Self-Care Games

So Waypoint has talked a couple of times about what they turn to as self-care games, and I loved hearing about what others use to help them decompress.

I know a lot of it comes down to personal preference, especially in the style/genre of game that may help you de-stress, but what are some of the games that fall into this category for y’all?

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I love games where I can just explore without any pressure or danger. FEZ is my ideal self-care game, but wandering around in games like Shadow of the Colossus between boss encounters is v therapeutic, too

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A very charming city-building/god game with some very charming elementals that help you to shape the world.


You know that park you walk across between fights in SSBM’s All-Star mode? A whole game of that kind of space is my ideal self-care experience.

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Stardew Valley is my self-care game to go to. It relaxes me because I can choose how to play the game, and if I’m feeling down it’s very relaxing to me to tend to my crops and just talk to the townfolk.


Civilization Revolution was definitely this for me for a long time. You can break that game in half so easily.

Animal Crossing and Pokemon fill a similar space for me.


This is a weird choice and I dunno if anyone else had this experience, but Doom (2016) is extremely calming for me. I’ll shoot-punch through a demon encounter and then just spend fifteen to twenty minutes just exploring an empty enemy-free area for secrets and armor pickups and then decide whenever I’m ready for the next encounter. It was a really chill loop and I love it a lot!


I go for a replay of Dark Souls 2. I’ve played that game a grand total of 52 times from start to finish across both versions, so the familiarity is comforting. And as a testament to how damn good it is, it’s brilliance is never lost on me. I’m still picking up new connections in dialogue and item descriptions, or seeing new things. I swear the Pursuer has an infinite number of attacks and just doesn’t use all of them very often.

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It probably says too much about me that I play Spelunky to decompress


Spelunky. After over 200 hours, I don’t really die anymore. It’s comforting, in that way. Just being able to exist inside a world that is still lethal, but not a real threat. I no longer play regularly, but knowing that it’s there, waiting for me…

It’s nice.


You know that part from The Beginner’s Guide where you’re just doing chores around that house? That’s very much my kind of self-care.

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Hard to say, but I feel like Threes is the one game that works best for me. It’s hits a nice point where it’s engaging without ever feeling ,mentally taxing, and unlike other potential candidates I could think of it’s probably the only game where I’ve never felt like a session lasted too long (which is why I would count out something like Breath of the Wild because while the experience is fairly chill, I do sometimes stop the game and go “Oh, it’s six hours later. Oops.”).

The Binding of Isaac is also good except when I get tilted by playing particularly badly.

I didn’t carry on playing after completing, but I sort of felt that way about Yakuza 0 while playing. Because of just the range of stuff you can do in it.

I could chill out with a retro game. Or pick some fights. Or go deep into one of the bigger minigames. Or play some cards, or Mahjong. Or a silly dice game. And it’s all done pretty well, it was just there for whatever mood I was in.

Haven’t played it for a while now (a couple of versions, at least), but Minecraft has been my zen garden since 2010. Cities: Skylines as well.

Night In The Woods came along whilst I was in a really shitty period/the beginning of a prolonged existential crisis and was really good for zoning out and working through, and was oddly soothing


I found Dark Souls 1 to be incredibly soothing to play after a point. While it’s definitely not my recommendation for everyone, that game got to a place where I felt very calm and relaxed playing it, and letting my fingers work through the mechanics while my brain unpicked what it needed to was a real good feeling.

Co-signing what said about Night in the Woods! That is probably a better all-purpose recommendation. Definitely a soothing game.

Dark Souls 2. I don’t know either.

Also, when I am feeling anxious I find Picross 3D to be really soothing. Puzzle games in general are kinda like that.

Tetris. I can just zone out and play Tetris and everything is okay.


I came in here to search whether I was the only weirdo who would list Dark Souls/Bloodborne. Thank you for your reassurances. :slight_smile: You know, they’re stressful at first, but once you memorize how it all goes down, it’s almost like meditation – repetitive actions, sometimes, or following a choreographed dance at others.