The last few years have been full of ups and downs, and every minute the world moves faster.
For many of us, the best way to deal with the difficulties of living in the 21st century is to get off the train of life and into the magical world of games.
Even so, not every game is the same. We all have our favorite books, but not all of them are exactly “relaxing.”
Sometimes, the fast pace of a Need for Speed race or the do-or-die action of a League of Legends match just doesn’t help you relax.
Let’s turn that around and look at some of the best books to read if you just want to relax and take it all in.
Make some tea, build a pillow fort, and come hang out with me while we look at these great video games for relaxing.
- 27. A Short Hike
- 26. Everything
- 25. Tetris Effect
- 24. Proteus
- 23. flOw
- 22. Yoshi’s Crafted World
- 21. Hatoful Boyfriend
- 20. Alto’s Odyssey
- 19. Minecraft
- 18. Rocket League
- 17. Cities: Skylines
- 16. Civilization VI
- 15. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
- 14. Firewatch
- 13. Abzu
- 12. Gris
- 11. NEKOPARA
- 10. Untitled Goose Game
- 9. Katamari Damacy Reroll
- 8. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture
- 7. Journey
- 6. Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town
- 5. DOOM Eternal
- 4. The Sims 4
- 3. Stardew Valley
- 2. My Oasis
- 1. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
27. A Short Hike
A Short Hike is exactly what it sounds like. The only thing you can do in it is explore, and you can finish it in a few hours at most.
Even though the game isn’t long or hard to play, most Steam reviews call it a calm gem.
Finding wealth, swimming, fishing, and talking to other hiker NPCs are all important parts of the game.
Players are urged to play slowly because the easiest way to the top isn’t always the way they have to go.
It’s a good book to read on a quiet afternoon at home.
Everything is a strategy game that came out on Steam, the Nintendo Switch, and the PS4. In it, the player can take on the role of everything.
They could be a plant, an animal, a rock, an insect, a planet, a star system, a piece of land, or even a microorganism.
There is no story, but the player can fill out the book by playing all of the roles.
During the game, the player also gets recordings of Alan Watts’s quotes.
So, while gamers travel around the world, they can listen to Watts talk about Buddhist, Taoist, and Hindu thought, which is also a nice way to relax.
25. Tetris Effect
You might not think of Tetris as “relaxing” at first, but this new version of the classic game has a lot more to offer visually than your average puzzle game.
Tetris Effect’s graphics are as close to surreal as you can get without breaking the law. They are bright and interesting.
Aside from the great graphics, the game also has a great and varied music that goes well with what’s happening on screen.
Proteus is mostly a game about walking. But it’s different because you’ll be discovering a pixelated world with flowers, trees, mountains, and other things that are beautiful in nature.
The images and the retro synth-based music give the place a bit of an alien feel, which adds to the game’s overall sense of wonder.
It is a good goal to try to figure out the secrets of the world.
But no one will force you to do it.
You can go at your own pace as you look around this lush, digital island.
Like our last entry, flOw’s virtual world lets players choose how they want to experience it.
You start out as a small, simple life form that floats around on a kind of sea from the beginning of time.
As you swim around, you’ll find smaller creatures that you can eat and slowly change into something more complicated.
You could spend your whole life trying to find increasingly stronger opponents to fight, or you could just swim around and enjoy the scenery.
22. Yoshi’s Crafted World
I always feel at ease when I see cute characters and bright graphics, and Yoshi’s Crafted World is one of the cutest and most colorful games on the Nintendo Switch.
This beautiful game is a platformer like Paper Mario, but everything is made out of craft paper and wood.
Just put your feet up, relax, and let Yoshi’s calm charm do the rest.
21. Hatoful Boyfriend
Laughter is often the best way to take our minds off of how stressed our lives are.
And there is a lot of that in Hatoful Boyfriend.
The idea of the game itself is already funny.
You are the first human student at St. PigeoNation’s Institute, where charming pigeons from all over the country come to improve their minds.
Some of the most mysterious and famous pigeons have taken an interest in you.
In other words, it’s a dating simulation game in which you date pigeons.
Still, Hatoful Boyfriend is more than meets the eye.
And you’ll have to play the game more than once to find all the secrets in Pigeonation’s Institute.
