Violence-free video games for two players
November 30, 2015 6:13 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for games my young teen daughter and I can play together on our computers, probably through Steam, that have no killing, and are not too stressful.

I love Portal 2 (but have already played through myself and in a team) and old school "puzzles in moody worlds" stuff like Myst. She seems to most like "casual games" and "girl games" right now, which I think points to her liking character building and stuff that is not too challenging, but also can get down with strategy and puzzle games, and I think she'd like the harder puzzles if we were doing them together so could help each other when it gets compicated. She recently played through and liked a text adventure game and I used to love those.

I'm totally not into killing games. We're pretty wide open right now. We both have computers and Steam accounts.
posted by latkes to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (17 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Have you ever played Peggle? It is delightful and addictive. I know it's old news now but if you've never played it, I think it'd be right up you and your daughter's alley!
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 6:27 PM on November 30, 2015 [3 favorites]

Here's my "adventurous" suggestion if you're able to play in the same room together:
"Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons" is not intended to be multiplayer - it has one player controlling two characters that must cooperate and combine their abilities to get past the obstacles in their journey. BUT... I have a sneaking suspicion it would be quite a bit of fun to play together with someone else, each picking one of the brothers and both of you operating your half of the controller/keyboard at the same time. Part of the difficulty of the game is wrapping your head around playing two characters, so that aspect becomes easier, but it also becomes harder because when you think you have figured out a clever plan, you have to communicate and co-ordinate it together. I haven't tried it two-player, I just have a suspicion it might be fun to do so.

(FWIW, my most memorable two-player co-op experiences have been from two people working together to play a single-player game rather than from playing games designed for multiplayer, so I'll happily suggest playing games in ways they weren't intended.)
posted by anonymisc at 6:28 PM on November 30, 2015 [2 favorites]

Trine 2
Rocket League
posted by pilibeen at 6:31 PM on November 30, 2015

There's a whole genre of adventure games you can check out, good to do with a friend, inflected toward comedy or story or atmosphere or what have you.

My wife and I are playing Grim Fandango (comic/story) and enjoying it right now, I am happy to recommend it specifically. (we had to cheat on one puzzle! it can be tricky!)

Along with what's on Steam, you might take a look at the adventure games on Between Steam and GOG you can stay busy on a budget for a long, long time.
posted by mattu at 6:31 PM on November 30, 2015 [2 favorites]

I think Trine 2 would be right up your alley! It's a co-op, puzzle based game. Plus it's on sale for $3 on steam right now.
posted by QueenHawkeye at 6:31 PM on November 30, 2015

Way has been in beta forever, but what's there is fun.
posted by falsedmitri at 6:49 PM on November 30, 2015

I agree that a lot of fun can be had by taking turns on a single player adventure or puzzle game. I think my most fun co-op experiences have been that - sitting together in front of a screen, taking turns at the controls, and solving things together. There are quite a few of the old-school type adventure games that would work fine like that on Steam. Looking through my game library, I see: Grim Fandango Remastered, Secret of Monkey Island/Monkey Island 2, the Sam & Max games, Beyond Good & Evil, Psychonauts, the Longest Journey/Dreamfall (it's a series), Syberia 1/2, Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers remastered.

Other thoughts: Plants Vs. Zombies. Agree on Trine and Trine 2 and Rocket League (best played with a controller, though). Braid. Besiege is great building/physics fun, but may be too much violence (killing soldiers defending the castle you are besieging).
posted by gemmy at 6:58 PM on November 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Chariot is perfect!
posted by infinitywaltz at 7:03 PM on November 30, 2015

Trine isn't "no killing," though it's not the focus.

I think you might still be able to play Uru: Ages Beyond Myst over internet, somehow, but it's likely more complicated than you want. Still, that's the closest game to what you want.

Vertiginous Golf is a minigolf game with fanciful courses and "super moves" that you can play together online.

Don't Starve Together can be played pacifist, though you'll need to tweak the settings to make it bearable. No Deerclops!

Monaco is similar; there are characters that specialize in avoiding combat.
posted by LogicalDash at 7:22 PM on November 30, 2015

Oh, also! Aperture Tag is a modification for Portal 2...that removes the portal gun. Now you can only shoot gels. It has co-op levels!
posted by LogicalDash at 7:30 PM on November 30, 2015

With respect to old school text adventures, a formative experience for me personally was playing on the original TinyMUD run out of CMU. My friends and I would connect to it from a command prompt, type commands like "@dig room" to create a room or "@desc room" to describe it, and that description would be the text someone sees when they move to the room. If you also create objects and keys, you have the basic elements of a text adventure game. Tricks like creating rooms with similar names but slightly different descriptions can make it seem like a room has changed. Etc.

I spent about 30 minutes trying to get different MUDs working on my computer, and in the end, Evennia worked pretty well for me. It could take a lot longer for someone lacking the basic ideas, but it's pretty well documented, and once you have it running "@batchcommand" seems to install a basic adventure.

As an alternative I've never tried, you could probably set up a Minecraft server with no monsters and just build stuff together (googling a bit suggests "peaceful" mode and/or this might work: "/gamerule doMobSpawning false").
posted by Monsieur Caution at 7:31 PM on November 30, 2015

How about online chess? It has the benefit that you don't even have to be playing at the same time. You could make your move in the morning and she could make hers in the evening.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 7:45 PM on November 30, 2015

+1 for "Brothers." It's a singular experience, and exactly what you're looking for.
posted by jbickers at 2:47 AM on December 1, 2015

The Talos Principle and The Swapper. Both have the same writer and are similarly structured in that they have a number of standalone puzzles with an outside narrative. They touch on philosophical subjects along the way. I really enjoyed both.

One caveat about The Swapper is that the gameplay involves making clones and then swapping your consciousness to another clone, sometimes needing to sacrifice the previous clone to progress. One of the themes this game touches on is what are you willing to do to survive. So I can't say it's totally devoid of violence, but it doesn't involve any traditional shooting or killing enemies. I was considering not recommending it, but of the two games it's the one I liked more.
posted by cali59 at 8:20 PM on December 1, 2015

It's not out yet, but Pitfall Planet might be what you want.
posted by LogicalDash at 1:28 PM on December 4, 2015

Space Food Truck is on Steam, and is co-op to up to 4 players. Sorry for the late reply, but I only just discovered it via the excellent Letsplayer, Scott Manley. Here's his 20 minute video of SFT. It's a turn-based card game with some animation, and no combat (that I've yet seen).

Another game, also about making food in space, is Nom Nom Galaxy (steam link), a side-scrolling soup-making adventure, maybe somewhat like 2-D minecraft where you build a base and farm to make soups which you put into rockets and fire them into space to your customers. (Oh, to live in the future...)

NNG does seem to have some tower-defense aspects, as well as hostile vegetables, which you can see in the trailer on Steam, but it's mostly a management game. Co-op up to 4 players.
posted by Sunburnt at 3:02 PM on December 9, 2015

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