Sometimes after a tiring day you just want to play a game that’s carefree. You might not always be in the mood for an intense FPS, horror game, or MOBA. Maybe you just need to relax – and for those moments, we here at Culture of Gaming have your back. A few days ago, we wrote an article talking about five of the most carefree games to play after a long day (which you can check out here). But since then, we remembered a few other calming games that would make great picks for anyone looking to “game and chill.” So without further ado, here are five more games to relax with after an intense day.
Super Mario Odyssey
Odyssey is the peak of the 3D Mario games–there, we said it. Galaxy, Sunshine, 64, and 3D World are all fantastic, polished 3D platformers, but Odyssey is in a class all by itself. Everything about Odyssey is brimming with pure joy and happiness–the colorful worlds, the goofy characters, the 800+ collectible moons… heck, there hasn’t been another Mario game where simply existing is a delight. It’s so easy to get lost in the fluidity of Mario’s movement—you can roll into a long-jump into a triple-jump into a hat-dive, jump off a wall, ground-pound and roll, just to repeat the entire cycle all over again. Odyssey rewards curiosity without extent–around every corner, in every bush, up every pole—there is something absolutely everywhere that is just begging you to find it. Odyssey is the very definition of relaxation and joy in a 45-hour nutshell; you’re doing yourself an injustice if you haven’t played it yet.
Shape of The World
Have you ever wanted to be a god? No, not the part where you have to sustain mankind and the entire universe; but have you ever wanted to walk forward and summon trees, bushes and grass to just grow to life in front of you? If so, then Shape of the World is the perfect game to satisfy your power-hungry needs. You explore the expanse of a massive, open continent, as the features of the landscape rise before you. Littered throughout the world are triangle gates that change the entire setting each time you walk through one. You can be sprinting through an enclosed space of pink-leaved trees, just to walk through a triangle-gate and witness everything turn to white snowy winter in an instant. The gorgeous art-style makes it feel like you’re lucidly gliding through a—non-drug-induced—dream. It’s a beautiful, mysterious trek through a beautiful country, and we can’t recommend it enough for anyone looking to calm down a bit.
Monument Valley is a shining jewel in the massive junk-yard that is the App Store. In Valley, you control Ida, a mysterious young girl in search of enlightenment, as she navigates illusory puzzle boxes that challenge your spatial awareness and reasoning skills. There are no timers, no limits, and no ways to die–it’s an incredible puzzle-game that you can play at your own pace. The stunning art-direction, creative puzzle design, and intuitive touch screen-controls make it one of the greatest puzzle games ever made, and we can’t help but whole-heartedly recommend it.
On the surface, Inside may not seem all too cheerful, and perhaps it isn’t. It’s set in a desolate, tyrannical future, where humans are turned into mind-controlled slaves and killer blood hounds roam the concentration camps. It’s a grim, atmospheric game, with dark color palettes and a haunting soundtrack. “This sounds pretty depressing; why are you putting it on a list about relaxing games?” Well, despite the grim world that Inside is set in, the game is an absolute joy both to play and watch. The puzzles require some deep thinking and awareness to complete, but they always feel rewarding afterwards. Without a doubt, the most enjoyable aspect of Inside is its gorgeous, breath-taking animation. Every movement that the nameless protagonist makes is seamless; as he climbs a ladder, sprints across a blacktop and dives headfirst into a vat of water, you can easily appreciate how PlayDead meticulously crafted the animations to flow from one to the next with absolutely zero hiccups. This is Pixar-level animation work, making it easily one of the best-looking indie games ever created. For that alone, Inside is a must-play for anyone looking for gorgeous, relaxing visuals.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
What is the one thing that you can always expect to do in a Mario game? Jump! So what happens when that ability is taken away? What happens when instead of playing as Mario, you’re put in the shoes of the adorable Captain Toad, set in a miniature world, and assigned to solve puzzles using nothing but your over-sized brain and a pickaxe? You get Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, an adorable puzzler that’s coming soon to Switch and 3DS! Of all things, Captain Toad is most similar to Monument Valley, in that you use your device’s touchscreen to manipulate the environment to navigate Toad’s weighted-down figure through cleverly-designed puzzles. As said before, Toad can’t jump, so you have to think extra carefully when forging your plan of maneuver. Every platform is placed in such a manner that Captain Toad never needs to jump, allowing for some clever puzzles that you don’t see in many other games. On top of all that, Captain Toad’s art-style and overall tone is brimming with happiness and excitement, so it’s the perfect game to plop down in a couch and casually enjoy.
We hope that you’ll check out all of these games if you haven’t already! They’re all perfect for playing on a lazy afternoon, or at a time when you aren’t feeling up to something more gritty and difficult. But what do you think? Are any of the games we mentioned too intense to be labeled a “relaxing game”? Do you have any suggestions for a future list? Let us know!