10 Best Feel-Good Video Games

There’s no doubt that titles like God of War: Ragnarök and Elden Ring widely appeal to gamers that love sweeping epics and tense combat, but there are many games that are excellent for mellow, feel-good experiences in much more relaxed moments. Thankfully, there are several genres to find such games, ranging from platformers to life-sim titles.

For many, the likes of the RPG life-sim game Stardew Valleywill come to mind, as with Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Regardless, many of these feel-good games offer warm and/or light-hearted experiences that are sure to strike a chord with players craving a laid-back solo or even multiplayer gaming session.


10 It Takes Two (2021)

It Takes Two promo art featuring the two protagonists hanging onto a floating dandelion.

From game director Josef Fares and developer Hazelight Studio, It Takes Two proved to be an indie darling of last year and a rare experience in the modern age of gaming. The story follows two parents looking to divorce, but find themselves trapped in the handmade dolls their daughter made to try and mend their relationship.

RELATED: 10 Video Games Everyone Should Play Once

Primarily focusing on co-op/couch co-op gameplay, It Takes Two uses this premiseas an emotionally resonating and wholesome journey. It Takes Two has a playful art style with a gameplay approach that combines the action-adventure and platforming genres in several fun and inventive ways. It’s a clever way to make co-op gameplay integral to the story, and by the end of it, it’ll be hard not to come away with a warm and satisfying feeling.

9 Stardew Valley (2016)

Stardew Valley gameplay still featuring the player fishing on their farm.

The overarching simulation genre has plenty of worthwhile games, but one of the most iconic indie hits over the last several years has been ConcernedApe’s Stardew Valley. The game has been acclaimed for the level of immersion by combining life-sim and role-playing gameplay mechanics.

Stardew Valley has dozens of hours worth spending in the game, but that investment easily comes at the player’s desired pace. From tending to the farm to gathering resources to meeting the neighbors and townsfolk, this experience is a relaxing and fulfilling venture from start to finish. Especially with all the social elements, this is a game that’s easy to dip into for 30 minutes or three hours at a time.

8 Animal Crossing: New Horizons (2020)

Animal Crossing: New Horizons key art featuring the island inhabitants on the vibrant island.

The franchise has arguably been the mainstream face of life-sim games for some time now, and Animal Crossing: New Horizons proved to be a sensation when it launched in 2020 for the Nintendo Switch. New Horizons‘ easily endearing art style, charming characters, and easygoing gameplay loop made sure it was acclaimed.

This time around, players get to make their home on a new island, going around meeting the gradually new residences and taking part in various management-like activities. The game manages to make even the most mundane activities fun and soothing, even taking out loans and keeping the island clean. Add in the fact that New Horizonsgaming universe is easily among the most appealing, and it’s clear to see how such a casual experience could lead to such a time sink.

7 Journey (2012)

Journey promo art featuring the protagonist in the desert overlooking the looming mountain.

Journey is another noteworthy indie title when it comes to quieter, more relaxing gameplay sessions. Developed by Thatgamecompany, Journey is a visually beautiful adventure that has players in the role of a mysterious robed figure trekking across a vast desert to reach a mountain.

RELATED: 10 Most Immersive Sci-Fi Games, Ranked

What this title achieves is partly by being a game with relatively low stakes while still feeling emotionally meaningful. While traversing the desert, the game’s minimalistic approach becomes more apparent in the art and mechanics, making for a soothing atmosphere — including the resonating musical score. Likewise, players can be joined by another player, but they can only communicate through musical chimes that manage to create a unique sensation of companionship.

6 Super Mario Odyssey (2017)

Super Mario Odyssey key art featuring Mario and a variety of character in the background.

Super Mario Odyssey was a strong title to kickstart the life cycle of the Nintendo Switch in 2017. The next mainline entry in the iconic platforming franchise, Odyssey quickly earned the acclaim to become at least an honorable mention in Mario‘s esteemed backlog of games.

