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Best Narrative Games

Narrative video games focus on telling a story about characters, worlds and themes. Learning from the power of books and films, these games string together interactions not for excitement or competition but for storytelling beats. The best examples intertwine gameplay and storytelling, rather than interspersing short films ("Cut Scenes") between levels.

Games can use Adventure, Action and Role-Playing to communicate elements of story to players. Less obviously, games can also communicate narrative through how they Simulate the world, what needs solving in Puzzles or even the Strategies players need to employ.

The narrative of video games is not usually told (link in books) or shown (like in films) but overheard. Half caught sentences from passing characters. The architecture of the buildings. The way that levers and buttons interact. How other characters (and the world itself sometimes) reacts to your presence. What is broken in the space the game creates, and how/if it can be fixed.

DetailsGenre Details

Era: 1974 - 2024
Total Games: 995
Total Likes: 17,809
 

 

Before Your Eyes

Release Date: 08/04/2021, updated in 2022

Out Now: Android, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person and Cartoon

Before Your Eyes is a narrative game about an 11-year-old boy revisiting his life before "crossing over" to the other side. You play by exploring scenes that represent snapshots of his life. Unusually, you make choices and interact with the game by...

Florence

Release Date: 14/02/2018, updated in 2020

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

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Hand-Made

Florence is a puzzle game that tells the story of a relationship. It follows the usual stages of loneliness, meeting, dating, falling for and moving in with another person. At first, the puzzle interactions seem trivial and the game doesn’t change...

That Dragon, Cancer

Release Date: 12/01/2016, updated in 2016

Out Now: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person

That Dragon, Cancer is a game about a family with a young son who has terminal brain cancer. It sounds off-putting and morbid but this living biography invites you to join the family and find hope, faith and love in the face of an insurmountable...

Unpacking

Release Date: 02/11/2021

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

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

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

Unpacking is a meditative puzzle game where you unpack belongings into a series of spaces, each representing a stage in life. You get to know the owner of the objects by their possessions and circumstances. To finish a level you need to work out where...

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,...

Journey

Release Date: 14/03/2012, updated in 2019

Out Now: PC, PS3, PS4 and iOS

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World

Journey is an adventure game set in a desert. Exploring the eerie sandscape, you discover a world abandoned by the race that created it. The sense of space and scale evokes feelings of aloneness and being lost. But then the game pairs you with other...

Lake

Release Date: 01/09/2021, updated in 2024

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

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person, 3D Third-Person and Cartoon

Lake is a narrative adventure where you play Meredith Weiss on a career break in 1986 while she returns to her hometown and ends up delivering the mail. As you talk to locals, meet up with old school friends and even fan a few romantic flames from your...

Firewatch

Release Date: 20/09/2016

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

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

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

Firewatch is an explorative adventure where you play a fire lookout in America’s Shoshone National Forest. It has a relational and conspiracy undertone similar to the podcast/radio drama and Netflix show [link to...

Venba

Release Date: 31/07/2023

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

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Hand-Made

Venba is a narrative cooking game where you play an Indian mother who emigrated to Canada in the 1980s. You cook various traditional Indian dishes and restore lost recipes which were damaged in the move to Canada. As you cook, you talk to your family...

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...

Night in the Woods

Release Date: 10/01/2017, updated in 2017

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

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Hand-Made

Night in the Woods is a narrative adventure which follows college dropout Mae Borowski returning home to the crumbling former mining town of Possum Springs. But the place is different now her friends have grown and changed. There’s something...

Abzu

Release Date: 02/11/2016, updated in 2018

Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Abzu is an adventure in a lush underwater world. You descend into the heart of the ocean to find ancient secrets and encounter majestic creatures. This combines the beautiful weightlessness of diving with an ancient story of finding meaning and your...

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...

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...

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 and the follow-up game Horizon Forbidden West, have a post-apocalyptic feel familiar from movies like Planet of the Apes. It plunges you into an overgrown landscape with now-crumbling remnants of modern life where animalistic machines...

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...

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,...

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture

Release Date: 12/08/2015, updated in 2016

Out Now: Mac, PC and PS4

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person and Open World

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture lands you in a fictional deserted English village in 1984. As you walk the streets of another era you discover bright human forms who re-enact events like a radio play. Through their eyes, you see a web of fear,...

