Extraordinary displays of violence have been part of the video games industry for two decades now. This is proving hugely successful for games developers, and popular with players, but this form of violent escapism isn’t exactly classed as “relaxing games”. Like with books, video games have several genres out there and some of the less violent games can provide a great number of benefits to you too.
The following selection of relaxing games online will help you find some inner peace. They will relax and calm you while promoting stimulation for tired minds. They offer a healthy amount of dopamine as well, giving you enough excitement and rush that you’ll want to be coming back to them.
These relaxing games are all minor masterpieces of chilled-out enjoyment that can help calm you after a busy day, or hectic morning. They do so by ridding you from the stress of modern life into blissful escapism for but a moment. It’s perfect for those who want to be winding down! Best of all, these stress relief games are free to play!
Top 10 Stress Relief Games
First up is the eerie, calming experience of Flow.
Starting out as a tiny organism – basically a mouth and a torso – you have to swim around in blue gloop consuming other tiny organisms.
At times you’ll find that eating something has changed your creature. Whether it’s a metamorphosis or accelerated evolution is irrelevant; after ten minutes your body will be longer, and you might have sprouted legs and other appendages and you’ll be chasing an even larger quarry.
It’s not all forward motion; some of your soupmates will nibble bits off you too, but with some rudimentary diversionary tactics you can save your bacon.
All of this is reminiscent of the early stages of the game Spore.
It’s lovely to play, and the music and simplistic design makes it an immediate and striking experience.
2. Home Sheep Home
This sweet little puzzler is found on the Shaun the Sheep website (for those not in the know, it’s an animated series created by Aardman Animations, the people behind Wallace and Gromit).
The wonderful physics engine makes this game a dream to learn as everything feels very natural; you’re supplied with three fully controllable sheep of different sizes.
You have to work out how to get Timmy (tiny), Shaun (medium size), and Shirley (heavily overweight) over to the barn on the right of the screen using the swings, see-saws, ramps, steps, switches, and other paraphernalia lying around.
You’ll be hooked to Home Sheep Home in no time by the adorable characters and laid-back style of play. This is by design of course as puzzle games ramp in difficulty in later stages. Even if you’re stumped in those later stages, the overall design makes it one of the most relaxing games to play.
3. Flower Reaction
Fauna-based fun abounds in Flower Reaction, where each level begins with a number of little flowers floating around the screen, bouncing off the edges.
Your cursor is another flower and when you click, it stops and blooms to about ten times its size for a few seconds. Any flowers that bump into it also do the same, and any flowers that touch them do the same.
The aim is to time the first one so that you get the largest chain reaction, hence the name. It’s an excellent stress relief game simply because you can get a dopamine rush whenever you trigger a large chain. Flower Reaction also provides different coloured flowers with their own unique abilities as well. These abilities are things such as lingering longer or growing massively for a second.
There is enough variety to these abilities to cause various combinations and create potentially larger chains. This is of course on top of the different colours being visually appealing to players.
With the unique colours and the simplistic mechanics of the game, it’s another one of the solid relaxing games to play online.
You’re a giraffe – at least in Casanova – trotting eastwards as a procession of other giraffes trots westwards. Each one has a neck of a different length, and all you have to do is click and hold the mouse button to extend yours so your heads meet for a kiss!
The whole point of the game is simple: land a smacker on the lips of the other giraffes as often as possible while collecting floating bonuses along the way. Between that element and the 70s sitcom theme tune plays jauntily in the background it’s so adorably cute it should be illegal.
The colours and the music make it one of the most relaxing games around.
5. Little Wheel
Point and click adventure games come in all varieties, and for a time, a lot of video games were essentially that. These games sent you on journeys to find unique characters, gather various items, and complete oftentimes convoluted puzzles. The only issue with those ones is that the particularly tricky and illogical ones wouldn’t be considered relaxing games if your objective is to play something quick and easy.
This is what makes Little Wheel stand out amongst the multitude of point-and-click games. It is the sheer beauty and atmosphere the game’s makers One Click Dog have created here.
The graphics are striking enough to win awards and are reminiscent of another game called Limbo. Little Wheel goes a step farther through the addition of a slinky jazz soundtrack. Unlike the eerieness of Limbo (on top of the violence that your character could face in that game), the graphics and music set the scene for a 1920s Chicago, neo-noir theme.
As for the objective, you have to work out how to get your robot across town to return power to the vicinity. You are given several options that you have to piece together to get you to that end result. Mentioning anything more beyond this would spoil the experience so I’ll stop there. Nevertheless, it’s one of those stress relief games that is worth considering.
