Cozying up with a relaxing video game sounds more and more enticing as the days get shorter and the air gets a little sharper. Games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Stardew Valley, and The Sims 4 have been staples in our rotation for quite some time. If you’re tired of the same old games and want to try something fresh, we have plenty of options for you to enjoy while kicking back on the couch, whether you choose to play on your mobile device, computer, or console.
Cult of the Lamb
It’s like Animal Crossing, except in Cult of the Lamb you sacrifice lambs instead of creating their cozy little homes. It’s technically gloomy and gruesome, yet paradoxically soothing to listen to. (Perhaps it tells something about myself, but you’ll have to trust me on this.) You play a lamb that is sacrificed and then resurrected by an underground god, who demands that in exchange for his favor you create a cult in his honor. In order to accomplish this, you must battle through roguelike stages in an effort to destroy an opposing cult and win over the hearts of the cute animals you encounter. When you’re not out in the field fighting for your life, you’re likely running your own little colony, which involves things like keeping the cultists happy, farming for supplies, and making leadership decisions that have consequences for you and them.
The world of Tsuki’s Odyssey, Mushroom Village, is packed of adorable characters and gorgeous illustrations reminiscent of the Winnie-the-Pooh tales. Every time you log in to this non-interactive game, the characters’ activities will be different because they are tied to the real-world clock. And it doesn’t take up too much of your time; the game may be played in little bursts throughout the day. The villagers and your treehouse furnishing experience will provide low-stakes amusement, just what you need to feel all warm and fuzzy inside on a chilly day.
This small game about a llama farmer who snowboards is one of the most relaxing video game experiences I’ve ever had. The music of Alto’s Adventure is relaxing, and the visuals are captivating despite their simplicity. Your llamas have escaped, and you have to chase them down the mountain as you snowboard. With no goal in sight than to rack up more points, you may relax, zone out, and enjoy watching Alto glide across the snow.
The last year has been rough, but the nutritious game Ooblets has been my chicken soup for the soul. Once you’ve accumulated enough resources from farming, cooking, and exploring, you can challenge the Ooblets to turn-based dance wars. If you’re successful in recruiting them, they’ll join your team and fight alongside you in your quests. Over fifty completely bizarre species are available for collection; I particularly like Hermble, a birdlike creature with a bad haircut on the sides of an otherwise bald head. A model of perfection in the animal kingdom. Ooblets’ unexpected depth of content, cute visual design, and infectious dance-off tunes never fail to lift my spirits whenever I return to the game.
Two Point Campus
Two of the creators of Theme Hospital and the original Fable series also worked on Two Point Campus and its medical prequel, Two Point Hospital. With its blend of wry British humor and friendly simulation gameplay, it’s almost like getting the best of both worlds. In Two Point Campus, you play the role of a university administrator who is tasked with designing a unique curriculum that includes subjects like “Wizardry,” “Internet History,” and “Money Wangling,” the latter of which teaches students how to get rich by shady financial means. You’re in charge of the school’s aesthetics and operations, planning and overseeing extracurricular programs and keeping an eye on the faculty. This game is perfect for you if you like to construct things but get frustrated or confused when given too much freedom or complicated mechanics. Achieving financial success in company can be done with less specialized knowledge if one so chooses. Two Point Hospital features the same gameplay style and weird additions, but this time it’s set in a hospital rather than a college town. It’s still a fantastic game if that’s more your speed.
Disney Dreamlight Valley
Disney Dreamlight Valley exceeded my lofty expectations, which had pegged it as a generic Animal Crossing knockoff with a Disney skin applied. This game has everything I look for in a relaxing simulation game, including a charming tale and well-polished gameplay that will keep players of all ages engaged, from young children to their parents. Your mission is to rebuild the village of Dreamlight Valley, where well-known Disney characters formerly lived before a catastrophe known as the Forgetting wiped out their memories and forced them to escape for their lives. Discover many fantastical places as you search the globe for famous Disney and Pixar faces. The inclusion of newer Disney characters and ones like WALL-E and Moana that are underrepresented in Disney-spinoff games or at Disney theme parks made me very happy. Even the piles of junk and discarded metal in WALL-E’s environment look like they were lifted straight from the movies and placed there. Homesteading activities in Dreamlight Valley, such as gardening and fishing, can quickly take up a large chunk of your time, but the game rewards your efforts by allowing the other characters to level up their skills and advance in the story. One of the best things about cozy games is that you can take your time with the plethora of personalization options and tasks.
Every once in a while, I get a pang of memory for the days when I used to play the first Zoo Tycoon game. There were lots of adorable creatures to take care of, and I enjoyed the challenge of keeping everyone happy while the park was being constructed. Thankfully, I no longer have to scratch that itch; instead, I can obsess over my array of colorful sharks, fish, and crustaceans in my Megaquarium. This simulation game may not have the best visuals or the most robust set of tools for constructing things, but I find myself coming back to it again and again because of how soothing and interesting I find it to be. Putting everything in their proper places is simple, but keeping an aquarium healthy and happy calls for a lot of planning. You must maintain the happiness of your visitors and, more importantly, your marine life, just as you would in a theme park simulation. You’ll spend a lot of time crafting aquariums with just the right temperature, population, and water quality for each unlockable animal. You can adjust the game’s level to make it as relaxing or frantic as you wish, and play in either the guided story or the open sandbox mode.
In conclusion, as the seasons change and the weather turns cooler, the allure of cozying up with a relaxing video game becomes increasingly appealing. While classic favorites like “Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” “Stardew Valley,” and “The Sims 4” remain ever-popular choices, there is a treasure trove of new and unique gaming experiences waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re gaming on your phone, PC, or console, there’s something out there for everyone, titles like Cult of the Lamb , Tsuki’s Odyssey, Alto’s Adventure, even rainbow riches are bound to give you hours of entertainment.