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

Release Date: 19/11/2016, updated in 2017

Out Now: PS3 and PS4

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End is an action-adventure game set several years after the events of Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. You play Nathan Drake, a happily married former treasure hunter coaxed out of retirement by his brother. This leads into another...

Celeste

Release Date: 23/01/2018, updated in 2023

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

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

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...

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...

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.

Agent A: A Puzzle In Disguise

Release Date: 28/10/2015, updated in 2019

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

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Agent A: A Puzzle In Disguise is a puzzle game where you infiltrate a spy hideaway to stop an evil plan. Each location is full of retro futuristic contraptions, hidden gizmos, gadgets and clever logic-based puzzles.

Lost In Play

Release Date: 10/08/2022, updated in 2023

Out Now: Android, PC, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Cartoon

Lost In Play is a feel-good adventure about a brother and sister exploring their dreams. Lost in their imagination, Toto and Gal must solve puzzles to journey back home. It's a point-and-click adventure inspired in style by Gravity Falls, Hilda, and...

Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney (Series)

Release Date: 12/12/2014, updated in 2019

Out Now: 3DS and 2DS, Android, GBA, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Cartoon

Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney is a courtroom murder mystery series where you piece together clues to challenge testimonies and uncover the truth. It’s like a visual novel, although you must interact with characters and evidence to progress.

Hindsight

Release Date: 04/08/2022

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

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Hand-Made

Hindsight is a narrative point-and-click game where you revisit the past by finding objects that trigger memories. Play involves exploring each scene, locating objects and listening to the story as you move the camera to look within what you've found...

Wilderless

Release Date: 02/04/2020, updated in 2022

Out Now: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

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

Wilderless is a traversal and exploration game where you are left to discover a fantasy world at your own pace without the usual hindrances. You run, jumping and glide your way around the landscape that unfolds beautifully before you. It stands out not...

80 Days

Release Date: 31/07/2014, updated in 2019

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

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead and Day and Night

80 Days is a travel and culture discovery game set in 1872, where decisions about your journey around the world impact the course of the story and characters. You play be deciding where to go next and talking to the people you meet to find the right...

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...

To A T

Release Date: Coming soon

Coming Soon: PC, Xbox One and Xbox X|S

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon

To A T is a lighthearted narrative adventure game about a teenager with a unique posture that makes parts of their life in a small coastal town challenging. With your arms permanently stretched out, you explore the beautiful town with your dog and...

Ghost Trick

Release Date: 19/06/2010, updated in 2023

Out Now: DS, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is a narrative brain game where you play a ghost that can stop time to solve crimes and save lives. You can inhabit and control objects and possess corpses to alter what happens. His ultimate aim is to use his memories to...

Goodbye Volcano High

Release Date: 29/08/2023

Out Now: PC, PS4 and PS5

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Cartoon

Goodbye Volcano High is a high school coming-of-age adventure set in a world of anthropomorphic dinosaur characters. You play as band members, non-binary Fang and best friend Trish as they navigate the last days of high school. It's a mix of making...

The Unfinished Swan

Release Date: 16/10/2012

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

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person

The Unfinished Swan invites you to explore a world by splashing paint on it. The tactile experience leads you into a fairy tale about an unfinished painting that leads a child back to his parent. It stands out for the unusual revealing of a world you...

Wildermyth

Release Date: 15/06/2021

Out Now: PC

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead, Grid and Hand-Made

Wildermyth is a medieval role-playing game about diverse heroes and themes. You take on evil in a number of stories, each with different heroes and settings. The focus is on the characters as much as their adventures, who are believable, diverse and...

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...

Wayward Strand

Release Date: 15/09/2022

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

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

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

Wayward Strand is a narrative game about Casey Beaumaris, an intrepid teenage journalist. You visit an airborne hospital, uncover the airship's mysteries, and explore the lives of its inhabitants. It's a Tintin-style point-and-click adventure with a...

Orchids to Dusk

Release Date: 03/12/2015

Out Now: PC

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World

Orchids to Dusk is a short wandering adventure. You are an astronaut stranded on an alien planet, with only a few minutes of oxygen. You explore the world and discover fantastic gardens on the planet.

Citizen Sleeper

Release Date: 05/05/2022

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

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On, Cartoon, Dice, Grid and Text

Citizen Sleeper is a role-play game set in the ruins of interplanetary capitalism. You are an escaped worker exploring a lawless space station, making friends, and (ultimately) trying to escape your past. Each cycle you roll dice and decide how to spend...

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...

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...

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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