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Video games often create spaces like beautiful paintings. Designers and artists spend years crafting worlds that invite us to interact with realistic or stylised brushstrokes. The games in this list let the play take part in that painting process.Some of the games here, like Okami or Concrete Genie, use painting as a way to solve puzzles to progress through the game. Other games in the list, like Splatoon, De Blob or Chicory, use painting as a way to interact with the game world itself. Then there are games like The Unfinished Swan, that use painting as a way of revealing what is in front of you, giving the impression of limited faculties. Finally, there are games like Ete or Dordogne, that use painting in the game to express emotion.Unlike the world of real painting, in video games, anyone can create a masterpiece. The game Sloppy Forgeries, uses this idea as its main mechanic. You are presented with a classic painting and given a limited time to race other players to recreate it. In amongst the frantic silliness is something lovely. The usual barriers to creativity fall, as we all get stuck in and have a go. Another notable game is If Found where you are erasing your drawings and paintings in a powerful way that aligns with a narrative of rediscovered identity. This list includes 43 games from the last 18 years, with 827 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to paint your game world.
Release Date: 12/02/2009
Out Now: PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4 and iOS
Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds
Components: 3D First-Person, Open World and Weather
Flower is a traversal collecting game where you control the breeze across fields of grass and blow petals into other flowers to make them bloom. Flower is simple and single-purpose in evoking the feeling of the wind. What starts as an awkward struggle...
Release Date: 10/06/2021, updated in 2021
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds
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: 13/06/2023
Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
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: 22/11/2013, updated in 2015
Out Now: PS Vita and PS4
Tearaway Unfolded is an adventure game where you explore a folklore-filled fantasy world that's made entirely of paper. You play by moving around the world, running, jumping and collecting items to unlock doors and fight enemies. It stands out for how...
Release Date: 04/07/2017
Out Now: PS4
Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds
Components: 2D Side-On
That's You! is a family quiz game played on the PlayStation using Android or iOS phones/tablets as controllers. The game displays a challenge on the main TV screen that each player tries to complete on the device in their hand.
Release Date: 16/10/2012
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: Coming soon
Coming Soon: PC
Components: 3D First-Person and Hand-Made
Ete (été, which means summer) is a gentle adventure where you discover memories by exploring with your camera, music and paint. The screen starts almost entirely blank, and as you move around and interact you create vivid colourful memories.
Release Date: 21/07/2017, updated in 2022
Out Now: Switch
Components: 3D First-Person and Cartoon
Splatoon on the Wii U, Splatoon 2 and Splatoon 3 on the Switch are games where you shoot ink rather than bullets in this deeply skilled combat game. As well as taking out opponents, teams work together to cover the arena with their colour of ink. This...
Release Date: 06/10/2019
Out Now: Android, Apple TV, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox X|S and iOS
Gris is a platform game where you guide a young girl through a crumbling world. Through beautiful metaphoric landscapes and soaring music, the game touches on emotions of loss and longing but doesn’t resolve to a firm narrative. Although not hugely...
Release Date: 25/08/2021, updated in 2022
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and iOS
Components: 2D Side-On and Hand-Made
Behind the Frame is a narrative adventure where you click and interact with different scenes to help a young woman become an artist. You explore the different locations to uncover and work on the different paintings. It's a combination of escape room...
Release Date: 14/10/2019
Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds
Dreams is a creative game where you make your own games and play other people's creations. It's easy to dive in and create something simple using the basic controls, then as your skill and imagination grow the complexity and detail of your games can...
Release Date: 22/10/2021
Skill Rating: 4+ year-olds
Components: 2D Side-On, Cartoon and Day and Night
My Friend Peppa Pig is a narrative role-play game. It recreates the TV show Peppa Pig and features a few of the voice actors from the programme. Unlike the show, you are in the cartoon, controlling a character you create. You play with Peppa and her...
