With 2019 behind us, gamers will be looking at all the titles they want to start playing. The sheer amount of releases over the last 12 months means that many will have a big backlog to tackle. The beginning of a new year marks a great time to start making some progress on the games you’ve neglected.
Yet, no one wants to start off 2020 with frustratingly difficult or long-winded games. Kickstarting the next 12 months with a collection of relaxing games is the best idea. They will help to make the beginning of the new year a more chilled out experience. Of course, they will also act as something of a palate cleanser before the big AAA releases that are arriving in 2020.
Here are the most relaxing games to start 2020 with.
A Short Hike
The premise of A Short Hike is simple. You are a small bird called Claire who wants to use her smartphone. Unfortunately, your Aunt has taken you camping to a park and the only signal can be found at the top of a mountain. So begins a quest to reach the peak so you can receive a phone call.
A Short Hike is completely open, allowing you to take multiple paths up the mountain. It also does not require you to do anything you don’t want to. Instead, the game allows you to explore at your own pace, taking in the charming world and beautiful visuals at your pleasure. Talking to the cute characters and unearthing hidden treasures is a true delight.
My Time at Portia
My Time at Portia is a kind of cross between Stardew Valley and Harvest Moon. Players have to take over the family business, which involves gathering materials and making products. At night, you can venture into dungeons to battle monsters and get access to rarer loot. While there are lots of quests and enemies to fight, spending time in the game never feels frustrating. The bright and colorful world is inviting, making you want to visit everywhere and talk to everyone. Thankfully, much of the action doesn’t tax you too much while still being interesting enough to not become boring.
At first glance, Islanders might not look all that remarkable. As a city-building game, there’s little complexity or depth of the kind you’d find in the likes of SimCity. But it is the simplicity of both the game design and its presentation that truly makes Islanders such a good game. Without having to worry about a whole host of needs and resources, you can freely build on many islands. It’s an entirely peaceful experience that has none of the stresses you usually associate with the genre. The minimal art style only helps this, making Islanders the perfect game to chill out with.
Eastshade is something of a sequel to the 2017 game Leaving Lyndow. As an artist shipwrecked on an island, you slowly begin to learn more about the locals and their lives. There’s very little in the way of action. What few jobs there are to do involve no combat or violence. Instead, players have to explore a world of gorgeous environments and paint pictures using a very simplistic system. It’s incredibly satisfying and easy to get lost in the little world.
Slay the Spire
Slay the Spire might seem like an odd choice for a relaxing game. After all, it is a rather intensive title that combines several genres. There are elements of deck-building card games, roguelikes, and turn-based RPGs mashed together. Yet, it actually manages to be a rather soothing experience. It even involves having to think rather strategically, deciding which cards to keep and which to lose. However, the slow-paced combat and deck-building are very addictive and you can sink hours into it without even realizing. Before you know it, you will be dozens of runs in, especially if you listen to some music or a podcast while playing.
Untitled Goose Game
What better way is there to relax than to pretend you are an annoying little goose? The developers of Untitled Goose Game seemingly agree. The game sees you take control of the evil bird as it wanders around a town frustrating the residents. While there are several objectives to complete and puzzles to solve, the game gives you the freedom to tackle them in your own time. It doesn’t rush you or force you to really do anything. This gives you the chance to happily frolic around like a goose without a care in the world. The gorgeous minimal graphics and soothing sound design make this a very calming game.
Sayonara Wild Hearts
Sayonara Wild Hearts is another game that you might not immediately think could be relaxing. Look at trailers for it and you will see fast-moving sequences and lots of vibrant colors. This type of speedy gameplay usually isn’t associated with chilling out. However, it actually allows you to kind of zone out and just let your muscle memory take over. Sometimes you don’t even notice the points or the rankings as you take everything else in. More importantly, though, the soundtrack is simply breathtaking and well worth listening to outside of the game.
Flower originally launched on the PlayStation 3 way back in 2009 before being ported to a variety of other platforms. In 2019, it finally arrived on PC and is still as relaxing ever. The spiritual successor to Flow, another chilled out experience, it aims to illicit emotional responses in players. It takes you to the dreams of different flowers where you have to control petals floating in the wind. With its minimalist visual approach and beautiful color palette, Flowers allows you to create some stunning patterns.
What games are you starting 2020 with? Tell us in the comments below!