The Most Relaxing Games to Play


Video games need not be all competitive and adrenaline rushing. Games can also soothe and relax your mind, providing the perfect therapeutic remedy after a hectic and stressful day. Who says games have to be an heated exchange that constantly has your heart racing and blood boiling?

Extreme cases of violence have been an anchor in the gaming industry for decades. This proving highly prosperous for video game developers and popular with gamers. Yet some games appear to be intentionally relaxing, only increasing the difficulty as you progress, naturally.

By nature the most popular video games will always involve some form of violence but there's nothing wrong with taking a break and mellowing down to something a little more tranquil. We list our favourite video games to play when wanting to chill out, new and old.

Animal Crossing


Leave it to Nintendo to take life's everyday chores and make them into something enjoyable. Animal Crossing is like a mix between The Sims, Harvest Moon, and a retro games collection. The game lets you become part of a small village, with all it's relationships, tasks, item collecting and infrequent excitements.

Majority of the stuff you do in Animal Crossing wouldn't be considered fun at all in reality, but the that's the beauty of the game. Not interested in doing mundane tasks? Then don't do them. Don't feel like fishing? Sell your fishing rod and never use it again. The freedom which is permitted to you is the reason why the series is so successful. 

Harvest Moon: Back to Nature

harvest moon

There was something soothing about Harvest Moon; Back to Nature that not many games have been able to recapture. After a long day's work of tending to crops and the barn animals, it was rather calming taking a break from farming activities and heading down to the local inn to have a drink. While the game is essentially about taking care of your deceased grandfather's farm, it doesn't necessary box you in.

You can partake in normal activities and special events which are quite laid-back. Want to fish until the early hours of the morning, explore the town and pick up some shopping supplies or mine for ore? Then knock yourself out. Instances like these is the reason why Harvest Moon is such a chilled experience. 


sim city

Leading a city through the first few hours of it's life as it's all-seeing dictating deity city manager starts out very creative and empowering. You're the mayor and your job is to successfully build a city from the ground up and then maintain it, ultimately turning what starts out as a small town into a bustling metropolis. 

The series isn't exactly known for being a walk in the park but majority will find SimCity a abysmal and gratifying strategy game that's supple enough to be played at any stride and enjoyable for all audiences.

The Sims 

the sims 4

If you enjoy the feeling of complete control when creating a city in SimCity, then you will no doubt enjoy the experience of constructing a life in The Sims. The Sims is about creating, managing and controlling the lives of virtual people. The game's catchy soundtrack, detailed scenery and smartly animated characters make this a treat to play.

Civilization V

Civilization V

Civilization V is a turn-based strategy game based on turning a society of your choice into a global force, and yes, Civilization V can appear boring to the casual onlooker, but for a player in control of the action each turn can lead to an important decision, giving the player a definite notion of power that few if any games match.



Fez appeals to the daring soul's lust for revelation and presents it in a lively and fresh way. The puzzle-based indie platformer doesn't apologize for it's complexities. Instead of following instructions players discover new paths by playing the game at their own pace. There's no danger, no necessity and no consequence for dying.

Everything exists as is and it's just waiting for you to discover it. Truly 
though, experiencing Fez's aesthetic is it's real payoff. The fantastic detail of its pixel-varnished world, old-school-inspired soundtrack, spirited art and dynamic scenery give the glorious world life.


journey ps4

Through extraordinary beauty and dire peril, this brief downloadable experience marks one of video game's most comely, most moving achievements. Journey delivers an adventure that plays on human emotion. The admiration comes from cresting the first hill and seeing the mountain in view or exploring old ruins below your destination. 

Journey disregards many customary gaming traditions like high scores, lives and statistics. As an unidentified masked traveller there is only one goal: travel towards the gleaming mountain in the distance. Along the way you'll unveil the secrets of the desolate world at your feet and possibly meet other souls.

RollerCoaster Tycoon 3

RollerCoaster Tycoon 3

Like its predecessors, RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 gives you the chance to create the theme park of your wildest imagination and then witness as your visitors walk about and have a blast. Your duty in the career mode is to take control of a series of unsatisfactory or emergent theme parks and make them great again.

