Had a tough day? When it comes to getting adrenaline coursing and your pulse racing, there are more than enough video games that fit the bill. Whether battling to recover your humanity in Dark Souls, making it to the final two in a round of Fortnite or going up against a rock-hard retro classic, there are plenty of Switch games to get you red-faced and riled up.
But what if you're looking to soothe the soul rather than cleave it from a corpse? What if you're combating stress with some old fashioned R & R? What are the most relaxing games on Switch? Fortunately, the console's huge library has you covered, so if you're looking for Switch games to help you chill, we're here to help. Below we've assembled a selection of relaxing Switch games to ease your hypertension with a diverting balm that will calm even the most tumultuous of minds.
So if you're sitting at home with that vein in your temples bulging, fetch yourself a calming beverage, find a comfy chair and settle down with our picks of the most relaxing Switch games...
The latest big-name game from Nintendo is the perfect antidote to a hectic, stressful lifestyle. Animal Crossing: New Horizons enables you to have fun doing whatever you like. Fishing fan? Fill your boots. Flower fanatic? Plant a field and gro some hybrids. Like shaking trees and bothering bees? You've got a whole deserted island of the trunk-y beggars to wobble. We personally got sidetracked by the Custom Designs 'app' which lets you create your own tiles and templates to wear or display around your house and island.
In fact, we worried that maybe we should get back to the actual game before we realised, no, this is the game. Animal Crossing is whatever you make it. Of course, it's easy to make things stressful as you hunt for a specific fish or race to sell some turnips before closing time but, as with life, most of that stress is of our own making. Sit back, relax and potter about doing whatever makes you happy.
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If underwater sections in video games instantly get your pulse racing, Abzu is the antidote to the stress of an air meter. This game offers a gentle underwater adventure as you explore the ocean depths at your leisure. The marine delights of Abzu's seascapes are a treat for the eyes accompanied by a gorgeous orchestral soundtrack, with fabulous 3D sound if you're playing with headphones. From the art director of Journey, this is a serene experience that should be your first port of call if you're looking to get away from it all.
A 2D platformer from Nomada Studio, you journey through a crumbling, monochrome, metaphorical land in GRIS, gradually spreading watercolours as you go on a wonderfully short and sweet adventure. With light puzzling, generous platforming and a dusting of collectibles, this is a touching journey of a young girl running through an incredibly delicate and beautiful world. With an art style that owes much to Ervind Earle, it's an unmissable experience and perfect if you're after a Switch game to calm your nerves.
When it first released on Switch, lonely 3D adventure RiME wasn't in great shape performance-wise. It suffered from appalling frame rate hiccups which affected the masterful adventure beneath and made the Switch port difficult to recommend if you had access to the game on any other platform.
However, patches arrived and addressed the most egregious performance issues, and while the frame rate certainly still chugs here and there, the improvements allow the magical game world and environmental puzzles beneath to shine brighter than before, to the extent that RiME on Switch is a much easier recommendation now. If you're a frame rate purist for whom a solid 30fps is the absolute minimum, you'll still want to hunt this down elsewhere. If you can stomach the odd drop and see this on sale, though, we'd recommend picking it up if you're in the market for a calming, beautifully desolate 3D adventure.
Who would have thought pinball and Metroidvania could blend so beautifully? You control Yoku, a beetle postmaster making deliveries around the mystical island of Mokumana. Your beetle buddy is tethered to a ball which flings him around the huge 2D island when launched by the many sets of bumpers and flippers under your control and dotted across the landscape. A novel adventure that combines a colourful game world with a soothing soundtrack, Yoku's Island Express is a lovely little game which we can't recommend enough.
The Gardens Between presents intricate puzzles solved by rewinding and directing time, and the game is wrapped up in a beautifully charming aesthetic which belies the complexity beneath. A relaxing soundtrack accompanies this unusual puzzler which will gently massage your grey matter as you make your way to the top of various islands and through a bittersweet, wordless narrative courtesy of Australian indie studio The Voxel Agents. The Gardens Between is a rejuvenating balm for your ol' brainbox and comes recommended.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons may have arrived, but the best digital life sim on Switch with a farming focus still has to be Stardew Valley. This farm management title channels the classic gameplay of Harvest Moon into a huge retro-inspired experience that will devour your days if you let it. It takes a while to get into, and you definitely get out what you put in, but Stardew Valley has almost limitless layers to uncover and if you're ready to invest a significant portion of your free time into a charming, calming game experience, there are few better options on Switch right now.