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11 Best Games That Aren’t About Sports, Guns Or Assassins

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Call of Duty. Madden. Hitman. Sometimes it seems as though it’s impossible to find a video game that doesn’t rely heavily on either guns, sports or assassins. But don’t worry – there are plenty if you look hard enough.

Looking outside the most popular gaming genres can put you in the shoes of a space pioneer, a ghostly detective or even an octopus in a suit. (Yes, really.)

This is the best time of year for gamers – perhaps you’ve dropped as many hints as humanly possible for a next-gen Xbox One or PS4 under the Crimble tree or maybe you’re just looking to boost your gaming arsenal from the gargantuan selection of new games in the shops. The choice can be a little overwhelming.

The good news is, we’ve done the hard work for you. We’ve trawled through countless gaming options to pull together a top-notch list of 11 best games that aren’t about guns, sports or assassins. Hopefully this will help you when it comes to picking out Christmas pressies for your loved ones, and more importantly, for yourself.

  • Rayman Legends
    First released in 2013 but new to the next-gen consoles in 2014, Rayman Legends is a platform game that boasts gorgeous visuals. But don’t be lulled into a false sense of security just because it looks nice – it’s great fun, but suitably challenging, too. The rudimentary plot revolves around a bunch of tiny characters called Teensies. They’ve been kidnapped and it’s your job to save them while progressing through levels across multiple worlds, testing your skills along the way. If you’ve got one of the existing versions it’s probably not worth updating to next-gen but for newbies, this is a must-have. (£19.85 on PS4)
  • Civilization Beyond Earth
    Based on the same mechanics as its predecessor, Civilization V, this 4X strategy game sees the player travelling through space and founding colonies on other planets following a mysterious disaster on Earth known as ‘The Great Mistake’. Currently only available in Windows but due to hit OS X and Linux in the near future, the game can branch off in a number of directions but the devs have cleverly made it impossible to unlock all of the game’s elements in one play, so it’s a great option if you’re after a game you can revisit more than once. (£26.99)
  • LittleBigPlanet 3
    The latest addition to the saga, LittleBigPlanet 3 sees the return of Sackboy just in time for Christmas. With Stephen Fry once again on board as narrator, the game sticks to the successful blueprint set out by previous versions, while this time hero Sackboy is joined by three new playable friends to help him save Craftworld from some new baddies (one voiced by Fry’s cohort Hugh Laurie). The PS4 version features boosted high-def 1080p graphics along with a range of new tools and power-ups. This is the most ambitious of the LittleBigPlanet games so far, and the good news is that you can access playable levels created in the previous two versions. (£47.99 on PS4)
  • Mario Kart 8
    As the name suggests, this is the eighth fully-fledged instalment in the Mario Kart canon – but this time an anti-gravity feature lets you drive along walls and ceilings. You can also race against up to 11 other people thanks to the online multiplayer. There are plenty of familiar faces from the Mario universe to make you feel at home, but there’s no mistaking the fact that this is the best version of Mario Kart yet and an absolute must-have. This is what the Wii U was made for. (£39.95)
  • Minecraft
    This inexplicably popular title from indie developer Mojang (now owned by Microsoft) is one of the best-selling games of all time. The premise is simple – there isn’t one. There’s no real aim except to do whatever you damn well like, which largely involves building structures out of textured cubes while bouncing around a blocky 3D landscape. The relaxed nature of the game soon becomes incredibly addictive and ultimately time-consuming. You can play Minecraft on all the major consoles, as well as on iOS and Android and it recently made it onto Xbox One and PS Vita. (£13.49 on PS Vita)
  • Octodad: Dadliest Catch
    The sequel to Octodad, first developed by a group of students for the 2011 Independent Games Festival, this slightly bizarre adventure game challenges the player to complete a series of seemingly mundane tasks – from climbing a ladder to mowing the lawn. The only catch is that you have to do it all as an octopus in a suit, who is trying to pass for human, specifically, a suburban father. It may sound bonkers, but the result is an amusing and surprisingly engaging experience, especially the multiplayer mode which enables different players to control separate limbs. (£11.99 on PS4)
  • South Park: TheStick of Truth
    This ludicrously funny game is basically a playable RPG version of the TV show and it’s packed with the same explicit, biting humour so if you’re not a South Park fan already then this probably isn’t for you. Available on the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360, the game puts you in the role of the silent ‘new kid’ who moves to the Colorado town and gets involved in an epic role-play fantasy, with Cartman at the helm. Naturally, things get out of hand. The whole escapade relies on the genius scriptwriting of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. (From £11.60 for PC download)
  • Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor
    Don’t be put off by the overlong title – this action RPG is better than it sounds and is set between the events of The Hobbit and the The Lord of the Rings. Released first on next-gen followed by Xbox 360 and PS3 versions, the game plays fast and loose with the universe set out by Tolkien. You play Talion, a ranger of Gondor who is killed guarding the Black Gate of Mordor. You’re then resurrected with wraith-like powers to take your revenge on the evil Sauron and his crew. If it sounds ridiculous, that’s because it is. But it’s still a hell of a lot of fun to play. (£39.99 on Xbox One)
  • Murdered: Soul Suspect
    Ever wanted to play a game where you have to solve your own murder? Sure you have. This somewhat macabre adventure stealth game sees the ghost of Detective Ronan O’Connor roaming the streets of Salem, piecing together clues to find the serial killer responsible for his untimely demise.

    Action is thin on the ground but there’s plenty to keep you entertained, like a supernatural LA Noire. Available across most of the major consoles, this is not the most technically perfect game around, but a compelling concept and a game that you’ll remember long after you’ve played it. (£23 on PS4)

  • Child of Light
    When a 19th Century Austrian child called Aurora is transported to the mythical land of Lemuria, she discovers that her quest it to find the missing sun, moon and stars which have been stolen by the Dark Queen. Ubisoft’s turn-based RPG is essentially a fairytale, packing beautiful visuals and an emotional coming-of-age story. Following its release on all the major consoles, it has finally made its way onto the PS Vita. A simple, yet highly effective battle system means that Aurora can go toe-to-toe with a diverse bunch of monsters. (£12.85 on PS Vita)
  • Super Smash Bros
    Already out on the 3DS and landing on the Wii U for Christmas, this is Nintendo’s fifth version of its hugely popular fighting game which brings together characters from all of its big gaming universes. The game features a whopping 51 characters to choose from with 17 totally new fighters on board. Obviously Mario’s in there, plus some familiar faces from The Legend of Zelda and Donkey Kong, among others. There are even a few guest appearances, including big-mouthed ghost botherer Pac-Man. The best bit is that eight players can battle it out at the same time. Chaos. (£39.00 on Wii U)
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