You take charge of virtually every facet of your amusement park, from the entry fee, research and modification on new rides, ticket costs, all the way down to the colour of your attractions and staff uniforms.

Forza Horizon 2

Forza Horizon 2

Forza Horizon 2 is a brawny, fun-first racing game that is most suitable for players who enjoy driving around and doing whatever. The game is mostly spread out right from the beginning, allowing you to take it in however you prefer. Just cruise around, take in the scenery and you'll find Horizon 2 to be very mellow.

In essence the game is a exquisite wish-fulfilment illusion fashioned for driving cars in a large, open and on the face of it lawless world. As stated if you don't feel like completing in competitions, you can breeze through the gorgeous open world alternatively. Forza Horizon is a nice escape for car fans and nonchalant drivers alike.

GTA Online

GTA Online is all about freedom. Feel free to travel around the city and compete in any of the games activities you have unlocked in your own time; Trade stolen cars, get murdered by random players, rob a convenience shop, kickoff a gang war, do missions or purchase new stuff. While this is the organized portion of GTA Online it still feels exceedingly free flowing and relaxed, you are never forced down a certain path or mission.

Grand Theft Auto Online is to a lesser extent an added on online multiplayer and more so an important portion of the Grand Theft Auto 5 content, a game that allows players to set their own pace and control the fun. Its wacky fun of the highest degree, so silly that it can be considered the work of a genius.

The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim 

the elder scrolls

The world of Skyrim rewards the adventuresome player who wants nothing more than to explore and contributes to the sense of freedom associated with life in Skyrim. Pursue a quest, slay a dragon, snatch touchbugs from the air, snack on butterfly wings or merely wander while listening to one of the best video game ost in recent memory.

The sense of exploration and discovery is strong enough in Skyrim given how many awesome collectables and quests there are to uncover, but the addition of beautiful scenery makes the inclination to compulsively tour Skyrim's landscapes overwhelming. Lest we forget the homelike towns which feel like a safe haven.

Minecraft (creative mode)


If you’re the kind who loves building stuff, Minecraft‘s creative mode could well be a great alternative. The possibilities are fundamentally infinite—some players create whole new worlds from Minecraft blocks, or attempt to copy existing ones. There’s genuinely no tension involved. Players can’t win or fail in this sandbox video game; just imagine children playing with limitless Lego pieces and you'll get the gist.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

Square Enix's revised MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn flourishes with gorgeous graphics and amended gameplay. Things fall into place promptly when you're following the main quest, levelling up, taking on marvellous bosses and picking up new gear. 

There's more to do in FFXIV besides exploring dungeons though and that's good, since grinding to reach a higher level for boss X or quest Y can become tedious. Take a breather from the main quest to craft items, gather materials and admire the beautiful world of Ezora. ARR is a mixture of some of the greatest fantasy MMOs, but it is more than that. 

Endless Ocean 

endless ocean

As veteran gamers we're perpetually trained to detect the primary goal of any game. What's the objective? What's the point? In Endless Ocean, the answer might prove difficult to acquire. Your primary goal is merely to dive and investigate what's in the ocean, everything beyond that is an afterthought.

You crusade your vessel around a massive ocean and regularly dive under to interact with fish and discover various underwater terrain. During these instances, Endless Ocean doesn't really feel like a game, but more so an easygoing oceanic saunter, allowing you to search coral formations and touch different fish using the Wii remote with no actual intent except to bookmark them.

Pure Pool

pure pool

Pure Pool isn't just a title, it’s a description of what could possibly be the most dead-on and refined pool simulation games in existence. optically the game is a beauty, from the photorealistic table game balls, to the unsmooth look of the felt coating on the tables and the lively atmospheric background where you actually feel like you're in an upmarket pool room — everything just looks spot on.

Obviously the main attraction of any decent pool simulation is how the game performs, and let us tell you, this game has all the things that you would expect in a pool game. No matter if you are just taking shots around the table in preparation or attempting to pocket all the billiard balls in the fastest time, it all just feels proper.




