a wacky twist: you control each of your character's limbs individually. This makes even the simple goal of moving forward a challenging (and hilarious) task...
Release Date: 31/07/2011, updated in 2022
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
The Stanley Parable is an interactive drama with no combat or action to speak of apart from walking around and interacting with everyday objects. You guide a silent protagonist, Stanley, while a discouraging narration plays in your ear. As you discover...
Coming Soon: PC
Components: 2D Overhead, Open World and Pixels
Witchbrook is a role play game that takes you through the highs and lows of school-life. You play a witch-in-training but it's not just about learning spells. The push and shove of student life at the magic school and town life are very much front and...
Release Date: 09/12/2021, updated in 2022
Wytchwood is an adventure in a land of gothic fables and fairytales. You are an old witch of the woods and must explore the countryside, collect magical ingredients and brew enchantments. That much is relatively common, here though, your role is to pass...
Release Date: 15/06/2020
Out Now: iOS
Components: 2D Side-On, Day and Night and Hand-Made
Bird Alone is a narrative game where you befriend a bird. Your feathered companion encourages the conversation in the direction of real life worries while you make music, draw pictures and write poetry. It’s a slow game that unfolds in real time with...
Release Date: 02/11/2016, updated in 2022
Out Now: Amazon Fire, Android, Mac, PC, Xbox One and iOS
Components: 3D Third-Person and Blocks
Build A Boat for Treasure (Roblox) is a strategy game where build your ship (or anything else) from different materials and set sail for adventure. Doing this successfully earns new items and materials for your next build. Although this churn does...
Release Date: 18/01/2022
Out Now: PC
Skill Rating: 3+ year-olds
Ever Seen A Cat? is a hidden object puzzle game where you are trying to spot monochrome cats in different scenes. It's simple enough for players of any age to enjoy it but has some randomisation of the levels so you need to play multiple times to get...
Release Date: 20/01/2022, updated in 2023
Out Now: PC, Switch and Xbox One
Components: 3D First-Person, Cartoon and Open World
Pupperazzi is an adventure game where you explore an island to find and photograph all manner of canine friends. You interact with the world, climb, skate and explore to get the perfect angle on the perfect pup. It starts as a silly challenge but turns...
Release Date: 10/08/2021
Out Now: PC, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Lawn Mowing Simulator is an adventure game where you ride an authentic and expansive roster of lawnmowers. The novelty is a combination of absolute control over lawn care and weed eradication. This is extended beyond a brief distraction by the inclusion...
Release Date: 14/11/2017
Out Now: PC, PS4 and iOS
Far From Noise is a narrative game where you play a car balancing on the edge of a cliff. You meet multiple animals that act as spiritual guides and discuss what it means to balance between life and death. When talking, you get the choice of two phrases...
Release Date: 05/03/2020
Out Now: Mac, PC and Switch
Components: 2D Overhead, Persistant World and Pixels
The Longing is a point-and-click adventure about waiting and loneliness. It's an intentionally slow game that takes 400 elapsed days to finish. It draws on the Idle Game genre, where you use minor interactions to incrementally advance. Here though, the...
Release Date: 05/09/2021
Out Now: Android and iOS
Components: 2D Side-On and Text
Home Quest is a strategy game where you incrementally build a town, recruit an army and manage your economy. Like other idle games, it's a familiar set-up where you tap buttons to assign resources and then wait for the results. However, the unusual...
Release Date: 26/01/2022
Components: 2D Side-On and Grid
Please, Touch The Artwork is a puzzle game that tells a story with real abstract paintings. Unconventionally it asks, what would happen if we did touch the artwork in museums? The answer is revealed over three stories each focusing on a different...
Release Date: 12/02/2021, updated in 2022
Out Now: PS4 and PS5
A Puzzle in Time is a puzzle game set in a laboratory. Your task is to escape the room and prove time travel is possible by solving puzzles set over four different years. Inspired by games like Portal and The Witness this short but challenging game has...
