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While a significant portion of video games focus on combat and competition, these titles offer a less aggressive way to progress and win. None of these games enable or require the player to cause harm to another living thing -- even Mario's merciless campaign to stomp on every Goomba he meets bars him from this list. Or then there's catching and selling fish in Animal Crossing that rule that one out.Many of them are aimed at children and families, but you'll be surprised how many explore deeper, more mature themes in their narratives, or require just as much skill as a fast-paced first-person shooter. This means there's plenty of offer for parents who might lack the reflexes (or interest) to survive a round of Fortnite.We've focused on the games you might not expect to be played non-violently here, but you can find the full list at Non-Violent Games Of the Day curated by James Batchelor. This list includes 391 games from the last 34 years, with 7,404 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to harm no living thing.
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: 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: 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: 14/03/2012, updated in 2019
Out Now: PC, PS3, PS4 and iOS
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: 28/08/2018
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One
Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person
Rocket League is a sports action game where you drive futuristic cars to score goals with an oversized football. It's a game that sounds ridiculous but is actually a huge amount of fun to play and requires a lot of expertise. What's not obvious from the...
Release Date: 20/09/2016
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
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...
Release Date: Coming soon
Coming Soon: PC
Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon, Day and Night and Open World
Mythwrecked: Ambrosia Island is a friend-making adventure game where you help the Greek gods remember their past and unravel a mysterious curse. As you explore the tropical island, you encounter rare treasures and interact with the gods, helping to...
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: 01/10/2011, updated in 2018
Out Now: Switch and Wii
Skill Rating: 4+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon and Open World
Go Vacation is a resort exploration adventure where 50 mini-games can be discovered and played. The mini-golf, skating, surfing, volleyball, car racing, tennis and other games use the Wii and Switch motion-sensitive controllers and are simple fun for...
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...
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. Play involves exploring the town, interacting with the locals and working out what has happened...
Release Date: 25/03/2021, updated in 2022
Out Now: PC and Switch
Components: 2D Overhead, Grid and Hand-Made
Dorfromantik is a peaceful village-building strategy puzzle game for one player, inspired by tile-based board games like Carcassonne. You have a stack of hexagonal tiles and work to match their edges while creating areas of towns, forests and fields to...
Release Date: 24/08/2021
Components: 2D Side-On and Cartoon
Hoa is an adventure game where you walk and jump through a hand-painted world as the mysterious main character. You solve environmental puzzles and meet magical creatures while trying to find your way back home. It's unusual because of its handcrafted...
Release Date: 10/06/2021, updated in 2021
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Components: 3D Third-Person and Hand-Made
Chicory: A Colorful Tale is an adventure where you play an everyday dog thrust into the role of wielding a magic brush. The world starts black and white but you colour it in with your paintbrush to solve puzzles and help your animal friends. It looks...
Release Date: 11/12/2018, updated in 2023
Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Components: 3D First-Person, Day and Night and Open World
Outer Wilds is an exploration space mystery about a solar system trapped in an endless time loop. After twenty minutes of game time, you must start again – but each time brings a new opportunity to learn how you ended up on the planet and solve the...
Release Date: 19/02/2015, updated in 2018
Out Now: Android, Apple TV, Mac, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS
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...
Release Date: 21/11/2019, updated in 2023
Components: 3D Third-Person, Blocks and Open World
The Touryst is a puzzle-based adventure, where you seek to unlock the mysteries of an archipelago of sun-drenched islands. That's if you want to, because the adventure can wait if you'd rather soak up the sun and make the most of your time away by...
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: 20/01/2021
Out Now: Apple TV, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS
Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds
Components: 3D First-Person, Day and Night and Hand-Made
Nuts is an adventure game where you play a rookie field researcher. You use your camera, caravan, GPS and map to investigate the depths of the enigmatic Melmoth Forest. As you study the local squirrel population you uncover a strange mystery.
Release Date: 30/01/2013
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS Vita and PS3
Components: 3D First-Person, Cartoon, Day and Night, Open World and Weather
Proteus is a narrative adventure game which takes you to a pixelated island. As you explore you discover that your presence changes the seasons and time of day. Delving deeper, there are rudimentary interactions with the creatures that inhabit the land,...
Release Date: 29/07/2021
Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One
Omno is a running, jumping and surfing game where you explore an ancient fantastical world. As you explore you meet all manner of strange and wonderful lifeforms, from cute critters to enigmatic giants. It stands out for the approachable collectibility...
