Games have always been a form of distraction for us, a positive place to put our energy and escape the everyday. Sometimes it can be such a relief to spend a moment solving a puzzle, celebrating a small accomplishment, or visiting a different world. Computer and mobile games can be a great way to have a little fun but some can be too complicated, demanding, frustrating or even just stressful! When you’re trying to find escape, feeling irritated or confused defeats the whole purpose. So here are six calming games that are nothing but peaceful, bringing you a moment of positivity and pure joy.
All of the games on this list are calming, but for Happify this isn’t just a side effect; it’s the whole point. Happify is a mobile app designed to help improve your mental health every day in a way that never feels like work. Happify has a variety of games that help brighten your perspective while giving you a moment of peace and tranquility in your daily life. Mental health can be a hard thing to prioritize if you don’t have access to resources like therapy. As Carrie Ann has written about in the past, Happify can provide little fun ways to put your happiness back in your control.
2. Neko Atsume
If you’re a cat lover like me, you’re going to want to download Neko Atsume to your phone. It’s a fun app that’s low maintenance; you start with a yard and get to choose what toys, beds and treats to stock it with. Next, you put out food and simply wait for the cats to come! Different items bring different cats to your yard and you can keep meeting neighborhood cats while your yard expands and grows. The best part about this app, other than the inherent cuteness, is that this isn’t a virtual pet game where you can feel guilty about neglecting or forgetting to feed your cats. Whenever the cats finish the food you set out they leave and whenever you set new food out they come back.
Whether you’ve killed one too many plants and have sworn off gardening or are just looking for your daily dose of Zen, Viridi is the perfect calming game for you. Viridi is a virtual succulent garden that plays out in (something close to) real time. You check in on your succulents every so often to tend , water and even sing to them and over time they grow. Whether you stick to checking in once a week for a new free seedling or want to customize your garden with options from the store, taking a break from the daily grind to visit this little virtual corner of the world will give you a chance to breathe
In Stardew Valley, you play a character who inherits, refurbishes and revitalizes their grandfather’s old farm. In a super satisfying mixture of peaceful surroundings, low-stakes decisions and charming characters, you get to spruce up and tend to your farm while finding adventure and forging relationships along the way. This calming game lets you take a retreat into your own little world for a few moments as you develop your own rhythm and decide what you want your game to look like. The best part? It’s available to play on Mac, PC, iPhone and Android so you can play however suits you the best.
Untitled Goose Game has become one of my favorite computer games to return to when I want a bit of calm with a dash of humor. The conceit of the game is simple: you play the role of a goose who terrorizes a small village by honking, flapping and swimming around causing chaos. The game isn’t mean-spirited; you can’t hurt anyone or cause too much trouble, just make off with someone’s gardening hat or a piece of mail. There are enough objectives to give you direction while still allowing you to enjoy the game’s simple premise and the stakes are never high: the worst thing that can happen to your goose is getting chased off of a patio or out of someone’s yard.
6. Hidden Folks
If you’re a fan of puzzles or I-Spy style games, you’ll love Hidden Folks as a creative and interesting expansion of the genre. Hidden Folks doesn’t just have captivating puzzles with stimulating clues but it creates such an interesting world with its visual style and vocalized soundscape that you’ll never want to leave.
Playing games might seem like a frivolous pastime, but the truth is that having fun, taking a break from chores and responsibilities and prioritizing happiness are all important for a happy and balanced life. Sometimes we need a healthy dose of distraction and levity, a chance to give ourselves permission to not take life so seriously. Whether you love puzzles, want to sharpen your attention to detail or just build a little world all your own, adding one of these games to your go-to calming routine could be the perfect way to brighten your day.