Video games have been around for so long. People see video games as a form of entertainment, social interaction, and escape. Single-player games and multiplayer games alike are often a source of happiness for people; a common bond they share with family and friends and a way to spend quality time with them, and, for some, it can be a profession that helps put food on the table. From simple games like Pong to the yearly franchises such as sports games, first-person shooters, and platformers, the gaming industry has grown into a global juggernaut. As stay-at-home and quarantine orders became the norm across the world during the pandemic, they grew exponentially.
Video games are always fun to play alone or with friends. We all have those memories of Christmas Day; we would open presents and gather in front of the television to play Super Mario Bros on the NES. Or memories of hanging out at a friend’s place on a Friday Night to play Super Mario Kart or Super Smash Bros with pizza and soft drinks. We also have those memories where we would look up cheat codes and strategy guides to get out of a level we have been stuck on for a while.
More recently, online multiplayer games have become the standard with the introduction of the Xbox 360 in 2005, with Xbox Live making it possible to connect with our friends online and play together, even though we are not under the same roof playing on one console.
Sony and Nintendo soon followed suit with Playstation Network and Nintendo Online, respectively. Want a quick game of NBA 2K or shoot down enemies in Call of Duty? Just give your friends a quick chat, and you are up and about playing together online, also creating memories in the process.
With the global pandemic still raging on, video games give us at least one way to connect with our friends and have a fun time with them. Developers and Publishers have this fact in mind when creating games that cater to millions of gamers worldwide.
While there are games that bring out our competitiveness, there are also games that entice us to sit back and relax.
It may be with its relaxing visuals and gameplay or the overall tone and nature of the game that simply screams to have a relaxing time alone or with friends. Here are some of the games we think is the most chill to play alone or with friends:
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Xbox Games with Gold – September 2021 Xbox Games With Gold’s September 2021 free games have been unveiled just before the month kicked off. For
These three critically acclaimed games, a product of Thatgamecompany and published by Sony Computer Entertainment, are some of the greatest games of all time by gamers on the Playstation. Designed by Jenova Chen, co-founder of Thatgamecompany, the trilogy of games represents the indie game sector excellently, proving that a game does not need to be graphically intensive and heavily concentrated on gameplay to become a success. Sometimes, simplicity is key.
Despite their simple gameplay nature, these three games have become some of the fastest-selling games in Playstation Network history. They have since received rave reviews from several gaming journalists and experts.
The games have since been released as a PS4 game compilation, enabling users to experience all three games at once.
What makes these games unique is their overall simplicity in gameplay and presentation and how each game just invites the players to bask in the surroundings and relax their minds and bodies. There are no objectives to each game other than to move with the surroundings and progress through each level. It is a far cry from the usual first-person shooters and platformers that are becoming the norm nowadays.
Even the visuals entice the players to have a chill time playing, especially in Flower, wherein players control the wind carrying several petals traversing the beautiful nature.
Each game has been hailed as one of the best released on Playstation. Flow became the most downloaded PS3 game of 2007 and was downloaded 3.5 million times by February 2008. Flower went on to win several game awards, including “Best Independent Game of 2009” by Spike Video Game Awards, “Casual Game of the Year” by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences,” and was included by TIME Magazine in their “All-TIME 100 Video Games List” in 2012. Journey became the fastest-selling game at the time of its release in North America and Europe.
It also went on to receive the most game awards at the 16th D.I.C.E Awards with 8, including “Game of the Year,” “Outstanding Innovation in Gaming,” “Casual Game of the Year,” among others. By the time the game was released on PS4, it had gone on to become Metacritic’s 2015 #2 Best PS4 Game, #15 Most Discussed PS4 Game, and #19 Most Shared PS4 Game. IGN stated in their review of the game that “regardless of gaming taste, Journey’s astounding visuals will warrant your time.” 
With them all now available under one compilation on the PS4, it’s a great time to experience all three at their best, with updated 1080p graphics. And a butter-smooth 60 FPS to ensue emotions out of you and ensure you just have a relaxing time playing all three games.