Puzzle games are the epitome of relaxation in the gaming world and while there's been over a hundred such games over the years, the most recognizable one in our eyes is Tetris (sorry Columns). Don't be fooled by the simplicity of the graphics as it's not an easy game by any feat, but the early levels can be really relaxing to indulge in.

Mario Golf

mario golf

The Mario Golf series is a fine game overall, with different ways to play that challenges and reward players for their skill, but the reason it's worth a mention is because of how smoothly its stages advance you from an novice to unbeatable golfer. Striking a ball in Mario Golf is as effortless or as difficult as you wish for it to be, although it does reward players who walk the more adept route.



Lemmings was an instant hit among players who loved puzzle games and went on to monumental mainstream success with several sequels. Lemmings puts the player in charge of a group of up to one hundred lemmings that have no disregard for their lives and it's your duty to safely get these critters from start to finish.

Lemmings classic game design is as compelling now in it's newest iteration on the PlayStation 3 and PSP as it was decades ago.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

the legend of zelda

Ocarina of Time unquestionably takes inspiration from the previous titles, and the outcome is an almost flawless masterpiece. You start the game as a kid of the woods, but by the time you complete your quest, you'll be a fisherman, a messenger boy, the hero of time and even a mask salesperson.

Each time you unveil a new area of the Kingdom of Hyrule, you'll be stunned at the detail, the affluence of scenery, the many stuff to do and the magnitude of thought that went into creating it all. For instance, hours can pass by as players explore a village, speak with the inhabitants, solve riddles and look for secret items.

Spyro The Dragon 


There's a lot to like about the first Spyro game that sets it apart from later sequels. The music is wondrously atmospheric as well as the level design which provides large worlds for you to freely roam around in and get engulfed into. The game's also quite an effortless romp so it isn't overly difficult.

Spyro The Dragon offers bright and beautiful graphics with addictive gameplay and collecting items is a great challenge. It's clear that Spyro is a now considered a fossil game, but anyone interested in a classic gaming experience shouldn't really be bothered by this. 

Super Mario Sunshine

super mario sunshine

We can't help but praise Super Mario's Gamecube outing, as the game really does feel like a vacation, especially from it's usual customary series theme. Super Mario Sunshine's very much like the eye-catching holiday package you know you shouldn't pass on. The game is colourful, vibrant and totally conveys the sunny nature of Isle Defino.

Equally noteworthy is that although the first stage eases you into a comfort zone, the difficulty promptly increases with later levels. Once you grow accustomed to the acrobatics moves, Mario Sunshine thrusts you into a world that glitters at every turn. It shouldn't be a surprise that a game based on a tropical resort has sparkling water and a smooth and cheery soundtrack.

Captain Toad 

captain toad

Picking the Captain Toad bonus stages from Super Mario 3D World, this is a humble and none too challenging puzzle-platform game that serves up a couple hours of friendly and endearingly bestowed problem-solving. As you'd expect from Nintendo, t
he game also has a cheerful and adorable presentation. 

Possibly aiming to cater to younger players, Treasure Tracker chooses to squeeze in a jazzy boss-battle or pleasant respite than to exceed the difficulty of it's puzzle designs. Solving majority of these stages is just following your nose rather than stressing your mind.



The dynamic weather released in 2015's update includes a fantastic new proportion to the driving in Driveclub, with the game's lifelike effects reinforcing its place as one of the most gorgeous looking console games ever conceived. Raindrops dribbling over the windscreen, glimpses of lightning penetrating through clouds and pools of water laying on the track make for lurid eye-candy, and are reason enough to give DriveClub the praise it deserves.

Everybody's Golf 

everybody's golf

The Everybody's Golf series has captivated loads of players since it's conception. Its goal: make golf as accessible as possible while conserving the sport's unparalleled challenge. The game has colourful, cheerful characters, a relaxing soundtrack and overall pollyannaish attitude.

