Listmas 2021: The Duck’s Top Relaxing Games

Around the holiday season, we all like to relax and spend time with family.  Or, if you’re a gamer like us, then you probably want to relax and spend time with some video games, and if your family insists on joining you, then…well, that’s what multiplayer games are for!  Today, the Duck shall be listing some of the more casual games I like to play when I just want to relax, in no particular order.

  • Animal Crossing: We all knew Animal Crossing would appear on this list, so let’s just get it out of the way.  This series is the ultimate casual game for me and a lot of other people, when I’m just in the mood to forgo all the battles and tricky platforming and just decorate my house and chat with my animal neighbors.  Just watch out for tarantulas…
  • Harvest Moon: The next logical choice after Animal Crossing would most assuredly be Harvest Moon, a relaxing farming game…until you forget to feed your cows once, and they all die.  Okay, I haven’t played any of the games in this series in a while, so I can’t remember how severe the consequences were, but…Harvest Moon is still a great option if you just generally want to experience a life that is most likely quite different from your own.
  • ABZU: ABZU is a really great game for those who love fish and just want to chill.  With the vibrant colors, soothing music, and zillions (I counted) of real-world fish and other sea creatures, this game is like a virtual aquarium.  Except you don’t have to wait for other people to get out of the way so you can see the fish.
  • Various Artifex Mundi puzzle games: Okay, so I’ve only ever played the demos for these games, but I’d imagine they could be a really great casual diversion from life’s stresses.  These point-and-click puzzle games have beautiful artwork and a variety of themes, plus the rather cheesy dialogue and voice acting is good for a bit of a laugh.
  • Yoku’s Island Express: Again, I only played the demo for this one, so maybe I have no idea what I’m talking about.  But this cute, little Pinball adventure really seems like it would be a fun and relaxing little game.  And who doesn’t find the idea of playing Pinball with a dung beetle appealing?
  • The Last Campfire: I’m sure not many people have heard about this little puzzle game, where you play as a lost ember helping others who have become forlorn by solving puzzles.  It also features some rather pleasant narration.
  • The Room: Puzzle games are definitely a great genre if you feel like relaxing, and The Room is another excellent example.  As the name suggests, this game literally takes place in a single room as you try to uncover the secrets of the ever expanding contraption set in the middle.  The game also has some sequels that might be worth a visit, as well.
  • Various Kirby Games: My top choice would be Kirby Superstar, but all Kirby games are pretty great for the casual gaming audience.  They’re pretty easy (unless you’re going for 100%), adorable, and even have multiplayer options.
  • Donkey Kong Country: Okay, the old-school DKC trilogy on the SNES isn’t exactly a casual set of games because they used to kick my butt.  Butt…I mean but, after playing them a dozen times or more over the years, they’re actually pretty easy for me now and are a great way to relax and soak in some retro nostalgia.  There’s even multiplayer where you and a friend can either work together or compete and see who can finish the game first.

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