5 Switch Games to Induce a Zen State of Mind

zen temple in nature

The tumultuous thrill of chasing Grandmaster in Overwatch or Grand Champion in Rocket League cannot be matched when you’re in the mood for that type of experience, but sometimes a player just wants a serene and relaxing game to sit back and sink into.

The beauty of video games is the established spectrum between highly competitive and lackadaisical, something that accounts for any particular mood that strikes.

And truth be told, some of the best games are relaxing and chilled by their nature, and luckily freneticism and laser like focus aren’t prerequisites for a good game.

In this article we’ll cover the best relaxing and chill games for the Nintendo Switch to help you achieve a tranquil state of mind and melt away the non sequiturs of daily life.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

breath of the wild main title

Sure, there a moments of immense intensity littered throughout Breath of the Wild’s airy recreation of Hyrule, but through emphasis on freedom, all can be avoided.

Breath of the Wild throws the player into a staggering open world, both in terms of depth and size, and allows for absolute freedom above all else.

One can literally go wherever and do whatever they desire. Traversal plays out in a stream of consciousness sort of way and its one of the reasons it is adored by so many.

Add in the tone and atmosphere of Hyrule itself and you’ve got yourself a perfect culmination of zen.

Breath of the Wild’s atmosphere combines several types of relaxing stimuli in order to induce a kind of meditative state of mindfulness.

Traversing throughout the beautiful regions of Hyrule exposes one to ambient sounds of delicate nature, and in seemingly perfect notes of harmony, light and drizzling whiffs of music graciously call for you to melt into the scene.

It’s difficult not to become consciously entrenched in the moving piece of art that is Breath of the Wild, and it’s one of the best games on any platform to help a player unwind and relax.

Stardew Valley

stardew valley farm

Stardew Valley is a charming sprite based game that draws inspiration from franchises like Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing.

On paper, it’s a simple farming simulator, but upon further examination it’s clear that Stardew Valley combines elements from multiple games and genres in order to serve up an experience that is at once relaxing and rich with depth.

This is a game of relaxation that’s easy to slip into because of the fact that one can do simple activities such as tend to their farm, engage in predefined gameplay loops, and interact with residents whichever way they want.

The game drew fantastic reviews from critics because it not only offered a warm and charming element absent from many modern video games, but also introduced ancillary features such as RPG elements and rewarding interactions with characters as a means of bolstering depth.

Need a visual representation of how Stardew Valley plays out? Check out the video above for 1 hour of Switch gameplay.

Make no mistake, Stardew Valley is incredibly easy to chill with for hours on end, but it also offers surprising amounts of side activities and gameplay loops for those times when a player wants put forth a little effort, proverbially speaking.

The best part about this whimsical and tranquil game is its support, past and present.

While initially developed by a single man, Stardew Valley has received and will continue to receive an incredible amount of support.

The latest developments in Stardew Valley?

According to a recent blog post in December, Stardew Valley for the Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and PC will receive online multiplayer in Q1 of 2018. It was mentioned that the developer, Tom, has been working on marriages between players and finished work on festivals.

Additional content will make its way to the game when the multiplayer update releases, though nothing has been unveiled at this time.

It’s a great time to hop into the relaxed world of Stardew Valley, especially with the advent of additional content in the pipeline for 2018. It also doesn’t hurt that the game costs less than $20.

Pan-Pan

pan pan screenshot

Pan-Pan is an indie game developed by Spelkraft that evokes a trance like state upon first being introduced to its trailer.

It’s cheap, not very long, and smells of something charmingly odd.

The premise?

Your aircraft crashes and you must solve puzzles in order to acquire parts to fix it.

Puzzles act as a sort of roadblock between you and your next destination (and subsequently parts for your ship).

Pan-Pan offers a chilled out experience through its use of a simple aesthetic, droning ambiance, and quirky interactions with characters.

The game didn’t receive much attention from major gaming outlets, mostly due to its indie status, and garnered reviews ranging from mediocre to good.

In spite of this, it’s certainly worth giving a shot if only because of the relaxing and serene nature of the game, and the fact that it only costs $5.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

mario kart 8 deluxe boo power slide

Mario Kart is an enigma as far as the type of experience it plays towards. On one hand, it can induce hair pulling due to sheer frustration and on the other, it offers an experience entirely indifferent to tension and stress.

Which side of the spectrum you’ll fall on depends entirely on how you approach the game.

And if you’re searching for a relaxing time, all you’ll really need to do is find a mode and playstyle that, while allowing you to strive towards progression, throws you into a flow state.

The easiest way to have fun and relaxing time with the game is to go ahead and jump into lower difficulty races against the AI. Here you can still earn coins to work towards unlockables, but you’ll also avoid the frustration of constantly teetering between victory and crushing defeat.

Alternatively, you could hop into some time trials while first downloading fast ghost laps in order to get a better grip on Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s 48 tracks.

Or, provided you can keep a cool head, online and local multiplayer is always there for quick and seamless fun with others.

Again, any activity can be rhythmic and calming depending on your approach, and there’s something that is bound to click for all types of Switch owners.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s sheer versatility makes it worth buying alone and its ability to create a great time among family and friends, even those who don’t normally play video games, sends it over the top.

Golf Story

golf story screenshot

Golf Story is an interesting game conceptually in that it throws the idea of a golf game and an RPG into one giant slow cooker. Add in a litany of mean spirited characters to interact with and you’ve got yourself quite a unique experience.

This is truly one of the best indie games on the Switch and it also happens to be exclusive to the platform. The blend of competent golf gameplay, surprisingly good narrative, interesting characters, and charm make Golf Story a paragon of what it is to stand out as an indie game.

And since it’s initial release in September of last year, the quality of Golf Story was reflected in critical and player reception.

Regular gameplay in Golf Story is already a chill experience, but the best thing about the game is the fact that you can opt choose a free play mode for some distilled relaxation.

You won’t be able to buy Golf Story physically at stores like Amazon and Best Buy so you’ll need to buy some eCash to use on the eShop. Hopefully with the continued success of the game it will get a physical release, limited or otherwise.

Thankfully, it will only run you $15 so it’s hardly going to break the bank.

Don’t see one of your favorite relaxing Switch games? Let us know what your favorite games are to chill to in the comments below. 

 

 

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