Any recommendations for games to play when winding down

Are there any good games you have played or heard about that do not involve shooting, fighting or sports?

Basically I'm sick of playing shooters, fighting games and anything with a competitive facet. Looking for something that is good for winding down and doesn't involve fast paced button mashing.

I'm thinking something along the lines of Harvest Moon but open world with a greater focus on exploration.


  • something along the lines of Harvest Moon

    Stardew Valley. (It's essentially the best Harvest Moon ever.)

    Rune Factory might also scratch that itch.

    but open world with a greater focus on exploration.

    No Man's Sky? I've not played it myself but I'm told the most recent expansions are amazing.

    • Thanks for the great suggestions. I'm downloading Stardew Valley now and will be checking out No Man's Sky as well.

    • I bought Stardew Valley as a game I thought I could play with my gf as she's not really into games.

      Started playing; loved it; played for maybe 2 hours or so; she went home; I continued playing.

      I think I put in from 8pm - 4pm in one hit on the first night.

      World's best constrained resource problem generator/min-max simulator ever.

      • I bought it on PS4 for my partner who isn't very much in to games on Dec 23rd a couple years back. She started playing at around 5pm. She stopped playing when the sun started rising, and then slept through when she was supposed to be going to Costco to pick up a few roast chooks at opening time to avoid the rush. Woke up at noon (lunch was supposed to be at 1pm) and had to spend over an hour in line waiting for chickens to be ready and we were late for lunch.

        We laughingly call it the-time-Stardew-Valley-nearly-ruined-Christmas.

        Also purchased a second Switch last year specifically so we could both have a copy and have a multiplayer farm. I think all up we've purchased 6 copies on 4 different systems.

        • I bought Stardew for Switch, and showed it to my wife one day last year because I thought she might like it.

          She's married to Harvey now, and I haven't seen her or my Switch in months…

      • You're playing video games instead of smashing?



    • Was just thinking of Stardew Valley when I was reading your question OP. It is a wonderful game, sunk so many hours into it.

    • I was in Japan last year and was keen to pick up a physical copy of Stardew Valley.

      Turns out that every second tourist had the same idea - was sold out everywhere.

      Collector's Edition announced yesterday:

      • Shipping is going to be the killer at the moment, I think I saw a friend who quoted the whole thing (CE + Shipping) at $130USD.

        I'm happy enough with the vinyl soundtrack that my partner gave me as a proposal present… along with a handmade Mermaid's Pendant. :D

    • I bought NMS about a month ago and recently put it down. AMA?

      • Why put it down? Seems like the greatest sand box space exploration game of all time.

        • The exploration aspect falls flat after a certain number of hours - once you've seen one type of planet you've seen them all. Normally this doesn't bother me too much (I also play E:D on/off), but it feels particularly pointless in NMS because the direction you travel in doesn't matter. There's nothing distinctive about one corner of the galaxy vs another. For example: if you travel via a black hole and get teleported across the galaxy, you wouldn't know it at all from your surroundings.

          Lots of things to do though. I love base building in particular but there's nothing meaningful about it. Game crashed on me after 1 hour of base building - the game isn't persistent and lets you save only through in-game objects - and I lost all my progress. Pretty much went straight to Steam and clicked uninstall after that.

  • Try Grounded that came out this week as early access. It's a survival game in a backyard… think "Honey, I Shrunk The Kids!" :)

    • second this and any other type of 'survival' type game. if grounded has too much fighting elements maybe try something like 'the long dark' which can be fun and quite relaxing

    • Looks like good fun. Thanks for the suggestion.

  • +4 votes

    games to play when winding down

    chess, sodoku, tangrams, Kong Ming lock and Hanayama puzzles.

  • Factorio with enemies turned off

  • +13 votes

    Death Stranding. It’s mostly about being a post-apocalyptic parcel delivery guy. There is a few aspects of combat, but it’s mainly an interactive movie. The soundtrack and the landscapes are just amazing to wander around.

    Other games I like to play when I just wanted to kick back were games like Shadow of the Colussus and The Last Guardian.