20. Alto’s Odyssey
The sequel to the popular mobile game “Alto’s Adventure” has a lot of the same relaxing fun, but it has a new desert look and a few other interesting changes.
This easy-to-learn game has you snowboarding through different areas, avoiding obstacles by hopping, and doing tricks to earn points.
You can also play through the Zen Mode to enjoy the graphics and the thrill of landing tricks without thinking about surviving.
When you think of Minecraft, you probably think of chaos and spending money you don’t want to.
But if you try it, you’ll find that there’s a whole world of options underneath.
Minecraft is all about exploring and being artistic, no matter what age group it is aimed at.
In Survival Mode, you make tools, build a home, and go out into the world to find more resources so you can live in the woods.
But if that’s not your thing, you can switch to Creative Mode and use an endless number of building blocks to build huge structures. Not to mention all the amazing mods that will keep you busy for months.
18. Rocket League
You might think that competitive games have nothing to do with relaxing.
But Rocket League is different from other online team games because of its strange idea.
To put it simply, Rocket League is a game where cars that are driven by a remote play soccer. It’s a mess, but it’s charming and very interesting.
This makes it a great way to get your mind off of the problems you face every day.
Also, the game’s matching system works pretty well. You can usually find a lot of people to play with who have the same level of skill as you do. This makes it a tough but ultimately satisfying experience.
17. Cities: Skylines
Cities: Skylines is a game for people who like to jump right into big projects and difficult situations.
You are in charge of building and taking care of a city as it grows and changes in this city builder.
This includes running important services like water and power, making sure people are educated and safe, and running the business as a whole.
It’s not easy to run a city that’s getting bigger. But many players forget about their problems by putting all of their attention on the difficult job.
16. Civilization VI
Civilization VI is a deep strategy game in the same style as our last entry. It will take over your mind like few other games can.
You can’t just sit down and play “just a couple hours” of Civilization VI.
You’ll start a game at 8:00 pm, and by the time you’ve finished building your hex-based kingdom, the birds will be singing you good morning.
Even though every game has scary parts, you won’t have time to think about your problems in real life. Also, there are a ton of free mods that will keep you hooked to the screen.
It’s a lifesaver when you’re waiting anxiously for something like test results.
15. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
In Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Mario’s shiny, bright, and clean style is back in full force.
It’s a puzzle game in which you go to different places and pick up coins, pearls, power stars, and other shiny things.
The focus on problem-solving and discovery instead of jumping around to avoid Bullet Bills and Piranha Plants makes this game a great choice for a more relaxing experience than most Mario games.
It also has co-op play, where one person controls Toad and the other controls Toadette. They work together to get through each level.
I’ve always liked games like Firewatch that have a clear look and a good story.
This walking game puts you in the role of a fire lookout in the Shoshone National Park in 1989.
You’ll scare away teens who aren’t supposed to be there and look into strange things that people say they’ve seen in the park, all while taking in the scenery.
The game tries to make you feel like you’re alone in this job, but your supervisor, Delilah, will talk to you a lot on the Walkie-Talkie.
During some parts of the story, it can be very moving. But most of the time, this game is as relaxing as it gets.
Most adventure games that feature swimming make it a stressful activity where you’re always racing against time and your remaining oxygen.
Abzu isn’t like these games.
Abzu is all about exploring.
It wants you to look at the strange ruins under the water and the sea life in the area instead of fighting for your life.
You’ll feel better after swimming in the beautiful waters of Abzu for a few hours.
Gris, a side-scrolling platformer with beautiful graphics, is another great artsy game where the images are a big part of the overall experience.
You’ll often feel like a grain of sand traveling through a world that’s much bigger than the sum of its parts. You’ll also bring color back to this world, which had lost it.
Exploring the different places in Gris feels like walking into a living, breathing watercolor picture, and the fantastic, atmospheric music makes it feel even more like you’re there.
Kashou Minaduki is the main character of the NEKOPARA visual novel series. He wants to be a world-class pastry chef and has just moved away from home to open his own shop, La Soleil, but he’s not alone.
Kashou is accompanied by his beloved “cats,” or catgirls, Chocola and Vanilla. They are two cute maids with cat ears who will do their best to take care of Kashou, but they will also need to be taken care of.
This game is full of fun from start to finish.
If you get too close to your cat friends, you can get the 18+ version, which has… well, you know.
