These days are definitely strange, as many American's and other gamers around the world find themselves quarantined at home, on travel restrictions, or in parts of the world where not much is open to go anywhere. I myself am home from work, and have been trying to use the extra free time to boost Game Infinite content, add more Twitch streams, and engage more with the Game Infinite Friends community. It got me thinking of what I wanted to accomplish for Game Infinite during this time, but also what I wanted to accomplish as a pure gamer during this time off. Mainly, what games in my insanely huge archive backlog that I like to tackle. I picked out a few games I never finished that I want to work on during this time. For me that list is The Last of Us (in prep for Part 2 coming in the couple weeks), Borderlands 3, Resident Evil 2 (in prep for 3 coming in a few weeks) and the Witcher 3. These are some games I want to try to tackle during this down time. Coming up with a gamer-to-play list got me thinking of an article topic. Quarantine can be great for game time but it can be stressful, lonely, and scary. I know some people are worried about pay during this time (myself included, we do not know if my wife is going to receive anything). I know some people have friends or family members who have contracted the coronavirus. With some people getting corona virus out there or cabin fever inside I know these are serious times and some people are stressed out by the physical or financial burdens around the world. Because of this I wanted to come up with several relaxing games to play during quarantine. These are games known for their beauty, relaxation, zen nature. Believe me as much Apex Legends and Call of Duty there is to play, maybe what some people need are to sit back and just play something peaceful. There are two games I will mention right away that I know enough of them that they are good suggestions but that I have not played myself. Star Dew Valley and Animal Crossing New Horizons are easy answers for this list as they are relaxing zen games perfect for this list, but I never played them personally. This list will have games I have played and can recommend.
7. Assassin's Creed Origins
Ok, hear me out. While many of these games are on this list for their minimal or complete lack of combat. "relaxing" is relative. While obviously this game heavily features combat and action, it is also one of the most beautiful open worlds I have ever seen. I put it on this list because climbing the Great Pyramid of Giza I often cite as one of the most impressive and memorable gaming moments. Also, however, Origins doesn't have to be action packed. Even in normal mode you can just go explore the entire map pretty much right away and just explore a massive beautiful environment. It is complete with beautiful deserts, massive mountains and more. You also have the ability to take control of an eagle that can soar and peacefully glide over the entire map. Hover like a bird for hours if you wish. What really solidifies its spot on this list is Ubisoft added a exploration and historical mode called "Discovery Tour" which completely turns off the combat. If you would like to just explore Ancient Egypt and learn about history you can. This game is incredible and was lifted up by many outlets as GOTY 2017.
6. Box Boy + Box Girl
One of my favorites from the Nintendo Switch comes Box Boy + Box Girl. This game gave me horrible "one more level" syndrome. The levels are just short enough to make one more feel easy enough to do "just one more" while eventually they get challenging enough that the game never feels boring. Just when you feel like you have mastered the puzzle based traversal, the game throws new mechanics and obstacle types your way. This game made it onto our Top Indie Games of 2019 list and is a must play for platformer or switch fans!
5. Thomas was Alone
Do you like puzzles? Thomas was alone was my personal GOTY 2013, and it is an amazing transcendent relaxing experience. Everything about the simplicity of the art style and setting, and the narration of the geometric characters. It is available on pretty much every platform imaginable, so go download it to your smart fridge and play this sometime in your life.
4. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
To say that Breath of the Wild is a game that has a lot of praise, would be one heck of a understatement. I think it belongs on this list because while yes it features combat and action, it can have long stretches of peace. The art style is approachable and relaxing. The large open world is beautiful and inviting for exploration. Breath of the Wild not only sold a console, it also sold gaming to so many non gamers around me during its launch. I have mentioned often in articles the strange but beautiful phenomenon I witnessed of so many non-gamer peers buying switches and playing it in the break room.
What is more zen than flower petals flowing in the wind? Now stay with me here. I love blowing stuff up and shooting things in games I promise. I will admit, if it hadn't come bundled with two of That Game Company's other games when I got this game back in 2013, I probably would never have bought or even looked at this game. However, I am so glad I tried it out because it is just a beautiful experience. The gameplay is simple, yet elegant. The music, and the visuals of watching the petals caught in a gust of wind as you fly around the world is amazing. Just watch the trailer, and I promise you will feel like you are suddenly 25% less likely to have heart disease in the future.
2. Life is Strange
Another one of my greatest of time, Life is Strange is an experience I will never forget. It was actually suggested to me for this list by Beencroft during a stream where I was talking about my plans for this list. It makes this list because it's gameplay gives it a slower, story/character driven experience. There's no combat. Now that being said while parts of the game are very beautiful and relaxing, there are some parts that are stressful from very heavy emotional choices to be made by the player or shocking occurrences in the story. I can't express enough how everyone needs to play this game. It has an amazing juxtaposition of something as extreme and crazy as time travel paired with something as mundane and normal as High School. The music in this game is something I could listen to just relax. The relationship between Max and Chloe is something truly special. What really solidifies it's spot on this list is the art style and scenery. I am telling you it is absolutely beautiful.
"That Game Company" get's two on this list. One of the greatest games of all time, Journey first comes to mind on this list. It is a beautiful amazing game where players control a character called Wanderer. There is no dialogue, narration, or combat, you simply traverse a large beautiful desert walking towards a ever far light in distant horizon. The ending is beyond beautiful, and between the visuals and audio can only be described as a "ascent into heaven". Journey won 2013 Game Awards GOTY and at many outlets. Back in the day it was used as an example as a reason to buy a PS3 as it was one of it's many great exclusives; however, in 2020 is much more accessible as it is available on PS4, iOS, and PC (via Epic Games Store).
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