    If you like choose your own adventure type games, something like Detroit, Become Human was a great story, but still has some combat elements, but it’s great to just play along and follow the story.

  • If you've got a Switch (and generally like RPGs) I'd suggest Xenoblade Chronicles DE.

    The scenery is lovely, plus I would consider the game-play fairly relaxing. It's sort of like an MMORPG with auto attacks and abilities you use with cool-downs. But the game itself isn't super hard so zero need to play it efficiently or anything.

    Most importantly, the main story is pretty good at dragging you forward, in what I would say is a good way. You can engage with side quests if you want or just stick with the main quest. Although if you totally ignored all side content you'd probably either need to use a lower difficulty or do some grinding.

    • While I like the suggestion, I'm finding I'm dying a lot in Xenoblade and I'm only about 10 hours in. May not be the entirely "stress-free" experience OP is after

  • Baba Is You is an excellent puzzle game. I have been playing for a few days and love it

  • DOA Beach Volleyball.

  • Subnautica, underwater exploration in an Alien world. Really creative and triggers fear of the deep water (Thalassophobia), explore build outposts and go further down into the deep. Open world, go your own pace and way.

    • Yep, completely safe to ignore the sloppy storywriting that tries to tell you you're dying of a bacterial infection and just faff around for months.

      • Umm this game is not relaxing, especially not at night time anywhere near the island.

        • Relaxing is setting up little mini-bases as hubs, amassing a ton of titanium and building yourself a main base that would put Atlantis to shame :)

          • @macfudd: This, I had an huge base on a cliff with a amazing view of part of the undersea wreckage. Then small mining stations way-points\ ore processing stations.

            Spent ages mucking about, finding blueprints, prepping vehicles for long expeditions into the deep.

  • God of War

  • If you're looking for a series of relaxing titles that won't exactly tie you over for a long time, but definitely fit the "winding down" feel, I can suggest:

    What Remains of Edith Finch
    Night in the Woods
    Life is Strange
    Art of Balance (most Zen game I've ever played that nobody ever talks about)

    They aren't exactly large open world games, but will supplement any other large title very nicely

  • Journey, Ori and the blind forest, Sekiro

    • +1 for Ori, such a calming and beautiful game. the music is great.

      • Early parts of Ori is calming. But as you progress further, I don't find it as calming 😅

        • I semi-agree with you, it does get more intense but if you progressed wisely you are also more powerful. Additionally the fact that dying has very little implication and you can pretty much save anywhere you want allows me to seat back and enjoy and any part that I keep dying I just save nearby and retry.

    • +1000 for Journey. Most relaxed hour of the day.

  • Breath of the Wild
    You don't have to do anything except get horses and swim whilst fishing if you don't want. Also rock climbing

    • People say it's overrated, but Breath of the Wild is probably one of my absolute favorites because just exploring is fun. I have a terrible memory so I'm pretty sure I explored a few places several times, but a big joy in the game for me is just finding the highest place possible and gliding to whatever looks interesting from there 😊

      • I started playing after being burned out from playing RDR2. Very refreshing difference. So much colour and gorgeous scenery and the movement was such an improvement.

      • but a big joy in the game for me is just finding the highest place possible and gliding to whatever looks interesting from there 😊

        Not wanting to spoiler here, but when you DO find the highest place in the game it isn't a relaxing experience!

  • GTA? Just driving around and doing easy missions eg taxis etc, I also find it quite fun and relaxing just driving around with no real purpose but maybe that is just me lol.

    Snow runner? - Someone showed me this the other day and it looks pretty good.
    Mudrunner - similar concept

    I find Mario Kart quite relaxing if you have a switch

    • I find Mario Kart quite relaxing if you have a switch

      Yes and not Mario Kart Tour which is infuriating. Yet I play it every day for the grind and is my somewhat "relaxation".

  • Stardew Valley definitely. I have an embarrassing amount of time clocked on this game.

    If you have a switch Animal Crossing might appeal. I have heard good things about My Time in Portia. I downloaded it recently but have not played it yet.

