In the last couple of years, advancements in making video games more accessible for the blind and visually impaired have been on a positive rise. Maybe it’s the addition of a well-done menu narration, maybe it’s using sound effects to help with spatial awareness, maybe it’s ledge detection. There’s a good number of games out there that offer accessibility features like these, but what would be the top 5 games for blind and visually impaired players that we recommend?
So, the following list has been curated for a mixture of blind and visually impaired players, should that be those who are sightless and need narration, or should it be those who need visual features like high contrast. We’ve tried to keep it a small list but with some great games that we recommend playing. We’ll be sure to explain and link to any reviews that we have on the game so you can get a deeper understanding of what’s available.
The Last of Us Part 2
Rather unsurprisingly, The Last of Us: Part 2 has made the list, and for good reason. Naughty Dog’s gritty story-driven title has a wealth of accessibility features for numerous disabilities, but the work done to allow the game to be played by blind and visually impaired players has been praised all across the industry. We’ve seen creators crying at the options, a 9.5/10 blind review here at Can I Play That?, and even post-launch updates to improve the experience.
Those looking to jump into the game can expect to find text-to-speech support, ledge detection, high-contrast mode, a pinging audio system to help navigation, and more. While the game itself may be dark and grim, the experience for disabled players has been incredibly inclusive.
The Last of Us: Part 2 is available on PS4 and PS5.
Sequence Storm is a small indie title from Special Magic Games, and while we don’t have a review on the title, the game is free-to-play and was one of the talks at GAConf 2020. Players take control of a ship that races through an arcade track along to a rhythm. The developer says that it is fully playable by blind and visually impaired players, including menu narration from first boot and an option for audible cues which is the “blind-accessible mode” as noted in the official talk from GAConf.
The game narrates the static cutscenes, uses audio for rhythm controls, and has other audio elements to help with racing. It does have small text across the game, however, so players hoping for large text won’t get to experience that. Despite that though, there are 28 arcade tracks, 28 story missions, 10 trial sequences, a track editor, and arcade leaderboards.
Sequence Storm is available on PC.
Gears Tactics, developed by Splash Damage and The Coalition took the accessibility learnings from Gears 5 and made a game that blew Steve Saylor and Grant Stoner away in their accessibility impressions video. The strategy title includes a “Let The Game Read To Me” feature that narrates the majority of the game elements such as menus, in-game buttons, and HUD elements.
If you’re a fan of the Gears games but like your isometric strategy titles, then this comes packed with your usual turn-based gameplay. There is a lot of small text throughout that cannot be adjusted, but if narration is what you’re after this is certainly robust.
Gears Tactics is available on PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series S, and Xbox Series X.
The Vale: Shadow of the Crown
If you’re after a game that is purely focused on an audio experience, then The Vale: Shadow of the Crown is a new release from Falling Squirrel that has no visuals and instead uses audio. We don’t have a review on this, unfortunately, but we did talk about how it could be a look into the future of accessible gaming, especially for blind players if studios gave as much consideration for blind accessibility as Falling Squirrel did for The Vale.
The game is fully narrated and takes place in a fantasy setting where the player will have to engage in melee combat as they explore a world around them. This is all done through the use of audio, allowing the player to follow 3D audio and determine distances and attacks. The narration is also done by a real person as opposed to a robotic voice.
The Vale: Shadow of the Crown is available on PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series S, and Xbox Series S.
Sea of Thieves
Sea of Thieves from Rare has been a popular swash-buckling pirate adventure for many players. While the game launched back in 2017, post-launch updates have seen the studio make a huge commitment to accessibility. As a result, you can expect to see options such as narrated toasts, menu narration, emotes narration, and recently the studio added support for compass narration.
There’s been a fair deal of improvements across the board and there’s a dedicated accessibility menu within the options menu that has a bunch of helpful features such as auto-floating and more.
Sea of Thieves is available on PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series S, and Xbox Series X.