Had a tough day? When it comes to getting your pulse racing and adrenaline coursing, 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 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; to combat 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 that vein in your temples is bulging, fetch yourself a calming beverage, find a comfy chair and settle down with our picks of the most relaxing Switch games...
Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Switch)
Nintendo’s all-conquering slow life sim 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 grow 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. 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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Abzu (Switch eShop)
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.
GRIS (Switch eShop)
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, 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 drops 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.
Yoku's Island Express (Switch eShop)
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 (Switch eShop)
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.
Stardew Valley (Switch eShop)
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.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (Switch)
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker has graced each of Nintendo's three most recent consoles, and with good reason. Its mix of 3D puzzle platforming and easily digestible levels makes it the perfect salve to a stressful day whether you're squeezing in a few levels on the bus or looking to blast though a bunch at home after a long and tiring day. The Switch version boasts 2-player co-op for the entire adventure, so you can get someone else involved in the Captain's tranquil form of waddling and puzzle-solving. If you've missed out on Captain Toad on Wii U and 3DS, Switch is the perfect place to play.
I'm not sure I agree with some games in this list. Captain Toad Treasure Tracker has some not-so-chill levels, at least on the 3DS. Lumines is too fast paced to be chill. And BotW? The only thing "chill" I remember about the game was a Lynel chilling around...
Senran Kagura reflexions is also relaxing.
I enjoy a good relax-em-up. Oddly, I find shmoops relaxing. Minecraft too.
Yes sir, Zelda is the most chill of all time. It doesn't get much better than Breath of the Wild.
GRIS is indeed an "unmissable experience" but the GIANT EEL that appears out of nowhere and starts chasing you is not exactly calming.
God, I hate eels in videogames.
Some great games here. I particularly love Firewatch. But whilst it is beautiful to look at, relaxing it is not. I was so on edge for most of that game.
Lo-fi chill games to play through.
I get stressed out with Stardew Valley and Harvest Moon games where 1 day = 20 minutes. Once you learn the mechanics of the game, though, I am sure it is a lot more relaxing.
No Yonder? Game is pretty chill
I’d like to throw the Steamworld Dig games into here. There is some occasional combat and platforming but for the most part you’re slowly digging and plotting your route.
Tetris will always be my go to chill and zone out game.
Stardew Valley is the best game on the list.
@Glitchling78 As someone playing through and loving Dig 2 (and who started the first Dig), I don't know if I can agree. Maybe it's because I'm coming off the heels of the Vectron sequence (which was absolutely not chill at all), but the combat comes up a lot as well. That said, a lot of the music is chill and relaxing.
Yoshi's Crafted World
Abzu is a great game but it's also a play once and very short game
@PikaPhantom haha actually, yeah that bit is quite intense. I found maybe 80% of it chill but then I could say the same for BOTW and that’s on the list.
Even with no possible death GRIS has a couple of stressful moments, and the Skull Cavern in Stardew can be a nightmare even for seasoned players. It’s a bit of a weird list as few games are chill throughout.
I wouldn’t call Firewatch relaxing. Kept me on edge, more than anything.
I really like to play katamari when I don't want to think too hard. Old man's journey was very chill as well but I didn't love the experience. I would also consider golf story for this list. Music was super relaxing and I didnt find the gameplay too stressful and I just love golf story
Atelier Lulua is so relaxing and addicting is same time, like smoking.
@Glitchling78 Yeah, that's fair.
Stardew valley is definitely relaxing. Unravel 2 was also a nice and calm game for me.
Pixeljunk Monsters 2 should be on that list.
All those besides Abzu isn't what I call a claim playing game. They must be on something good here to say that.
Do yourself a favor and check out Lumini on the eshop for $10. Super chill fun 3 hr romp. Pikmin meets Forma8.
I love Zelda BOTW but I wouldn't call it "chill". What's definitely missing is TWO POINT HOSPITAL!
I need to try all these games
OR.... wait for March 20th
It's more like : ..wel what the hell do i do now ?
For me I would say Terraria is the most chill.
I’m absolutely blown away by the fact that Celeste isn’t on this list and nobody has mentioned it in the comments. Yeah the levels can be a tad frustrating at times but the soundtrack... the soundtrack just pulls everything together and makes the game that much more relaxing. The level designs as well as the gorgeous pixel art style are another key to making this a sit back and relax good feeling game!!!
Really appreciate unique features like this that take a different look at games - thanks!
Few games in here I hadn't heard of and will definitely check out.
Sure animal crossing will be added shortly!
Kirby!!!! Always relaxing to me. I would imagine that Animal Crossing will make the list....
Fire watch? BOTW? No Yoshi? Odd.
Yonder is not on this list? It should be!
@electrolite77 Admittedly haven't played Crafted World yet, but I always tend to find Yoshi straining to flutter jump a bit stressful.
Yonder the cloud catcher Chronicle !!
It should definitely be on this list
You can't have a most relaxing games list without Night In The Woods. Just...no.
