Escape into tranquility: 17 calm and soothing video games for stress relief

In recent times, there has been an increase in the popularity of “cozy games,” video games designed specifically to create a sense of comfort. However, being cozy does not necessarily mean a game is good. To help those looking to unwind after a long day, we’ve compiled a list of calming games that strike the right balance. These games deliberately minimize fail states, violence, intense competition, and other aggressive urges while still offering engaging gameplay.

Stardew Valley is a popular farming life sim that allows players to tend to their farm, chat with townsfolk, brew beer, and fish without any external pressure. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a nonviolent escape that encourages players to develop their deserted island at their own pace. Jusant is a quiet and soulful game about rock climbing, offering a contemplative experience with no combat or fail states. Tetris Effect is a prettier version of the iconic falling-block puzzle game that induces a relaxing, almost spiritual state. Dorfromantik is a puzzle game that invites players to create an idyllic countryside with no time limits or traditional win conditions. A Short Hike is an adventure game that encourages players to explore a bustling provincial park at their own pace. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a charming puzzle-platformer that offers visually intricate levels with new, playful ideas. Desert Golfing is a game with a simple premise of getting a ball into the hole on procedurally generated desert landscapes.

These games are suitable for playing on various platforms such as the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, Xbox, PC, or smartphone. Each game offers an engaging and calming experience, making them ideal for unwinding after a long and tiring day.