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8 Video Games That Deal with Loss, Grief, & Depression

Here are some video games that will put you in the shoes of characters searching for a way out of their internal struggles.

For most of us, video games mean fun and entertainment, but since the rise of indie games, more and more titles have started to explore stories that can communicate with the players on a very emotional level. Some of these games touch on serious themes about mental health such as loss, grief, and depression, making them relatable to the players who are under the same circumstances while giving those who have not experienced them a glimpse and understanding of these feelings.

If you want to give such games a try, then we’ve got the list for you! Below are some video games that will put you in the shoes of characters searching for a way out of their internal struggles.

GRIS

Available on PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, & iOS

GRIS is a beautiful platformer that’s free of danger, frustration, or death. Presented in a mesmerizing watercolor style for its graphics, this puzzle adventure takes the player to the crumbling world of a young girl who is dealing with a painful experience in her life. While there are no dialogues, Gris uses its captivating visuals to tell an emotional story that can still be picked up by the players even without the use of words.

Spiritfarer

Available on PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, and Xbox

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Spiritfarer is a management simulator where you farm, mine, fish, harvest, cook, and craft your way across mystical seas. But what makes this game stand out from similar titles from the genre is its rich stories that will surely leave a mark on you. You play as Stella, who is the ferry master for the deceased. As you sail the seas, expanding your boat as you progress, you also have the opportunity to get to know your passenger spirits before you say farewell and release them into the afterlife.

To The Moon

Available on PC, Nintendo Switch, Android, and iOS

To The Moon is a story-driven top-down RPG that explores the life of a man on his death bed. It follows Dr. Rosalene and Dr. Watts whose job is to give people another chance to live, even if only in their heads before their deaths. In this particular story, the two doctors must traverse an old man’s past to find out the reason for his final wish, and make it come true. His dying wish? To go to the moon. This indie game offers a brilliant story sprinkled with surprising twists, humor, and very heartwarming moments that have left many players in tears.

That Dragon, Cancer

Available on PC, Android, & iOS

This immersive, narrative-driven game delivers a heartwrenching yet beautiful tale that’s based on a true story. A video game developer’s love letter to his young son, Joel, That Dragon, Cancer takes players on a poetic retelling of Joel’s 4-year fight against cancer. It delivers a personal memoir with audio taken from home videos, spoken word poetry, and touching themes of faith, hope, despair, helplessness, and love.

Omori

Available on PC

Omori takes players on an adventure that is vibrant and grim, and bizarre and surreal at the same time. While it looks like an out-of-this-world journey at the surface, this title is actually a psychological horror game that depicts a young hikikomori– people who lock themselves up in their bedrooms, isolated from the world. As Omori explores his world helping others, he wonders why his friends would still want to be with him, and tries to recall an important someone who he seems to have forgotten.

Florence

Available on PC, Nintendo Switch, iOS, and Android

Florence offers an interactive story that puts players in the shoes of the titular character and her life experiences that are so rooted in reality, many would easily relate and feel the girl’s joys and pains even with the lack of in-game text. At the age of 25, Florence feels stuck in an endless loop of work, sleep, and scrolling through social media. Everything changes when she falls in love with the cellist Krish, who gives color to her life. The players then join Florence and Krish in the journey of their relationship, as they grow together, and soon grow apart. With a story that lasts in just 30 minutes, Florence is short but it definitely succeeds in giving players an intimate and heartfelt experience.

Actual Sunlight

Available on PC, Nintendo Switch, Android, & PlayStation Vita

This game bares a dark and bleak story with themes of depression and suicide that may not be suitable to players sensitive to such topics. The game makes players live the life Evan Winter, an overweight, lonely, and depressed young professional. As Evan struggles with his career, family, and love, he is also searching for his purpose in life. As the negatives pile up, the protagonist’s hopes of pressing on with life continues to dwindle. Delivered almost entirely in text, Actual Sunlight offers a very story-driven experience with little gaming mechanics.

Night in the Woods

Available on PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, Xbox, and iOS

Night in the Woods is a colorful adventure game about exploration that features anthropomorphic animals with human problems. The game follows the college dropout Mae Borowski, who returns to the her hometown Possum Springs to resume her former life and reconnect with friends. But Mae would find that the people she knew have all grown and changed– and there’s something hidden in the woods. Dive deep into the rich stories of this game’s characters and let their lives connect with yours in this emotional rollercoaster of a game.

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Looking for more video games to play? Check out our latest video game lists. Stay in the loop and connect with us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

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