Tequila Works’ adventure puzzle game, Rime, was released on May 26, 2017. Touted as an homage to Ico and The Last Guardian by Fumito Ueda , Rime follows the adventure of a young boy washed ashore in an abandoned island with a tower on the far end. The boy is guided by a magical fox and later encounters a man in a red cape on several occasions, but not once ever reaching him.
Throughout the game, the boy recollects how he ended up on the island, wherein he and his father fell overboard when a storm struck. Players can climb, run, carry objects, traverse through walls and surroundings throughout the game, and players can activate the young boy’s ability to shout or sing, which in turn triggers certain events such as causing a door to open for a limited time.
Throughout the game, players are also faced with the challenge of completing various environmental puzzles using perspective, using a special turret-like feature to align disparate objects to create a doorway on the surface they project onto.
What makes this game chill to play is the story. A Father tries to cope with the loss of his son. There are no words to describe a parent who has lost his child. It brings out an emotional side of the players through the narrative told. Despite the overall tone of the narrative, it is told through a simple platformer that is relatively easy to play and learn and does not need a steep learning curve to enjoy.
The end credits also encompass a simple yet powerful message: “To grandparents and their forgotten stories.”. It perfectly captures the emotional and chills aspect of the game. This narrative punctures through the hearts of the players and parents and children alike as it tells a true-to-life story of how difficult it is to accept the loss of someone dear to you, especially your flesh and blood.
In Giant Squid Studio’s Abzu, initially released August 2, 2016, players follow the journey of a female diver exploring the vast ocean. Players can freely navigate the underwater areas that range from natural caverns to ancient ruins. Abzu debuted in the Steam Sales Charts at #9 and was ranked #18 in terms of the best-selling PS4 game on the Playstation Store for August 2016, trailing only No Man’s Sky and Batman: The Telltale Series as the best-selling new entry. It was also nominated at The Game Awards 2016 for “Best Art Direction,” at the Golden Joystick Awards for “Best Original Game,” “Playstation Game of the Year,” and “Best Visual Design.”
The game’s design and imagination of the marine life entice the players to enjoy the scenery of animals and plants that live under the sea while also telling how life under the sea is threatened by outside forces that threaten to disrupt marine life. It also teaches the players the dire consequences of humankind’s actions towards marine life. Plants and animals living underwater are at risk of extinction. The underwater is beautiful scenery when adequately preserved and taken care of. The visuals and graphics of the underwater are inspired by
Sumerian mythology, and each creature is perfectly captured and tells a powerful story by itself. It may not have the most visually stunning graphics, but the idea of how beautiful marine life can be when preserved carefully is a striking image and thought. It serves as a staunch reminder to always preserve Mother Nature because it is us who will benefit from it in the end, as well as the creatures who consider the oceans home.
One of the biggest game releases of 2020, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, is coming off the declaration of the Global COVID-19 pandemic. Countries worldwide imposed a stay-at-home quarantine order to help curb the spread of the virus. First announced on a September 13, 2018, edition of Nintendo Direct, it was initially announced to have a 2019 release date. However, during Nintendo’s E3 2019 Direct, Nintendo announced that the game would be delayed to have a March 20, 2020 release. The game would release on that day, but the world’s situation was much more severe than anyone expected it to be.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons builds upon previous Animal Crossing games wherein the game is a life simulation game played in real-time.
Players control a villager customized to their liking and moves to a deserted island upon purchasing getaway packages from Tom Nook and receiving essential items such as a tent.
Players are free to play the game as they choose as it proceeds in a non-linear arc. You can play multiplayer locally or online. One Switch system supports one island and up to 8 players per island.
Up to 4 players who live on the same island can also play together at the same time via couch co-op on a single Switch system. Each player who lives on an island can have their own house, and any new players who join in would receive a NookPhone with the Call Islander app installed, which can be used to call other residents on the island to come and play with you.
Players can invite others onto their island or join other players’ islands by opening their islands (symbolized in the game through Dodo Airlines). Players can also search for players through their unique Dodo Code, which they can enter to invite a specific user or go to their island.
Multiplayer plays the same as single-player, except that real-life users help you develop your island, hunt for food and materials, and that you can interact with your friends through various means such as chatting with them or sending them emails. Adding users as your best friends affords them additional benefits such as using forbidden tools such as axes and shovels to strike stones for clay and money, striking trees for wood, and planting trees.
