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Video games and work don’t usually go together. Not, that is, unless you work in the video game industry. The Safe In Our World charity addresses this world of work and video games to foster positive mental health well-being and deliver support for players, developers, publishers and retailers. “The worlds we create are a refuge for many,” they say about video games, to highlight the importance of also looking after those people who make these amazing spaces. They have some excellent resources available for free and global helplines for a range of emotions and stresses people might be feeling, not to mention some great training resources for companies. The most recent is their Level Up campaign that challenges businesses within the video games industry to unite and commit to change. The games in this list offer space to reflect and escape work for a while. But not only to get some distance but to play something that shines a light on why we do what we do. Some address the world of work directly, while others enable us to consider our choices about how we spend our working hours.Whether it’s escaping for a lunchtime walk with A Short Hike. Trying to manage crunch time with Going Under, or not succumbing to Tom Nook’s invitation for ever bigger mortgages in Animal Crossing, there are lots of games that can help us find some balance.Other games, like Coffee Talk and Neo Cab, help us consider the people we serve at work. This might be conversations with customers, but also the other people we work with in the office or workplace we find ourselves in. Like the game Good Job encourages us to do.Then there are games that make us aware of our co-workers. Whether it’s collaborating to identify and store stock in Wilmot’s Warehouse or getting the furniture into the van neatly in Moving Out, how we work together and treat the people around us is important. This list includes 98 games from the last 26 years, with 3,167 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to see work in a new light.
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...
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: 28/02/2018
Out Now: Mac and PC
Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person, Blocks, Open World, Persistant World and Weather
Stormworks: Build and Rescue is an open-world adventure where you design, build and pilot your own air-sea rescue service. You create programmable vehicles using its block-building system and pilot them into dangerous situations to rescue stricken...
Release Date: 20/05/2022, updated in 2022
Out Now: Mac, PC, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds
Components: 2D Overhead, Day and Night, Grid and Pixels
Apico is a simulation game where you play a beekeeper and conservationist. You explore environments, breed rare bees and release them into the wild while growing your business. There are no enemies, time constraints or set objectives so you can focus on...
Release Date: 06/01/2015
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and iOS
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...
Release Date: 04/03/2019
Out Now: Apple TV, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS
Mini Motorways is a sequencing strategy game by the same developer as Mini Metro but tasks you with planning a road network rather than a subway. You lay down roads, traffic lights and motorways to ensure enough cars can get to the buildings that pop up...
Release Date: 15/01/2019, updated in 2019
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One
Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon, Day and Night and Open World
My Time At Portia is an adventure role-play game set after civilization has been destroyed, and humans are emerging from underground to rebuild society. By gathering resources, crafting and building you slowly gain the tools to collect food, store...
Release Date: 23/10/2008, updated in 2017
Out Now: 3DS and 2DS and DS
Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds
Components: 2D Side-On and Cartoon
Style Boutique / Savvy Style is a role-playing game where you play a fashion shop owner. You work on the style of your fashion collection as well as your own clothes, makeup and so on.
Release Date: 29/08/2019
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS
Components: 2D Side-On
Wilmot's Warehouse is a game for people who like to organise things. You are in charge of a warehouse and must manage 100s of items of stock. Identical square boxes are labelled with rudimentary icons. On your own or with another player, you must...
Release Date: 28/06/2023, updated in 2023
Out Now: Mac, PC and Switch
Components: 2D Side-On, Day and Night and Pixels
Dave the Diver is a simulation game where you manage a sushi bar by night and hunt for the fish to sell by day. You explore the depths of a lagoon, using your harpoon to catch fish and solve puzzles to unlock new areas. Then in the evening, prepare...
Release Date: 09/07/2020
Out Now: PC, PS4, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Components: Cartoon and Open World
Wobbly Life is a lively open-world game where you explore an island with your friends to find quests, mini-games and earn money. Play involves finding jobs to do, earning money and buying lots of everyday things - but the real play is around the edges...