Firewatch though, I totally agree on, along with Captain Toad.
@Zoda_Fett Celeste is amazing, but I wouldn't say it's chill just because it's difficult (especially in the postgame) and its story is fairly serious. The soundtrack definitely is chill, though, and really helps me keep from getting frustrated, so I'll give you that much.
I always consider a good racing game to be pretty chill, especially if you are just playing time trials. Just you, your machine, and the road. Nothing but time to beat and you can take it at your own pace. TT Isle of Man was probably the best when it came to this, it's got that huge track to master and it takes a while to get around it and even longer to learn it well.
Stardew stressed me out really I was rushing around each day x x back to the shops back to the mine back to the farm in a time limit, with limited energy! Had to give up x x x x
You should add Art of Balance to the list. One of the best relaxing games on the Switch.
Definitely should have waited another month to write this article and add Animal Crossing as the pinnacle of the article... probably would have been an easier article to write. That's just my 2 cents, though.
Yonder the Cloud Catcher Chronicles is 100% No Violences and definetely 100% Relaxing game.
Excuse me, but everyone knows Doom 2016 is the most chill game on the Switch
nice list, Gavin.
Other than BOTW, I've got Rime(95% complete.)
What about farming simulator
Awesome feature. Not because I agree with every choice, but because I find it fascinating what games people find relaxing or chill out with. I've weirdly found Ikaruga and Hyrule Warriors as my Switch chill out games lately - Ikaruga because I can ease through on muscle memory and Hyrule Warriors because the adventure mode is mostly mindless in tiny sessions.
But the ultimate chillout game on Switch would be FEZ.
This list is missing my #1 hangover game - MINECRAFT.
Stardew Valley in for 2nd.
Voez is at the top of my list for a relaxing time. With cozy hand-drawn artwork and a calming UX, the rhythm gameplay can also be relaxing with lower difficulty settings, allowing you to kick back and tap along to a wide variety of enjoyable songs on a rainy day.
Forgotten Anne was also pretty relaxing for me personally, full of melancholy and atmosphere. If you're in the US it's on sale now for 7.99!
Just as in the 3DS era, Pokemon is my chill out game... and soon to be added Animal Crossing of course.
A relaxing game is for me the opposite of a frustrating game and I always find all the Xenoblade Chronicles games extremely relaxing, as when you faint you lose nothing at all, just be sent back to the last checkpoint almost instantly.
Little Inferno is wellmade and chill. No dangers, no timers. Fun story, unique gameplay, tons of stuff to burn, 100 hot puzzles, beautiful ending.
Thimbleweed Park I like games that create an eerie atmosphere but are a relatively safe place. You can die only in one very obvious situation, so make sure you (manually) save before this obvious situation. Other than that, the game is kind to you. It even provides a hotline for each of its puzzles so you can't even get stuck. I recommend to playing the hard mode, as the easy mode skips puzzles and dialogues (trust me, it's still pretty easy).
Different people find different things relaxing, but I'm not sure I'd call BotW or Lumines "chill".
GRIS was the perfect game for me to play when I was very hung over one Sunday, shame it is so short, but it is the most beautiful game I have played in a long time. Especially love the square apple dudes.
I was like 'if Breath of the Wild ain't on this list, I'll be anything but chilled...'
@Heavyarms55 After a long days work, and working at home because you've just moved into your new place, hunting after dragons in BotW is extremely relaxing, I can assure you of that.
@Joriss I mean, it's not stressful for sure. But I would consider it fun and exciting, not relaxing. I'd consider games like Animal Crossing or Stardew Valley to be relaxing games.
@dartmonkey Yes, mate!! Thanks so much for compiling this list! There are actually a fair few titles here I was completely unaware of (such as The Gardens Between), so I'm looking forward to sticking those on my wishlist 😊
But... Where is Doom?!
I finished Rime 2 weeks ago and, soundtrack aside, I wouldn't call it chill. The game runs like tar on Switch which is such a pity as it's gorgeous to look at but the framerate issues make for a very frustrating experience.
To the Moon definitely falls in the relaxing category.
Wondersong. The singing and dancing and you can't die or screw up. And it's just makes you feel so relaxed and happy.
Also, BotW is everything but chill. When you have to pray at every hit that your weapon doesn't break, that isn't chill.
The Touryst should definitely be added to this list. Nothing more chill than a voxel island vacation with a little mystery.
Added In Other Waters
Added Lonely Mountains Downhill, too.
I loved Firewatch. The writing was fantastic and the visuals are great. The way the game created suspense was better than I have seen in a lot of recent games. So glad I waited for the switch release instead of playing it on steam, it was so great to curl up on the sofa and play it handheld.
The subject matter might get a bit dark at times, but as far as gameplay goes, Spiritfarer and Night in the Woods are super chill.
A Short Hike is another that should definitely be added to the list considering it got a 10/10 here and certainly fits the theme.
Kingdom might be chill and relaxing at the early stages of the game but it gets really stressful or even scary as you make progress.
Added A Short Hike
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