Gaming doesn’t need to be stressful. No need for explosions, blood, or violence. If that sounds like your cup of tea or you’re just looking for something a little more relaxing, we have two perfect games for you: Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
Both are life simulators and allow you to build a fulfilling, purposeful life interacting with the communities you find yourself in. If you’re not feeling very social, no problem. Both games can be played with minimum interaction with their colorful cast of characters.
“Role-playing farming simulator” doesn’t begin to describe it.
You’re dropped into the country to inherit your grandfather’s old farm after escaping the bustle of the city life. Given some basic tools and a smattering of coins, you set off to turn the run down farm into a proper home.
However, there is no “right way” to do it. The game allows players a host of activities like growing crops, raising livestock, crafting goods, mining for ores, and selling produce to allow you to make a living the way you want to. Players who are so inclined can socialize with townspeople and even get married.
As the game progresses, days are marked by a ticking clock that limits just how much players can achieve in a day. This rolls into the changing seasons that bring with them new events to add in variety and a feeling of passing time.
There is a sense of purpose as players get to work getting to know the townspeople and finding what appeals most to them whether that’s traditional farming or producing artisan goods.
However, there is no real end to the game, so take the game as fast or as slow as you like while you experience a simpler way of life on a faraway farm.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Looking for other ways to escape?
The newest addition to the Animal Crossing series, New Horizons has the player headed to an island getaway. Players familiar to the series will find Tom Nook, a recurring character, peddling a package for life on a deserted island.
The game plays out in real-time with a number of neighbors and core game features slowly appearing on the island over the first few days as the players get used to their new home. The game has no real end, but does have a larger plot that can help drive players towards enhancing their island to the coveted five stars.
There is no right way to play this game either as players have the freedom to explore their island however they wish. This can range from gathering and crafting items to collecting insects and fish as they live among their neighbors in the form of anthropomorphic animals.
Where New Horizons truly shines is the sheer depth of each of the activities ranging from a near bottomless variety of fish to an endless number of designs and an entirely customizable island to play with. This is only further improved by special events and seasonal activities that expand the possibilities even further.
If players wish, they can open their island up to local co-op gameplay with online co-op gameplay with up to 8 players on their island at any given time. Get ready to absolutely chill out with New Horizons.