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Happy Brain With
Serotonin Games
 

You can aid the happiness of your brain by taking on activities that generate key experiences and chemicals:

  • Dopamine for motivation, learning and pleasure.
  • Oxytocin for trust and building relationships.
  • Serotonin for significance and importance.
  • Endorphins for euphoria and elation.

Without serotonin, you can feel unstable and find your mood changing rapidly. It's a chemical that helps us with routines where we accept ourselves and find calm. With low serotonin, it is hard to feel confident in who we are. This can mean that we worry more and find it harder to learn and remember things.

Along with getting outside for exercise, eating well and nurturing conversations, video games can also help. Games that generate serotonin are those that give regular simple activities you can complete each day. Games that help build routines are helpful. We may not play these games for long, but they help structure other things around them. Fitness games also complement this, particularly those games that give us a reason to get outside.
 
This list includes 36 games from the last 18 years, with 1,221 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to generate serotonin.

 

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...

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...

Osu!

Release Date: 16/09/2007, updated in 2021

Out Now: Mac, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On

Osu! is a rhythm action game where you tap the screen in time to the music similar to the Elite Beat Agents games. This starts as a simple challenge but develops in speed and complexity. At higher levels, the games is an esport with people competing to...

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...

The Alto Collection

Release Date: 19/02/2015, updated in 2018

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

Skill Rating: 4+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On, Day and Night and Weather

The Alto Collection is a series of games including Alto's Odyssey and Alto's Adventure. Both are action traversal games where you explore beautiful mountains, dunes and canyons on a snowboarding journey full of serenity and secrets. All you have to...

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...

Wordle

Release Date: 20/12/2021

Out Now: Web

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead, Grid and Text

Wordle is a daily puzzle game where you (and anyone else playing that day) try and guess the secret word. You get six guesses that must be real words. Each letter is then coloured to provide clues: green for the right letter in the right place, yellow...

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...

Flock

Release Date: Coming soon

Coming Soon: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox X|S

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

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

Flock is a cooperative traversal and collecting game where you take on the role of a flying shepherd. To play you move around the world tending to your unique herd of flying creatures. It sounds complicated but really it's just a big wild place on the...

Pokemon Go!

Release Date: 06/07/2016

Out Now: Android and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On, Open World and Persistant World

Pokemon Go! is a game you play by walking around in the real world. You play on a smartphone and it can use the GPS to locate, capture, battle, and train virtual creatures, called Pokémon, which appear as if they are in the player's real-world location.

Marching Order

Release Date: 28/11/2018

Out Now: Android and iOS

Skill Rating: 2+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Hand-Made

Marching Order puts you in charge of a disorderly animal marching band. Listen to each animal’s requests to get them in the right order in the game about sequence, rules and order.

SpellTower

Release Date: 25/06/2012

Out Now: iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Text

Spelltower+ is a word-spotting game a little like Boggle mixed with Tetris. As you play, more tiles rise from the bottom of the screen so you need to pick good words to clear down the letters and avoid any letters make it to the top row.

Time on Frog Island

Release Date: 12/07/2022

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

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead, Cartoon, Day and Night and Weather

Time on Frog Island is a world building adventure set on an island of anthropomorphised frogs where you solve puzzles to survive and thrive on an island after a shipwreck. You explore at your own pace and solve sticky situations for the colourful locals...

Ring Fit Adventure

Release Date: 18/10/2019

Out Now: Switch

Components: 2D Overhead

Ring Fit Adventure is a running and jumping adventure game with a difference. You control your character with the circular plastic Ring-Con in your hands and Leg-Strap on your leg. The game can then tell how much you are moving and relate that to...

Spring Falls

Release Date: 17/11/2019

Out Now: Mac, PC and iOS

Components: 2D Overhead and Blocks

Spring Falls is a puzzle where you erode a geometric landscape to let water flow down the mountain and help plants grow. Along with the low-pressure puzzle play, the game offers a calming experience with soft visuals, ambient music and interactive...

Big Ambitions

Release Date: 10/03/2023

Out Now: PC

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Big Ambitions is a role-playing game that simulates running a business. Like similar games, you make decisions about what, where and how to grow your business. Here though the scale is much bigger, so much so you can drive and walk around the city in...

Stick Fight: The Game

Release Date: 28/09/2017, updated in 2021

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

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels

Stick Fight: The Game is a vicious fighting game depicted with stick men. You play by controlling small coloured stick men, who mimic real-world physics and bodily movement. To win you need to use the physics-based movement to land punches, kicks and...

Cats Are Cute

Release Date: 02/09/2020

Out Now: Android and iOS

Components: 2D Overhead and Hand-Made

Cats are Cute is a pet care game where you look after cats and build a town. You collect a variety of cats and buildings around which the cats play and hide. It's really easy to play for youngsters and relaxing for older players.

Good Soduku

Release Date: 20/07/2020

Out Now: iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Text

Good Soduku is the classic puzzle game but made more accessible by removing the leg work of counting and tracking which numbers have been used where.

