Seeking pretty, engaging games with no violence: 2019 edition
November 8, 2019 8:45 AM   Subscribe

I asked this question six years ago, but I'm getting an Xbox One and so I thought I'd ask again: what's new on the visually stunning, nonviolent exploration/puzzle games front?

Here's my question from 2013. In a nutshell: nothing violent, nothing that requires speed/good reflexes to play. Pretty. Puzzles and exploration. Myst, Dear Esther, Gone Home, Kentucky Route Zero, The Witness, and Syberia are on my radar. What's new?
posted by rabbitrabbit to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (14 answers total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
posted by neushoorn at 9:11 AM on November 8, 2019

I don't know if it passes the "good reflexes" prohibition, but Unravel (and it's sequel Unravel 2) passes all other requirements. You can get both in one bundle.
posted by Betelgeuse at 9:17 AM on November 8, 2019

What Remains of Edith Finch
The above are all available with Xbox game pass as well.
posted by subocoyne at 9:23 AM on November 8, 2019 [3 favorites]

This game is from 2016, so not really cutting edge anymore, but Firewatch is available on the Xbox One and it ticks your boxes.
posted by zeusianfog at 9:34 AM on November 8, 2019

Outer Wilds was easily one of my favourite games of the year. Also on Game Pass! (But I liked it so much I paid a money to buy it for real!)
posted by Monster_Zero at 9:54 AM on November 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

The Talos Principle is excellent. Beautiful world, spooky ambient plot, and the puzzles get pretty dastardly for being made up of just a few simple components.
posted by Wulfhere at 10:08 AM on November 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

I bought my girlfriend the ultimate cutest, no violence, beautiful game it turns out. You just go around and talk to people, solve some problems, paint pictures in beautiful places, sell or give the paintings away... it's great. So relaxing.



Outer Wilds was easily one of my favourite games of the year. Also on Game Pass! (But I liked it so much I paid a money to buy it for real!)
posted by Monster_Zero at 11:54 AM on November 8 [+] [!]

Don't confuse it with Outer WORLDS which is also on Game Pass. That game is super good too, but is an oldschool RPG that's like Firefly + Fallout. It definitely has violence.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 10:10 AM on November 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

The Gardens Between is a short, slight, delightful puzzle game about childhood friendship. It's only a couple of hours long, but it's a lovely way to spend those couple of hours.

(and it's included with Game Pass, if you have it)
posted by parm at 12:58 PM on November 8, 2019

I enjoyed Yoku's Island Express, with a single large, highly interlinked world, exploration based pinball game (yes, a little weird). Very pretty art, the pinball is real-time reflexes, but never very hard either, and you have infinite lives to keep trying.
posted by cschneid at 4:05 PM on November 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

Journey. Same makers as Abzu. Beautiful, peaceful, even meditative, non-competitive and you can't die.
posted by Archipelago at 4:27 PM on November 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

Gorogoa won a bunch of awards in 2018. It's a beautifully hand-illustrated game that gently does incredibly creative things with puzzle-solving and visual storytelling. It's a few hours long.
posted by Pwoink at 5:43 PM on November 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

I just read this review for Disco Elysium and it sounds right up your and my alley. It’s like an isometric open world RPG but with clever conversation instead of combat. And the screenshots in the review look absolutely lovely. Sadly it won’t be available for consoles until some unknown date in 2020.
posted by ejs at 9:08 AM on November 9, 2019

I cannot recommend What Remains of Edith Finch enough. Both that, and Tacoma are really good stories. they both deal with exploring character's deaths, however. There is no violence perse, but both stories are about exploring the people that left us behind.
Oxenfree was also good! A visual story, no violence, but i little spooky-ish. Very enjoyable.
RiME and The Witness, great puzzles. The Witness is a bit more difficult than RiME, but they're both enjoyable. There's no real resolution to the story of The Witness, just to warn you.

((Secretly adding in Everybody's Gone to the Rapture for future people coming to this question who have a PS4 or PC. It's not available on Xbox, unfortunately. ))
posted by FirstMateKate at 8:37 AM on November 11, 2019

A Short Hike is one of the most sweet, gentle, and wholesome games I've ever played. It's a short little exploration game about hiking up a mountain, but your character is a bird and the game has a surprisingly satisfying gliding/flying mechanic. You can play it in a couple of sittings, but it's deeper than it looks. The writing is fresh and funny.

It's not on Xbox, but will run on a modest computer.

Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles is available on Xbox. At first glance it looks like a Harvest Moon/Stardew Valley type of thing like My Time at Portia. But it only has a very tiny bit of trading and farming. It's almost entirely about exploration, finding secrets, seeing something beautiful in the distance and then trying to work out how to get there.

It's completely non-violent and beautiful in a cartoon-Zelda sort of way.
posted by straight at 2:26 AM on January 21, 2020

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