There are a lot of video games out there and in this era of mobile and home-based gaming, the choices have never been greater. So how do you cut through the noise and find the “Best of” for any chosen topic?
Well, we’re here to help celebrate and shine a spotlight on some of the latest, greatest and unforgettable games through the years.
For our ongoing series of articles depicting the best video games, our attention this time turns to games that touch upon mental health awareness. From engrossing RPGs to precise platformers, there’s a good choice to whet your appetite.
Of course, if we’ve missed any of your favorites, feel free to comment below, and we’ll get them added on!
Celeste contains beautiful visuals, incredible storytelling, and a slew of mature themes. This game can be challenging but at the same time charming. In it, players must guide their protagonist Madeline through many treacherous events that’ll help her defeat the demons that lay inside her.
Her mission is to reach Celeste Mountain, but the reasons for this are a mystery. The game gradually builds up to this inevitable conclusion wonderfully and fans will enjoy the thrill ride. Madeline’s a deep and likable character that fans will grow attached to as they progress through Celeste.
The gameplay can be rigorous and challenging. You’ll find yourself making simple mistakes and getting frustrated over the game’s level design. For those that find the levels easy, Celeste offers a more challenging mode than many Celeste enthusiasts find difficult to play. If you’re looking for another title with a soothing atmosphere and breathtaking visuals, check out Celeste.
Florence isn’t your typical visual novel game. Its developer Mountains and artist Ustwo put in a lot of effort to craft a mesmerizing and artistic title for players to enjoy. This game may be short, but it packs a powerful punch. With its relatable storyline, emotional interactions, and colorful art style, Florence will win you over.
This game follows Florence Yeoh, a woman stuck living a lackluster life. Fortunately, she’ll meet a cello player named Krish, who’ll help make Florence’s life more dramatic and intriguing. As you follow these two’s daily lives you’ll grow fond of the romantic bond between them. That’s not to say they’re the perfect couple.
Florence and Krish will endure every aspect of romance from flirting to arguing over simple matters. What draws fans toward this game is its relatability, creativity, and impact. Despite little to know gameplay interactivity, players will enjoy exploring Florence’s colorful surroundings.
Unfortunately, the game doesn’t last too long. It’ll take you roughly an hour or so to finish it. While this may sound like a buzzkill, you’ll find its shortened length to be effective. With its simplistic gameplay, endearing narrative, and beautiful soundtrack, Florence is a classy yet powerful game that’ll impress you.
Video games should help people relieve themselves of stress. However, what if there was a title that wanted to give you a taste of sadness on the side? Enter Omori, a game that balances multiple emotions through its sketchbook visuals and mature themes.
This game has you explore two different realms called the real and dream world. The real world is where the hikikomori boy Sunny resides while the dream world harbors his alter-ego, Omori. Both characters want to overcome their worries while fighting strange organisms during their travels. By the end, these boys must make a life-changing decision that’ll affect themselves and the world.
Omori’s gameplay is akin to a turn-based RPG. The characters attack using their emotions. These feelings have strengths and weaknesses. Think rock-paper-scissors, but replace those items with emotions. Omori also harbors multiple endings and the game reluctantly cues you in on what ending you’ll receive. If you’re looking for a game that’ll leave a sorrowful taste in your mouth, check out Omori.
Gris is a stunning yet short game that offers quite the experience. It opens with a girl tumbling through an endless sky and landing in a colorless world. As you progress through the various environments, you will trigger the girl’s emotions, causing a new color to burst into the world.
This strange phenomenon symbolizes her growth. The more color she brings to the world, the more painful life experiences she overcomes. This game’s visuals and scenery will take your breath away. With the Nintendo Switch, you might snap every moment, scene, and background you encounter. Gris evokes the feeling of an art book in motion because of the hand-drawn aesthetic.
However, the game’s art style isn’t the only thing that makes it awesome. Gris contains some fun platforming elements, light puzzles, and some fun boss battles. All three aspects feel more like spectacles than anything remotely challenging. On that note, the game’s relatively short and can be completed in a day or two. If you’re looking for a game where you can unwind and soak in its beautiful imagery, I’d check out Gris.
Have you ever wondered what Animal Crossing would look like if it had action-platforming elements? Look no further than Spiritfarer, developed by Thunder Lotus Games. This title blends action-platforming with Animal Crossing’s iconic town management system well.
It offers a lengthy campaign full of delightful characters and touching plot threads that form a tight-knit game worth remembering. In Spiritfarer, you play as a Spiritfarer named Stella who must explore new worlds, befriend spirits, and help them transition into the afterlife.