Release Date: 01/12/2011, updated in 2020
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS4, PS5, Switch, Wii U, Xbox One, Xbox X|S and iOS
Bridge Constructor is a series of physics-based building challenges to make stable bridges over chasms and ravines. While it's a simple concept, the variety of locations and different geometry means that building a stable bridge requires patience and...
Release Date: 28/09/2021
Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Lemnis Gate is a combat game that combines turn-taking with real-time shooting. At the start of the battle, you pick one of your seven operatives for the first 25 second round. The game then rewinds to the start and you go again with your second...
Release Date: 15/02/2022, updated in 2022
Kamikaze Veggies (previously called Suicide Vegetables) is a stealth adventure game starring an absurd cast of vegetable characters. You carefully choose a vegetable with the right specialist skills for each level and set about bringing the enemy down...
Coming Soon: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World
Lushfoil Photography Sim is an adventure where you explore and photograph vast faithfully recreated landscapes. While some other games offer the chance to pause and take a picture, Lushfoil doubles-down on the process, art and tranquility of photography.
Release Date: 16/10/2013, updated in 2020
Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch, Wii U and Xbox One
140 is a sliding, rolling and jumping game where you control a changing geometric shape to traverse a minimalist world. It's challenging for the timed jumps and reactions but keeps distractions to a minimum with its abstract colorful graphics.
Release Date: 29/09/2022
Components: 2D Overhead and Hand-Made
Moonbreaker is a strategy game that plays like a physical tabletop game. Using hand-painted figures you fight opponents in tactical turn-based battles in a new universe created by bestselling author Brandon Sanderson. It has the detailed painting,...
Coming Soon: Android and iOS
Components: 2D Overhead and Grid
RocketPuzzle is a tile-based puzzle set in space. You push and hold blocks so their attached rockets can fire them into the matching coloured space stations. It's a small but tricky game with a retro aesthetic.
Release Date: 12/05/2015, updated in 2022
Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds
Components: 2D Overhead, Cartoon, Day and Night and Weather
Seabeard is a simple adventure game where you follow in the footsteps of the great sea captain to explore and civilise. Play involves working on each island, tapping to move around, collecting items, talking to locals and developing your economy. It's...
Release Date: 11/04/2017, updated in 2018
Aaero is a rhythm game where you control a spacecraft with one stick and target with the other. At times it's like flying an X-Wing on a trench run while at others it's like soaring high and free targeting enemies in a Starfox game. It's an on-rails...
Release Date: 21/07/2021
Components: 2D Side-On and Cartoon
Goop Loop is a traversal game where you control a sticky lump of goo stuck inside a concrete loop. You can use the momentum of your goo and the world's gravity to get the loop to roll through the level. In this way you face all sorts of physics...
Release Date: 25/08/2014
Out Now: Android, Web and iOS
Components: 2D Overhead, Grid and Pixels
Gridland (also Super Gridland on mobile) is a puzzle strategy game where you build a town by day and defend zombie attackers at night. Unusually, resources are gathered by completing match-three puzzles. This puzzle switches from building to defending...
Release Date: 10/01/2022, updated in 2022
Wibble Wobble is a running and balancing game. A bit like a super-hard egg-and-spoon race, you manoeuvre a bowl through a timed obstacle course while balancing a ball inside. The twist is that the bowl can pass through some obstacles that the ball...
Release Date: 25/05/2021
An Airport for Aliens Currently Run by Dogs is a bizarre adventure where you need to fly to your fiancée but the airports are all run by dogs (and you are the last two people alive). You play by exploring the airport, talking to the dogs, deciphering...
Release Date: 27/08/2019
Out Now: PC, PS4 and Xbox One
Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey is a survival adventure. But rather than controlling a specific character, you guide an entire lineage of primates trying to survive in prehistoric Africa and facilitate its evolution. It's unusual not only for this...