As much as shooter games like VALORANT are exhilarating and horror games like Resident Evil are nerve-wracking, sometimes you just need slower, relaxing game and with less at stake.

Whether it’s simulated farming, charming stories, or city builders gaming isn’t all about high action, high intensity moments. On those cold winter nights, wrapped up in blankets COD doesn’t really fit the mood. Listed here are my top 5 games to unwind and get lost in!

  1. Stardew Valley

If you don’t know the charming world of Stardew Valley then boy do I pity you. This game has everything needed to relax and get cosy with. Build your farm from the ground up, planting and harvesting an array of crops, tend to your animals, and explore the cutesy town. This game isn’t just a farming simulator though, don’t worry! Stardew Valley lets you fish, mine ores, forage and get to know all of the townsfolk- perhaps even romancing your favourite.

The story of the game is light-hearted and full of intrigue, and the sound track amazingly catchy. All the NPC’s have unique stories to tell, so much so that it’s difficult not to adore each and every one of them! It’s one of these games I sit down to play for 10 minutes, but end up playing for 10 hours.

2. A Short Hike

Want to get lost in nature, climb a mountain, and just fly like a bird for a bit? Then gosh do I have the game for you! Come get lost in the mountainous world of Hawk Peak Provincial Park, where you play Claire- an anthropomorphic bird wanting to find some damn phone signal.

This game lets you explore the island, slowly climbing up the mountain to the summit. As you go, you run into countless animal-crossing like characters who usually have a job for you- be it finding something they lost or bringing them an object they need. Helping them is completely optional though, your main objective is to simply collect feathers and reach the top of the mountain. The game has so many activities to offer you though, from fishing, to treasure finding and parkour racing. A Short Hike is a delightfully calm game which if you let it, can consume and comfort you for a good few hours!

3. Planet Zoo

Who hasn’t dreamed about opening a zoo? Well now you can! PlanetZoo lets you build the park of your dreams, with pretty much any animal you can think of! Want Elephants? Sure! Red Pandas? Obviously! Saltwater Crocodiles? Yessir! This game really lets you design every single aspect of the Zoo, so it can best fit your vision.
From placing each and every individual plant and rock in the enclosures, to designating the prices of your admission tickets, this game will not take any creative control off you.

Equally though, simply letting the game run is a true delight while you observe your animals go about their day. Watching the monkeys play in the climbing frame you spent 2 hours building, or the hippo’s splash around in the pond you spent forever terraforming, Planet Zoo is a cosy hug and stress-free wormhole to be sucked into.

4. Slime Rancher

Welcome to this alien planet covered in watermelon sized, colourful slimes! Whether you want to just collect all the slimes you see, come up with the cutest mutated slime you can, or just explore a wonderfully whimsical world, this game has you covered. Your goal is to make money by harvesting “plorts”, which is just a more PG way of saying poop. So, grab your vacuum gun, and get out in the world! You can suck up the slimes you find and bring them back to your farm, and then keep them as the happiest, bounciest pets. There really isn’t much urgency to this game, which makes it ideal for winding down.

Whether you want to just explore the island, be the best slime rancher you can, or just watch cute blobs poop shiny rocks, this game will soothe your souls. It just oozes cute and good vibes.

5. Spiritfarer

This game, fair warning, might make you cry. But it’s so delightful and bright. You play Stella, the new ferrymaster for the dead, and you your cat, Daffodil, are to sail the oceans helping the lost souls move on.

Every character in this game is as loveable as the next, with an art style that’s simply gorgeous. This isn’t just a game about getting to know the characters though, it’s about building their homes, growing food, harvesting materials, catching fish, and learning that you should enjoy every moment you have with people.

For a game which centres its story on letting people go, and on death, it’s not a game which weighs heavy on your soul. You get lost, and grow to love the characters, before understanding that letting them go is the best thing for them. Sailing the ocean, and making friends, it doesn’t get much cosier than that!