"We wanted to engage them with a sense of hopefulness that the future is long and there are a lot of choices ahead of us," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a video call.

Climate anxiety - including panic attacks, insomnia, and obsessive thinking - linked to worry about the threat of environmental disaster, has become more common in young people, according to The Lancet medical journal.

This is partly linked to youth being at the forefront of climate protests, with about 1.6 million student protesters calling on their governments to urgently tackle climate change in March 2019.

While the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) due to take place in November could accelerate moves by the world's biggest polluters to reduce climate risks, Survive the Century's creators wanted to bring ordinary people into the debate too.

"We're used to the narrative: don't eat beef, don't fly so much and those are the choices you can make on climate change, but this game puts you in a different position," said Christopher Trisos, project lead and an environmental scientist.

The game takes players through different decision-making scenarios, based on science, from vaccine roll-outs to funding technological innovations that can help restore order or trigger anarchy.

At the end of the game, players are directed to a climate organisation near them.

Trisos has already been approached by high schools and universities interested in using the game as part of their curriculum.

Read more from Science & Technology