Though gaming is a hobby that holds different meanings for everyone, you can't deny it has a certain cathartic quality about it, especially when it comes to blowing off steam after a particularly hectic day. For some gamers, that means frantically blowing heads off of Nazi zombies, and for others it means exploring pixelated landscapes or managing a fictional city in a stress-free environment. For those looking to unwind with the latter group, we've compiled 15 of the most relaxing PC games we could find. The titles cover a wide variety of genres and interests. So put those chainsaws and shotguns away for a minute and try to relax with these awesome, non-violent games.
Do you have a favorite relaxing game to unwind with? Give us your recommendations in the comments below.
One of the most popular Minecraft mascots is the Creeper, a creature that blows itself up when in close proximity to the player. Minecraft is still calm and peaceful, despite its many nasties that want to kill you. You simply need to look toward Creative or Peaceful mode. There's a simple joy to be found in creating impossible structures, farming, raising animals, and maintaining your land.
Unlike any RTS you'll ever see, Eufloria is a calming mixture of flowers, pastels, and interstellar lifeforms called Euflorians. Aiding the Euflorians in their conquest is a sight to behold. The game is full of soothing audio and landscapes that will stick with you long after the stress subsides. It's like a long, relaxing bubble bath... but with aliens.
This cult PC hit asks only one thing of players: burn every item you have to a crisp. Selecting items from the in-game catalog, tossing them into your "recreational fireplace," and watching them burn has an eerily hypnotic allure. When it's all gone, you collect the earnings from your carnage and start the vicious circle all over again. We can see why there are so many pyromaniacs out there...
Select your any of your favorite tracks and go on a wild ride along with the beat. Depending on the soundtrack you choose, you'll have created an amalgamation of your most soothing music, relaxing visuals, and light challenges to go along with it. You can very easily zone out and let the music take control. You needn't worry about a thing in the world, just let the rhythm move you.
Like few puzzlers before it, Chime is a delightful mixture of chill tracks and a slick interface that finds you dropping, rotating, and stacking blocks along with the music. It's a cheap and relaxing way to zone out after a hard day at work, and you can even pop in fan-favorite "Still Alive" to mellow out with, if evil AIs are your thing.
What's more calming than twilight? There's hardly anything more beautiful than the close of a long day which NightSky captures wonderfully. Accompanied by an excellent jazz score and picturesque landscapes, the title is a much less chilling version of games like Limbo and Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, with far less sinister puzzles.
The innocence of a child's drawing waits for you in Crayon Physics, a friendly puzzler with plenty to offer. If a child's drawings came to life, they might look a bit like this charming physics sandbox, with plenty of puzzles to solve and teasers to keep you guessing. No pressure -- unless you're trying to solve one quicker than your friends, that is.
The desolate world of Machinarium is quiet and bleak, but point-and-click adventure gamers will find plenty to love in this bizarre wasteland. The tale of adorable little Josef rewards exploration and thinking outside of the box, and it's entirely devoid of dialogue. While there is an underlying narrative, it's up to you to uncover the secrets of the scrap heap you now find yourself on.
It may be a headache to get going (or to even play sometimes) but SimCity is an exciting yet soothing exercise in being a tyrant. There's nothing dire about ruling and creating your own city, except for perhaps letting everyone die. But that shouldn't ruin your day. Create, destroy, and be merry!
If you were to take everything lovely and relaxing about walks through the lush countryside and pop them into a game together, you'd have something similar to Dear Esther. Less of a game in the traditional sense and more like an interactive narrative, this touching tale is certainly not one that will be easily forgotten.
Osmos is a peculiar game that's all about merging other organisms into one. Propelling your "mote" (single-celled organism) into others to absorb them into your being has the allure of games like Solar and allows for quiet strategic planning. Darker colors and a fantastic atmosphere help the mood as well, perfect for nighttime play
It's a bright, sunny day in the world of Proteus. Or is it twilight? Is it spring or winter? As you explore this ever-changing world you'll always come back to see things in a completely different light. The soundtrack is even procedurally generated just as its environments, but there's no strict narrative or challenge lying in wait at the "end."
In the year 2070, global warming has set in, melting the Arctic ice cap and raising the sea level so that mountains are now all that's left of land for Earth-dwelling creatures. It's a massive disaster to be sure, but a magnificent RTS is borne out of the tragedy.
Minecraft's younger cousin (preferred by many to Notch's powerhouse) is similarly soothing, even with its many vicious platforming elements. Spelunking and gathering treasures and supplies is half of the fun. Its retro aesthetic is just icing on top of the cake.
This exceptional indie game started with humble beginnings, but has grown significantly since. The night sky is awash with planets, smaller moons, and asteroids, and it's up to you to grow your own universe as large as possible. It's a brilliant twist on classic mechanics and is extremely satisfying as it is mellow and understated.