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Great Games to Get Ready for Going Back To School

It's that time of year when a new school year is on the horizon and families start to make the shift from fun and relaxing to learning. We've spent some time tracking down some games that are still a lot of fun, but also start to get the brain and creativity in gear for school.

Lifeslide (Apple TV, PC, iOS)

Learn about the physics and mechanics of flight in a wide range of challenging conditions. Lifeslide is an adventure where you fly a paper plane through an ever-changing landscape. It's a metaphorical journey through the stages of life as you learn to use eddies and up-drafts to soar higher and further.

You control your paper plane to gather momentum by using the terrain and the currents it creates to explore the world. It's simple to control with a direction stick, but nuanced to get the most out of every breeze. "Simple input, refined outcome" is the motto behind the flight mechanic which creates a blend of arcade and physics-driven gameplay.

Chariot (PS3, PS4, Switch, Wii U and Xbox One)

Learn the physics of weight and momentum. But also, learn how important communication and team work are. Chariot is a co-op platform game where you haul around a wheeled Chariot, to the end of each level. Pushing, pulling or dragging with ropes, you need to use the real physics of the game to solve puzzles and time jumps to get the heavy object to the destinations.

The Chariot contains the remains of the king, whose last wishes were to be buried in peace. The game is best played with a partner, although you can play it on your own. It's a unique combination of puzzles and action while having an old-school platforming feel like Rainbow Islands or Bubble Bobble.

Otteretto (Mac, PC and Web)

Learn what palindromes are and how to spot them. Otteretto is a puzzle game where you match blocks to make palindromes. Rather than the usual match-three format, instead, you have to find patterns that mirror in the middle, like a palindrome but with colours/shapes rather than letters.

Play involves using the mouse to highlight a series of blocks in the well. Your aim is to create long strings of colours that form the aforementioned palindromes. This starts simply but soon leads to the strategic selection of shorter palindromes (sometimes just a single block) to set up longer strings.

Slice Fractions (Android, PC and iOS)

Learn about fractions but in a fun and engging way. Slice Fractions and Slice Fractions 2 are maths-based puzzle games where you slice objects to create specific fractions that clear the path, and defeat ghosts and enemies. It's a simple challenge that blends learning about one of the most essential parts of mathematics with an enjoyable and engaging story.

You play a small woolly mammoth and must clear a path through the wilderness by defeating ghosts and moving the correct fractions to the right places. You create the fractions by slicing through objects like in Fruit Ninja. They then slide into place and clear the path. You can also burst bubbles that suspend fractions and slice through chains to move the fraction to where they need to go.

80 Days (Amazon Fire, Android, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS)

Learn about travel and the importance of decisions with unintended consequences. 80 Days is a travel and culture discovery game set in 1872, where decisions about your journey around the world impact the course of the story and characters. You play be deciding where to go next and talking to the people you meet to find the right resources for your journey. It's a globe-hopping adventure that stands out for its steampunk-meets-1872 setting and branching story.

You play Phileas Fogg's loyal valet, Passepartout, and work to balance your master's health, finances and the ever-ticking clock. It's a game about making the right choices in ever more pressing circumstances. You choose which path and means of transport to take from city to city in an effort to get all the way around the world. You can bribe your way onto early departures, trade items for profit, and collect the equipment for the conditions you'll face.

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Andrew Robertson
Andy Robertson is the editor of AskAboutGames and has written for national press and broadcast about video games and families for over 15 years. He has just published the Taming Gaming book with its Family Video Game Database.