Friday, April 3, 2020
2020 was already shaping up to be an annoying year, but the deadly coronavirus pandemic has turned it, already, into just a total disaster. It’s a scary time and, at best, it’s probably ruining your mood and making it tough to enjoy much of anything.
When I need a distraction from reality, I often turn to video games for solace, because they tend to focus my attention more than watching a movie or TV show or reading a book does. And that hasn’t changed at all during this pandemic. If anything, it’s become even more true because sitting down to watch an entire movie is much harder to do at the moment. So here’s a list of games that, in my experience, are great for chilling out with while you’re stuck at home for the foreseeable future.
“Animal Crossing: New Horizons”
This game for Nintendo Switch is all the rage at the moment just because, well, there’s pretty much nothing stressful about it. It’s like a real life simulator, but without any of the stakes. So, for example, you could pay down on your mortgage, or you could just not. It’s nice. Plus, if you have friends who play you can go visit them, or they can visit you, so you can do some socializing while you’re social distancing.
“Euro Truck Simulator 2”
This game, which is available for PC and Mac, has been one of my favorites for a long time. I just turn on one of the European pop radio streams available in the game, and drive around. I pretty much only do jobs so so I’ll have a destination — you could just not do them if you’d rather just wander.
You probably know all about this series a this point, so let this simply serve as a reminder.
This game, which you can get as a digital download on any recent PlayStation device, is so chill and therapeutic. You’re just a flower petal floating on the wind drifting around with other flower petals. It’ll make you feel good.
These games are about rolling up garbage into a giant ball. They’re cute, and nice, and upbeat. The most recent of these, “Katamari Damacy Reroll,” is a remake of the original game for Switch and PC. If you’ve got an Xbox 360 or PS3 lying around you can play some of the older games too.
“Saints Row IV”
I will admit that I’ve had a pretty tough time laughing at anything the last few weeks, but the ludicrous action comedy game “Saints Row IV” manages to hit the spot even so. Plus it has just enough of a dark tinge to fit this moment in history — it’s pretty much just “The Matrix,” except it’s aliens running the simulation after they blew up the Earth. Anyway it’s funny in the right way for right now. You can grab this on any current game console or PC. For maximum chill, just turn down the difficulty setting and enjoy the madness.
It’s got a novel brand of puzzles, as well as a similar, though less crass, sense of humor to “Saints Row.” The story is overall almost nihilistic, and it’s got plenty of jokes about giant corporations exploiting people in horrible ways. It feels just about right.
“The Talos Principle”
It’s another 3D puzzle game in the vein of “Portal,” but instead of cracking jokes it’s more about musing about the nature of humanity, which has long since gone extinct. That may sound upsetting, but honestly it’s pretty calming. It’s like going to therapy, but in a puzzle game that’s available on every platform, including mobile devices.
“Viscera Cleanup Detail”
So when you’re playing a shooter game, you tend to leave a lot of corpses behind as you move to each new area. But in this game, which is available on Steam for PC and Mac, you’re not the one doing the shooting — you’re the one who cleans up all the bodies and mops up and blood. Some people enjoy cleaning their homes to chill, and this is like that but you don’t have to stand up.
“The Stanley Parable”
Nothing really happens in this game. You just wander around pressing buttons and try not to do what the narrator tells you to. It’s a weird comedy meta-game of sorts, mocking standard video game storytelling. If you play a lot of video games, it’ll amuse you. Available for PC and Mac.
It’s kinda like Sim City, but I like this one much more just because it’s generally less complicated and annoying. Even better: you can get it on PC, Mac, PlayStation, Xbox and Switch, which is unusual for a game like this.
“Final Fantasy XV”
Like all “Final Fantasy” games, the plot here is ludicrous. But the appeal of this game for me has always been as a sort of road trip simulator. You roll around the country with your bros, stopping every once in a while to get gas, kill some monsters, go camping, or climb to the top of a volcano to take down a giant bird so you can take its giant eggs and eat them with cup noodles. It’s nice.
This may be the dumbest game ever made. It’s not a real “simulator” in the normal sense — it’s actually just a goofy physics game where you like strap a jetpack on your goat or whatever. It’s available on pretty much every platform you might use for gaming so you should probably just go for it.
The main stories in these games are overwrought Japanese melodrama, but the real fun is the wacky shenanigans that gangster Kiryu Kazuma gets into in his every day life. That juxtoposition hits the sweet spot. You can get these for PlayStation or PC.
“Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Future Tone”
It’s just a silly PS4 rhythm game where you perform songs by the famous “vocaloid” Miku and her digital friends. There’s plenty of excellent songs, and most of them come with stupidly amusing music videos. And unlike the other Miku games, this one doesn’t bother with a plot or any kind of unlock progression. You just have all the 200+ songs from the start and there’s nothing to try to force you to do songs you don’t like.
Any mobile puzzle game
This is your reminder that any app store you have on your phone is absolutely full of free puzzle apps, like word searches or crosswords or whatever. My phone go-to is sudoku, but almost certainly you can get whatever your preferred puzzle time-waster is without having to pay anything.
Source: the wrap feed