Although for a game with such a lighthearted stance the penalty for making simple mistakes counters the game's approachable demeanour. Luckily easier game modes exist outside the main attraction for anyone who wants a more laid back experience.

Euro Truck Simulator 2

 Euro Truck Simulator 2

We never imagined a truck-driving simulator could be entertaining, but Euro Truck Simulator 2 has proven many of us wrong. There's something calming in seeing the world pass you by from the high and mighty compartment of a ample sized truck. In this emphatically niche game, players find themselves in the driver's chair of a full-trailer vehicle, trucking across EU.

Truck interiors are fastidiously detailed and rural areas are breathtaking.The weather and time of day alter, so one moment you could be driving about in springtime, and trying to journey under abundant rain at night time the next.



In Flower you travel with the wind. In the first level you bare witness to a single hovering floral leaf and press a button to journey onwards and carry the pedal with you, tilting the controller to lead, as if you're the aviator of a gentle wind. Like a snow-clad hilltop ridgeline or placid stream valley, Flower enkindles contemplation and inner peace.

You could easily complete the game in an hour and that hour advances at a lax pace, quietening you into security instead of pumping endocrine into your nerves.

What Games Do You Play When You Need to Relax?

relaxing video games

So readers tell us, what video games do you enjoy playing when you want to kick back and relax? Like the the games you play and just breeze through once in a while because it's effortless, entertaining and in no way thwarting? A study in 2011 stated that relaxing video games can make people feel happy and good-hearted.


  1. PS4: Flower.

    When I'm in pain or otherwise really useless, just the sheer beauty of it makes me cry. Feels good, though. And it inspires me to go out and lie in the grass, which isn't bad either.

    1. Emotional much? Or is the game really that good?

    2. If you've never "played" Flower, I think you're missing out on a great experience. It's not a proper game per se... sure, you can play it as a game and even go really competitive about it, but I've successfully plugged this one to all my non-gaming friends and family, and it's so good and beautiful, it's just pretty much perfect.

    3. Flower is always on every video game relaxation list, but that's because its the ultimate tranquil game.

    4. I've enjoyed Flower for a few levels and then found little to no desire to go back to it. Just a little too pointless, I think. So I think there's a limit.

  2. Demon's Souls, in the Nexus, the song there is so damn relaxing, a complete change of pace from running around scared on the maps and Dynasty/Samurai Warrior series, easy mode, fun mindless killing.

  3. Skate 3 and Tony hawk pro skater 5. Just hitting lines and rolling around with no pressure can be very calming.

  4. I've found Tetris to be pretty therapeutic. Makes me forget about all the worries I have for an hour or two of pure reflex testing.

  5. Pilotwings 64

  6. Mario Kart 64 always used to be my go-to game to calm down.

    For a slightly more modern example, I recently picked up Forza Horizon 2 and I love it. I love just having a big, massive map to drive around like a maniac in. I'm all for exploration in my games.

  7. I like playing Harvest Moon games, specifically the older ones that were less complex. You can get into a nice routine of tending crops/livestock, socializing with the townsfolk and playing with the dog.

  8. Endless Ocean is my ultimate relaxing game. Perfect to chill out to. Even something like GTA5 when you cycle along the hills or just cruise during the sunset.

    1. I miss Endless Ocean. I don't get how Nintendo missed the boat since using the Wii U controller as an underwater camera is a no-brainer.

    2. Endless Ocean: Blue World is such an amazing de-stresser. The vibe is so chill and peaceful

  9. I find Destiny oddly relaxing lol

  10. Assassin's Creed games are great for relax. You can just go around and enjoy the scenery (it's beautiful), or you can do some of the activities, they're all super easy so you'll never feel pressured. They're sold as an action/adventure game, but always find them very slow and relaxing.

  11. I used to play Animal Crossing: New Leaf to relax, but I haven't played it in a while.

  12. I play fighting games to relax

  13. Cruising around in a private GTA Online session is hella soothing. The lighting just makes it. Logging in to FFXIV to wander around the cities is nice too.

  14. hope capt toad 2 lets you ride yoshi




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