“If I thought this would never happen again I would die. But this is wrong, nobody dies from lack of sex. It’s lack of love we die from.” – Margaret Atwood
You don’t have to delve too deep into the rabbit hole of your favourite storefront to find a plethora of games about sex, whether it’s the depressingly common jigsaw puzzles of scantily clad anime girls of worryingly indeterminate ages or the occasional tasteful and balanced take on erotica. Sex is everywhere and, for better or worse, the games industry is no exception.
With this in mind, here is a selection of wholesome, and often highly emotive games about love (NOT sex!). These titles explore love via different types of relationships, ranging from romantic to familial to outright toxic!
Games about Love
Florence delivers a relatable and emotive narrative experience. Disaffected, lonely and stuck in a rut, the 25-year-old protagonist stumbles across a handsome cello player and love blossoms. The player follows Florence through the various stages of her relationship with Krish, from flirting to fighting, from helping each other grow … to growing apart. It is a heartfelt look at the different stages of a relationship and a great example of games about love.
Full game review available here.
Tell Me Why
Developer: DONTNOD Entertainment
Released: August 2020
Platforms: Windows, Xbox One
Available on: Steam, Microsoft
Tell Me Why is an intimate mystery in which reunited twins Tyler and Alyson Ronan use their supernatural bond to unravel the memories of their loving but troubled childhood. Set in beautiful small-town Alaska, Tell Me Why features true-to-life characters, mature themes and gripping choices. This game delves into the complicated nature of family relationships but also demonstrates the strength and unconditional love that families can provide.
When the Past was Around
Developer: Mojiken Studio
Released: 22nd September 2020
Platforms: Windows, Mac
Available on: Steam
When the Past was Around is a point-and-click puzzle game about love, loss and moving on. It follows 20-year-old Edda and her mysterious companion through a series of disjointed and puzzle-filled rooms seemingly made from memories. This game is incredibly moving and really captures what it feels like to permanently lose a loved one and how the feeling of loss never truly leaves.
A demo review for this game can be found here!
A New Life
Developer: Angela He
Released: 15th May 2020
Price: £2.09 – £2.89
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS
Available on: Steam, itch.io, Google Play, App Store
a new life is a simple but classic love story of meet, marry, grow old; however, the branching dialogue trees and consequences mean that things do not always work out as planned. The game is a short but stunning example of a visual novel, cleverly weaving its narrative and subtly pulling on heartstrings to elicit a genuine emotional response from the player. At its centre, the game is a touching portrayal of love, loss and loneliness that I recommend highly; it may well make you cry, but it’s worth it!
An in-depth review of this game can be found here.
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
Developer: Starbreeze Studios
Initial Release Date: September 2013
Price: £2.79 – £14.99
Platforms: Windows, Android, iOS, Switch, Playstation, Xbox
Available on: Steam, Humble, GOG, Google Play, Apple Store, Nintendo, PlayStation, Microsoft
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a unique and emotional experience in which you must guide two brothers on an epic, fairy tale journey. The game is a co-op single player (yes you read that right) narrative adventure in which you simultaneously control two brothers using the joysticks and triggers. This unique mechanic is cleverly implemented to help connect the player to the characters and their bond creating a truly moving experience about the potential strength of brotherly love.
Full game review for Brother: A Tale of Two Sons, is available here.
Developer: Polygon Treehouse
Released: July 2020
Price: £17.99 – £19.49
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Switch
Available on: Steam, GOG, Nintendo eShop
Röki is a dark fairy-tale adventure inspired by Scandinavian folklore in which players take on the role of Tove as she embarks on a fantastical journey to save her family. She must traverse deep into a hidden and long-forgotten world of lost folklore filled with strange locations and even stranger creatures. Perhaps a more subtle example of a great game about love, this is primarily a puzzle-based adventure but it also a touching story about the caring and protective nature of familial love, self-discovery and self-acceptance.
Curtain is a short, free, narrative experience about Kaci & Ally, two queer women in a Glasgow punk band. It dives into their home life and explores the subtleties of an unhealthy relationship. It is a piercing exploration of ‘love’ that delves into the intricacies and subtle nature of abuse within a romantic relationship. It mixes tried and tested narrative techniques and interactive storytelling with difficult themes and an experimental art style. This, in turn, creates a fusion of physical and emotional uneasiness that give the overall experience an extra layer of depth and poignancy.
A full review of this title can be found here.
There are heaps of sentimental, emotive, and truly moving games about love that don’t rely on cheap tropes or explicit content to grab the attention of their players, nor can they be played with one hand! This list includes games with a variety of play styles and explores different types of relationships, hopefully providing a nice cross-section of love-related games and something for everyone to enjoy!
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