Letter Rooms

Release Date: 26/05/2021

Out Now: iOS

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On

Letter Rooms is a simple anagram puzzle game. You get a hint and a set of letters and rearrange them to create the answer. This starts simply but adds more complexity like turning letters on and off or flipping letters.

Wii Fit (Series)

Release Date: 25/04/2008

Out Now: Wii and Wii U

Components: 2D Side-On

Wii Fit is a collection of games designed to help you exercise. They use the Wii Balance Board peripheral that works with both Wii Fit on the Wii and Wii Fit Plus on the Wii U. The Balance Board measures the pressure you place on it and enables a range...

Card of Darkness

Release Date: 16/09/2019

Out Now: Apple TV, Mac and iOS

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

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

Card of Darkness is a hand-animated adventure game where you attack enemies represented on cards. This isn't unusual. What is, however, are the small set of intricate rules and charm of each character.

Cinco Paus

Release Date: 25/12/2017, updated in 2021

Out Now: iOS

Components: 2D Overhead and Grid

Cinco Paus is a puzzle game where you try and get through 5 rooms picking up treasure as you go. What makes it unusual are the magic wands that help you do this. What appears to be a maze game turns out to be a challenge to discover the effects of each...

Clive ‘N’ Wrench

Release Date: 24/02/2023

Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5 and Switch

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon

Clive ‘N’ Wrench is a 3D running and jumping game where you play duo, Clive the rabbit and Wrench the monkey on his back. Like Banjo Kazooie and more recent Yooka Laylee, you explore the world to collect tokens and unlock new areas. It's novel as a...

Islands & Trains

Release Date: Coming soon

Coming Soon: PC

Skill Rating: 4+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead, Blocks and Hand-Made

Islands & Trains is a world building game where you place landscape, buildings, bridges, tracks and trains for no other purpose than to make satisfying vignettes. Inspired by games like Townscaper and Dorfromantik you play at your own pace, clicking to...

Really Bad Chess

Release Date: 13/10/2016, updated in 2017

Out Now: Android, iOS and iPhone, iPad

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead, Grid and Text

Really Bad Chess is like chess, but with random pieces selected for each player. Try 8 Knights, 4 Bishops, and 3 pawns. Starting positions are also non-standard. It sounds like a bad idea (hence the name) but actually opens the imposing chess challenge...

Ruya

Release Date: 01/11/2017, updated in 2018

Out Now: Android, PC, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On, Grid and Weather

Ruya is a narrative puzzle game about a mother on a journey of healing after love leaves her. You play as Ruya, meditating and remembering important parts of her life, shown through simple matching puzzles, with each colour tied to one of her children...

Summerhouse

Release Date: 08/03/2024

Coming Soon: PC

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On, Day and Night and Pixels

Summerhouse is a creative game where you design little vignettes by constructing buildings by dragging and dropping doors, windows, roofs and other paraphernalia. Play is about design rather than success or failure, but still offers surprising outcomes...

Wii Play (Series)

Release Date: 02/12/2006, updated in 2011

Out Now: Wii

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon

Wii Play is a collection of multi-player party games originally designed for the Nintendo Wii and its motion controller.

Wurdweb

Release Date: 08/07/2021

Out Now: Apple TV, Mac and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Text

Wurdweb is a word puzzle game modelled on the feeling you get from completing a crossword. Only, unlike a crossword, you are given the words. You select words from your list and connect them to existing words on the board.

Yugo Puzzle

Release Date: 14/10/2021

Out Now: PC

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Grid

Yugo Puzzle is a simple puzzle game where you move jelly blocks left and right to combine them with the same colour. The novelty is the ingenious challenges this simple premise is used to create. It's the kind of game where a single level might take you...

Jump Rope Challenge

Release Date: 15/06/2020

Out Now: Switch

Skill Rating: 4+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Cartoon

Jump Rope Challenge is a virtual skipping game where you hold the Switch controllers like rope handles and skip. The game displays an on-screen counter and you can play with another person at the same time as you compete for a high score.

Super Buckyball Tournament

Release Date: 15/11/2022

Out Now: PC

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Super Buckyball Tournament is a multiplayer futuristic sport game where teams of three battle each other to get an oversized ball into the goal. It's like Rocket League only without those tricky car physics. Instead you use your character to run, pass,...

Toroa

Release Date: Coming soon

Coming Soon: PC

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

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

Toroa is a traversal game where you soar, swoop and glide across the vast Pacific Ocean as a Northern Royal Albatross. You take on an epic journey to help of Māori God of the winds, Tāwhirimātea and discover the wonders of the sea and sky.

Wee Tanks

Release Date: 16/05/2023

Out Now: Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead and Cartoon

Wee Tanks is a shooting and traversal game inspired by Wii Tanks where you control toy tanks in battles against each other. You play by directing your tank and aiming where you are shooting separately. It stands out not only for recreating the fun tank...

Little Hellions

Release Date: Coming soon

Coming Soon: PC

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels

Little Hellions is a retro brawling game where you can't actually fight the other players directly. You kill the other players by putting yourself in harms way and then using your hook-shot to switch places at the last minute. Like Towerfall, it's not...

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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