Release Date: 05/05/2016, updated in 2023
Out Now: 3DS and 2DS, Apple TV, Mac and iOS
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: 08/11/2012, updated in 2016
Out Now: 3DS and 2DS
Components: 2D Overhead, Cartoon, Day and Night, Open World, Persistant World and Weather
Animal Crossing: New Leaf is a life simulation game where you design your dream village in a world filled with anthropomorphic animals. Like other Animal Crossing games, you design and decorate your home, collect and sell items, chat and play with...
Release Date: Coming soon
Coming Soon: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon and Open World
Ghost Bike is a racing adventure where you play the last of the magical couriers taking packages between the living and the dead. You explore the stylised world to compete in races, find bike parts and get your ghost bike in working order.
Release Date: 18/08/2020
Out Now: PC and Xbox X|S
Components: 3D First-Person, 3D Third-Person, Day and Night, Open World and Weather
Microsoft Flight Simulator (Microsoft Flight Sim 2020) is a flight simulator game in the long-running series. Along with a huge range of aircraft, you can learn to fly, the game recreates the entire Earth using textures and data from maps and...
Release Date: 14/08/2020, updated in 2022
Components: 2D Overhead, Grid, Open World and Pixels
Factorio is a construction strategy game where you crash-land on an alien planet and must harvest resources to create industry to build a rocket to escape (or fall in love with running your factory and stay on longer).
Release Date: 23/10/2018
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One
Do Not Feed the Monkeys is an adventure game where you sit at a computer and spy on live video feeds of various events and characters. Your job is to gather information about "the monkeys" while also looking after your character's health and apartment...
Release Date: 25/04/2019
Out Now: PC
Components: 2D Side-On, Pixels and Text
Cart Life is a simulation game where you play one of three street vendors. You attempt to run their shop whilst looking after their health, interests, and families. It has simple visuals, but depicts the realities of the thin-end of life.
Release Date: 24/07/2023
Time Bandit is a puzzle adventure where you spend your real-world time to earn money. Play is a mix of exploring the world, moving boxes and making decisions about your resources - all of which come at the cost of your time. It combines classic...
Release Date: 01/11/2014
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, Xbox One and iOS
Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World
Welcome to Bloxburg is a simulation Roblox game where you take on daily activities in a fictional city. Drawing on gameplay from The Sims, you care for your character and keep their mood positive, by building and customizing your house, learning skills...
Release Date: 15/12/2020
Out Now: Android, Switch and iOS
Skill Rating: 3+ year-olds
Pokémon Cafe Mix is a puzzle game. Similar to the icon-connection challenge of Disney Tsum Tsum, you play as Eevee and deliver orders in a cafe by linking Pokemon icons in a ring. It's a low-pressure puzzle with a swirl-to-connect interaction that is...
Release Date: 10/09/2020
Out Now: PC, PS4 and Switch
Components: 2D Overhead, Blocks and Cartoon
Bake 'n Switch is a puzzle fighting game where 2-4 players are apprentice bakers fighting the "Mould" and taking on various Guardian bosses. It's ridiculously cute and a lot of silly fun, as you catch, merge and sacrifice the anthropomorphised dough...
Release Date: 19/03/2019, updated in 2020
Components: 2D Overhead and Open World
Satisfactory is a factory building set on a foreign planet. Like the popular Tycoon and Factory games in Roblox, you start with humble beginnings, you harvest what you can by hand but steadily you build a sprawling empire of automated harvesting...
Release Date: 17/05/2018, updated in 2019
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox X|S and iOS
Components: 3D First-Person
House Flipper is a simulation game where you renovate old broken houses to make money. It's a blend of money management, detailed interior design and repair right down to the electric circuitry. It fosters a sense of creativity and imagination in how...
