Take It Easy With These Stress-Free and Non-Violent Video Games

Inspired by games from the 2016 Self-Care Jam (which Kotaku singled out for a select few), MetaFilter users recently named their favorite soothing video games . Some of them will be familiar to you, while others will be deeply developed by independent developers. Most of them are not for victory or defeat, but simply for exploration, interaction and existence. None of them force you to fight other players in intense combat. Try this if you’re too stressed out for Overwatch or Plague Inc.


Take care of pets and plants, or simply exist without the stress of a dying Tamagotchi or a depressed Sim family.

  • Viridi (Android / iOS): Take care of the potted succulent.
  • Neko Atsume (Android / iOS): Collect cartoon cats like Pok√©mon that you never have to fight.
  • ISLANDS: No-Places (PC / Mac / iOS): Play around with ten small abstract scenes full of vending machines and palm trees.
  • Mountain (PC / Linux / Mac / Android / iOS): Be a mountain that is as dormant as it seems.


Solve immaculate puzzles in beautiful surroundings.

  • Monument Valley (Android / iOS / Windows Phone): Explore the geometric castle architecture as a princess and, in Volume 2, as her mother.
  • The Witness (PC / Mac / iOS / PS4 / Xbox): Understand the logic of circuits on an island like Myst.


Some of these games give you a goal, some tell a story, some just give you space to explore.

  • Abz (PC / PS4 / Xbox): Swim with fish in pastel ocean colors.
  • Fugle (PC / Mac): Fly through the pixelated world as a pixelated bird.
  • Firewatch : After you win this game as a firefighter in Wyoming, take a walk through the lush forest.
  • Proteus (PC / Mac): Walk a desert island for three days and have a mystical experience in this one-person walking simulator.
  • No Man’s Sky (PC / PS4): Fly around a vast procedurally generated galaxy of planets.
  • Everyone (PC / Linux / Mac / PS4): Shrink and grow like different animals in a procedurally generated world with aDecade -style timeline.

I have two personal recommendations:

  • Samorost (Browser / PC / Mac / Linux / Android / iOS): A point-and-click adventure. In the role of the silent gnome, you will save a sleepy fantasy world full of magic mushrooms and creatures similar to Miyazaki. Featuring a natural setting and whimsical soundtrack, this three-game series brings back memories of 1996’sThe Neverhood .
  • Osmos (PC / Mac / Linux / Android / iOS): This single-player spiritual predecessor to the multiplayer casual game Agar.io is much less aggressive. You still need to eat anything less and avoid anything larger, but once you’re well, piloting a single-celled organism across the screen will become soothing for you.


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