6. Sleeping Tiger Jigsaw
Jigsaw puzzles are forever world-famous for their addictive nature. For centuries, we’ve enjoyed opening up boxes of puzzles and putting together the images. And of course in more recent times, puzzles have developed into 3D puzzles, allowing us to build elaborate models.
The only issue with puzzles is the fact they can take up so much space. Thankfully, there are several online solutions that allow people to reap the benefits of putting puzzles together without worrying about the space. Introducing the Sleeping Tiger Jigsaw.
It is no different from any typical jigsaw puzzle box you’d open up. This game is pretty much what Charles Babbage had in mind when he invented the programmable computer – a way of doing jigsaws when you haven’t got a table or the space.
As the name of this game suggests, this is a pure jigsaw puzzle game so if you’ve ever done one, then an explanation for what to do is really not necessary. What is necessary though is the complexity of these puzzles as they do take up a bit of time to complete – roughly an hour. So if you’d like to wrack your brain over these puzzles and like a challenge, mesmerize yourself with this jigsaw puzzle and frankly a relaxing game to play with family.
The other perks of this being online is the fact that the game can enhance certain experiences. For example, the pieces snap together satisfyingly when you place them next to a rightful neighbour, wherever they are on the screen. That sound gives a nice rush of dopamine that of course makes us want to be doing more of it. In the end, this game is nothing new, however, it is a well-executed version of an age-old pastime and sometimes that’s all great and relaxing games really need. Get yourself a tea and listen to your favourite music as you play if you’ve got the time to spare.
7. Drifting Afternoon
Here’s another Ferry Halim classic: Drifting Afternoon. If you’re not familiar with Ferry Halim, he developed a website called Orisinal in 2000 and used the platform to develop 62 Adobe Flash games (as of January 2018). This game develop specializes in fun 2D experiences that bring creative game ideas to honestly online relaxing games to play.
He has several titled games, but for this list, I’m focusing on Drifting Afternoon. As with all this maestro’s work, it’s a joy to behold, looking more like a watercolour painting than a game. That theme makes it one of those chill games to play that you can lose yourself in.
The action takes place on a palpably breezy day, and you have to aim with your mouse and jump your puppy (or it could be a kitten) from balloon to balloon as they drift by, before your time runs out.
You get points for landing on balloons and bonus points for jumping over them, and every so often a special balloon tops up your time – if you can land on it.
With a simple objective like that along with the overall theming, it’s both an exciting game, but also another one of those great stress relief games.
No guns, no violence, just a breezy experience.
Even though this timeless classic is over a decade old, Bejeweled gets a mention as there must still be people who haven’t played it.
Even so, there are several games out there that have taken this model and changed it into something else. One popular example is the game Candy Crush.
Unlike Candy Crush though, Bejeweled is more simplistic than that. All you have to do is swap the positions of pairs of jewels to make unbroken sequences of three, four or five identical jewels. Once the sequence is complete they’ll disappear, spawning replacements as those above them drop into their spaces.
What makes the game also nicer is the opportunity for power-ups when you line up four, or five or even six jewels at once. These net you higher scores on top of those additional perks.
This game is so reminiscent of Tetris, that it’s addictive. And what drives this to being one of the greatest and relaxing games to play is the fact the sounds are delightful and create a sense of satisfaction. It’s a wonderful dopamine rush paired with excitement since you are on a timer.
9. Fireboy and Watergirl
This puzzle game can be tricky, but it delivers on satisfaction when you do it right making it an incredibly chill game to play. The missions you face are fairly straightforward to grasp: guide Fireboy (who hates water) and Watergirl (who hates fire) around the onscreen challenges until you reach the conclusion.
It is similar to Home Sheep Home, though with different elements at play here.
Expect lots of switch operating, box-pushing, see-saw running, and light-beam guiding in this game. This puzzle game will present all kinds of challenges, but you can also expect Fireboy and Watergirl to wow you with their laid-back charms as well.
Put your headphones on and immerse yourself in the wonders of Echogenesis. The visuals come from nature; swamps, forests, coves, and the like, whilst the sounds are created by interacting with the various life forms that you come across.
This is a purely relaxing game as the visuals fully immerse you into those worlds. It’s a truly delightful experience as it provides a nice balance between the beautiful graphics and the luscious stereophonic orchestration.
Unlike the other chill games to play on this list, there isn’t a prime objective. Nor are you able to win or lose from this game. The whole objective – if you want to call it that – is you must experience and influence the worlds you see. Ultimately, this is all about making a relaxing tale of exploration which is unheard of in video games.
Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com