These are my top 5 relaxing games to help reset or something to wind down to after a hard gaming session. Why would you need to relax? Well, many of us play high octane, high concentration games. While these games are very rewarding to play it’s also important to take things easy at times. Tilting from Leagues? A Boss in Elden Ring grinding you down? Burned out on WoW? Are these thoughts/feelings familiar? I think it’s time to give one of these games a go to help calm down and enjoy yourself.
Top 5 Relaxing Games – Farming Simulator/Stardew Valley
Farming Simulator 22 is one of the most relaxing games I’ve played in years. Yes, it can be quite complicated but the game settings can be adjusted to suit your needs. I personally like to turn off stones and reploughing fields for a nice relaxing session. The use of farmhands while reducing profits make larger farms much easier to manage, especially during harvest season. Cruise control and a lining yourself up correctly are your best friends, making working the fields an absolute joy. This is a solid recommendation on this top 5 relaxing games list. You can read our full review of Farming Simulator 22 here.
If Farming Simulator is a bit too ‘simulator’ for your tastes Stardew Valley is a good alternative. This game plays more like the popular series Harvest Moon, specifically the SNES/16 Bit version. You won’t be buying farming machinery in this one, instead buying tools and taking a more physical route. There are RPG elements to the game, a local town with many NPCs and even the ability to get married! This game is less of a simulator and more of a farming RPG. There are even quests, dungeons and combat so the variety is fantastic! I know this is meant to be a list of 5 relaxing games but I couldn’t choose between the two!
Top 5 Relaxing Games – Vampire Survivors
Vampires Survivors is another good choice for a relaxing game. It can be a little hectic at times but gets easier as you become more familiar with it and get some unlocks. This Rouge-lite, while challenging at times, is relatively simple. You will start to favour particular weapons and their upgrades, making decisions without much thought. You just kill enemies, pick up the XP gems and level up. There are some bosses but as long as you have been levelling and can kite they aren’t an issue. A boss drops a chest upon death either giving you a higher level or evolving a weapon.
A game takes 30 minutes (you unlock a 15 minute and hyper mode later on). The coins you gain are used to buy new characters or unlocks, constantly changing how you play. Every character has their starting weapon, unique stats and a scaling speciality as well as powerful hidden/secret characters. There are currently 5 regular levels and 4 bonus levels, offering variety. Each level contains hidden items, allowing you to go over the support weapon cap. Vampire Survivors is my personal favourite from this top 5 relaxing games list!
Top 5 Relaxing Games – Two Point Hospital
Two Point Hospital is the spiritual successor to Bullfrog’s Theme Hospital. Design your own hospital, hire staff, cure patients, make money! While things can get hectic in later levels the first few stages are relaxing. While in career mode the difficulty is fixed you can customise various settings playing in the sandbox mode. The humour is on point too, perfectly mixing sarcasm with absurdity. Two Point is available on most platforms and has a wealth of optional DLC content. I’ve actually got most of my DLC from Twitch Prime drops though!
I would be remised in my top 5 relaxing games if I didn’t mention the OG Theme Hospital! This is where it all started and has a similar (if more British) sense of humour. The gameplay between the two is actually quite similar with Two Point being slightly more refined. Running Theme Hospital on modern systems however can be tricky. There is an unofficial program called CorsixTH which makes the game compatible with modern systems. CorsixTH still needs the files from the original game though to work. You can buy the game on Origin or GoG, either version will work with CorsixTH. Theme Hospital is also available on PS1, unfortunately the PS1 is now firmly in the premium retro market.
Top 5 Relaxing Games – PowerWash Simulator
PowerWash Simulator is such a strange game, on the surface sounding very boring but strangely addictive. PW S is actually the game that gave me the idea for this top 5 relaxing games article! The career mode is relaxing as hell, you clean dirty stuff, earn money and buy better equipment. There is a wide variety of attachments that extend range or spray in larger areas. Soap is also a mechanic but I tend not to use it to save money. There isn’t a time limit either in career mode and it even has a multiplayer component.
Apart from the career mode there are challenges, a free-play mode and some unique stages. You have a helpful tablet showing you your progress, highlighting whatever you select. You can also press tab at any time to get an orange glow wherever dirt may be (it’s not always obvious). Crouching and jumping are required to hit every angle. You are provided with ladders to help you reach high places. There is also a nice glow and audio cue to tell you you’ve finished a section, giving a nice dopamine hit! I like to put on a podcast and get stuck in when I play. The game is currently available on Steam, Xbox or with a Gamepass subscription.
Top 5 Relaxing Games – Cities: Skylines
City builders have always been a go-to for me, perfect for this top 5 relaxing games list. I went with Cities: Skylines over other builders because it’s arguably the best. The DLC options also offer multiple new mechanics and enhance the game greatly. The gameplay is pretty simple but the mechanics go quite deep. You can pause or increase/decrease time, allowing you to correct mistakes with minimal disruption. Connecting roads is easy, the snapping tools are excellent and there is a tonne of overall choice. You can also choose between higher capacity roads at the cost of noise/pollution.
There are, of course, the usual tax, funding and loan mechanics, typical for the genre. The way you manage bus routes and other public transport is quite involved. If done correctly, though, it can really help congestion problems that comes with sprawling cities. Utilities are well implemented, giving you lots of options once you’ve unlocked a few technologies. There are also a selection of maps with different climates and layouts, each offering unique advantages and disadvantages. The Steam Workshop also offers almost unlimited variety although some require you to own specific DLCs.
Top 5 Relaxing Games – Final Thoughts
That’s the final entry in our top 5 relaxing games list. We hope you give some of them a try but the more important thing is to relax and look after yourself. While playing FromSoft games, I learned about understanding when I was tilting and underperforming as a result. When you tilt you are using the emotional, illogical side of your brain which leads to impulsive play and mistakes. It’s not being ‘bad at games’ to take a break and reset, it’s being smart. You’ll come back with a healthier mindset and eventually overcome whatever challenge is in front of you! Please comment below if you have played any of these games or if you have suggestions to add to the list. If you’re up for it, maybe give us your list of top 5 relaxing games!