Release Date: 22/10/2019
Lonely Mountains Downhill is a racing game where you traverse a mountain on a bike. Make your way through thick forests, narrow trails and wild rivers. Race, jump, slide and try not to crash all the way from the peak to the valley. You choose your route...
Release Date: 23/09/2021
Out Now: PC, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon, Open World and Weather
Sable is an adventure game where you play a young girl, Sable, alone in the world, but bravely exploring ancient monuments, ruined architecture, and fallen ships to uncover her place in it. It's an adventure without combat that calls you to find your...
Release Date: 14/12/2022, updated in 2023
Lil Gator Game is an action-adventure set on an island playground where a young brother invents exciting games to try and get his older sister to play like they used to. You guide your waddling gator to explore the world as you bop cardboard baddies,...
Release Date: 04/12/2020, updated in 2022
Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Submerged Hidden Depths is an adventure game where you sail, climb and explore the ruins of a sunken world. With light puzzle-solving and no combat, you discover a drowned city, crumbling skyscrapers and deserted villages. It's the sequel to the first...
Release Date: 28/10/2016
Out Now: PS4
The Last Guardian is a running, jumping and exploring adventure about a boy who befriends a giant half-bird, half-mammal creature, Trico. You work together to navigate the world, solve puzzles and reach new heights. Unusually, you have to build trust...
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: 28/04/2016, updated in 2021
Pico Park is a collaborative puzzle game for up to 10 players where you traverse levels using one another to solve puzzles. It's a game about communication and physics as players work to position themselves to bridge a gap, use ropes to hang off ledges...
Release Date: 21/03/2020, updated in 2021
Out Now: Apple TV, Mac and iOS
Spyder is a puzzle adventure where you play as Agent 8, a small 6-legged spider-robot that was designed by a British spy agency for attempting to stop an evil organization. You explore the world and can use your sticky legs to walk over any surface or...
Release Date: 18/04/2013, updated in 2014
Out Now: PS Vita, PS3, PS4, Switch, Wii U and Xbox One
Thomas Was Alone is a jumping and puzzle-solving platform game where you control different-coloured rectangles. It sounds boring and derivative but each of the distinctly coloured shapes comes to life in the game as a character embroiled in this escape...
Coming Soon: PC, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
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...
Release Date: 16/10/2012
Out Now: PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4 and iOS
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...
Release Date: 24/09/2001, updated in 2011
Out Now: PS2 and PS3
Ico is a running, jumping and exploring game where you rescue a princess from her evil mother. You take her hand to help her escape, guiding her along the pathways and protecting her from the hordes of enemies. Together, you jump chasms and scale walls...
Release Date: 03/02/2022, updated in 2023
Out Now: Mac, PC, Switch and Xbox One
Components: 3D First-Person, Cartoon, Day and Night, Hand-Made, Open World and Weather
Paradise Marsh is an open-world collecting game where you explore a varied marsh to find insects to put their stars back in the night sky. You wander an endless wetland and collect creatures, skim stones and eat mushrooms as the weather and seasons...
Release Date: 13/03/2019
Out Now: Mac, PC and Switch
Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels
Baba is You requires some lateral thinking. Each level is controlled by rules written on the screen, such as ‘Lava is Hot’, ‘Wall is Stop’ and ‘Flag is Move’. By moving the words around with your pixelated character, you subvert the...
Coming Soon: Mac and PC
Components: 2D Overhead, Cartoon and Hand-Made
Naiad is a gentle adventure game where exploration is fuelled not by extreme distances, dangers or enemies, but by the simple joy of floating in rivers and pools. As a story about nature unfolds you control a nymph-like character who swims through...
Release Date: 15/01/2019, updated in 2019
Out Now: PC and PS4
Vane is an ethereal adventure in a ruined desert where strange golden dust transforms a free-spirited bird into a determined young child. The premise is not all that uncommon, but Vane stands out for how you soar over the desert and climb your way...
Coming Soon: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox X|S and iOS
Components: 2D Overhead and Grid
Paper Trail is a traversal puzzle game about Paige, a budding academic who is leaving home. Play is set in a foldable paper world that you manipulate to join paths, move rocks and overlap the two sides of reality. It's a unique two-sided puzzle that...
Release Date: 05/09/2023
Chants of Sennaar is a traversal and translation puzzle where you play a traveller called to reunite the Peoples of the Tower who are unable to communicate with each other. Play involves exploring the cell-shaded world to decipher the glyph-based...