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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.
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...
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...
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...
Release Date: 02/11/2021
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and iOS
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...
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,...
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...
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...
Release Date: 20/09/2016
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One
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...
Release Date: 31/07/2023
Out Now: PC, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
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...
Release Date: 21/03/2017, updated in 2019
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4 and Switch
Skill Rating: 3+ year-olds
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...
Release Date: 10/01/2017, updated in 2017
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS
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...
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...
Release Date: 23/03/2023
Out Now: Mac, PC and Switch
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...
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...
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...
Release Date: 31/01/2023
Out Now: PC, PS4 and PS5
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...
Release Date: 26/08/2019, updated in 2020
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,...
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,...
Release Date: 19/11/2016, updated in 2017
Out Now: PS3 and PS4
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...
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: 26/10/2017, updated in 2020
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: 13/06/2023
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.
Release Date: 28/10/2015, updated in 2019
Out Now: Android, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS
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.
Release Date: 10/08/2022, updated in 2023
Out Now: Android, PC, Switch and iOS
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...
Release Date: 12/12/2014, updated in 2019
Out Now: 3DS and 2DS, Android, GBA, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS
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.
Release Date: 04/08/2022
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS
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...
Release Date: 02/04/2020, updated in 2022
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...
Release Date: 31/07/2014, updated in 2019
Out Now: Amazon Fire, Android, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS
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...
Release Date: 31/10/2023
Out Now: PC, PS5 and Xbox X|S
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...
Coming Soon: PC, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
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...
Release Date: 19/06/2010, updated in 2023
Out Now: DS, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS
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...
Release Date: 29/08/2023
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...
Release Date: 16/10/2012
Out Now: PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4 and iOS
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...
Release Date: 15/06/2021
Out Now: PC
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...
Release Date: 26/05/2023
Out Now: PC, PS4 and Switch
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...
Release Date: 15/09/2022
Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch and Xbox One
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...
Release Date: 03/12/2015
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.
Release Date: 05/05/2022
Out Now: PC, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
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...
Release Date: 19/11/2019
Out Now: Apple TV, Mac, PS4, Switch and iOS
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...
Release Date: 21/12/1998, updated in 2023
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS5 and Xbox X|S
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...