5. Yoshi’s Woolly World
When considering this top 10 list of beautiful and relaxing landscapes, Yoshi’s Woolly World was one of the first games that came to mind. It’s so simple a child could excel at, but with a difficulty an adult can enjoy; Yoshi’s Woolly World brings an entertaining platforming experience in a dramatically unique world. As its title states, Yoshi’s Woolly World is a game about yarn Yoshis, and one (or two, if playing co-operatively) Yoshi’s adventure to free his friends from the evil Koopa. Each world is filled with a multitude of sewing inspired levels, inducing the warm fuzzies of enjoyment and creating a soothing experience. This one is also able to be enjoyed with your significant other – and I recommend doing so.
~ Evan Schwab
With is colourful bubblegum aesthetic and pixel block look, FEZ has an abundance of charm and cute aesthetics. You play as Gomez, a cute sprite who finds a magical fez that grants him the power to see his 2D world as one part of a four-sided 3D world, which the player can rotate between. The world of FEZ is one of pure exploration, a landscape of hidden secrets and puzzles to solve. The more you discover, the greater the world expands. You are free to dawdle between lands, your little tassel bouncing back and forth as you plod along, jumping onto platforms and finding new pathways and doors. The music is calming, the characters have a dillydally attitude and the colors are bright and warm; Fez invites players into a calm and leisurely experience.
~ Rachel Watts
3. Muramasa: Rebirth
I’m sure not many expected to see a side-scrolling action/platformer near the top of this list. Muramasa: Rebirth, however, is quite deserving of the number three spot. A PlayStation Vita upgrade of the Muramasa for the Wii, Rebirth delivers some of the most gorgeous hand drawn landscapes I have ever seen. I found myself playing through the game multiple times, not only for its enjoyable and quick combat, but for the simply stunning visuals of the artistic world. It is difficult not to consider Muramasa: Rebirth a work of art based on visuals alone. Each level could easily be printed, framed, and sold at your local art dealer – it’s that incredible.
~ Evan Schwab
Being at one with nature creates a unique feeling of relaxation, a feeling that Proteus captures in its landscapes. Proteus is about exploring pixelated island that is procedurally generated every time the game is played. The landscape is covered in trees, plants, mountains and animals that make their own sounds when walked past. Proteus is simplistic in its design, but evokes a meaning through its minimalism for each person who plays it. It will not take you on an emotional roller-coaster, but instead allows players to unravel a slow and purposeful happening. It focuses on the peaceful ambience of a space where players can immerse themselves in a different type of way.
~ Rachel Watts
Journey is the final stop on our relaxing landscape voyage. It’s a remarkable and emotional experience like no other. The second game by thatgamecompany in our top 10, the developers definitely understand how to get emotional responses from their players. Starting alone in a desert landscape, the player controls a hooded figure in a red and golden robe. The aim is to journey to a distant mountain and discover who you are and your history. The game takes you through various ancient caverns, crumbling cities, and dangerous underground lairs but manages to create a constant dream-like state. There are not-so-relaxing sequences, but most of the game focuses on peaceful exploration coupled with the ability to majestically glide through the air makes for a carefree feeling. Once you have finished the game you can play it all again with an anonymous online player, an experience that creates a mysterious emotional connection. It tops this list because Journey incorporates all of the unique aspects of the other games shared in this top 10. It’s stunning art style, environmental storytelling, peaceful soundtrack, painting-esque levels, accessibility, solemn beauty and wonderment are discovered within the game. Journey is a one of a kind relaxing game and an unforgettable landscape experience.
~ Rachel Watts