10. Untitled Goose Game
Laughing is the best way to get rid of most bad moods. And it won’t take long for Untitled Goose Game to make you laugh until your sides hurt.
You play as a mischievous goose that goes around to different places to complete “challenges.”
These “challenges” usually involve pulling pranks on innocent people, like taking a kid’s glasses or making a woman drop her groceries by honking at just the right time.
It’s funny, and the look of a children’s book makes the trouble on screen seem almost unreal.
9. Katamari Damacy Reroll
Have you ever instinctively rolled something up into a ball while you were bored, or just fidgety while waiting for some significant news?
Well Katamari Damacy Reroll takes that to the next level.
In this remake of the PS2 classic, you play as the Prince of All Cosmos. And you’re tasked with replacing the stars in the night sky after your dad destroyed most of them in a drunken stupor.
To achieve this, you’ll make massive balls of… well, anything you find in your path – then launch them into space to shine.
8. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture
Sometimes, all we need to do to calm down is go for a walk.
Everyone’s Gone to the Rapture has the right setting for a virtual walk: a rural village in Shropshire where no one lives because they were taken away by a mysterious event.
As you go about your business, you’ll find signs about what happened.
You’ll want to solve the riddle more and more, which is a great reason to walk around and take in the quiet beauty of this abandoned town in the country.
Without Journey, games like Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture and Abzu would not have been possible.
Follow a mysterious being with a hood as they explore the ruins of a lost society and make their way to the top of a mountain where their ancestors are waiting for them.
The game takes you to some of the most beautiful places you’ll ever see on your screen, and the music comes on at just the right moments to add to the movie-like feel.
6. Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town
Even though Stardew Valley is the most popular farming game of the last few years, there are many other great choices.
Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town is also a good book.
For those who don’t know, the series that used to be called “Harvest Moon” is now called “Story of Seasons.”
This 2020 game is a copy of the amazing Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town for the Game Boy Advance. But with lots of new things.
It has new graphics, a lot more ways to customize your character and improve their quality of life, and a lot of new material to explore (at your own pace, of course).
5. DOOM Eternal
DOOM Eternal is not a “relaxing” game in and of itself. It’s loud, violent, and has a lot of blood and gore.
Why then is it here?
The reason for this is simple: DOOM Eternal makes “venting” into an art form.
No matter how angry or upset you are, you’ll find it very relaxing to make demons bleed to death with your trusty shotgun and very violent finishes.
Sometimes, a power dream is the best way to forget that we can’t do anything about some of life’s worst facts.
4. The Sims 4
The Sims series has been one of the most famous game series for over a decade, reaching people that most other games could never reach.
Watching your in-game character live a life that’s just a little bit more crazy than your own is both deeply rewarding and relaxing.
You’re in charge of it.
And you or your Sim can do anything you want as long as you or they set their minds to it.
Set up a home or a place where people are tortured, or maybe something in between?
You can choose, and the day is still young.
3. Stardew Valley
Since it came out in 2016, Stardew Valley has become a bit of a cultural icon, and for good reason.
Its plot, people, and settings are just too charming to pass up.
If you play it long enough, it will make you want to quit your job and buy some cheap property out in the country.
At first, it may seem like a big job to bring your grandpa’s old farm back to life, but take it slow and focus on what you enjoy. It’s all fun to do, whether it’s fishing, farming, mining, or just hitting on everyone.
2. My Oasis
I don’t usually play a lot of games on my phone. But My Oasis is one of the few games that got and kept my attention.
In this relaxing “idle” game, you get an empty floating island that you can build up however you want.
You can make trees, flowers, animals, and simple buildings. Over time, your island will start to look like the perfect place to go on vacation.
The game is great for relaxing after a hard day because of its music and general flow.
1. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
The Animal Crossing craze that swept the world may have died out quickly. But AC: New Horizons is still as relaxed as it was when it came out at the start of 2020.
After getting a suspicious island getaway package from the notorious con man Tom Nook, you’ll have to slowly turn this empty island into the perfect seaside village/resort.
Animal Crossing has a lot to do because you can pretty much go wherever you want. Think of something like The Sims, but with animals instead of people.
You can fish, dig for treasure, get to know the people in the town, and even try making your own clothes.
Not to mention the many funny jokes.
If you have a Nintendo Switch, you should add this game to your collection.