Video Games

Games To Help You Chill Out

Games to Help You Chill Out |

Games to Help You Chill Out |

Rick, like many hardcore games, usually states “chilling out” or “relaxing” as one of the primary reason that he plays video games. And yet, more often than not his play sessions will result in screaming at the television, controllers tossed in a huff and general bad moods that require him to take a time out in the bedroom while the cats and I calm our shattered nerves. While I long ago made peace with this seeming contradiction in Rick’s motives, it did get me thinking about how useful video games are for relaxation.

Most of the most popular games out there tend to focus on pulse quickening action and lightening reflexes, things that don’t tend to lend themselves to “chilling out.” I can certainly see how working towards a goal with regular positive reinforcement and no real world consequences can be focusing and therefore relaxing to many people. But it got me thinking about whether there exist games that really do encourage you to actually breath, relax, and zone out.

In these stressful, over saturated times there does seem to be a movement towards games and apps that promote relaxing, zen-like vibes, but those tend to be smaller experiences that are meant to be picked up and put down when you need a little serenity. However, for this post I decided to focus on games that offer longer, more meditative experiences that can be drawn out over a whole lazy Sunday.

Here’s my list of four sure-fire games to help you chill out:


Flower | Games to Help You Chill Out | This early title from Journey makers That Game Company is the definition of a game to chill you out. There is no combat, no real win states, just follow the breeze and watch flowers and other plants bloom in a field. The ambient soundtrack is tranquil and reassuring, the movement is fluid and calm, and the experience is loveliness personified. Pretty much anything by That Game Company would qualify for this list, but Flower stands out for its beauty and its simplicity.


Hohokum | Games to Help You Chill Out | Hohokum is probably as close to smoking a bowl as a video game gets. It’s relaxing, colourful and utterly stress free. It is also endlessly charming and surprising, with characters and situations constantly reacting to you as you wind your way languidly across multiple landscapes full of whimsy and delight. Again, the soundtrack is equal parts peaceful and comforting and the overall experience is one of utter contentment.


Gardenarium | Games To Help You Chill Out | Born from the mind of triptastic animator Paloma Dawkins, Gardenarium is a psychedelic walking simulator across a landscape that is in constant motion. While there is an objective of sorts to do with collecting soda cans, the game is much more about exploring the vibrant environment and opening yourself to the experience. Once again the emphasis is on experience and contemplation, rather than having fixed goals to achieve.


Viridi | Games To Help You Chill Out | Viridi is that rare sort of game that actually works best if you play it in another window while you’re working. It is a succulent growing simulator. That happens in real time. Pick your pot, your plans, water them ever so occasionally and sing to them when then are down. Watch a tiny snail traverse the perimeter of your pot. Let the twinkly background music lull you into a trance while you balance spreadsheets and occasionally check on your succulents’ progress. Bonus: It’s free to play!

What games help you chill out?

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  • Reply
    Natalie Snyder
    February 15, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    I friend of mine recommend Flower a while back and I’ve been racking my brain trying to remember what it was called. I just kept saying “you know, the game where you’re the wind” and no one knew what i was talking about. Thanks for posting this!

    • Reply
      February 16, 2016 at 12:18 pm

      Glad I could help! 😉

  • Reply
    February 16, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    Hohokum sounds so intriguing; I’ll have to check it out. And oddly, I’m a bit in love with idea of Viridi as well, despite actually gardening in real life haha!

    • Reply
      February 16, 2016 at 5:26 pm

      I thought it would be so dumb, but I’m actually really into it. And I’m obsessed with the soundtrack. It really is amazing for helping me chill while I work.

  • Reply
    February 17, 2016 at 5:32 am

    They actually all sound amazing and the opposite to what I’d typically view as gaming (but not in a bad way!)

    • Reply
      February 17, 2016 at 10:06 am

      Yay! I love helping to open peoples minds about what games can be.

  • Reply
    Stacey (@geeksandlattes)
    February 17, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    Viridi looks so cute. I may have to check it out!

    • Reply
      February 17, 2016 at 1:07 pm

      Bonus: It’s FREE to play!

  • Reply
    February 17, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    I want to give Hohokum a try. Sounds cool. Your description of it totally made me LOL.

    • Reply
      February 18, 2016 at 1:12 pm

      Hehe. It really is a lovely little game, regardless of your relationship to drugs… lol.

  • Reply
    February 18, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    I LOVE Viridi!! I play Animal Crossing as stress relief a lot. I saw Journey in a video about relaxing — and while I never would have thought about that title myself, I totally see it! I need to try out Flower in particular but all of these sound wonderful. 🙂

    • Reply
      February 18, 2016 at 8:47 pm

      Journey is pretty much the next level of Flower and Flow, just a total masterpiece. And I can definitely see how Animal Crossing would be a good stress reliever.

  • Reply
    Dina Farmer
    February 19, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    Well I chill by playing games when I can. Most of the time any time spent playing a game is a good time for me!

  • Reply
    February 27, 2016 at 3:02 am

    I never thought about playing games that are specifically more calm or relaxing, so thanks for creating this list Mariko! I definitely plan to try out a few of these games in between Dragonage quests.

    • Reply
      March 1, 2016 at 6:10 pm

      Not a bad plan. I find any day is improved by opening up Viridi and checking on my babies.

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