When you get home from a stressful day at work, you don’t want to start playing League of Legends, only to get chewed out for having the “wrong” type of item equipped. Sometimes it’s better to distance yourself from gaming communities altogether, as toxic environments can leave you even more stressed and frustrated than you were before.
Some saintly developers decided that video games don’t always have to give you a sense of urgency, fear, or rage. The video games below are best for the type of days where you just want to chill out and forget the world around you.
1. Harvest Moon: A New Beginning
Games in the Harvest Moon series have always had a high relaxation factor. There’s truly nothing like escaping the stresses of the modern world to build a farm and take care of livestock.
Harvest Moon: A New Beginning starts off like every other Harvest Moon game—you have to rebuild your deserted family farm in a dilapidated town and attempt to revitalize the entire town by improving the economy. There’s really no rush in this game, as you can start planting crops and rebuilding the farm at your leisure.
2. Animal Crossing: New Leaf
Playing Animal Crossing is like discovering the best friend that you never had. When you arrive at your new town, your fellow villagers greet you warmly and continue to be your friend for the rest of the game (unless you decide to smack them with your shovel too many times).
Nintendo puts a spin on typical Animal Crossing games in Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Instead of residing just as a debt-ridden villager, you assume the role of a debt-ridden mayor. That means you get to collect money to build new structures around town, but you’ll still have to grind for bells to pay off your house.
The survival mode of Minecraft can cause quite a bit of stress. You have to rush to collect resources to build a shelter, while defending yourself from zombies, creepers, and enderman. However, the creative mode is much better on your nerves if you don’t want to worry about surviving.
Instead of having to mine for resources, you have everything you need in creative mode. With a full bank of supplies, you can create beautiful blocky structures and landscapes. You also don’t have to worry about walking across the entire map—creative mode lets you fly.
4. Slime Rancher
Slime Rancher takes place in the Far Far Range where you play as Beatrix LeBeau: slime rancher extraordinaire. The environment contains a huge population of adorable globular slime that each have a different appearance and ability.
Your job is to capture the slimes by sucking them into your Vacpack, and then releasing them into your ranch’s pasture. Each slime creates “plorts” (a.k.a. poop) that you need to collect in order to earn some Newbucks and craft tools. This game is a stress-free zone, but you might feel on edge when you encounter the diseased slime called Tarr, which will try to attack you.
You can complete Journey in just two hours, but it always provides a feeling of relaxation no matter how many times you replay it. Take on the role of a robed figure as you travel through a seemingly endless desert. Along the way, you might encounter another player who can help you complete your journey.
The only way to communicate is to wiggle your scarf or sing. It’s a much-needed break from listening to people scream into their mics. You can also use your scarf to float over sand dunes and drift your way to the end of the game.
There’s really no solid purpose of Proteus, other than exploring an island. Like Journey, this game doesn’t take long to complete. However, it’s still replayable, as Proteus regenerates a different landscape each time.
When you start playing, you’ll get to explore the island’s pixelated environment in the first-person perspective. Each night, you can fast-forward to the next season to explore the island with a completely different lens. You won’t get any instructions or narrative throughout the game, making it much more relaxing than guided games.
7. Stardew Valley
Stardew Valley brings players back to the old days of Harvest Moon. It features a beautiful, pixel-art landscape, and offers similar farming elements of a typical Harvest Moon game. You play as a young farmer tasked with taking over your grandfather’s abandoned farm and restoring the town.
In order to gain access to certain areas and game features, you’ll need to create a collection of supplies, or bundles, to give to the Community Center. Earn money by completing quests for villagers, and go on mining trips to craft weapons and tools.
8. Ori and the Blind Forest
Ori and the Blind Forest offers a visual treat for the eyes, as you navigate through a shadowy forest filled with deep hues of blue and purple. One look at the beautiful visuals will make all of your worries fade into the background.
The story begins when Ori, the guardian spirit, falls out of a tree as a baby. A creature named Naru picks up Ori, raising the spirit until they both die from starvation. The light of the Spirit Tree, Sein, later revives Ori, and they travel through the forest together.
You take control of Sein and Ori, who both have very different abilities. Ori can jump and climb, while Sein flings Spirit Flames to inflict damage on enemies or take down obstacles. As you make your way through this platformer, you’ll encounter plenty of puzzles.
Who Says Games Can’t Be Relaxing?
Games don’t always have to induce rage quitting and anger. For the days you want to mellow out, turn on one of these games and just chill.
If you’re looking for a stress-free game that you can play on-the-go, check out our review of My Oasis, a mobile game that’s beautiful and relaxing.