The Best Games About Nature

Many games draw their inspiration from nature and the wild. Developers approach this theme differently. Some create a relaxing atmosphere, while others craft a harrowing survival adventure. The natural world is also an excellent backdrop for puzzle and strategy titles using colorful environments.

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Lush forests, dense jungles, snow-capped peaks, and glistening bodies of water make game worlds exciting to explore. The desolate and dry desert landscape also holds a remarkable awe-inspiring beauty. Many games incorporate Mother Nature, but the following titles do so in many unique ways worth experiencing.

The games we’ve selected span a range of genres, including simulation, survival, exploration, platformer, and puzzle.

10 Call Of The Wild: The Angler

Norway lake shore COTW The Angler

Imagine an unspoiled wilderness full of trees, magnificent peaks, rivers, and lakes. This backcountry is the world you step into once you launch Call of the Wild: The Angler. This game is an excellent fishing simulator but offers much more, with several activities available across the large map.

Shop for equipment, identify invasive plants, climb ranger towers, and survey the surrounding landscape. The photorealistic environments are unbelievable and immerse you in a relaxing place untouched by man.

This game defaults to multiplayer with an opportunity to encounter other players on the map. However, you can play the game in single-player if you choose.

9 Stranded Deep

amazing sunset in stranded deep on deserted island

Stranded Deep

Released
April 21, 2020

Developer(s)
Beam Team Games

Publisher(s)
Beam Team Games

Many survival games are available, but few capture the experience quite like Stranded Deep. After surviving a plane crash, you find yourself adrift in the Pacific and stumble upon several small islands. The gameplay mechanics capture the brutal reality of the picturesque setting.

You must eat, drink, sleep, and even protect your character from sunburns to make it out alive. The glistening ocean water hides terrifying sharks like the Tiger and Great White. But this same ocean also offers valuable bounty found in underwater shipwrecks strewn about the map.

8 Green Hell

Your character with a spear standing by the edge of a bright blue river and surrounding foliage in Green Hell.

Green Hell

Released
September 5, 2019

Developer(s)
Creepy Jar

Publisher(s)
Creepy Jar

In one of the most gorgeous but inhospitable places, Green Hell throws you into the Amazon rainforest. Starting with no resources, you need to craft tools to hunt and build. The game’s wildlife is dangerous and includes parasites you must avoid to remain alive. If that wasn’t enough, you must also grapple with your character’s mental health.

Related: Best Indie Survival Games To Explore On Your Own

The jungle environment is believable, with one of the main challenges being traversal over obstacles. The local Indigenous people don’t seem to take kindly to your presence either, and encounters with them can end swiftly. If you crave a realistic, challenging, and detailed survival experience, a trip into Green Hell may be in order.

7 A Short Hike

claire flying in a short hike

A Short Hike will appeal to you if you’re in the mood for a calm, exploration adventure. Hawk Peak Provincial Park calls you to walk, climb, and fly through its colorful terrain. An isometric perspective gives you a downward view of the artistically rendered lakes, mountains, and valleys.

You play as a bird who journeys to the summit of the area’s tallest feature. But there is so much to experience along the way. This game differs from most in that you can go at your own pace, take whichever path you choose, and it rewards you.

6 Beyond Blue

Mirai from Beyond Blue swimming in the ocean with whales and fish

Feast your eyes on a stunning blue abyss filled with mysteries and astonishing life. Beyond Blue is a third-person exploration game with two storylines playing simultaneously. Incorporating content from Blue Planet 2, this title is also educational. For those who love the ocean, this is an excellent choice for a tranquil gaming experience.

You play as a diver who must explore underwater areas, investigating and scanning your surroundings. The eye-catching visuals include detailed models and realistic lighting. Once you’ve completed the dives, you’ll unlock more than a dozen interviews with oceanographers and marine biologists.

5 Firewatch

Firewatch Small Puddle In A Valley

Firewatch

Released
February 9, 2016

Developer(s)
Campo Santo

Publisher(s)
Campo Santo , Panic

Firewatch is an intriguing adventure that takes place in the striking Wyoming woodlands. The art style has a pleasing, almost-painted look to it. This game uses the wilderness to help unravel a mystery. Your character must traverse the terrain, and the story unfolds through dialog.

This game builds a surprising amount of story through conversations on the radio. It’s well-written, and the voice acting is top-notch. This game doesn’t feature action-packed set-pieces or wild death-defying segments. Instead, it’s atmospheric and thought-provoking, asking you to make game-changing choices.

Some of the themes and dialog in this title may be too mature for younger audiences.

4 Spirit Of The North

a wide shot of a fox from the game Spirit of the North sat on a rock surrounded by a blue aura overlooking a rocky field

One of the advantages of nature as a theme in a video game is the ability to incorporate visual storytelling. Spirit of the North uses the appealing wonder of wild Iceland to take you on an unconventional journey. Very little is explained; instead, you must discover the greater meaning yourself along the way.

You play as a fox from a third-person perspective. You learn early on that you are connected to the northern lights, and a spirit appears to you when needed. You will traverse through rocky and snowy terrain, activating ancient stone carvings to progress. These stone glyphs add puzzle-solving aspects to the adventure.

3 Grounded

Grounded characters Willow and Pete standing in dry grass area

Do you wonder what it would be like to suddenly be the size of an ant and lost in your backyard? Grounded is the definitive virtual experience of being shrunk and attempting to survive. Exploration, base building, combat, crafting, and more are included. This game uniquely uses natural environments via an uncommon perspective.

Related: Grounded: All Bosses, Ranked By Difficulty

Grass can be as tall as trees, mushrooms rival skyscrapers and your average spider is more than a nuisance. It’s interesting to navigate these immense challenges that, at average size, aren’t even a second thought. This game forces you to look at the minuscule world of insects in a new light.

2 Ori And The Blind Forest

Ori and the Blind Forest - Sunken Glades

Ori and the Blind Forest is a challenging platformer with a hand-painted look. You play as Ori, a small creature tasked with bringing light back to the forest. Each section of wilderness you encounter is darkened and full of enemies you must defeat.

To clear an area and remove the darkness, you also must complete a challenging escape. The colorful graphics and themes of restoring nature are satisfying throughout. But don’t mistake this attractive 2D side-scroller for a calm and casual experience. This game plays more like classic Mega Man or Metroid than anything else.

1 Terra Nil

Terra Nil (4)

Terra Nil

Released
2023-00-00

Developer
Free Lives

Imagine a city builder without the city. Terra Nil is a game that tasks you with transforming a desolate landscape into a lush environment. At first, your patch of the world is ugly, devoid of life, and contains dirty water and air.

You must plant vegetation to clean the air, install water purifying systems, and power it with wind turbines. You also must locate various animals and move them to your thriving biome. The environmental message of the game is evident as you must recycle materials to progress further.

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