More Games to Relax With
Here are eight games that will help keep you sane while locked inside
We’re all living through troubling times right now. The COVID-19 pandemic is still sweeping the globe and many people have now been stuck at home for at least a couple of months. It can obviously be a highly stressful and challenging time for a whole host of reasons (especially if you’re also home schooling) — naturally, our mental health is at risk under these circumstances.
Video games are increasingly turning out to be a remedy — or at least, a band-aid — despite historically having had a reputation for being a time-wasting hobby. At the moment, video games provide a much-needed respite from our immediate troubles. This escape might come in the form of constructive daily tasks that provide a sense of structure to our lives, or maybe even just in terms of visiting entirely different places that are far removed from the four walls of our homes.
There have been many lists like this over the last couple of months, but I know that people are still looking for recommendations — whether they are a longtime gamer or are discovering games for the first time (if you’re new to games as a hobby, welcome!)
The recommendations below are based on experiences that are both relaxing and tick the box in terms of escapism. These worlds allow you to move at your own pace, and exercise some real control. Let’s get started.
Many people will have heard of this little indie sensation by now, and if you haven’t, now is a great time to get your farm started. Inspired by the Harvest Moon games, this charming farming sim is surprisingly in-depth, offering a full range of seasons, crops, various farm animals, building upgrades, relationships and even simple combat. If you’re looking for a way to get away and burn a few hours, consider picking this one up.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
If you haven’t heard of the new Animal Crossing game yet, you might be a little too isolated. This fun island romp is the perfect relaxation game to lose yourself in for hours at a time, and because it updates in real time, it’ll keep you coming back time and time again to check on build progress and events. You can even meet up with friends and explore your island together for that much needed social interaction we may all be missing.
Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition
This Definitive Edition was released to celebrate Age of Empires’ 20th anniversary. It sports new visuals, updated resolutions, and additional content. While it may be in a more serious tone, than some other games listed here, building your cities and defending it from attacking civilizations can be a relaxing yet engaging way to kill some free time.
The city building sim genre may be lacking in titles, but that doesn’t keep it from having quality games. Cities Skylines is a wonderful and in-depth city sim that allows you to build a thriving metropolis and work to keep its people happy. With beautiful graphics and many expansions, this one will keep you busy for a long, long time.
Another game that while not being overly relaxing, is guaranteed to suck a ton of hours away. This turn based 4X game takes you on the journey of raising your civilization from the early days of man, all the way through being a world superpower. Being both a single player and online multiplayer, Civilization VI is a great way to get sucked into a new world. But be careful, you might end up playing more than you intended to.
While it may look like a FPS game at first glace, Slime Rancher and a fun and lighthearted game about exploring and collecting adorable little slimes, managing resources, and building up your slime farm. The world is vast and filled with various difference slimes that look and behave in their own ways, some that require special tools to catch or areas to contain them in. Slime Rancher is a cute, and relaxing game bound to keep you smiling.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
The king of kart racers is bigger and better than ever, and while it may elicit some fierce competition, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon with family or alone. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe features a great many classic Nintendo characters to choose from and a huge assortment of both new and classic tracks to play on. The courses are beautiful and detailed, offering a truly magic sense of scale and grandeur.
Minecraft, often imitated, never duplicated. The original and the king. This game could very well be the only game you need to keep you occupied while stuck at home. With endless worlds to discover, items to craft, places to explore, and things to build, Minecraft is the perfect game for sitting on the couch and wasting away the hours. You can build your dream home or forge ahead to challenge the End Dragon. The possibilities are limitless.
While not all these games will be for everyone, they are a great way to try to keep your mind focused and your stress subdued. Either playing alone, or online with friends, it’s important now more than ever that we all come together for a singular goal and help keep each other safe and healthy.
While the focus is greatly on physical health currently, don’t forget your mental health as well. Keeping your mind busy and distracted is a fantastic way to combat the cabin fever we are all no doubt experiencing.
Stay safe and keep playing.