Release Date: 25/09/2020
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, Web and iOS
Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds
Components: 2D Overhead and Hand-Made
Empty is a minimalist puzzle game that teaches the value of simplicity in life. You rotate and interact with different vignettes to line up items with the same background colour. As you do this they disappear and the scene slowly empties.
Release Date: 20/04/2006, updated in 2017
Out Now: DS, PC, PS2, PS3, PS4, Switch, Wii and Xbox One
Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night, Hand-Made and Open World
Okami (Okamiden on Nintendo DS) is an unusual action-adventure. Combat is via interactions that are achieved with brush strokes rather than weapons. It has a unique visual style that invites you to inhabit its painted world with brushstrokes of your...
Release Date: 20/10/2020
Out Now: Mac and PC
Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds
Scribble It is a digital take on the classic board game Pictionary. You take turns drawing a word as the other players try to be the first one to guess it. The benefit is that you don't have to be in the same place to play. Also, there's the added...
Release Date: 19/05/2020
Out Now: Android, Switch and iOS
If Found is an interactive narrative game about searching for connection. You touch the screen to rub out and erase text and drawings. Set on December 31st 1993 in the crumbling ruins of a mansion on Achill Island, you play Kasio as she destroys her diary.
Release Date: 14/08/2019
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4 and Xbox One
Components: 3D First-Person, Day and Night and Open World
Eastshade is a slow exploration game in a world you explore by walking around. Here, though, you play as a painter of landscapes rather than typical hero. Your mission is to paint your deceased mother’s favourite sights, but it's the world and its...
Release Date: 20/08/2019
Components: 3D Third-Person
Concrete Genie is a running and jumping game about a young boy, who is isolated and bullied, in this exploration platform game with a twist. Using motion controls and buttons you can draw beautiful graffiti on the buildings, which come to life. These...
Release Date: 27/07/2019, updated in 2020
Out Now: PS4 and PS5
Colour with Crayons is a running and jumping game. You are a crayon in a world made from art supplies. Find the required number of transparent boxes and colour them in to progress. It's an unusual premise extended by the optional hunt for cones to...
Release Date: 26/01/2022
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS
Components: 2D Side-On and Grid
Please, Touch The Artwork is a puzzle game that tells a story with real abstract paintings. Unconventionally it asks, what would happen if we did touch the artwork in museums? The answer is revealed over three stories each focusing on a different...
Release Date: 03/12/2013, updated in 2022
Out Now: Android, PC, PS4, Switch, Wii U, Xbox One and iOS
Components: 2D Side-On, Hand-Made and Open World
Draw a Stickman: Epic 3 s Epic 3 is the latest game in the series, and you are on a mission to save your friends who have been scattered throughout the world by an earthquake. Work out the puzzles so you can progress through the game.
Release Date: 05/08/2015
Out Now: PC, PS Vita, PS4, Switch and Xbox One
Ink is a running (sliding) and jumping game where you see the platforms you are jumping on by splashing them with ink. You control a little white square that, along with splashing colour everywhere, can jump on enemies and climb walls.
Release Date: 12/08/2018
Out Now: Amazon Fire, Android and iOS
Skill Rating: 2+ year-olds
Components: 2D Side-On and Cartoon
Khan Academy Kids is a free series of game activities staring bright animal characters. Matching animals and photos, solving maths, social scenarios or enjoying some art time, Khan Academy Kids provides a playful framework.
Release Date: 04/05/2016, updated in 2021
Out Now: Mac, iOS and iPhone, iPad
Inks is a messy pinball game that combines puzzle with platforming. It's like a traditional game of pinball, however you are aiming to splash the ball through each coloured area rather than rack up high scores.
Release Date: 30/10/2019
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS
Components: 2D Overhead
The Wanderer: Frankenstein's Creature is an adventure game that offers a fresh (and remarkably faithful) look at the myth of Frankenstein. As you move through the hand-painted world you piece together who you are and where you came from. You choose not...
Release Date: 13/09/2019
Out Now: Apple TV, Mac and iOS
Tint is a puzzle game you solve by painting. You mix watercolours to match the colour of the origami. The aesthetic and the low-pressure puzzles make for a soothing experience. There are no timers, no countdowns, no points and certainly no rush,...