From the off, it’s hard not to play Super Mario Odyssey with a smile, as everything – from the surroundings to the characters – is incredibly vibrant. The game manages to be breezy and engaging at the same time, with the snappy platforming gameplay, endlessly charming locales, and a variety of collectibles and secrets to discover that doesn’t come off as a chore. Super Mario Odyssey is as much of a time investment as players want to make it, but it’ll always be an absolute joy throughout.

5 Minecraft (2011)

Minecraft promo art featuring players exploring a field full of bees.

For over a decade now, Minecraft has cemented itself as one of the most lucrative indie games ever developed. Its open-ended simplicity, including its graphical fidelity, are all part of what won millions of fans to invest themselves in this blocky world — and one that gets even bigger thanks to Minecraft‘s extensive mod support.

Minecraft effectively has no real goals for players to accomplish, but that’s precisely what makes it so easy to have a feel-good romp that can turn into hours on end. Players can explore, mine resources, and create recipes to craft a myriad of objects almost to the point of being a sandbox life-sim game hybrid. The game is as simple or as complex as the player chooses to make it, which turns Minecraft into potentially one of the most easygoing games available.

4 Kirby And The Forgotten Land (2022)

Kirby and the Forgotten Land key art featuring the titular character and the abandoned city in the background.

Last year’s Kirby and the Forgotten Land was a wonderfully natural evolution of the long-running franchise, and one of the best Nintendo Switch games of 2022. The mainline series of games were mostly characterized by 2D action platformers, but this entry expands things onto a fully 3D plane.

RELATED: 10 Video Game Sequels Coming In 2023

In that way, Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a delightfully casual endeavor in some of the same ways that Mario Odyssey is. However, that isn’t to say it’s a pale imitation. Throughout the game, Forgotten Land does well to adapt the loveable pink blob and his quirks into 3D platforming, especially with all power-ups he can swallow and shift into.

3 Overcooked (2016)

Overcooked 2 promo art featuring a colorful group of characters on a traveling food truck.

Though games like it can easily turn into an exercise in frustration with the wrong crowd, the likes of Team17 and Ghost Town Games’ Overcooked can just as well be a fun romp of wholesome fun. These games are party-style cooking sim titles that pit teams of players against each other to see who can make the most dishes efficiently, and make for great co-op sessions on the Switch.

Its art style has the inherent sense of charm most games of this nature would have, and they have colorfully absurd cooking maps to play on to match. The frantic gameplay, chaotically shifting kitchens, and variety of recipes make this a hilariously good time in groups of friends. Naturally, either game would satisfy the need for a feel-good romp, but Overcooked 2 arguably has the most refined and snappy gameplay of the pair.

2 Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door (2004)

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door key art featuring Mario and the supporting cast.

Though RPGs are usually sweeping immersive spectacles of dark or high fantasy, the Super Mario franchise comes in with a genuinely excellent and lighthearted take on the genre in the form of The Thousand-Year Door. It was one of the best games of the GameCube era, building upon the role-playing strengths of past Mario games to use the genre.

As the name suggests, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door cleverly combines platforming elements with role-playing gameplay for an easy, beginner-friendly approach as far as RPGs are concerned. And as fans of the Italian plumber would hope, it wraps this up in an entertaining paper-themed aesthetic with larger-than-life characters. It’s an excellent break from the monster-slaying, political intrigue, and high stakes of the usual RPG.

1 Slime Rancher (2017)

Slime Rancher promo art featuring a colorful group of the titular creatures.

Developer Monomi Park’s Slim Rancher is exactly what the title suggests, and they provide just as much goofy fun. Played in an open-world setting, Slime Rancher puts players in the role of Beatrix LeBeau who moves to a distant planet to take up a life of slime ranching.

It’s a pretty straightforward concept, but one that’s effective in dosing players with a sense of bubbly fun. Slime Rancher manages to effectively mix elements of first-person shooting and life-sim games, as players can build their ranch and use the VacPack nozzle to catch slimes. The game world’s whole economy is based around raising these colorful creatures, with the whole aesthetic making it easy to have a good casual time.

MORE: 10 Video Games With The Best Post-Campaign Content


This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.