5 Super Fun Nonviolent Video Games
Violence is a big part of many video games, from shooters like “Call of Duty” and “Halo” to RPGs and adventure games like “Elden Ring” and “Horizon Zero Dawn.” And while these games can be lots of fun, sometimes you want to step back and play something a little less bloody. To that end, we’ve put together a list of some of the best nonviolent video games.
Before we dive in, we need to set a couple ground rules. We wanted super fun games with great graphics, engaging stories and solid gameplay—just with no violence. This means you won’t find any simulators—like “Microsoft Flight Simulator” or “Euro Truck Simulator 2″—on this list. While they’re great relaxing video games, they don’t have that action edge we wanted.
Similarly, we’re not going to take the easy option and just list a load of sports games. While “Madden NFL 22” and “NBA 2K22” are essentially nonviolent, it would be a bit of a cop-out.
Also, when we mean no violence, we really mean no violence. We’re not even allowing games with cartoon killing like “Super Mario 3D World,” “Ratchet and Clank,” “Psychonauts 2” or even “Minecraft” on this list. They’re some of our favorites, and many people would consider them good nonviolent games, but we wanted to do this list on hard mode.
Oh, and one final caveat: This is a list of the best nonviolent games for adults, not a collection of easy-to-play games suitable for young kids. While some of these are peaceful or calming games, others have deep emotional stories or difficult learning curves.
“Animal Crossing: New Horizons” is one of the best video games on the Nintendo Switch, violent or not. You start on a deserted island and have to develop it as you choose, building a village with a community of anthropomorphic animals. As your island grows, you get more visitors and unlock more options. With the online co-op mode, you can even visit your friends’ islands.
While “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” might sound simple, it’s easily one of the most relaxing video games you can play. It’s also easy to sink dozens of hours into it—without even noticing.
Available on: Nintendo Switch
2. “Cities: Skylines“
City builders, like “SimCity,” have always been popular nonviolent video games. The best one you can play at the moment, though, is “Cities: Skylines,” available on almost every platform.
In “Cities: Skylines” you have to create and maintain your own thriving metropolis. The gorgeous graphics and deep gameplay make it super engaging. It’s also been out for a few years, so there is a huge amount of additional content to keep you entertained for months.
Available on: Windows, macOS, Linux, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch
3. “Forza Horizon 5”
“Forza Horizon 5” is set in a gorgeous open-world recreation of Mexico, where you can drive, race, collect and customize an incredible list of cars and generally just have fun behind the wheel. It was one of the games we were most looking forward to last year, and it’s lived up to all expectations. It’s one of the best nonviolent video games on the Xbox One or Xbox Series S and Series X, and it’s a AAA title, to boot.
Available on: Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S
“RiME” is an adventure puzzler, like the “Tomb Raider” or “Uncharted” series, but without any of the gunplay or violence. You have to explore a rugged island with the help of a spirit fox, solve puzzles and uncover the mystery of how you got there—and why. If you’re looking for a traditional adventure with a great story, “RiME” is the one to play.
Available on: Windows, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch
5. “Untitled Goose Game”
“Untitled Goose Game” is one of the best stress-relieving video games of all time, mostly because, as the tagline reads, “It’s a lovely morning in the village and you are a horrible goose.”
Gameplay involves running around, hiding, honking and flapping your wings to bother villagers, steal items and generally cause mischief. It’s impossible to fully convey how fun and lighthearted it all is.
Available on: Windows, macOS, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch
Bonus! 4 more nonviolent video games to check out
You can keep exploring options out there, including iPhone and Android games, and even the occasional free nonviolent video games. Some worth looking at are:
“Chicory: A Colorful Tale” (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Windows, macOS, Nintendo Switch)
“World of Goo” (iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, Nintendo Switch)
“Portal and Portal 2” (Windows, Nintendo Switch)
“Planet Zoo” (Windows)
Game features and availability may have changed and is subject to change. Gaming services may require a subscription and sometimes an additional fee.