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10 Video Games To Play That Calm And Relax The Mind

If you think self-care and relaxing only consist of body scrubs, scented candles, and your favourite take-out, you’re missing out on so much more. Have you ever tried playing games to unwind after a stressful day at work or school?

 

Playing video games, or gaming, has such a negative connotation in our society’s dictionary— and I am here to confute this mentality. I’ve been a gamer for many years and gaming has been a part of my self-care routine. I started gaming to cope with my stress levels and to relax my mind and body. 

 

Here is a list of 10 video games to play to ease your mind and take the stress out of your body after a hard day. These games are suitable for all ages and of different genres, giving you a breath of fresh air from your daily life.

 

1. Pokemon Snap

*Available on Nintendo Switch

Price range: ~RM250.00

Pokemon Snap Game

Source: Wallpaper Cave

 

You know how people fawn over cute things and then up comes their phone camera before you hear a click of the shutter? Imagine that but in the world of Pokemon. Unlike the signature Pokemon games, Pokemon Snap is a breath of fresh air. Traverse across beautiful landscapes of the new Lental region— from lush jungles, sandy beaches to fiery volcanic trials. Instead of filling up a Pokedex with those adorable creatures you’ve caught in your Pokeball, your task now is to fill up a Photodex of these critters roaming in the wild, while assisting Professor Mirror to uncover the mystery of the Illumina phenomenon.

 

This game is filled with beautiful imagery and illustrations. It’s easily captivating and you’d feel like you’re walking among the Pokemon themselves. I find myself feeling very excited as if being whisked into the game itself. Pokemon Snap is intended for players of all ages regardless of their experience with the Pokemon franchise. It is also a good game to bond with younger family members!

 

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2. Gris

*Available on iOS, Nintendo Switch, PS4, PC

Price range: RM25.00 ~ RM70.00

Gris Game

Source: Wallpaper Cave

 

A gorgeous watercolour-illustrated masterpiece that explores themes of loss and grief. The visually melancholic game, Gris, introduces overly complex emotions throughout its gameplay. It explores mental illnesses while packed itself with platformer puzzles that are just simply beautiful. You start off playing in a grey world and as you progress, the world starts splotching up with more vibrant colors. Gris is therapeutic and is never about finishing the game— but the journey within the game.

 

This game is soothing yet heart-rending at the same time. While playing, I tend to feel a lot of what the character is going through, given my own experiences in reality. Gris touched on a soft spot of human nature and the importance of mental health. I find myself enjoying the journey of this game, rather than trying to complete it.

 

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3. Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles

*Available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC

Price range: RM47.00 ~ RM130

Yonder Cloud Catcher Chronicles game

Source: True Achievements

 

If you mash farming sims and open-world adventure together, you’ll get Yonder. Yonder is a slow-paced game where you can journey and explore a vast fantasy world. The idyllic environment of this game, paired with calming soundtracks, puts you in a tranquil fantasy land where you live as a character that does quests for villagers, tend farms, crafting tools, and collecting materials. The plot for Yonder may be a little lackluster but this game offers so many more things for you to do that you’ll find yourself immersed in its relaxing tempo.

 

Yonder has pulled mixed reviews and ratings, but I would recommend this game to anyone who loves farming sims in a gentle, laid-back environment. The visuals of this game is beautiful. The creatures are extremely cute and there is much to do— you can easily lose yourself in this game doing mundane tasks like fishing, farming or just making friends with the NPCs.

 

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4. Little Dragon’s Cafe

*Available on PS4, Nintendo Switch, PC.

Price range: RM95 ~ RM250

Little Dragons Cafe Game

Source: Wallpaper Cave

 

Simple and charming, Little Dragon’s Cafe makes you run an inn as you encounter comically weird characters all while raising your baby pet dragon. Your daily task in the game is to collect recipes for your cafe, hunt for materials, and solve story quests while you bring your pet dragon around. The ability to fly on your dragon when he’s grown into an adult dragon to explore the world is always promising to pick up this cute game.

 

Something that I love about this game is the pet dragon you’ll be tasked to care for. The dragon, is able to change colors depending on the food it eats, how cool is that? I have spent hours collecting materials, soaring across the skies on my dragon as the sky changes from night to day, and running my inn to ensure my customers are happy and healthy. Although the artwork is a little sketchy and chippy, it will grow on you.

 

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5. Animal Crossing: New Horizons

*Available on Nintendo Switch/Lite

Price range: RM180 ~ RM250

Animal Crossing New Horizons Game

Source: Wallpaper Cave

 

Build your island while deciding which villager stays or leaves. The hype of Animal Crossing: New Horizon was crazy when the first Movement Control Order (MCO)  was implemented in Malaysia. This game’s franchise didn’t start with the recent hype, but Animal Crossing has been around for a long time— all sharing the same game features. If you enjoy laid-back cute characters and soundtrack, building landscapes, collecting and selling materials, then Animal Crossing is for you. 

 

Animal Crossing is a game that you can play, not only by yourself, but also with friends whom you can invite over to visit your island! This game is extremely comfortable and inviting. Even though the in-game time is largely influenced by our real-time, there’s a trick that we call “time travelling”. Bend the game to your will and you’ll be able to flourish your island/town to become the perfect place for everyone! The ultimate achievement is seeing how your island develops and it hits you like, “I built this from nothing!”

