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For those learning to read, or learning to read English as a second language, video games offer an opportunity to play and interact with the meaning of words. Many games include written dialogue or subtitles of spoken performances, but more interesting in this context are games that use words and sentences as a form of interaction.There are games like A Dark Room, that offer nouns and verbs as the means of interacting with the world. There are games like Scribblenauts, that let the player enter words to conjure items to solve problems. There are games like Nanotale where you need to enter words to record items in your catalogue and advance the story.Other games are also useful to those learning English as a second language as you easily can switch between different languages. Also, you can play dialogue-heavy games at your own pace as the action won’t advance without you. This list includes 21 games from the last 15 years, with 295 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to Learn English as second language.
Release Date: 13/03/2019
Out Now: Mac, PC and Switch
Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds
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...
Release Date: 01/09/2020
Out Now: Android, Web and iOS
Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds
Components: 2D Side-On and Text
Penrose is a text adventure, where you don't only read the story and choose its next step, but can go back into the text to change it in all sorts of mind-bending ways. As the developer describes it, "Penrose is a non-linear narrative adventure game...
Release Date: 22/10/2021
Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
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: 29/01/2020, updated in 2023
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch and Xbox One
Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds
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: 10/06/2013, updated in 2019
Out Now: Switch, Web and iOS
Components: Open World and Text
A Dark Room is an adventure where you try and survive in the wild. The world is depicted with just text but leads you into a dense narrative with intriguing visitors and a steadily expanding world. It has a simple start – a single option to stoke a...
Release Date: 12/06/2020
Out Now: Android and iOS
Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds
Gogogo! is a puzzle party game where friends and family compete in clever skill and knowledge challenges revolving around their smartphones. There are memory games, reaction games, word puzzles, challenges where you spin on the spot or tap a dot on your...
Release Date: 15/09/2009
Out Now: 3DS and 2DS, Amazon Fire, Android, DS, PC, PS4, Switch, Wii U, Xbox One and iOS
Components: 2D Side-On, Cartoon and Hand-Made
Scribblenauts is a series of puzzle games which you solve by typing the names of everyday objects so they appear in the game and let you progress. What's surprising is the sheer number of items included in the game. This means you can solve problems in...
Release Date: 05/06/2019, updated in 2020
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS
Ord is an unusual text adventure, rather than one grand story, you embark on a series of distinct quests. Whether it's defeating an evil warlock or creating your own world as a god, Ord tells stories through simple series of words and word associations...
Release Date: 01/12/2012
Spaceteam is a puzzle communication game where players pilot a spaceship, each with their own control panel on their smartphone or tablet screen. The switches, dials, sliders and levers are labelled with randomly-generated peculiar names: ‘Astral...
Release Date: 05/08/2021
Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch and Xbox One
Components: 2D Overhead, Cartoon and Open World
Dodgeball Academia is a sports game that focuses as much on story as sporting action. You play Otto, who hopes to become the ultimate dodgeball player. To do this you need to build a diverse team and learn new skills.
Release Date: 19/11/2015, updated in 2017
Out Now: Android, PC, PS4, Switch, Wii U, Xbox One and iOS
Components: 2D Side-On and Hand-Made
Typoman is a running, jumping puzzle game where you use letters and words to solve puzzles and progress. You play as a character made of letters in a hostile land with evil creatures. As this unusual character, you make your way through the world...
Release Date: 04/06/2020
Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds
Components: 2D Side-On
Words For A Bird is a short adventure you play by completing sentences. You follow the story of a purple bird. Each sentence is completed with letters from the tree in which the bird sits, along with a clue tile in the middle of the screen.
Release Date: 11/11/2021
Out Now: Switch
Beat! Talk! is a rhythm game where you press buttons while speaking out loud to learn the syncopation and tempo of speaking English, with supported languages being Japanese, Korean and Chinese. As if that wasn't unusual enough, in the game you are...
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...
Release Date: 06/08/2019
Out Now: Android, PC and iOS
Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon and Open World
Earthlingo is a hidden object vocabulary game. You are given an object to find in one of 14 different languages and then explore the world to locate it. It's not a new idea, but here the world and things you do are rich and feel more like a...
Release Date: 09/02/2022
Letters: A Written Adventure is a running and jumping literary puzzle where you write letters to your pen pal throughout the stages of your life. What's unique is that you physically explore each letter, using the lines as platforms and changing words...
Release Date: 23/09/2019, updated in 2021
Out Now: PC and Stadia
Components: 2D Overhead and Open World
Nanotale - Typing Chronicles is an adventure game where you type to progress through a magical planet on the brink of extinction. You play as Rosalind, a novice Archivist, on a journey to study and catalogue the mysteries of the dying planet. Your goal...
Release Date: 10/08/2012, updated in 2016
Ordet is a word puzzle game where you make as many words as possible with seven letters. If you can find a seven-letter word you advance to the next level. The novelty here is over 1000 hand crafted levels.
Release Date: 26/01/2019, updated in 2021
Subwords is trivia spelling puzzle game. Unlike other spelling challenges, words are split into syllables rather than letters. You tap them in order as fast as possible. Each level has a topic or theme that you need to learn to find the words.
Release Date: 14/11/2018
Out Now: PS4
WordHunters is a world-travelling word game you play on the PlayStation using a smartphone or tablet rather than a controller. The smartphone and tablet screens make picking letters easy for all ages and the camera on these devices is used to put each...
Release Date: 12/03/2020
Out Now: PC
Components: 2D Side-On and Grid
Kana Quest is a puzzle game that teaches you how to read Japanese Katakana and Hiragana (a phonetic lettering system that's one component of the Japanese writing system). The puzzles are a grid of different Kana and Hiragana characters that you aim to...