Video games have become an entertainment giant, with games like Grand Theft Auto V making more money than any other entertainment game in history. It is also an example of violent, excessive violence in video games. In fact, violence is almost a standard theme in video games. From how Mario crushed the hapless Goomba to bloody battles with demons in Doom, video games and violence seem like two sides of the same coin.
However, this is not the case. While shooters and other violent action games can be incredibly popular, the video game environment now includes a huge variety of game designs and mechanics. The game developers have come up with many creative games that do not involve violence against other entities in the game.
Of course, when it comes to gaming, there is a degree of brutality. On this list, we avoid games that even feature the cartoonish level of violence of Mario jumping on things. This means that popular family games like Stardew Valley cannot be featured here because you can kick monsters in the head in this game.
Here are ten nonviolent video games that will give you a varied taste of what the nonviolent gaming world has to offer. Also watch our YouTube video above to see the gameplay.
SimCity is a legendary franchise among simulation enthusiasts, but it really hasn’t been worthy for a long time. The latest version of the main line of games was released in 2013 and caused a lot of controversy thanks to its bad launch and constant internet connection, even for single player mode! There have been some terrible mobile versions since then, but no official version has provided us with the modern equivalent of the core SimCity experience.
This is where Cities: Skylines comes into play. While it may not have the trademark SimCity charm, for obvious reasons this is undoubtedly the best modern outdoor city simulator. Skylines is available on almost all platforms including Switch! It also has great graphics if you have a computer to control them.
What really matters is the actual modeling and building mechanics. Skylines are highly detailed, allowing you to build just about any urban design you like. There are tons of DLCs and expansions as well, and some of the more recent console releases do include some of the DLCs. For example, the Switch version includes the After Dark and Snowfall DLCs.
The base game lacks the more violent aspects of SimCity like natural disasters, but if you really want them, there’s an expansion for that too!
Euro Truck Simulator 2
To be honest, the enduring popularity of Euro Truck Simulator 2 remains a mystery. That is, until you actually play it. Yes, this is a game about driving your big rig through the European countryside and it has a game that deals with expanding your cargo business.
However, what really makes this game worthwhile is the sheer zen pleasure of putting on good music and spending hours traveling down the highway in your truck.
Although the non-violent video game was released back in 2012, it is still actively supported and expanded by the developer. It has one of the largest active player bases on Steam.
After nearly a decade of expansion and modernization, ETS2 offers you thousands of stress-free hours exploring Europe from the cab of your truck. Strange, but it works. You don’t even have to like trucks that much.
Over the past few years, many nonviolent “walking simulators” have emerged. Dear Esther, Gone Home and Journey are typical examples. The problem is that these names broaden the definition of what counts as a “game.” Instead, they could be more accurately described as moderately interactive digital storytelling.
Rime may seem like Journey at first, but it’s actually a true 3D puzzle game. Your character must climb, explore, solve puzzles and avoid monsters. While the game is not particularly difficult or difficult, it is beautiful and well designed.
It has enough gameplay to not be considered a walking simulator. You can get it on just about any platform, but we recommend playing on the console that includes the Switch. The Windows version is pretty poorly optimized in our experience.
You play as a little boy who washes water on the shores of a strange island, where you must solve its secrets, interacting with strange spirits living there. It’s definitely worth checking out.
This non-violent video game is also widely available on many platforms. We played it on both a high-end PC and an iPad Pro. This is a sci-fi puzzle game in which you come into the world as a robot, or as a person controlling a robot, or as a person who thinks he is a robot.
The whole point of this game is to unravel the big secrets of the world you find yourself in, and we will let you experience it first-hand, as it is an integral part of the game.
The main game mechanic is collecting Tetris figures. They are locked behind puzzle zones where you have to solve several puzzling physics and logic puzzles to open the way to the next piece. It’s a lot of fun, and apart from destroying and dumping your robot body, there is no real violence to talk about.
Forza Horizon 4
Yes, this is another vehicle game that seems like an easy choice when looking for non-violent games, but Forza Horizon 4 is not a management simulation game like Euro Truck Simulator. This is no ordinary racing game either. It is an open world game with deep online integration and a wide variety of vehicles, events and race types.
There is nothing quite like this version of Forza, which has a long and legendary history on the Xbox. This version is also available for Windows and, at the time of writing, is part of Xbox Game Pass for PC. If you love racing, this game is able to relieve you of any itch.
The only thing to keep in mind is that Forza Horizon 4 is not really a simulator and not really an arcade game. It’s a good balance of the two, but if you really want a hardcore simulator like Gran Turismo it’s better to look elsewhere.
Another car game? We promise this is unlike the other two wheel games on the list. Instead, it is “car football”. You can play with someone against the computer, just against the computer, the computer, and so on. You control a radio-controlled car and have to score a huge soccer ball into the other team’s goal. Easy, right?
Well, Rocket League is easy to learn but nearly impossible to master. The experts in this game can perform seemingly superhuman movements, but you have many hours of practice ahead of you if that’s your goal. Also available on Switch, making a great non-violent video game to play with friends on the spot.
The “Tetris effect” is what happens when you play a game like Tetris too much and keep seeing it when you close your eyes. It is also the name of the video game that took the world by storm.
Available for both Windows and PS4, this is Tetris like you’ve never seen before. You still place your tetrominoes and clear lines, but they have been spiced up with music and rhythm that creates something new and hypnotic. The game is especially popular in VR, but it’s still great without it.
Fez is already a couple of years old, but it still holds up well thanks to its lovingly drawn retro graphics. The big trick about this side-scrolling platformer is that it’s not actually a 2D game. The entire world can be rotated in 3D, which helps solve puzzles and opens paths for your character. The world is captivating, art-inspired, and you can play Fez on a wide variety of platforms.
Including PS3, PS4 and Vita. In our opinion, the Vita version is the best option for playing on mobile, but you can also play on iOS, which has a lot more users.
Splatoon 2, the sequel to the hit Wii U title, is exclusive to the Nintendo Switch and is a multiplayer third-person shooter. Only there are no bullets or blood here.
You play as a squid man armed with a paint gun. Well, ink if we are correct in the terminology of the game. It has a super creative mechanic where you paint surfaces with your own ink color and then transform into a squid shape to speed up the level.
There is also a single-player mode, so you don’t need friends to play. Simply multiplayer is the main component of this very family-friendly game.
Portal / Portal 2
The last entry on the list is a little deceiving as it includes two non-violent video games. However, these titles are rather short and should be played in pairs. This is a physics puzzle game in which your character is tormented by an insane computer conducting “experiments”. You need to use your portal pistol to find your way avoiding ever more deadly traps.
The script is fun and the gameplay is intense and addictive. Portal games are often referred to as some of the best games of all time, and the fact that you don’t have to shoot anyone to play them was and remains a breath of fresh air.
Love and Peace
Nonviolent games are still quite rare, but we see more and more games where killing is not a core game mechanic. There will always be violent games, and there is nothing wrong with that, but who can bet you have more choices when it comes to choosing your preferred digital entertainment?