Relaxing Games for Trying Times

Considering the ongoing horror-show that is real life, it seems like an ideal moment to have a thread about relaxing games to help take your mind off the state of the world. Any suggestions welcome and yes, I know that what some people find relaxing other people find stressful, so there’s bound to be some disagreement. Let’s try to keep that low-stress too.

I’ll start with a couple of favorites. I really wish I could find something like these to play for the first time right about now:

Slime Rancher - a game about exploring a colorful world and collecting a wide variety of cute slime critters. There’s a satisfying research system, lots of expandability and customizability in your ranch, and tons of stuff to find in an expansive world. Overall it’s adorable and extremely chill.

My Time at Portia - Harvest Moon but centered around building instead of farming. Lots of folks to talk to, lots of world to explore, and lots of very satisfying construction projects to undertake. It’s a little janky in places but I love it dearly.

Beautiful visuals, peaceful and evocative, a bit of puzzle and/or exploration.

I’ve recently started playing chess on I am terrible, but the website does a great job of matching me with equally terrible players. It’s a really nice way to spend 30 minutes or an hour, engaging your brain but simultaneously disconnecting from the real world.

My immediate go-to for destressing is Proteus. David Kanaga’s sound design just works so well with the low-fi but super evocative visuals and shifting seasons, palettes and atmospheres. I think it’s beautiful.

As I’ve mentioned recently in the itch bundle thread, I love Windosill, Metamorphabet and Sandcastles by Vectorpark. His stuff is so playful and light-hearted.

Another playful toy-like experience: Townscaper.

I wasn’t so keen on Journey but Abzu was a lovely experience. Exploring underwater was a lot more exciting to me but simply swimming around was enjoyable too.

OOh, I didn’t notice, but their earlier game is on PC also, I liked it with a controller.

Casually explore an ancient kingdom, talk to the locals, and enjoy a plethora of hats, gloves, and other accessories as you travel to a wide assortment of areas in your quest for relaxation.

Cat Quest really is a fantastic answer to this, what a great little game.

<satisfied sigh>

What is the opposite of NotSureIfSerious.gif

Silent Hunter 4 with the Fall of the Rising Sun Ultimate mod (still under development!). You can go literally days just cruising the Pacific and listening to the waves against your hull without seeing a single enemy craft. I know I have.

I’ve been trying to play The Witness on an iPad and find the controls make it very difficult. There are some positional puzzles that require aligning the puzzle with the background, and it’s nearly impossible to do it easily on the iPad.

I adored the witness but yeah, I can see how a touch-screen interface would make some of the puzzles very awkward. There’s a LOT of the sort you describe down the road, too. It’s a joy on PC, for whatever that’s worth.

@Woodlance: Now there’s a possibility I hadn’t considered.

Oh wow thank you so much for this!

I will add Euro truck simulator 2 with any of the new regions. Its just fun shipping goods across beautiful Europe.

I’ve been playing Dawn of Man at 1 or maybe 2x speed and just watching as The People go about their day trying to survive. I’ll occasionally set a new work area or direct a few of them to hunt a new creature to gain knowledge. But I mainly just observe. The art direction pleases me and I find it incredibly relaxing and compelling at the same time.