Coming back from a depleting day in the office or at school, many gamers let loose to their heart’s content on first-person shooters or action-heavy multiplayer RPGs. But not all video games can be bombastic, nor do they need to be. Many casual entries offer a more relaxing way to unwind. And Nintendo’s handheld console is a platform of choice for some chill gaming. So, whether at home or during an excruciatingly long commute, these Nintendo Switch games are perfect stress relievers.
Developed by the Australian Witch Beam studio, Unpacking is a game that defies any standard genre. From a kid’s room to a family mansion, this life sim makes you experience the successive house moves of an anonymous character. Settling in a new place means unpacking the protagonist’s possessions and fitting them inside every nook and cranny you may find. With each new home come new items, while some get left behind as the character grows older.
And as you go through eight of the player-character’s life stages without ever seeing their face, you still develop an uncanny sense of intimacy with no other insight than what their belongings tell you. Half puzzler, half decoration game, Unpacking is a unique experience on the Nintendo Switch that will surely catch you in the feels. A contemplative break foremost, this zen game features no timer or score. And a soothing score, courtesy of BAFTA-winning composer Jeff van Dyck, further elevates the melancholic atmosphere of this indie gem.
A Short Hike
Singlehandedly developed by Canadian game designer Adam Robinson-Yu, A Short Hike takes you on a whimsical journey across a bright open world. Controlling Claire, an anthropomorphic bird, you meander through the Hawk Peak Provincial Park. Your only goal is to reach the peak of the park’s mountain.
But there’s no need to rush to the summit, so why don’t you take a dip by the lake or stop for a chat with fellow hikers? Side quests may even pop up along the route. In this chill Switch game, straying away from the marked trails provides ample opportunity to discover some hidden treasures. So, carve your own path and see where it leads you as you explore the gorgeous backcountry.
Stardew Valley kicks off as you quit your depressing office job to take over your late grandfather’s homestead. Harvesting vegetables and caring for animals are just the beginnings, as this chill farming simulation game offers hundreds of hours of gameplay. So, befriend the inhabitants of Pelican Town – some of whom you might eventually marry – fight monsters in the mine or go on a fishing trip on the shores of a tropical island. The further you explore, the more cutscenes and additional content you may unlock, such as casino minigames.
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Bear and Breakfast
From dealing with head-scratching production chains to ensuring the survival of a colony facing extinction, management games like Factorio and Frostpunk often feel more brutal than casual. If you’re looking for the opposite approach, then, Bear and Breakfast is all about taking it slow. This laid-back management adventure game takes you to a remote forest, where you settle for opening a cushy bed and breakfast.
As the name implies, that sweet inn’s host is none other than a cutesy bear. So, run the comfiest B & B you can to attract guests in droves and customize their rooms to make them stay longer. Side quests give you multiple items to collect, unlocking many perks for your guesthouse. The mysterious woods that surround your cabin also hold many secrets to unveil as you explore them.
According to Wire, scientific studies show that casual games are healthy outlets to ease stress. With no set goals and a tranquil environment, chill games positively affect mood and stress. So, whether you’re craving some serious me time or an undemanding gaming session, the relaxing games above are the way to go for both self-care and fun.