Seasonal updates are also present in the game, based mainly around National Holidays. Updates have been released for Earth Day, May Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the Mardi Gras Festival (called the Festivale in-game). These seasonal updates come with a real-time change in the overall ambiance of islands and specific items that match the event’s theme. Clothing is also available for a limited time that fits the theme. Special objectives that match the season’s ambiance are also available, such as finding Pave in the Festivale. In exchange for collecting feathers throughout the Festivale, Pave will give you Festivale-related prizes.
Real-life celebrations on certain holidays can also be experienced in-game. On New Year’s Day, residents on islands will celebrate by cooking New Year’s Dishes (varies per region). Residents will buy New Year related items like hats and party poppers. Players can ensure other villagers get into the New Year Spirit by talking to them while wearing Silk Hats at midnight, after which they will also wear one themselves.
Animal Crossings: New Horizon became a massive success, due to the timing of its release, at the dawn of a global pandemic that has forced several people to largely quarantine at home to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and video games are one of the escape options people can go do to cope up with the quarantine restrictions.
It has also contributed to the massive sales surge of the Nintendo Switch in 2020, even edging out the new generation PS5 and Xbox Series X|S consoles. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is also in a league of its own. No other game encompasses the gameplay and nature of Animal Crossings, which is the true spirit of helping each other out in times of need, especially when the world needs to unite as one to combat the global pandemic.
The multiplayer aspect of Animal Crossings also strengthens friendships and bonding, whether with family, relatives, or friends that we may not have seen for a while due to quarantine measures. Animal Crossing provides a platform where everyone can just have a relaxing time together.
Developed by Eric Barone, also known by his alias “CornerApe,” Stardew Valley is a farming simulation game released on February 26, 2016. Players take on the role of a farmer who receives a plot of land and a small house in a farm overrun with boulders, trees, and weeds, thanks to Joja Corporation.
It is up to the player to restore the farm by interacting with Non-Playable Characters that also inhibit the town and partaking in various activities such as fishing, crafting, and exploring the farm area to develop the farm. All these activities are metered out against the player’s in-game health and the internal clock. Each season in the game is represented by four 28-day months. Each season is beneficial to certain crops and activities.
The game has been praised for its overall gameplay elements, wherein the learning curve is not steep, and that even beginners can pick up the game and play it immediately. The game lets you do as you please in building your imagination on how you want to develop your farm to your preference.
It does not need heavy gameplay elements, and seasonal updates such as the Luau every summer ensures that there is enough content for everyone to enjoy. Stardew Valley provides an avenue to clear your head by providing an ambiance for you to let your imagination run wild if you need to take a break from all the battle royale madness.
Indie puzzle-platformer game Fez, developed by Polytron Corporation, was initially released on April 13, 2012. Players control a character called Gomez, wherein he receives a fez that reveals his 2D world is one side of a 3D world, revealed by witnessing a breakup of a giant golden hexahedron that tears the fabric of spacetime.
You can rotate each side of the 3D world to realign platforms, solve various puzzles, and reveal new paths through the levels by connecting inaccessible platforms. Players need to collect cubes and cube fragments that accrete to restore order to the universe by traversing the environment.
Things to discover in the game include a series of arcane codes and glyphs, treasure maps, chests, and secret rooms.
Reviews for the game came back generally positive. Praises for the game include its simplicity to play and the lack of enemies, bosses, and punishments for failure. The designers intended Fez to be a “stop and smell the flowers” kind of game, which entices players to clear their minds to solve the various puzzles the game offers, in contrast to bringing out players’ competitive side.
The game’s design also pays homage to the 8-bit era of video games, with the pixelated art style and limited color palette. It also takes inspiration from several games that defined the 8-bit era of video games, such as Tetris, The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros, among others. If the graphics, gameplay, and themes are not enough to sell you that Fez is a chill game to play, its soundtrack may do the trick.
Featuring 26 composed tracks, it is designed to have a relaxing vibe while the players traverse the game world. If you want a throwback to the ’80s, where games are so fun and simple to play, Fez is the perfect game to pick up and play.
