Sometimes it seems like all of the biggest and most popular video games are all about violence and gore. If that's not really your thing, that's fine — there are some great games out there for you that don't rely on hacking, bludgeoning, and murdering your opponents. Here the best options for getting your game on without getting your Xbox One controller bloody.
Updated May 26, 2017: We updated this guide to include the whimsical exploration title Rime, and the ultimate city builder, Cities: Skylines.
Cities: Skylines is probably the best non-violent game on Xbox One right now, giving players hours upon hours of addictive, raw gameplay, as well as opportunities to create and problem solve, wrapped in a vibrant and gorgeous aesthetic.
Cities: Skylines is a classic town-building game, giving players heaps of tools to build the cities of their dreams. You'll have to manage water treatment, electricity, the health of your citizens, demand for housing, commerce, industry, and much more. Cities: Skylines can be a little complex to get to grips with, but we put together a full and comprehensive guide on how to get started right here.
Cities: Skylines is an amazing title, and it's one fans of creativity and management should never overlook.
Rime is an explorative adventure game with a subtle narrative and an intentional omission of combat.
In Rime, you must guide a young boy through a vibrant and detailed overworld, solving visual puzzles as you go. The game features no combat, instead placing an emphasis on majestic atmospherics, exploration, and a charming narrative.
What is the truth behind Rime's mysterious cloaked watcher? Who is the child, and why were they lost at sea? What are the strange statues and abandoned automatons scattered throughout Rime's landscape? Rime's intriguing questions will drive you forward.
Stardew Valley will be a walk down almost-nostalgia lane for fans of the Harvest Moon franchise. You'll need to clear land in order to build up your farm, as well as explore and collect resources. There is a mine to explore, fields to plow, animals to acquire, and an entire town full of people to meet and befriend. On top of all of that, a mega corporation is aiming to take over the town and shutter the small town businesses scattered nearby. There's a mystery surrounding the old Town Center to solve. Your goal will be to help bring the town back to it's former glory — and enjoy yourself along the way.
One note: While this game is 99 percent non-violent, there is some basic combat in the mines. This comes in the form of attacking slimes, skeletons, and other creatures who dwell in the mine. The violence is very low key, and there is no death within the game.
Forza Horizon 3
Forza is a name that immediately may have you thinking of racing beautiful cars across glorious settings. Horizon 3 is the biggest Forza game yet, putting you behind the wheel of more than 350 different vehicles racing across breathtaking Australia. That means you can expect deserts, rainforests, and even dense urban skyscrapers, with plenty of new features like drift zones.
Forza Horizon 3 also has an emphasis on co-op gameplay. This means you can play with up to three other friends at once, or even get them involved when they aren't able to hop online and play. Likewise, there is a ton of customization available from the color of your car, to the aspects of races that you can play with friends. While this is a racing game, there is a ton more to see and discover, all while going as fast as you possibly can.
The Jackbox Party Pack 3
The Jackbox Party Pack 3 is actually five smaller party games for you to share with your friends. From trivia games, to battling t-shirts, to games where lying is half of the point. All of these games are made to be played with friends, and each one is more absurd than the last. If you're looking for a great game to share with your kids, or to play when you have friends over for a game night, this is a fantastic place to start. All that is required is that you suspend all seriousness, because these games require an enjoyment of absurdity.
Video games are the masters of bringing things to life that you never expected, but it's doubtful you've ever seen a protagonist like Yarny before. He's an animated, living ball of yarn that slowly unravels as he travels through the world solving physics-based puzzles. You'll be able to swing from branch to branch on a tree, or catch hold of a flying kite to get to the next section of the game. You'll have to be daring, jumping from falling rocks or creating swings across ravines — and timing is definitely key.
The backgrounds on this game are absolutely gorgeous, too, so don't be surprised if at the beginning of a stage you're tempted to just stand there and take in the atmosphere. It also has a story about the ties that bind family, and as you adventure through gardens, forests, and more, you'll be collecting the memories of a family to bring everything back together.
Cooking up food for a horde of hungry customers doesn't necessarily seem like fun. However, when it's Overcooked that we're talking about, that idea goes right out the window. Working together with the cooks in your kitchen you'll need to whip up some tasty treats for your customers, or deal with their wrath if you aren't moving quickly enough. This isn't your brother's cooking game either. You'll run restaurants in snowy fields, and on cracked earth raised above magma. With each additional area, the stakes will rise, so your skills will need to be on point in order to succeed.
Because you're controlling a number of cooks, your time management skills will need to be on point as well. You'll have to keep an eye on everything going on, and be ready for organized chaos in the process.
Abzu is a game with a simple premise and gorgeous execution. Your goal is to try and find the origin of Abzu, the protagonist in the story, while exploring a vast and beautifully alive ocean. That ocean is not a static thing, either. You'll find underwater volcanoes turning the world red, massive kelp forests that you nearly get lost in, and thousands upon thousands of fish all moving in a realistic and individual fashion. The game is primarily an exploration of the ocean, but the mystery surrounding Abzu and the ruins at the bottom of the ocean will propel you forward to find out where you came from, and why you're here. As you delve deeper into the mystery, you'll also see Abzu's connection to the water and those that dwell within it increase.
You might not be familiar with this game if you've been living under a rock for years, but otherwise it's a solid bet that you've had at least one friend who has tried to drag you into Minecraft. This open world allows you to build just about anything that you can possibly build, provided you can imagine it. While the normal and survival modes do contain a bit of violence, the real fun of Minecraft doesn't have any at all.
I'm talking about creative mode. It's within this mode that folks have recreated Hogwarts from Harry Potter, functional virtual computers, monuments from the real world, and so much more. In creative mode you have access to all of the resources you could possibly need, to build anything your imagination can come up with. You can also invite friends in, if you're working in a realm, allowing for awesome collaborative worlds filled with awesome creations from top to bottom.
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