Best Relaxing Nintendo Switch Games

Updated with a fresh clutch of chill-vibe, relaxing Switch games. Enjoy!

But what if you’re looking to soothe the soul rather than cleave it from a corpse; to combat stress with some old-fashioned R&R? What are the most relaxing games on Switch? Fortunately, the console’s huge library has you covered, so if you’re looking for Switch games to help you chill, we’re here to help. Below we’ve assembled a selection of relaxing Switch games to ease your hypertension with a diverting balm that will calm even the most tumultuous of minds.

So, if that vein in your temples is bulging, fetch yourself a calming beverage, find a comfy chair, and settle down with our picks of the most relaxing Switch games.

Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Nintendo’s all-conquering slow life sim is the perfect antidote to a hectic, stressful lifestyle. Animal Crossing: New Horizons enables you to have fun doing whatever you like. Fishing fan? Fill your boots. Flower fanatic? Plant a field and grow some hybrids. Like shaking trees and bothering bees? You’ve got a whole deserted island of the trunk-y beggars to wobble. We personally got sidetracked by the Custom Designs ‘app’ which lets you create your own tiles and templates to wear or display around your house and island.

In fact, we worried that maybe we should get back to the ‘actual game’ before we realised, no, this is the game: Animal Crossing is whatever you make it. It’s easy to make things stressful as you hunt for a specific fish or race to sell some turnips before closing time but, as with life, most of that stress is of our own making. Sit back, relax, and potter about doing whatever makes you happy.

Abzu: Underwater Serenity

If underwater sections in video games instantly get your pulse racing, Abzu is the antidote to the stress of an air meter. This game offers a gentle underwater adventure as you explore the ocean depths at your leisure. The marine delights of Abzu’s seascapes are a treat for the eyes accompanied by a gorgeous orchestral soundtrack, with fabulous 3D sound if you’re playing with headphones. From the art director of Journey, this is a serene experience that should be your first port of call if you’re looking to get away from it all.

GRIS: A Beautiful Journey

A 2D platformer from Nomada Studio, you journey through a crumbling, monochrome, metaphorical land in GRIS, gradually spreading watercolours as you go on a wonderfully short and sweet adventure. With light puzzling, generous platforming and a dusting of collectibles, this is a touching journey of a young girl running through an incredibly delicate and beautiful world. With an art style that owes much to Ervind Earle, it’s an unmissable experience and perfect if you’re after a Switch game to calm your nerves.

RiME: 3D Adventure

When it first released on Switch, lonely 3D adventure RiME wasn’t in great shape performance-wise. It suffered from appalling frame rate hiccups which affected the masterful adventure beneath and made the Switch port difficult to recommend if you had access to the game on any other platform.

However, patches arrived and addressed the most egregious performance issues, and while the frame rate certainly still chugs, the improvements allow the magical game world and environmental puzzles beneath to shine brighter than before, to the extent that RiME on Switch is a much easier recommendation now. If you’re a frame rate purist for whom a solid 30fps is the absolute minimum, you’ll still want to hunt this down elsewhere. If you can stomach the drops and see this on sale, though, we’d recommend picking it up if you’re in the market for a calming, beautifully desolate 3D adventure.

Yoku’s Island Express: Pinball Adventure

Who would have thought pinball and Metroidvania could blend so beautifully? You control Yoku, a beetle postmaster making deliveries around the mystical island of Mokumana. Your beetle buddy is tethered to a ball which flings him around the huge 2D island when launched by the many sets of bumpers and flippers under your control and dotted across the landscape. A novel adventure that combines a colourful game world with a soothing soundtrack, Yoku’s Island Express is a lovely little game which we can’t recommend enough.

The Gardens Between: Brain Teaser

The Gardens Between presents intricate puzzles solved by rewinding and directing time, and the game is wrapped up in a beautifully charming aesthetic which belies the complexity beneath. A relaxing soundtrack accompanies this unusual puzzler which will gently massage your grey matter as you make your way to the top of various islands and through a bittersweet, wordless narrative courtesy of Australian indie studio The Voxel Agents. The Gardens Between is a rejuvenating balm for your ol’ brainbox and comes recommended.

Stardew Valley: Farming Sim

The best digital life sim on Switch with a farming focus has to be Stardew Valley. This farm management title channels the classic gameplay of Harvest Moon into a huge retro-inspired experience that will devour your days if you let it. It takes a while to get into, and you definitely get out what you put in, but Stardew Valley has almost limitless layers to uncover and if you’re ready to invest a significant portion of your free time into a charming, calming game experience, there are few better options on Switch right now.

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker has graced each of Nintendo’s three most recent consoles, and with good reason. Its mix of 3D puzzle platforming and easily digestible levels makes it the perfect salve to a stressful day whether you’re squeezing in a few levels on the bus or looking to blast through a bunch at home after a long and tiring day. The Switch version boasts two-player co-op for the entire adventure, so you can get someone else involved in the Captain’s tranquil form of waddling and puzzle-solving. If you’ve missed out on Captain Toad on Wii U and 3DS, Switch is the perfect place to play.

Kingdom Two Crowns: Settlement Builder

Kingdom Two Crowns is all at once simple and complicated, a settlement-building tower defence game on a 2D plane that limits the number of fronts you fight on to just two. While it can be stressful – especially at first while you learn how to maximise your resources and not build yourself into bankruptcy as the encroaching ‘Greed’ attack your village on a nightly basis – Kingdom Two Crowns is a strikingly beautiful game with gorgeous pixel art and impressive parallax effects. You’ll soon lose hours to its sedate form of build, expand, defend gameplay. With two-player co-op helping to soothe the stress of fighting on two opposing fronts, never has rampant colonialism been quite so chill.

Gorogoa: Unique Puzzle Adventure

Gorogoa is a short puzzle game that’s unlike any other we’ve experienced. Comprised of four storybook-style panels which combine, overlaps, and interact in unexpected and ingenious ways, the fact that it’s difficult to summarise in a paragraph is just as well because it’s best enjoyed without too much prior knowledge. Suffice it to say that Jason Roberts’ game was seven years in the making and will have you entranced for every minute of its relatively brief playtime. You’ll likely breeze through this game in one handheld sitting and as a unique puzzle experience, Gorogoa absolutely deserves a place on your Switch.

Lumines Remastered: Audio-Visual Puzzle

Tetris might be the obvious go-to if you’re after a puzzle game to occupy your higher brain functions while the rest of your mind defrags, but both the excellent Tetris 99 and Puyo Puyo Tetris are arguably a little too hectic for the likes of this list. Lumines Remastered, however, is a far more chill audio-visual puzzle experience with a fantastic soundtrack that demands the use of headphones. You should know what to expect if you’re a fan of director Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s work (REZ), and while there are a host of online leaderboards and modes to get involved in if you like that sort of thing, zoning out with Lumines is one of the most immersive, relaxing experiences in video games.

Tetris Effect could have equally appeared here, but we’d thought we’d give Lumines the spotlight for a change.