The holiday season is supposed to be a time for relaxing. A time of year when people get time off to spend with family, friends and generally kick back and relax. Truly a chance to repair the mental damage that the rest of the year does to our minds.
With that in mind we present to you some of the most relaxing experience on offer. These games are so warm, cosy and generally ‘feel-good’, that you’ll feel re-charged before anyone even busts out the turkey.
From the creators of World of Goo and Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure,Little Inferno is a game all about setting things on fire. To clarify you’re doing this to keep warm, not just because you’re a pyromaniac.
Thanks to the primary idea of Little Inferno being a game about setting things on fire things get toasty pretty quickly. Everything happens in front of a fireplace. You get to play with fire without the risk of getting burned. Not to mention there’s even a hug token! Cosy!
There is also a story involved which we’ll avoid spoiling, but it defiantly has some pretty ‘wintery’ themes. There’s just so much warmth going on visually, but everything feels pretty dark and wintery narratively. It’s an interesting mix.
So sit back, relax and just watch those wooden trinkets and priceless family heirlooms burn. Of course while constantly making more money to buy things to burn more things with… this game might be relaxing but it’s also pretty damn confusing too.
Tracks: The Train Set Game
We talked about Tracks pretty recently, calling it a perfect game for the holidays. The main reason Tracks was so well suited to the holidays is because it’s more relaxing than a deep tissue massage. While it may not have the cathartic feeling of burning stuff, it does allow you to relive your childhood, just like a good Christmas game should.
Tracks is filled with gently falling snow, gentle piano riffs and hours upon hours of building wooden train tracks. It’s very easy to loose yourself in the act of creating a labyrinthine network of tracks while your brain departs for a few days.
Of course the relaxing/Christmas feeling is helped by the ability to build your train out of gingerbread. As well as the ability to build an entire Christmas village to surround your train set with. Seriously, put on White Christmas in the background and melt into your chair.
Treasure Hunter Simulator
In some ways this is a bit of a departure from the other two. Treasure Hunter Simulator isn’t particularly Christmassy, but is at least very, very relaxing. You have to wander through the wilderness with a metal detector, digging up treasure to sell.
Similar to Tracks, Treasure Hunter Simulator has a lot of relaxing piano music. It plays as you wander through the trees and hills, digging up historical artefacts and taking pictures of beautiful landmarks. Combined with the ambient nature sounds that play and the use of decent headphones, and there’s probably no easier way to have your mind wander for an evening.
This one is a complete no-brainer. Stardew Valley is already a relaxing experience that many, many people have lost entire weeks too. Combine it with the magical time of year and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a relaxing Yuletide.
If you’re not aware Stardew Valley is a spiritual successor to the Harvest Moon games. You are responsible for managing a farm in a small town. As well as micro-managing your farm you interact with townsfolk, attend events, go fishing and generally wander around with complete freedom.
The gameplay is pretty deep, but that doesn’t mean that you have to think about it too hard. You can easily start working on something small for your farm, then the next time you check the clock it’s 8 days later. It’s almost has a Minecraft quality with how easy it is to lose time with.
Viscera Cleanup Detail
This entry might require a little explanation. Viscera Cleanup Detail is a game about having to clean up blood and gore. It might not seem like it’s very holiday friendly but that’s not the point. It is at least very cathartic and relaxing if you’ll believe it.
The gameplay is very methodical. You move through each section of the ship having to pick up every scrap of body tissue and mopping up the blood. You have to very carefully make your way through the maps, because if you leave behind a single chunk it’ll splatter blood everywhere.
All this talk of blood and gore might not put you in that good of a mood, but trust us, it’s a lot of fun and very relaxing. After a while you stop noticing all of the viscera! Besides, the ‘Santa’s Rampage‘ side-game is covered in Christmas decorations and presents…and elf body parts.
So if you’re looking for something to relax your mind this holiday season then maybe give these games a try. They might not be the most exciting indie games ever made, but you can be sure that you won’t have to work your mind too hard to really enjoy them. The holidays are the time to rest your mind after all.