 

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6. Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer

*Available on Nintendo 3DS

Price range: ~ RM85.00

Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer Game

Source: Wallpaper Abyss

I believe this game should also be mentioned as some people enjoy decoration and designing homes to relax. Unlike their main counterpart, the Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer spin-off has a different mechanic where you can design homes for the villagers based on their preferences. As you progress in the game, you’ll be able to incorporate more fancy couches or wall tilings.

Sometimes building towns are fun, but I’d like to imagine how the insides of each house looks. Build a throne for your villager, or turn the entire office pink. I’ve never found so much satisfaction designing how an office looks like! Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer is an extremely charming game but it may feel like you’re providing free labour for your villagers. Feed your artistic skills and creativity — you might even find your passion in interior designing!

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7. Abzu

*Available on: PS4, PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One

Price: RM38.00 ~ RM90.00

Abzu Game

Source: Wallpaper Cave

 

Abzu is an adventure game where you take on the role of a diver, exploring the vast underwater atmosphere filled with beautiful plants and creatures. Find hidden collectables and ride on larger marine animals as you interact with the environment, all while trying to save the ocean’s life force. The soundtrack used in the game is extremely soft, slow-paced, and relaxing. If you’re into meditation, there is a meditation mode of your diver perched on top of a statue as marine life swims around you. It’s breathtakingly beautiful and helps you to get into real-life mediation if you wish.

 

This game is my go-to at a point of my life when I was extremely stressed dealing with people every day. Nothing I did was able to help me wind down for the day until I came across Abzu. Just peaceful serenity and myself, this game is soothing and makes you feel okay being alone. If going to the aquarium offers you a sense of tranquility while blanketing you in a world of underwater wonder, Abzu gives off the exact same vibes. It’s definitely the perfect lockdown game now that aquariums are off-limit!

 

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8. Untitled Goose Game

*Available on PC, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch

Price range: RM39.00 ~ RM80.00

Untitled Goose Game

Source: Wallpaper Cave

 

Honk! Honk! Play as a goose in this slapstick simulation game where you can cause mischief and wreak havoc on villagers. This game is all giggles and silly, providing a good laugh when you needed one. Team up with a friend and get mischievous by playing pranks on unsuspecting villagers. Complete the objectives on the to-do list and by the end of the game, your goose will be wearing a crown!

 

Untitled Goose Game is such a quirky and hilarious game. I imagine myself as a goose causing havoc on to people and just seeing them seething with rage while chasing me (the goose). There are so many things you can do to create problems or minor inconveniences. Peck on someone’s toes, steal their flowers, or cause road blocks — you can cause so much mischief. Of course, in reality we couldn’t possibly be such nuisances, and that’s why this game lets you try doing it in-game!

 

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9. Cooking Mama: Cookstar

*Available on Nintendo Switch, PS4

Price range: ~RM165.00

Cooking Mama: Cookstar Game

Source: Nintendo Life

 

We all love some delicious-looking, kawaii cartoon food, don’t we? How about making them virtually? Cooking Mama is a popular cooking simulation game where you replicate real-life recipes and make them in the game. Each recipe requires you to do certain actions such as stirring a pot of hot stew or chopping up onions, to plating and decorating your dish’s presentation.

 

I’ve been playing Cooking Mama since it first released and every time I complete a dish with 3-star ratings, it makes me feel like the next Gordon Ramsey. This game takes you through the fun steps of cooking and sometimes, it makes cooking look so easy!  Who knows? It might ignite your love for cooking after playing this video game.

 

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10. Kitten Match

*Available on iOS/Android

Price: Free (pay for in-game currency if needed)

Kitten Match Game

Source: Google PlayStore

 

You’ve heard of Candy Crush where you solve puzzles by clearing off similar tiles and icons, let me introduce you to Kitten Match! What is better than solving puzzles? Cute kittens that act as your friends as you adopt them throughout the game. Help them earn coins to redesign and redecorate their cozy houses/rooms by completing puzzles. This game is perfect for those who enjoy a little puzzle challenge while feeding their inner cat-loving nature. It comes with a huge perk of the ability to redecorate houses for your tiny furry friend and be rewarded with a loving purr.

 

Surprisingly, this is one of the games that creates a special bonding sessions my mother (who’s a fan of Candy Crush). Aside from the puzzles, every kitten I managed to adopt feels like my own furry friend— unfortunately for me, who does not have one. This game is just an explosive of cuteness while needing a little brain juice.

 

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Popular video games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Assassin’s Creed, League of Legends, PUBG, etc are marvelous games, but not the right choice for less passionate gamers. Especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed with the reality you’re going through in your daily life. Slow-paced video games, on the other hand, are great for calming and relaxing the mind. These relaxing games are easy to play, cooperative, and peaceful — even non-gamers can grasp the games easily.

Incorporating gaming into your routine isn’t such a bad idea as long as you practice moderation. The next time someone tells you to get off your game and do something productive, tell them that playing video games is part of your self-care routine. Remember, gaming is all about having fun, relaxing, and cultivating a happier lifestyle.

I call myself a storyteller, weaving words along with a little pinch of magic to create expressive narratives - I write to get away from my humdrum 9-5 office job by allowing creativity to take me away and ignite my passions. From time to time, I immerse myself in books, tea and video games as a breathing spell. You'll probably find me hitting up the bookstores more often than the gym

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