Thought-Provoking Nonviolent Games for Tweens and Teens

Frequently, people focus on the challenges that players face when gaming: Are your reflexes fast enough? Are your strategies clever enough to outwit the computer or other players? Have you selected the right group of characters to destroy your enemies? But there are plenty of games that don't focus on these traits at all. Here, taking your time to ponder the story and explore the environment is more important than the number of points you score or enemies you defeat. In fact, in these games, you won't commit any violence or engage in combat at all (any aggressive sequences are background items designed to advance the plot or the story). Looking to use your brain instead of your brawn? Look no further than the titles below. We also have lists for players interested in games that promote critical thinking, games that promote empathy, or games that promote collaboration.

404Sight Poster Image
GAME

404Sight

age 10+

Fast-paced challenging action tries to teach Net lesson.

Platforms: Windows (2015)
See full review
Abzu Poster Image
GAME

Abzu

age 10+

Artistic aquatic adventure filled with mystery, wonder.

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows (2016)
See full review
Blackwood Crossing Poster Image
GAME

Blackwood Crossing

age 10+

Story with clumsy controls explores loss, letting go.

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One (2017)
See full review
Concrete Genie Poster Image
GAME

Concrete Genie

age 10+

Great anti-bullying game swaps fighting for art.

Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation VR (2019)
See full review
One Upon Light Poster Image
GAME

One Upon Light

age 10+

Challenging yet frustrating puzzler has confusing story.

Platforms: PlayStation 4 (2015)
See full review
Pneuma: Breath of Life Poster Image
GAME

Pneuma: Breath of Life

age 10+

Vexing puzzler is safe for kids but could prove frustrating.

Platforms: Mac, Windows, Xbox One (2015)
See full review
Quadrilateral Cowboy Poster Image
GAME

Quadrilateral Cowboy

age 10+

Intentionally confusing puzzler tests ideas behind gaming.

Platforms: Windows (2016)
See full review
Rituals Poster Image
GAME

Rituals

age 10+

Short adventure captivates with puzzles, intriguing story.

Platforms: Mac, Windows (2015)
See full review
Road Not Taken Poster Image
GAME

Road Not Taken

age 10+

Inventive and challenging puzzler has quirky humor.

Platforms: Mac, PlayStation 4, Windows (2014)
See full review
Samorost 3 Poster Image
GAME

Samorost 3

age 10+

Exploration-heavy adventure game with tough puzzles.

Platforms: Mac, Windows (2016)
See full review
Seasons After Fall Poster Image
GAME

Seasons After Fall

age 10+

Artistically beautiful journey needs guidance during play.

Platforms: Windows (2016)
See full review
Sym Poster Image
GAME

Sym

age 10+

Clever puzzler addresses social anxiety disorder.

Platforms: Mac, Windows (2015)
See full review
The Swapper Poster Image
GAME

The Swapper

age 10+

Fun, spooky, puzzle-based clone adventure set in space.

See full review
The Talos Principle Poster Image
GAME

The Talos Principle

age 10+

Tech-focused sci-fi puzzler challenges, makes players think.

Platforms: Linux, Mac, Windows (2014)
See full review
The Turing Test Poster Image
GAME

The Turing Test

age 10+

Average puzzler grapples with some big questions.

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One (2016)
See full review
Thomas Was Alone Poster Image
GAME

Thomas Was Alone

age 10+

Fun platformer with a lovely story about friendship.

Platforms: Mac, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Windows (2013)
See full review
Walden, A Game Poster Image
GAME

Walden, A Game

age 10+

Beautiful open-world survival game promotes self-reflection.

Platforms: Mac, PlayStation 4, Windows (2017)
See full review
The Witness Poster Image
GAME

The Witness

age 11+

Brilliant puzzle game is challenging but deeply rewarding.

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows (2016)
See full review
Echochrome Poster Image
GAME

Echochrome

age 12+

Sophisticated puzzle game with simple visuals.

Platforms: PlayStation 3, PSP (2008)
See full review
Quandary Poster Image
WEBSITE

Quandary

age 12+

Decision-making sim shows that choices have shades of gray.

URL: https://www.quandarygame.org/ (2013)