Let’s face it, during this time of social distancing there are a lot of video games to choose from. And sometimes, you just want to cuddle up with a chill game that helps you escape the world for a while. Well, you’re in luck, because the Geek Girl Video Games crew has got you covered! Here are some of our favorite video games that help us relax.

Renee’s Pick — Stardew Valley

There is something calming and comforting about tending a virtual farm. But when you take that farm and create it with 2D sprites, it turns into something magical. This is what Stardew Valley is, and there is a reason why it has such a dedicated following of gamers. The game is inspired by games like Harvest Moon, but in Stardew Valley, things move a little slower, and that is not a bad thing. In Stardew Valley you tend your farm by growing crops, purchasing animals and upgrading your farm buildings. You can interact with the townspeople, and by increasing their friendship, you get to see a side of them that you wouldn’t normally see. You learn about the lives they lead and the struggles they face. There are side quests that you can complete and a major storyline that you slowly address throughout each of the four seasons. The music, simple and cheerful, keeps the game lighthearted. It is the perfect game to spend time on when you need to step away from everyday stress.

Stardew Valley is available for PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, iOS, Android, macOS and Linux.

Relaxing Video Games

Stardew Valley (ConcernedApe/Chucklefish)

Julia’s Pick — The Sims 4

When things become stressful in life, I turn to The Sims franchise. Recently I have been enjoying The Sims 4. Yes, the game, like any other, can get a little hectic if things get out of hand, but it is a good kind of hectic. When I want to relax, I forget about all of the challenges in-game and just focus on the peaceful side of raising a family and sending my Sim off to work. Likewise, one of my favorite parts of The Sims 4 is creating a Sim. I could spend countless hours dressing my Sim up in different outfits, makeup and hairstyles. With each new expansion, game and stuff pack there is the addition of new clothes and hairstyles to try out. Then the custom content that fans of the game have produced makes the process even better. From the hairstyles to the amazing makeup, it makes the game feel brand-new. Additionally, the second best part of playing The Sims 4 is building homes for my Sims. I tend to build homes inspired by ones I have seen in and around my town. The improvements throughout the years have made building more peaceful and inspiring. Just put on some relaxing tunes and spend the next hour building your dream home. I promise you will thank me.

The Sims 4 is available to play on PC through Origin, Xbox One and PS4.

Relaxing Video Games

The Sims 4 (Maxis/The Sims Studio/EA)

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Emily’s Pick –The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

For me, the perfect, relaxing video game is one that blends fluid gameplay with calming aesthetics. There is no other game that fits this better than The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. In this title, YOU are in charge of your adventure through the ruins of Hyrule. You can choose to travel to any area on the map, journey into shrines, collect cooking ingredients, fight some enemies, etc. Your adventure is your own, and to me, that is what truly makes a relaxing video game. Along with this playstyle, Breath of the Wild also features a fantastic soundtrack. Soft piano and flute melodies relax your mind as you wander across the various terrains. Even battles are relaxing, thanks to the staccato piano songs that accompany enemies. Additionally, this game has been hailed one of the greatest of this generation, and I do not doubt that part of that is thanks to its relaxing quality. If you’re looking for a serene adventure to pass the time, then I recommend picking up Breath of the Wild today. 

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is available on the Nintendo Switch and WiiU.

Relaxing Video Games

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo)

Tyler’s Pick — The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

I know what you are thinking: how could a game with bloody sword fights and angry dragon shouts possibly be relaxing? But The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is so much more than caves filled with Draugr and spiders. Part of what makes gamers feel comfortable playing this game for hours on end is its intimate moments. I often find myself eschewing the option to fast travel in favor of taking a lively stroll to my objective. Skyrim is an enchanted fantasy realm with a genuine emphasis on exploration and crafting your narrative. Admittedly, the game can be stressful early on– you know so little about the lands, and your character is very weak. So it is easy to panic when you are suddenly ambushed by a pack of wolves. But as your Dragonborn levels up, you will also gain greater familiarity with the threats and be more aware of warning signs and difficulty levels. Additionally, that harshness gives Skyrim greater depth, and it helps the moments in between conflict stand out even more. It is easy to explore and participate in side quests without ever advancing the main story. If you want to play Skyrim solely for the sake of exploring, I recommend creating a character with high Stealth and Illusion skills. Overall, the continent of Tamriel is a great setting to wander and explore, whether for the first time or a nostalgic return to its shores.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is available to play on the PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and on the PC through Steam.

Relaxing Video Games

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks)

Taylor’s Pick — Farm Together

Farm Together is one of the most relaxing games I’ve played in a long time. It’s very similar to Farmville, but without the microtransactions. While Farm Together is multiplayer, you don’t necessarily need a friend to help you on your farms. You can pick your farm terrain based on super-flat, rocky, more ponds, or an average farm with a mix of it all. Likewise, you gain player/account level, as well as farm level. Farm Level unlocks new crops, buildings, stores, flowers and animals. Meanwhile, Account Level unlocks new pets, outfits, hairstyles, tractor styles, tractor decorations and even farm hand types. Additionally, Farm Together holds seasonal events that usually last a couple of weeks, giving you permanent rewards to unlock for all farms. The game has other features like seasons, with each in-game season lasting about 17 real-time minutes. You can build a house and have indoor furniture décor as well as activities to earn other forms of currency to aid in progressing your farm. The DLCs of the game aren’t required to progress in the game but are worth it for the décor, outfits, and unique crops you can add to spice up your game.

Farm Together is available on PS4, Xbox One and PC through Steam.

Farm Together (Milkstone Studios)

What are some of your favorite relaxing video games? Are they any of the ones mentioned on our list? Let us know in the comments below or on social media!

Contributors: Emily Jacobson, Renee Lopez, Julia Roth, Tyler Boyce and Taylor Jones

This was originally published 3/22/20

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