Relaxing games: PC games to chill out and unwind

Relaxing games: PC games to chill out and unwind
Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 (2022) (Image credit: Future)

Finding the best relaxing games to play on PC can be a challenge if you don’t know where to look or what you are looking for. But eventually you will find a plethora of games at your fingertips. Don’t get me wrong, we all love playing the big titles such as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe or Pokemon Legends: Arceus, but sometimes, it’s nice to come home after a long, hard day at work and dive into a tranquil, stress-reducing title.

Sometimes, all you need is a mind-numbing, chilled game to play an hour before bed — and by an hour, I mean several. That’s why we compiled this list of the best relaxing PC games you can play right now.

By the way, don’t forget to check out our reviews of some of the latest indie games to grace our screens such as Rogue Legacy 2 and Trek to Yomi. Who knows? You may find that these titles are exactly what you’re looking for.

What are the best relaxing PC games?

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Relaxing games have been an increasingly popular genre in recent years. Many gamers prefer to get nice and cozy, and relax with a hot cocoa, leaving their lives behind to engross themselves in a carefree world before returning to reality. 

We have seen many big titles released in the genre in recent years with the likes of Stardew Valley, Abzu and even Minecraft still taking the top spots. Within this list, we wanted to showcase some titles that may have slipped through the cracks, not given the credit they deserve. As such, the games mentioned above will not be present. Not that they don’t deserve to be, but they’re already very well known to the cozy game community. 

So, here it is. Our list of what we believe to be the best relaxing games you can play right now on PC. Please bear in mind that this list is not ranked from best to worst. 

The best relaxing games you can play right now on PC

1. House Flipper

A game that can be enjoyed across multiple platforms but is absolutely at its best on PC is House Flipper. House Flipper is a simulation game in which you are tasked with being a one-man renovation crew. Purchase houses, build walls, knock walls down, paint them, decorate them and then sell those houses for (hopefully) a profit. 

(Image credit: Frozen District)

I know you’re probably thinking “that doesn’t sound relaxing at all,” but trust me, it is. There are no time limits, you work at your own pace, and create your own dream home (or somebody else’s dream home), all with a catchy tune repeating itself in the background — one that will absolutely get stuck in your head. 

Also, with the many DLCs House Flipper offers, there is nothing you can’t do. Want to create the perfect garden with a fancy pool? Check. Want to own a yacht and make it look all snazzy? Check. Own your own pets and take care of them as you would your own? Also check. This is one of those games where you don’t really know how much time flows by while you’re playing, and it’s great for winding down at the end of the night. And with continuous updates and more DLC on the way, this will be your go-to game for a while to come. 

House Flipper
A unique chance to become a one-man renovation crew. 

2. Planet Zoo 

If renovating houses isn’t your thing, take a look at Planet Zoo, a game from the developers of Planet Coaster and Zoo Tycoon. Said to be the “ultimate zoo sim,” it includes authentic living animals that think, feel and explore just as the real ones would. With a vast selection of animals to care for and learn about, this will keep you occupied for hours. 

(Image credit: Frozen District)

It’s not all about the animals, though! Keep your customers happy by creating the best zoo you can possibly imagine. Build iconic exhibits, hire (or fire) your workers, and use a range of building components to create a masterpiece. Complete various missions across many zoos in the campaign mode or spend countless hours building your dream zoo in the sandbox mode — the choice is yours. 

If you have had enough of building and crafting, then simply gaze in awe while watching the animals in the zoo via the animal cam. I lost countless hours just simply watching lions, tigers and bears just being themselves; watching them play, sleep, and eat. It’s so very relaxing!

Planet Zoo
Construct detailed habitats, manage your zoo, and meet authentic living animals who think, feel and explore the world you create around them.

3. Unpacking

We all know how infuriating moving is: Tetris-like packing, carrying heavy boxes, and getting frustrated because you realize you have so many useless objects. Well, Unpacking takes all that and makes it a pleasant, relaxing and even emotional experience. 

(Image credit: Humble Games)

Classed as a zen puzzle game, Unpacking sees players literally doing just that: unpacking boxes and placing them either where you think they should go, or where they will fit. This may sound boring to some, but it’s a game that requires the least amount of brain power possible. You can completely lose yourself within somebody else’s life story and you get totally invested in that. 

No times, no scores — just pure stress-free gameplay with a soundtrack that invokes more emotions than I care to admit. You get attached to a character that you never see, no story is told, but you learn it through various house moves. If you need a game to completely lose yourself in, Unpacking is the one for you. 

A zen puzzle game about the familiar experience of pulling possessions out of boxes and fitting them into a new home. 

4. Townscaper

Dubbed as an “experimental passion project,” Townscaper is a game with no goals or real gameplay. I know, but stay with me. This is a beautiful experience where you simply build quaint island towns however you so choose. Simply choose colors from a palette, press a button to drop down coloured blocks of houses, and the underlying algorithm will automatically turn those blocks into little houses, stairways, arches, gardens and bridges depending on where they are placed. 

(Image credit: Raw Fury)

It’s a game where you can let your creativity flow and get lost in your creations. It’s simple, but it will completely pull you in and keep you hooked. Watch the town literally come alive in front of your eyes, and create something truly magical. 

It’s quirky, vibrant, and an absolute gem of a game for a very small price. 

An instant town building toy.

5. Cloud Gardens

Cloud Gardens is a game unlike anything I’ve ever played before. It’s a simple premise, but it’s an intriguing one. Players must harness the power of nature to overgrow lo-fi scenes of decay and manufactured landscapes to make something. Plant seeds, repurpose hundreds of objects, and create unique structures in this game that defines the chill game genre. 

(Image credit: Noio)

Take on a multi-chapter campaign where you must find the balance between the natural and the manufactured — or sit back and relax in a sandbox mode with no goals and no purpose other than to relax. Settle down with some lo-fi tunes to go along with it, and you have yourself the perfect chill game. 

Channel your inner artist and create the best end-of-the-world garden you possibly can and even share with the community. 

Cloud Gardens
A chill game about using plants to overgrow abandoned wasteland dioramas.

6. Cozy Grove

This one gives it away in its name, but Cozy Grove is a simple game about camping on a haunted, ever-changing island. You play as a Spirit Scout, tasked with helping the local ghosts move on by helping them complete certain tasks. 

(Image credit: Spry Fox)

This game is designed to play in short spouts each day; it runs in real-world time and provides roughly 30-60 minutes of gameplay each day. After completing these tasks, you’re still free to roam around the island to fish, craft and decorate. 

The standout aspect of Cozy Grove is its art style. It’s absolutely stunning and the colors come alive as you complete various tasks around the island. It’s all fully hand-drawn — it really is a work of art. 

This isn’t a game where you get lost in the world for hours upon hours, but it is a game that very easily becomes a part of your daily routine, and that is beautiful. 

And that’s it! This list is simply what we would consider some of the best relaxing games to play on PC right now based on what we have been playing. This is only a select few of what is available and designed to point you in the right direction of where to look. 

If you’re looking to upgrade your PC set-up, check out the best gaming headsets of 2022 as well as the best gaming usb-c accessories and cables in 2022.

Cozy Grove
A game about camping on a haunted, ever-changing island.

How to choose the best PC games for you

Video games are subjective. Everybody likes different things and you need to experiment with different genres to know what you enjoy and what you don’t. If you enjoy strategy games, try the Total War series. Do you prefer open-world survival games? Take a look at Raft. Maybe you like some good old paranormal goodness? Scare yourself with some Phasmophobia. 

Experiment with them! Try as many as you can, and most of all, have fun.