Video games can be challenging and sometimes downright stressful. It’s time to take a step back, chill out and unwind. Peaceful strolls, casual platformers or just something pretty to look at? We’ve got you covered. So get your mind off of that Bloodborne boss and take a virtual vacation by playing the games in our Top 10 relaxing video game landscapes.
Starting off the list is Submerged, a quietly beautiful game where you explore an overgrown and forgotten city. You play as a young girl named Miku, who must search the city for supplies so save your wounded brother. With everyone else mysteriously gone, you are free to explore the sunken city at your own pace, scaling buildings and traversing the seas by boat. Submerged places a particular emphasis upon relaxation with its combat-free gameplay and truly stunning visuals. When exploring in your small fishing boat, it really feels as though you are part of something bigger, it’s a game where the desolate flooded cityscape completely overwhelms the player in an astounding way.
In a game where combat is heavily featured, its always nice to have some down time in-between battles where you can relax and recuperate. Okami is a master at both of these aspects. Set in feudal Japan, the landscape in Okami evokes an array of relaxing feelings; the still blue mountains, the falling pink petals and the running water all conjure a peaceful feeling. The ink wash style is a perfect way to present the classical myths and legends of Japanese history. Okami has a massive world to explore with a variety of colourful landscapes; forests, caves and temples all have their own charm so you can find your own personal serene spot.
As video games, consoles, and developers continue to mature in the industry, gamers reap the benefits. Particularly evident in our current generation of consoles/PC hardware is the capability of creating a world that is truly beautiful, nearly tangible. The Banner Saga is an example of an immensely beautiful art style utilized in creating a beautiful and barren Viking landscape. Not only does the style compliment the feel of the game – it captures the cold, hard world of Viking-esque conquest – but it lends itself well to creating a believable world. And in works of fiction, nothing is more important than a believable world; without it, fiction falls flat, becomes meaningless. The Banner Saga retains a simple beauty where the player can spend hours within.
7. Everybody’s Gone to Rapture
When discussing video game landscapes, we cannot exclude developers The Chinese Room – Dear Ester had a melancholic atmosphere while Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs’ terrified players with its story. However, the game that made this list is Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture. Chinese Room’s environmental storytelling is masterfully crafted in all their titles and the same goes for Rapture. Like Submerged, everyone has mysteriously disappeared, leaving only fragments of memories scattered throughout the quiet countryside. The player can explore the oh-so-quaint British valley at their own pace, and piece together the secrets behind the village’s apparent vanishing act. The peaceful outdoors complete with country bumpkin lifestyles of bonnie bicycles and cute cottages is a relaxing experience.
Thatgamecompany is known by now to the gaming multiverse as a developer capable of creating some of the most gorgeous landscapes of all time. Flower takes players on a beautiful journey where you control the wind, carrying and igniting petals, combusting them into colorful flames of flowers, coaxing them to spread and carry their iridescent light throughout the dark and lonely world. Flower is a game almost too beautiful to describe, but I find it hard to find any comparable experience; at the least, Flower lives in my mind as one of the most simplistically pretty and undeniably relaxing games of my lifetime.