Hello Games’, No Man’s Sky, released on August 9, 2016, Is built around four pillars: exploration, survival, combat, and trading.
Players control the Traveller, a specimen of an alien humanoid planetary explorer in an uncharted universe. The entire galaxy, including the stars, planets, flora, and fauna, is created through procedural generation using deterministic algorithms and random number generators from a single seed number, totaling 18 quintillion planets to explore. The different planets all have dangerous atmospheres.
Alien bases and caves provide shelter for the Traveller. Although the toxic environments will destroy the shielding and armor of the Traveller, thus players need to collect resources necessary for survival. Collecting blueprints enables the players to upgrade their exosuit, multitools, and spacecraft that makes survival easier.
No Man’s Sky initially launched with controversies surrounding it. Problems included developers having issues with Intellectual Property over the game’s title and a leaked copy of the game being sold at eBay roughly two weeks before the official release.
Not to mention how people poorly received the game was at launch. This was mainly due to the several bugs and glitches present and contradictions to Hello Games’ claims of how long the game takes to complete. Leakers reportedly stated that the game takes a much shorter time to reach the center of the virtual galaxy.
The day one patch fixed several of the issues people found in the leaked pre-release copies. Overriding game saves created in the pre-release copies with fresh ones and removing an exploit that pre-release players claimed, allowing them to complete the game earlier than expected.
Since then, a steady stream of free updates has been released, fixing the game to an almost unrecognizable level. Even today, there are still significant updates focused on adding new features and modes to the game and fixing old bugs. The first significant update, the Foundation Update, set the tone for future fixes and additions.
Updates would come in regularly that would significantly improve the game itself in terms of its graphical capabilities and gameplay and fixed several of the issues that plagued the game’s initial launch window, and added new features such as multiplayer and VR.
Prisms, the most recent update, brings along graphical improvements such as new weather effects and volumetric lighting, among others.
If you had told those who had access to the pre-release copies that the game would see a complete overhaul through constant updates, they would have probably laughed at the idea, especially with all the game’s glitches and lack of variety. It only shows that when developers put their heart into the game and release updates that mean something, a game initially considered a bust can come back to contend for Game of the Year. Just remember that The Witcher 3 had a similar path towards winning several awards and being heralded as one of the best games of all time.
Based on one of Nintendo’s most beloved franchises, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker follows one of the most recognizable faces in the Super Mario franchise, Toad, as Captain Toad from Super Mario 3D World, ascending a tower together with Toadette to claim a Power Star, when suddenly a giant crow called Wingo appears and takes Toadette hostage. Players then take control of Toad in a mission to rescue Toadette. Upon rescuing Toadette, the second chapter plays out, but this time it is Toad who is taken by Wingo. This time around, players control Toadette on a mission to rescue Toad.
Upon rescuing Toad, Toadette is once again kidnapped, and Toad is knocked from the tower. Players then take control of both Toad and Toadette en route to a final showdown with Wingo. Along the way, players can traverse through various obstacles to reach a Gold Star at the end of each level.
Manipulating camera views may reveal hidden areas containing bonus items. Toad carries over some of his characteristics from previous Super Mario games, such as pulling plants from the ground to gain coins or turnips to hurl at enemies.
A multiplayer mode has been added for the Nintendo Switch in 2019, applicable across all game levels. What makes multiplayer in this game unique is that you and your co-op player can work together to beat the levels.
While beating levels on your own is manageable, beating the game with a friend certainly makes things much more manageable. Missed a collectible? A co-op player may be able to spot it. Playing together with a common objective certainly makes for a fun session, as you are not fighting each other.
Instead, both of you are working together to achieve a common objective. It is undoubtedly a throwback to when the local co-op was revolutionized by Nintendo during the NES era, especially when online multiplayer has become the norm. It is a great way to unwind and relax after a long and tiring day, with the game’s simple graphics and overall enjoyable gameplay. Grab a friend and play Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker together.
What is a relaxing or “Chill” game?
Generally, relaxing video games are slow-paced with low stakes. They’re:
approachable, not hard to learn cooperative
nonlinear, not involving levels
peaceful, not violent accessible