    Story of Seasons Friends of Mineral Town has recently been released on the Switch too. This series is by the original Harvest Moon developer if I recall. The modern Harvest Moon brand is not as well regarded as it used to be.

    • +1 for all of that.

      I've clocked a number of hours in My Time and it's very steampunky and open world. Still good though :)

  • What console?

    Could always try Runescape. Provided you don't get sucked into the efficiency side of things it can be very relaxing to go at your own pace.

  • Paperclips game.

  • Papers Please

  • I find TripleTown a peaceful little puzzle game - available on various platforms.

  • +7 votes

    I play minecraft when i'm bored and don't really want to try. I just dig around and build stuff while listening to music. Its pretty chill.

  • Resident Evil 7 on the PSVR is really relaxing.

  • +1 for all the Stardew Valley comments, can't recommend it enough.

    Poly Bridge is also really relaxing if you're into puzzle type games, the soundtrack ties really well.

  • If you end up liking Stardew Valley, as it's recommended a lot already..
    Here are some other games I've enjoyed in a similar vein:
    My Time at Portia
    Farm Together
    Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles
    House Flipper
    Tower Unite (Most my hours logged are in player housing or mini-golf..)
    Slime Rancher

    More fighting, but not stressful:
    A Hat in Time
    Spyro™ Reignited Trilogy
    Cat Quest
    The Adventure Pals

    Card/Puzzle style games:

    Dead Man's Draw
    Glass Masquerade

    Telltale games - does involve button mashing in some parts though for QT events.
    I just finished the first of The Walking Dead games, which was great.

    Maybe try Point and clicks?
    Some I've played through and liked for different reasons:
    The Darkside Detective

    I've also just started Supraland which is pretty chill so far

  • Try Osmos. Have never played any game more relaxing and simple than this.

  • Afterparty

    You can also play Fallout 4 with mods and no enemies, and do whatever you want.

  • if you like quizzes and mindless trivia

  • Slay the spire.

    Recently also out on ios and coming to android.

  • I've been playing snowrunner recently. It's a slow game, can take your time.

  • Kirby, Yoshi, etc.

  • Still kind of a shooting game, but much much lower pace: World of Warships. I've been playing it since the beta days as a wind down game.

  • Solitaire

  • Limbo

  • I find strategy games are my go-to wind down games. Things like Civilisation or Total War. Depends on how good your 'one more turn' self control is though. No twitch reflexes or accuracy required.
    Otherwise stuff like Rollercoaster Tycoon (planet coaster etc) or similar tycoon style games that are more of a slow burn I find quite relaxing.

  • Sea of Thieves. Just sailing the seas and taking in the atmosphere is so relaxing. It's the least stressful game I always come back to.

  • Breath of the Wild is an amazingly relaxing game if you play it that way, you can basically choose when to fight and do quests or when to just explore the beautiful and rich overworld! It relaxes me soo much, I love it.

    Super Mario Odyssey is really good too, it's not particularly stressful and is a very enjoyable play

    There's not really any exploration but I've found Animal Crossing very relaxing too

  • overcooked and overcooked 2

    • yes - when i want to have some relaxing family time with my kids, that totally doesn't involve yelling at each other, these are the games i choose…

  • A Short Hike. Very relaxing, good sound track, simple without being boring. Rather short, though.
    Put on your list and wait for a discount.

    • A Short Hike is fantastic and exactly what the OP is asking for… I play it with my kids on my lap, they love it.

  • Strategy games?
    Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines - PC

  • I was about to say why not Doom on Ultra-Violence - quite relaxing to me! brain stops working, just muscle memory, but then saw your comment

    maybe try Postal without violence, just doing the right thing :) I think there is some new version now

  • Play Detroit: Become Human. Like watching a movie.

  • Definitely animal crossing

  • Dota Chess/Overlord

  • Rimworld

    It's my go-to for winding down or killing time. Thanks to the modding community, can keep replaying over and over.

  • Dark souls 1,2 or 3. Sekiro shadow die twice is relaxing as well

  • Top