The best relaxing games 2023

Our relaxing games guide is here, as there’s a lot going on at the minute, and games can offer a much-needed bit of respite in times of strife.

A character stands on a stone wharf, looking at the sunset, in the relaxing game Animal Crossing.

The world can be tough sometimes, and we all like to kick back with some virtual gardening to forget about our woes. So, we’ve got some relaxing games to help you out. But, what makes a game relaxing? Well, it can be a soothing soundtrack, charming character art, satisfying game loops, or a combination of everything. It’s all about a peaceful and wholesome environment for you to get lost in. That’s what we aim for below, at least.

So, head down below to find some relaxing games to hang out with for a bit. Once you’ve had your fill and want to get your heart rate back up, check out our guide to the best open-world games to get lost in a different way, the best retro games for the warmth of some nostalgia, or the best Switch games for a little bit of everything.

Let’s chill out, with our guide to the most relaxing games on Switch and mobile.

Sunrise Village – mobile

It’s time for you to take a trip to Sunrise Village, where the stresses of your day-to-day life will melt away, and you’ll lose yourself in a peaceful world where your only concerns are expanding your farm and gathering supplies to fulfil orders. The simple routine of gathering, building, and expanding is one that will be familiar to fans of games like Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing.

What makes this a super relaxing game is that it is free-to-play. You don’t even need to worry about justifying the costs to yourself, you just need to download the game and then head down to the farm for some good times. It could easily become a daily de-stressing ritual.

Play Sunrise Village on iPhone for free.

Play Sunrise Village on Android for free.

Art for A Short Hike, a relaxing game,, with the logo on the right, and a bird flying in front of a waterfall on the right.

A Short Hike – Switch

A Short Hike is a magical little experience. Just like the name suggests, it’s barely over an hour of exploring a gorgeous little island, meeting friends, and attempting to make it to the top of the mountain. The crunchy pixels of the art style, the off-the-cuff dialogue, and the overall vibe of the game creates a perfectly chill experience. It’s one of my favourite games on the Switch.

A character on a pony, on an icy field with trees and bushes, in the relaxing game Stardew Valley.

Stardew Valley – Switch and mobile

Stardew Valley perfected the farming simulator, and then extended it in every direction. The core focus of the game is building up a little patch of farmland in a remote town. But as time goes on you meet the various people who live there, explore dangerous underground caverns, and also do a bit of fishing (check out our Stardew Vallew fish guide to get to grips with it).

It’s a classic among relaxing games, and gripping enough to get lost in for dozens of hours. If you’ve already had your fill of Stardew, check out our Witchbrook release date guide to get ready for the developer’s next game.

A goose, in a cabbage patch, with a flat cap in its mouth, looking up at a bald old man in dungarees. I think it's his hat. From the relaxing game Untitled Goose Game.

Untitled Goose Game – Switch

The goose is loose and ready to be obtuse. The Untitled Goose Game took the world by storm with its open, Debussy-esque piano and hilarious premise, featuring a nasty goose ready to play pranks on various people in a little British town. Interestingly, the developer built the town by using Google maps, as they had never actually visited the UK. The result is a quaint patchwork of brick and lakes, pubs and phone boxes, all ripe for pranks to be pulled.

A character stands on a stone wharf, looking at the sunset, in the relaxing game Animal Crossing.

Animal Crossing – Switch and mobile

Animal Crossing is the pinnacle of relaxing games. It’s all about hanging out, doing some chores, and enjoying the breeze. The Switch version, Animal Crossing: New Horizons offers a robust island-building experience, full of furniture and clothes to create, characters to befriend, and many, many ways to customise your haven in the ocean. On mobile, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, you get a condensed version, all about building out a campsite. Both are all about hanging out, and that’s chill as heck.

A snowboarder soars over a chasm, the moon behind them, their scarf billowing far to the right, in the relaxing game Alto's Adventure.

Alto’s Adventure – mobile

If we’re talking chill, there’s nothing more chill than snowboarding down a frosty mountain. That’s all Alto’s Adventure is about, with a set of challenges to complete as you repeat procedurally generated runs. The mountain turns from desolate cold and busy woods, to small sets of buildings and great leaps across chasms. We think it’s great, as you can see in Alto’s Adventure: The Spirit of the Mountain review.

Captain Toad falls from a height and lands his butt on the head of a goomba stack, in the relaxing game Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker.

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker – Switch

Toad may have one of the most irritating voices in all of gaming, but the magical puzzle boxes that he explores are charming enough to make you forget about it. All the self-contained puzzles are full of mechanisms, pulleys, and silly little challenges, all wrapped in a gorgeous, toyetic art style. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker may have originated on the Wii U, but its easy-going gameplay makes it one of the best relaxing games on Switch.

A bedroom, with a single bed, a desk with an old computer, a wardrobe, three bookshelves, a picture frame, and one window. There are cardboard boxes on the floor and a pink teddy bear on the bed. From the relaxing game Unpacking.

Unpacking – Switch

Moving house isn’t really fun at all, is it? But just like Animal Crossing turns everyday chores into videogame fun, Unpacking makes moving house feel like a zen, decluttering vacation. It isn’t just about unpacking boxes, though, it’s also about unfurling a barely-there story, patching together pieces of someone’s life with literal, physical pieces of their life. It’s an experience that rises far beyond the sum of its parts.

Link cuts a heart shape in long grass, as an animal plays with a butterfly, in art from the relaxing game The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Switch

One time, riding across a wide, windy plain in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the main Zelda theme broke through the silence of nature, and rose up subtly; it made the hairs on my arms stand on end. The magic of BotW is this silence.

The ability to switch off, explore, create, and experiment, without the game intruding. Not even the music is telling you what should be happening. The whole game just wraps itself around any experience you want from it. It’s my favourite game of all time and one of the most relaxing games you can get.

And, if you want even more where that came from, you can check out our Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom review to see how the sequel sizes up, then head over to our Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom koroks, Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom shrines, and Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom armor guides to get you on the right track.

A man says "a tidy six is better than a messy four" to the main character from the relaxing game Golf Story. They are near a gold buggy in a sand trap, next to a path, a golf green, and an old man.

Golf Story – Switch

Golf is the worst. Or, at least, every person I know who likes golf isn’t my friend. Whereas, everyone I’ve met who likes Golf Story is the coolest person in the world. It’s a game about golf, believe it or not, with dialogue like an episode of Seinfeld, and loads of quirky characters to meet and hang out with. It’s hilarious, entertaining, and, most importantly, relaxing. For more chill time on the green, check out our golf games guide.

That’s all the relaxing games we’ve got for now. There are loads more out there, but this is a good starting point. Check out our mystery games recommendations for more of a headscratcher.