I’ve just finished Abzu, and having already played through Journey, Gris and The Unfinished Swan, what other games are out there that are similar to these games where you explore gorgeous worlds with simple controls, no deaths or real danger, amazing music andyou can just relax and enjoy the ride?
I will eventually play through Flower and Flow even though i’m not really a big fan of motion controls.
I’ve also enjoyed Gone Home and What Remains of Edith Finch although those are not exactly what I am looking for but feel free to recommend some of those “walking simulators” too if you feel so inclined.
Other games on my list like these that i plan to play are Firewatch, Manifold Garden and Mind: Path to Thalamus.
I really adore Kentucky Route Zero. I find it thoroughly relaxing, in a Lynchian sort of way. I feel very at home and safe in this game, for some odd reason, and cannot recommend it highly enough. Kentucky Route Zero is mainly a point and click and text based game with gorgeous visuals, so it might not meet the first person exploration asect of what you are looking for, but might still be worth checking out.
If you are ok with some heavier themes (think more Edith Finch than The Unfinished Swan) you could try Blackwood Crossing. It is definitely relaxing from a gameplay point of view, but maybe less so narratively.
The Gardens Between is another good one. It’s peppered with some landscape manipulation based puzzles, but is a pretty chill game.
The Last Campfire is quite good, although there are some tense moments with a snake. Overall I found it quite relaxing.
Carto is a beautiful game that is very laidback. Again, you are manipulating landscapes but none of the puzzles are particularly intense.
AER: Memories of Old is a bit like Journey in the sky. Flying feels great and is very satisfying, as is the exploration in the game. Well worth looking into.
This will be slightly outside the box but Islanders is a gem. All about building a town on an island, one building at a time. Each placement adds points to your score, multipliers if placed in preferred locations. Score enough points to move onto a new island and see how far you can go. By the end, you’ve created a wonderful little island town of your own design. Scratches a bit of a creative itch ,too.
I’ve spent hours with its chill, low pressure atmosphere.
From older titles, in Myst series you explore wonderful worlds, filled with machines that are mind breaking puzzles. For me they are relaxing, because they’re hard but always logical and I’m giving myself the time to think through. I’m so excited about new Myst inspired game:
This is a very recently released game called Here Comes Niko! It’s from the publishers of A Hat in Time and follows suit of that game’s cuteness. HCN doesn’t have any challenge. No combat or dying. Think of a game in the similar veins of A Short Hike. It’s available on PC, but it is very easy to run and takes up 1 GB of storage.