Release Date: 07/10/2021
Out Now: PC, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Components: 3D Third-Person, Blocks, Cartoon and Day and Night
Moonglow Bay is a role play game where you play a rookie angler. Unlike other slice-of-life games, fishing isn't tucked away as a side quest here, it's front and centre. Set along the Canadian coastline in the 1980's, you live in a fishing town that has...
Release Date: 29/01/2020, updated in 2023
Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels
Coffee Talk is an interactive story about a barista working in a coffee shop in Seattle. You listen to customers' concerns about life and love, in a retro-pixilated world backed with lo-fi chilled hip-hop music.
Release Date: 05/06/2018, updated in 2020
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS
Components: 2D Side-On and Hand-Made
Good Pizza, Great Pizza is a simulation game where you run your own Pizza shop, fulfilling orders from customers while making enough money to keep your shop open. You can upgrade your shop with new toppings and equipment to compete against your...
Release Date: 05/08/2021
Components: 2D Overhead, Hand-Made and Open World
Haven Park is a strategy game where you build camping spots in a national park. You play Flint, who is repairing his grandma's park to attract new campers. It's an intricate open island that packs in plenty to discover. As a game made by one person,...
Release Date: 02/06/2021, updated in 2022
Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One
Hokko Life is a community simulation game like Animal Crossing. You pick a town and set up your home, before spending time helping the place develop into a charming rural idyl everyone loves. Even though it's the creation of one person, it has most of...
Release Date: 13/05/2021
Out Now: Android, PC, Stadia, Switch and iOS
Components: 2D Overhead, Cards and Grid
Hundred Days, Winemaking Simulator is a strategy game about making wine. You control every aspect of a new Winery, choose vines, and learn how to grow them and when to harvest. You make decisions about the process with a simple interface that takes you...
Release Date: 29/04/2020
Components: 2D Overhead and Cartoon
Moving Out is an action-puzzle game where you play a removal company. With up to four players you work together to get items out of the house and into the van. Although this starts simply you soon find furniture that is an awkward shape or needs two...
Release Date: 19/05/2021, updated in 2023
Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
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: 27/07/2017
Skill Rating: 15+ year-olds
Components: 3D First-Person, Day and Night and Open World
Escape from Tarkov is an online shooting game set in the fictional Norvinsk region in Northwest Russia. You play during a war between two private military companies and join matches to fight others for loot, survival and ultimately escape.
Release Date: 13/08/2020
Out Now: Android, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS
Kill It With Fire is a fighting game where you kill spiders. Lifting objects, looking under things and generally exploring the houses means you find spiders. The challenge is then to kill them with increasingly ridiculous weapons.
Coming Soon: PC
Components: 2D Overhead and Pixels
Haunted Chocolatier is a strategy game by the creator of Stardew Valley. You explore a fantasy world and gather ingredients to make different blends of chocolate that sell in your chocolate shop.
Release Date: 31/10/2017, updated in 2020
Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night, Open World and Weather
Mudrunner is an off-roading simulation where you drive ageing Soviet vehicles in extreme, muddy and unpaved environments. It's novel because of the simulated driving and that you just have a map and a compass to navigate.
Release Date: 10/10/2018
Ollie & Bollie: Outdoor Estate is an adventure game in a simulated world. You help Ollie and Bollie, who are two bird-like people, look after their farm in the countryside by completing simple tasks. It may sound familiar but stands out because it gives...
Release Date: 08/08/2006, updated in 2022
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...
Release Date: 30/03/2021
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Components: 2D Overhead, Day and Night, Grid and Open World
Evil Genius 2 is a tongue-in-cheek strategy game where you play the evil villain. You must build a detailed, functional lair from where you can take control of the world. Similar to Sim City and 2 Point Hospital, you use your resources wisely as you...
Release Date: 05/10/2012
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS
Components: 2D Side-On and Day and Night
Cook, Serve, Delicious 3 is part of a series of three games where you run a restaurant. You have full control over how you improve your restaurant and what food or drink you want to sell. Each game plays in a similar way, adding new locations,...