On the other hand, you can farm, mine, fish, and craft multiple objects as you traverse the game’s enchanted oceans. Spiritfarer harbors remarkable hand-drawn artwork and fluid animation. The visuals in this game are astonishing. This game can touch upon some heavy-hitting subjects, so don’t be shocked if you end up crying.
The platforming elements are well-constructed. You’ll find these segments enjoyable and not overtly challenging. However, if you’re finding yourself having any trouble with the game’s platform elements, the other activities it delivers emphasizes relaxation. This game will roughly take you 30 hours to complete, but it’s best to enjoy your journey in short play sessions.
The Beginner’s Guide
While walking simulation titles receive backlash for providing boring experiences, The Beginner’s Guide isn’t among them. This game was developed by the same mind that brought you The Stanley Parable. This game features an hour and a half of content to digest, making it easy for anyone to play.
It harbors no agendas for you to tackle. The game wishes to shower you with a narrative about a person struggling to deal with something they can’t understand. That said, the game’s storyline will impact people differently. The title tackles mature themes like depression well.
Some cite it as making people emotional by its conclusion or leaving them staring at their screen, amazed by what it offered. If you’re on the hunt for a bite-sized game that you can binge in a day, check out The Beginner’s Guide.
Night in the Woods
Freedom and independence are two aspects of adult life that appeal to teenagers. College serves as one pathway toward that livelihood. This is the time when teenagers must choose their desired careers, live alone, and possibly forge new bonds. However, games like Night in the Woods showcase the aftermath of those who can’t face college.
In it, we follow college dropout, Mae Borowski who returns to her hometown of Possum Springs to reclaim her old lifestyle. As one can tell, Mae’s bewildered by her friends and the town’s drastic lifestyle change. Therefore, players must help Mae adapt to these instances that confuse her.
This game’s storyline evokes the sense of an interactive drama. It entices players to discuss mature matters with Mae’s friends and to keep track of how she responds. This title delves into aspects of sexuality, tragedy, and mental health efficiently. Give it a try if you’re looking for something with emotional impact.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is an exhilarating and emotionally-draining game. In it, players follow the downward spiral of a broken Celtic warrior named Senua. Senua embarks on a journey through Viking Hell as she hopes to recapture the soul of a fallen lover.
The developers at Ninja Theory pulled off all the stops to make this game feel as authentic as ever. They cite having met up with neuroscientists and people dealing with psychosis to attain information on the phenomenon. From the get-go, players are swarmed with numerous foes aiming to toy with Senua’s mind.
Players can expect these monstrosities to argue against Senua’s wishes and deem her actions in crude ways. Through numerous trials and obstacles, Senua will grow as a person and learn to overcome the despair wrapped around her heart. Gamers searching for an emotional game with an emphasis on mental health should look no further than Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice.
Child Of Light
Most people’s favorite time of the day is nighttime. It allows them to rest and unwind after a long day in the sun. As such, sleeping and dreaming allow people to visit areas of their wildest imaginations. However, what if sleeping led to helping you find a lost loved one or friend? Child of Light tackles this notion beautifully.
It’s an RPG that follows the daughter of an Austrian noble named Aurora. One day, she wakes up in a magical land called Lemuria and receives word about an evil queen stealing Lemuria’s light source. This encourages Aurora to travel to stop the queen and bring peace to Lemuria. Child of Light boasts an incredible coming-of-age tale.
It tries its hardest to make you feel like a hero. Every character you encounter on Aurora’s journey suffers from something negative. Whether it’s fear, betrayal, or hopelessness, players can anticipate meeting non-playable characters who seek to wrap themselves up in Aurora’s arms.
Aurora also matures throughout the game’s narrative, thanks to the people she meets. If you’re looking for another incredible title that will move you, check out Child of Light.
Limbo is an intriguing puzzle platformer with a depressing narrative. In this game, players embark on a journey to discover the protagonist’s sister’s fate while in limbo. The protagonist’s extremely fragile, making map traversal feel tense and dreadful.
The world he travels to lacks color and music. This helps build up the game’s eery atmosphere and maintains the player’s immersion in the world. The game stimulates feelings of grief and loss through its gameplay, visuals, and sound design. Don’t expect any heroes to come to your aid as this title wants to isolate you as much as possible.
The game’s dark aesthetic conveys what people go through when coping with the loss of loved ones. The game’s limited controls and actions emphasize this point effectively. Gamers looking for a saddening world to dive into should give Limbo a shot.
So, there we have it, our pick for the best video games through the years about mental health awareness!
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!