There’s nothing more rewarding than playing a game for hours, levelling up and collecting items so that you finally have the means to defeat the big boss everyone was warning you about. It can also be a very exhausting experience when it’s all over and suddenly, we don’t fancy going on another hour-long quest to kill even more skeevers. Sometimes, gaming can be the best way to unwind after a stressful day so we’ve found the best games to chill out to – they don’t require much brain power and you can complete them in your own time.
Stardew Valley is a farm life simulation game where you take on the role of a character who inherits their grandfather’s dilapidated farm in a place known as Stardew Valley. You get to choose from several different farm types, each with a unique theme and different benefits and drawbacks. It’s also your job to clear the land of boulders, trees, stumps, and weeds to make place for crops and other buildings. You will mainly interact with NPCs that inhabit the town, including beginning relationships (which can lead to marriage) that will eventually lead to more help tending your farm. There’s lots to do on the farm including fishing, cooking, crafting, and exploring the world around you for more materials, allowing you to upgrade your farm to its full potential. If you enjoy a game that you can play with your friends, Stardew Valley is a great choice as it allows up to four players to play online together, sharing that farm work might start to sound like a good idea the more you play.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
The Nintendo® classic, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the fifth instalment of the Animal Crossing games. It’s a social simulation game where the player controls a character who moves to a deserted island after purchasing a getaway package from Tom Nook. You must complete tasks and develop the island however you like, all whilst paying back the loan you unknowingly signed up for at the beginning of the game. There’s so much to do in this game including fishing, bug catching, digging for fossils, completing the museum, and building relationships with your islanders. There’s even the option to invite friends to your island, link up with Amiibos, and even terraform your island, a feature newly introduced to this addition of the game series. Whatever you’d enjoy doing on a deserted island, you can do it in Animal Crossing.
There are two games in the Slime Rancher universe, both are equally as relaxing as the other. In this game, you explore an open world as a “slime rancher” on a planet called Far Far Range. You must construct your own ranch to collect, raise, feed and breed slimes. The more you feed the slimes, the more money you make, and this is where the addictiveness of the game sets in. As the game progresses, you get to experiment with merging slimes, which in turn makes you more money and so your upgrades keep getting better. On top of growing your farm, you also must make sure all your slimes and hybrids have the right conditions otherwise they’ll break out and cause havoc – but don’t let that put you off, this game is perfect for winding down.
Don’t like being told what to do? We’ve got the game for you! Astroneer is a sandbox adventure game where you are tasked with colonising planets creating structures and collecting resources. There’s lots to collect in this game, and with that there’s lots to build but you don’t even have to do that. There are lots of cave systems to explore, planets to discover, and rewards to collect but if you prefer bouncing around and building your own little base out of moonrock, there’s no one there to stop you. We found this game to be a perfect buffer in between the big stories you might have on the go. There are no rules, no urgency and it can be fun to build and develop your own little world without the pressures of quests and missions.
Minecraft is the best-selling video game in history, and for good reason, there are no rules! Anything you can think of you can build in a virtually infinite terrain, and it can keep you entertained for hours. Start by building your base so you’ve got good defence at night or play in creative mode so there are no threats, and you can build away to your heart’s content. Despite having no required goals to accomplish and the large amount of freedom players get during the game, there are still achievements and trophies to be earned depending on what platform you play on. You can also add a challenge by playing in one of five game modes with the option of four difficulties, this game really is the game that keeps on giving.
Unpacking is a puzzle video game where you organise the possessions of a woman as you follow her through the main stages and major changes of her life. The gameplay is separated into years which represent significant life events like moving to university or moving in with her boyfriend. There are eight stages in total and thirty-five rooms to unpack, so there’s a lot to keep you busy. There are also little challenges that you can complete as you go along to earn some secret achievements. You can play the game at your own pace, placing things and organising the rooms however you like.
A Little to the Left
This cosy puzzle game invites you to organise your house, kitchen cupboards, drawers, and picture frames. It sounds dull and mundane but there’s something peaceful about organising a bookshelf in colour order or organising your letters by size. You need to make sure you keep an eye out for the mischievous house cat with an inclination for chaos. A Little to the Left is a beautiful puzzler with over 75 messes to tidy, and a cupboards and drawers DLC to keep your need for clean satisfied.
Speaking of cleaning,* PowerWash Simulator* seemed to keep plenty of us entertained over lockdown and the desire to power wash hasn’t left us… yet. It’s also now available on VR so you can get home from work and start your shift all over again! Besides the fact that you’re working, there’s always something very calming about doing something mundane in the virtual world. Ask us to power wash our own garden paths, absolutely no way, but when it comes to the virtual world, we just can’t get enough!