Release Date: 25/12/2009, updated in 2016
Out Now: 3DS and 2DS, DS and Wii U
Art Academy is a creative painting game for Nintendo systems, that leads children through step-by-step art lessons. An in-game tutor teaches you to develop basic art skills and techniques. Along with the lessons, there's a free paint mode with all the...
Release Date: 26/04/2018
Out Now: PC
Sloppy Forgeries is a painting game where you race an opponent at copying a famous art piece as quickly and accurately as possible. You win by having the largest percentage of paint in the correct areas. The game randomly selects a painting to copy and...
Release Date: 05/04/2012, updated in 2020
Out Now: 3DS and 2DS, Android, PS Vita, Switch and iOS
Colors! is a painting game for handheld gaming devices. It introduces concepts of creating digital art in an easy and accessible way. You take on challenges to draw pictures and can share them with others online. You can also play back your drawings to...
Release Date: 29/09/2022
Moonbreaker is a strategy game that plays like a physical tabletop game. Using hand-painted figures you fight opponents in tactical turn-based battles in a new universe created by bestselling author Brandon Sanderson. It has the detailed painting,...
Release Date: 27/05/2021
Out Now: Mac, PC and Switch
Weaving Tides is a puzzle game set in a magical woven world. You ride a carpet dragon that both transports you and weaves fabric into the world to help you advance.
Release Date: 23/10/2017
Out Now: Android, Web and iOS
Boo! is a Halloween-themed puzzle game where you decorate pumpkins using cauldrons of coloured paint. The twist is that to create each design, you need to cover up different parts of the pumpkin using an assortment of items. The challenge is to apply...
Release Date: 26/09/2008, updated in 2011
Out Now: DS, PC, PS3, PS4, Switch, Wii, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS
Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon
De Blob 2 is a platform-puzzle game where you explore cartoon-style urban landscapes to recolour the city. You play a sponge-like creature that can collect coloured paint and take it to different locations to turn the buildings and landscape features to...
Release Date: 11/01/2023
Illustrated is a puzzle game where you discover the stories behind each picture by solving jigsaw and word puzzles. You play by placing puzzle pieces but each picture is paired with another puzzle about the artist's story behind their work.
Release Date: 12/09/2023
Out Now: Mac, PC and PS5
Nour: Play With Your Food is an experimental music game where you create different dishes and plates of food. Unusually, the focus is on sound rather than just visuals. As you add ingredients and food elements they each add sounds.
Release Date: 15/10/2014
Out Now: Xbox 360 and Xbox One
Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved is an Xbox Kinect camera dancing game using your whole body. Its narrative follows Disney’s Fantasia film as you take a musical journey to earn your sorcerer’s hat. Sweeping your arms to trigger the orchestra, pointing...
Release Date: 09/09/2019
Out Now: Android and iOS
Ten People Ten Colors is a puzzle game where you help walking figures get to the exit. It's unusual because you can only control the level's background colour. Using the colour wheel you can match the background to foreground elements, which makes them...
Release Date: 17/06/2011, updated in 2011
Out Now: PS3, Xbox 360 and Xbox One
Child of Eden is a dance and motion game that uses the Xbox Kinect camera. You use your body to shoot and move. Rather than fruit, however, here it’s beautiful firework-style visuals and music that are the challenge.
Release Date: 26/04/2018, updated in 2023
Out Now: Android, PC, PS4, Switch and iOS
Inked is a puzzle game where you play a sketched hero venturing into the world of ink and paper, from the perspective of the artist who drew you. With simple controls, you traverse platforms and ramps and solve a range of hand-drawn puzzles with...
Coming Soon: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One
Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World
Ruffy and the Riverside is an action-adventure game set in the hand-drawn world of Riverside. You run, jump and explore the world with one big twist: you can swap any material to help you get where you need to go. This copy-and-paste novelty is a big...