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Adults, Teens

Untrusted by Alex Nisnevich

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Untrusted is a lo-fi adventure game which challenges you to escape from a series of increasingly cryptic puzzle rooms by editing the very code that is running the game in your web browser.

With its atmospheric electronic soundtrack and authentic ASCII-art aesthetic, Untrusted evokes the feel of classic cyberpunk literature and hacker culture, while also helping players improve their programming skills. There has been a wave of games exploring programming concepts recently, but what makes Untrusted stand out is its focus on getting players to really think like a programmer. With a strong emphasis on reading unfamiliar code and modifying it through the creative use of a limited set of commands, the game helps budding coders to develop the core problem solving skills that are transferable to any programming language.

Why we love it:

  • Retro aesthetic gives the game an authentic hacker feel.
  • Open-ended design means there are many solutions.
  • Modifying code makes you think like a programmer.
  • The game’s code is open source and downloadable.

Play it online

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

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

10 by iojoe

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10 is an addictive mash-up of Sudoku and a classic sliding block puzzler which will hone your mental arithmetic and problem solving proficiency. Slide number blocks together to create 10s, once a block becomes 10 it’s rendered immovable, encouraging you to plan your path to perfection. Initially simple it quickly descends into obsessive, head-scratching territory; your brain will thank you.

Why we love it:

  • Incredibly simple pick up and play mechanic.
  • Dozens of levels with an increasing variety of blocks.
  • Works your arithmetic and problem solving skills.

Get it on iOS (free) or buy it for Android

Wuzzit Trouble by Innertube Games

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Set inside a trap-riddled castle, Wuzzit Trouble is an educational puzzle game which teaches mathematical conceptual thinking. Where other educational games use the gameplay as a mask to hide the learning, Wuzzit Trouble’s gameplay is the learning. The game introduces the idea of mathematical experimentation and encourages the idea of refining and improving your strategies for playing, all in the name of releasing the cute and fuzzy Wuzzits.

Why we love it:

  • Original gear-based mechanic.
  • Appealing characters.
  • Improves multiple skills- suitable for a variety of ages.

Buy it for iOS