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Fort McMoney by David Dufresne

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Fort McMoney is a point and click adventure that puts you into the heart of the moral dilemma that is the Canadian oil business. McMoney uses documentary footage to add a deep sense of realism to the game. Taking on the role of environmental detective you meet and greet everyone concerned from the native inhabitants to the executives and politicians that are driving the oil business deep in the Albertan countryside. The framework of the game encourages users to debate the issues with the wider community and for once you get the feeling that there is enough information available in the game to fuel a really constructive dialogue.

Why we love it:

  • Modern take on the point and click adventure
  • Hours of fascinating documentary footage
  • Links to debating forum where the topic can be explored further

Play it online

Sticks and Stones by Littleloud & Channel 4

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Sticks and Stones is a free app and web game developed by Little Loud and commissioned by Channel 4 which aims to throw some light on the murky world of bullying. The player is able to select one of four kids languishing at the bottom of the ‘social ladder’ and help them to earn Kudos to impress their peers. The games focus on different aspects of bullying – allowing the player to defend against attack or display a more aggressive attitude depending on the dice falls. Regular reminders of the real cost of bullying appear between each turn to give the player further context but it’s clearly a game of survival in this dog-eat-dog world.

Why we love it:

  • Fresh and funky art style.
  • Mario Party style mix of game board and mini games.
  • Game ideas come from real life experiences collected from school kids.

Get it for iOS

Dumb Ways to Die by Barrel of Donkeys

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Dumb Ways to Die was created by Barrel of Donkeys as part of a campaign on rail safety for Metro Trains Melbourne, Australia.

The game features 15 snappy mini games in which players must attempt to save cute characters from a variety of grisly deaths – all in a race against time. As players reach high scores, they unlock new characters, seen happily dancing away at the in-game train station. Featuring simple mechanics, a charming 8-bit soundtrack and a wicked sense of humour, Dumb Ways to Die helps raise awareness of a sensitive subject in a way that has broad appeal.

Why we love it:

  • Moreish hook of collectable characters.
  • Perfectly targeted safety campaign packing humour and meaning.
  • Meaningful without being worthy.
  • Smart integration with social networks.

Get it for iOS or Android

Kerbal Space Program by Squad

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Kerbal Space Program is a game where players of all ages create their own space program. The aim is to help the Kerbals to conquer space by building and flying rockets. NASA has partnered with the game on a special downloadable mission pack and KerbalEdu, a cooperative, school-friendly version of space exploration sim Kerbal Space Program, was launched late last year. KSP is still under development, but we can’t wait to see what the team come up with!

Why we love it:

  • Cute characters backed by hard science.
  • Open sandbox promotes learning through experimentation.
  • The demo version is free, and will remain so forever.

Try or buy it here

Nightmare: Malaria by Psyop

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In Nightmare: Malaria you must navigate two worlds – Blood and Brain – set inside a young girl suffering from malaria. Your aim is to kill mosquitoes and save teddy bears. It’s justifiably dark – malaria kills over a million people worldwide every year. Whilst the game is completely free, you will be prompted to donate throughout, with 100% of proceeds going straight to the Against Malaria Foundation.

Why we love it:

  • Graphic, fevered visuals add to the nightmarish atmosphere.
  • The in-game donations.
  • Featuring the voice of Susan Sarandon!

Get it for iOS or Android

The Walk by Six to Start

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The Walk is an adaptive fitness app from the makers of Zombies, Run! and the NHS. With over three month’s worth of super immersive story telling, and hundreds of miles of walking, it helps to establish long term fitness habits. Broader in its appeal than the aforementioned Zombies, Run! The Walk begins with a terrorist attack at Inverness Station. You must escape the city and walk the length of the country, deciding who to trust along the way. The app tracks your steps, how long you’ve walked for, and rewards you with adventure to keep you moving.

Why we love it:

  • Gameplay adjusts its difficulty based on the individual.
  • Motivates long term activity habits.
  • Packed with maps, collectible items and engaging characters.

Buy it for iOS or Android

The Grading Game by Mode of Expression

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The Grading Game casts the player as a hard-nosed teacher with the single-minded aim to FAIL their students. To do this, the player has to spot the grammatical and spelling errors in essays to give Jamie a C by spotting 7 errors in 30 seconds. The whole experience can feel very pressured and it’s a shame that a hard-stop time limit can halt the player before they finish the document but the mechanic is strong and the novelty of playing as a teacher is great fun!

Why we love it:

  • The essays are fascinating and educational to read.
  • Quick gameplay sessions keep the content fresh.
  • Great novelty of playing as a mean-spirited teacher!

Buy it for iOS

Full Steam Ahead by Aardman Animations & ss Great Britain Trust

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Full Steam Ahead is a game in which you design and build steam-powered ships in the spirit of Brunel. Gameplay is goal-focussed, with the player being tasked to create increasingly complex ship designs to meet ever more challenging criteria. The game gives the player the freedom to experiment, with ‘design tips’ orientating the player towards success. A simple currency system and strong art style round-off a very solid product.

Why we love it:

  • Game rewards experimentation.
  • Tip system scaffolds learning.
  • Strong art style.

Download for free now for iOS or Android or play it online

Fraxinus by Team Cooper & The Sainsbury Laboratory

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In the UK Ash trees are being attacked by a serious disease leaving some of the country’s few remaining ancient woodlands in serious danger. Fraxinus is a Facebook game that uses the tree’s real genetic data, and challenges the player to manipulate patterns to match sequences. The game capitalises on human’s capacity for pattern recognition and gives scientists a helping hand sorting the genome of the Ash tree in pursuit of a cure for the disease.

Why we love it:

  • Strong social network integration.
  • Very accessible version of this type of game.
  • Moreish and meaningful.

Play it on Facebook

Sokobond by Alan Hazelden and Harry Lee

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Sokobond is a block-pushing puzzler about chemistry. Rather than being a direct simulation, it inspires further exploration of a sometimes daunting subject. A tutorial-free introduction immerses the player in experimentation as they try to figure out how different atoms bond to make molecules, without being prescriptive or dull. The visual design is beautiful, clear and refined, distilling the essence of the gameplay and learning into a triumph of simplicity. Critically acclaimed for good reason!

Why we love it:

  • A worthy tribute to Japanese classic Sokoban.
  • Clean art style.
  • Gradual and organic learning.

Download it for Mac, Windows & Linux