Sometimes when you get in from Work or University you want to have some downtime. Instead of playing a team deathmatch or wanting to invade a hideout of super mutants you just want to relax and play something where you can switch off and enjoy the beauty of the world you are in. I go through phases of playing lots of videogames, and when I do I always have a smaller-relaxing game to play alongside whatever singleplayer or multiplayer game I am playing at the time.
Below is a list of games we think are great for well-being and if you need a couple of hours to relax and practise some mindfulness we recommend them wholeheartedly!
We’ve also started using TikTok here at Grads in Games and you can view our first post all about relaxing games – here!
@gradsingames These are the best games you can relax and chill out with! #relax #gaming #underrated ♬ Lofi – Domknowz
Grow Home / Grow Up
Grow Home and its sequel Grow Up are two games that I have gone back to time and time again over the years. As B.U.D the robot you are tasked with growing starplants up towards your objective. Both games drop you in a biome full of colour and allow you to vertically explore by growing the plant towards different objectives. Both games are short, quaint and have unique mechanics that are easy to get your head around. To describe a set of games as charming seems a bit reductive but in Grow Home/ Grow Up’s case, I think it’s a great description of why they are such relaxing and enjoyable games to go back to! Also, there’s a lot of fun to be had skydiving down half the map only to save yourself at the last minute!
Developer: Ubisoft Refections
It’s hard to pitch to someone how enjoyable a game about delivering mail is but if I can convince you to play Lake you’ll be signing up for an experience that is incredibly peaceful and very engaging. Playing as Meridith who is returning to her hometown for two weeks you are tasked with delivering the mail to the residents of this beautiful little town that resides alongside (you guessed it)…a lake. Whilst the gameplay is simple with you driving and dropping off mail to all the local residents, where Lake thrives is in both its setting which is lovely to explore and its unique cast of characters which make every interaction an enjoyable one! Lake also manages to tackle themes of loss and ambition in a mature and thoughtful manner which adds to this original experience.
Lonely Mountains Downhill
Sometimes simplicity is best and when it comes to Lonley Mountains Downhill there’s nothing quite like just being able to ride a bike down a mountain with just the sounds of nature accompanying you. Although there is a timed mode, the most fun I had with LMD was on the freeride mode where I was left to work my way down the various mountains and discover various shortcuts and secret paths. It’s rare to find a game that rewards you so much from the exploring and its simple controls makes embarking across the terrain smooth and enjoyable. It also must be mentioned how stunning each of these locations are, it’s so easy to stop and just look at a flowing river and enjoy the ambient sounds. props to all the environment and sound artists!
Developer: Megagon Industries
Valley is a very unique adventure game! Although its plot is a little bit darker than the other entries on our list. Our recommendation comes from how Valley utilises freedom of movement through vast forests and ruins. This is a game that puts a lot of emphasis on exploration and is unexpectedly very minimalist in terms of combat. Due to this minimal approach Valley is a great game to just switch off to and get lost running around this beautiful open world! This is a must for those who enjoy the speed of movement or those who want to experience a first-person action game that’s a little different!
Developer: Blue Isle Studios
A Short Hike
I feel like A Short Hike is one of those games that is an absolute joy to play from beginning to end. Not only is the art style breathtakingly stunning to look at but the adventure of Claire is fun, open and packed full of little side activities. You can even play a fun little minigame called ‘beachstickball’ with other animals at your camp! Your ability to explore the open map on your hike is deeply comforting and the lack of any danger creates a game that is great to play through in one sitting when you just need to relax and play something that feels familiar! Also, not to mention being to soar over the map is a visual treat and the controls are fine-tuned to manoeuvre with ease!
Bonus: Power Wash Simulator
When we partnered with Futurlab this year I decided to download Power Wash Simulator to see what all fuss was about and then I found myself 4 hours later having cleaned a Playground, A Van & the Mars rover wondering where all the time had gone. Power Wash simulator is one of the most relaxing experiences I have had playing a game in the past few years. Futurlab has created a game where you can lose hours of your time due to the laser focus needed to clean a whole environment. Most importantly, it’s incredibly fun! There’s a whole range of Power Wash options and you can even play with friends! Not to mention the community support on this game has been fantastic with updates coming out regularly.