It’s that time of year again. With each day that passes, we get closer to everyone’s favorite holiday – Toy Day! But even if you’re not planning on spending your holidays running errands for a reindeer named Jingle who is incompetent at his job (seriously – who forgets wrapping paper when their job is delivering gifts?!) chances are, you’re busy with your own errands, looking for the perfect gift for everyone on your list. If anyone on that list is a video game enthusiast, look no further! When it comes to video games that are the perfect combination of fun and educational, we have all of your last-minute holiday shopping covered. ✨🎁
The list below includes award-winners, indie games, games for any console, and more. Did we miss any of your favorite standout educational games from the past year? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook!
Alba: A Wildlife Adventure (ustwo games)
Created by ustwo games and the 2021 Winner of the Games for Change Game of the Year, Most Significant Impact Award, Alba: A Wildlife Adventure is a game about caring for the environment. Players join protagonist Alba and her friend Ines as they explore a Mediterranean island teeming with wildlife. Gameplay includes taking photos of and identifying animals, saving compromised wildlife, and caring for the island. A relaxing experience for players to take at their own pace, Alba: A Wildlife Adventure hopes to imbue players with a message throughout: “Small actions can make a big difference.” Play the game with an Apple Arcade subscription, or purchase the game from Steam for $16.99, or for Nintendo Switch or Xbox for $19.99.
Looking for more conservation-themed games for the animal enthusiast in your life? Check out this list of games!
Learning Factory (Luden.io)
We’ve mentioned Learning Factory here and there on the blog before, which only speaks to how excited we are about this game! Another machine learning title in developer Luden.io’s catalogue, along with while True: learn(), Learning Factory catapults a player into a relaxing world of factory engineering. Avoid catastrophe and renovate, design, and craft a way to a highly efficient factory and happy cat customers! Learning Factory is available on PC and Mac, and costs $14.99 on Steam. There’s also Learning Factory EDU, designed for middle school students and available for free on Luden.io’s website!
For more indie game gift inspiration, check out this roundup of games!
Titans of Space PLUS (DrashVR LLC)
With a perfect 5/5 star review from UploadVR, Titans of Space PLUS is the perfect VR experience for any outer space savant on your gift list! This game features a full recreation of our solar system, narrated and fact-checked guided tours, a zero-gravity spacewalk mode, and the ability to share tours with family and friends. Titans of Space PLUS is a fantastic showcase of the power of VR as a medium for immersive, hands-on learning. Purchase the game on Oculus or Steam for $9.99.
Looking to gift the learner on your list an educational game for the Oculus Quest/Quest 2 specifically? Check out this post!
Lost Words: Beyond the Page (Sketchbook Games and Fourth Slate)
Like Alba: A Wildlife Adventure, Lost Words: Beyond the Page is a 2021 Games for Change Award winner; in this case, it is the winner of the Most Innovative, Best Gameplay Award. This 2D platformer allows players into the mind of a young author named Izzy. The game takes place in Izzy’s journal, where she writes about her own life as well as a fantasy story about a girl named Robyn. To make their way through the narrative, players must use words to solve a variety of puzzles, learning about the significance of words along the way. Developed by Sketchbook Games and Fourth State, and written by video game writer and journalist Rhianna Pratchett, this game is perfect for the young, imaginative storyteller, booklover, or aspiring author in your life! Lost Words: Beyond the Page is available for PC on Steam, and on console (Nintendo Switch, Xbox, and Playstation), for $14.99.
Game Builder Garage (Nintendo)
This past year, Game Builder Garage has definitely been on our radar – twice! Released just last summer, this game allows players to learn about game design and visual programming while building their own games. In a whimsical environment home to creatures called Nodon, players of all ages can enjoy learning the behind-the-scenes of game-making! The game is available only on Nintendo Switch, and you can pick it up from the Nintendo eShop for $29.99.
More video game gift inspiration: