The Most Relaxing Games On The Nintendo Switch

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Ever since Animal Crossing: New Horizons was released on the Nintendo Switch, a lot of people have been glued to the console, decorating their islands and interacting with their favorite villagers. The game can be super relaxing and is a ton of fun to just kick back and play, but after months of working on your island, you may be looking for something else to play.

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The Nintendo Switch has a massive variety of different games. From puzzle platformers to horror games, there’s something for just about everyone on this console. But big fans of Animal Crossing: New Horizons will likely be looking for something that has a similar relaxing feeling to that game.

Updated on July 27, 2023 by Jouanna Bondakji: Oftentimes, there’s nothing more relaxing than playing a cozy, stress-free game. The Nintendo Switch is the perfect console for that, since you get to choose whether you want to lay in bed playing or just lean back on the couch. Animal Crossing has been one of the best choices for a comforting experience, but there are many other games on the eShop that offer the same feeling. We’ve added even more of those games to this list, because there’s no shortage of them if you know where to look.

20 A Short Hike

Claire glides through the sky by a cabin overlooking a campfire and the ocean

A Short Hike lets you experience all the neat things about hiking without any of the real-life consequences. Its characters are all cute little animals, and the art does an excellent job of making you feel like you’re really there taking in the scenery. There’s no real objective you have to rush to get to; the game is all about taking your time and enjoying what’s around you.

You can camp, climb, fish, and even fly at your own pace, meeting other hikers whom you can befriend and help out. Not to mention the game’s soundtrack that fits its relaxing atmosphere to a tee.

19 Shape Of The World

A path of winding steps surrounded by tall trees

Shape of the World is potentially the ultimate ‘walking simulator.’ There’s nothing for you to do but explore and admire the gorgeous ever-changing landscapes unfurling as you walk. There are plants, animals, and objects for you to interact with, which will make the surrounding environment change.

What you see is procedurally generated, so you can never have the exact same experience twice. The music contributes to the ethereal atmosphere, making you lose yourself in the game for a couple of hours if you let it. Shape of the World is, by all accounts, literally made for you to relax.

18 Cozy Grove

A Spirit Scout stands in a plaza surrounded by trees

This game has “cozy” directly in its title, and it definitely delivers on that front. It’s a life simulation game that’s similar to Animal Crossing in terms of the activities you can do, as well as the fact that it uses your real-world time to determine its in-game time. In Cozy Grove, you get your own haunted island to transform, and you’ll interact with a bunch of different ghosts.

They aren’t there to scare you, though. On the contrary; it’s your job to help them. Other than that, there are lots of things to craft, collect, fish, and discover. If you want something like Animal Crossing, you’ll probably love this game, but it also gives enough of its own spin on things to be worth playing regardless.

17 Baba Is You

Baba Is You player character beside word blocks

As far as puzzle games go, few games get as mind-bendingly meta as Baba Is You. The mechanics, on the surface, are relatively simple and easy to pick up. The first few puzzles are really engaging, if easy to solve.

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However, as the game escalates, the puzzles start to get more and more intense. The true endgame puzzles will have you mulling over every move and going through trial and error. Cooler heads will prevail, so it’s best to take the game slowly and solve puzzles at a comfortable pace. Baba is hard, but Baba is Fun, and Fun is Relaxing.

16 Slay The Spire

Slay the Spire two characters facing each other in battle

While this might seem like an odd choice for a game that could be truly called ‘relaxing,’ Slay the Spire is absolutely the perfect game to vibe with. This deckbuilding roguelite moves at the pace you want it to move at, and each run has enough variance that it doesn’t feel like running at a brick wall over and over.

The game is the perfect podcast game. It’s something to pull up and play while listening to an audiobook or watching a TV show. It never gets so frustrating that it ruins the vibe, but it provides enough meat to keep you engaged.

15 Yoshi’s Crafted World

Yoshi Jumping in Yoshi's Crafted World

Yoshi’s Crafted World is the perfect game to put on when you just want to feel good. The developer name, Good-Feel, is absolutely appropriate for the experience. It’s designed to be a relaxing platformer with cute visuals, fun music, and just enough challenge to still be keep your attention.

This is also a great choice for players of any age. Although it’s arguably targeted at younger kids, it still provides joy for older players. Sometimes, all you need is a green dinosaur made of yarn saving his friends. It’s a heartwarming and comfy experience.

14 Spiritfarer

A screensot from the game featuring the protagonist fishing on her boat.

Life-sim and management games are often ideal for a relaxing afternoon, and Spiritfarer is just that. The game was a sleeper hit in 2020, being overpowered in the gaming discourse by a lot of noise. However, as a vibe, Spiritfarer is hard to beat.

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The developers describe Spiritfarer as a “cozy management game about dying,” and that’s pretty apt. You must help lost souls move onto the afterlife while building up their ships and repairing their own life. It’s fun and exciting but also incredibly moving at unexpected times. It’s a great little game and worth playing to help unwind.

13 New Pokemon Snap

New Pokemon Snap - Vaporeon eating a fluffruit

The mainline Pokemon games are generally a fun and low-stress time. The colorful and creative designs of countless creatures will surely please anyone wanting some good vibes. But in New Pokemon Snap, those vibes are cranked up to a relaxing 11. Just like in the original Nintendo 64 game this one is based on, you are a photographer who travels down a predetermined path, snapping photos of the local wildlife.

With every run, you’ll discover new secrets and surprises you missed the first time. With a hefty amount of replayability, tremendously satisfying graphics and sound, and ease of play, it’s one of the most relaxing Pokemon games of all time.

12 Story Of Seasons: Friends Of Mineral Town

planting and harvesting crops together in story of seasons friends of mineral town

This game is a remake of the classic GBA title of the same name. Yes, Harvest Moon is still alive and features new mechanics of the series that have developed since. Stardew Valley may have outright replaced it in the minds of many players, but there’s something that can’t be beat about the classic series.

Friends of Mineral Town is an enjoyable game about managing a farm, exploring dungeons, and befriending townspeople. It doesn’t have some of the bloat of ‘more advanced’ entries, making it perfect to just hop in and play at any time. It’s just a great game to revisit for veterans and sample for newcomers.

11 Gris

A screenshot showing Gris' stylized graphics of female character in woodland setting.

Gris has a unique art style and storyline. The game’s beautiful scenery and relaxed method of playing make it a really calming one to enjoy on the Switch. It follows a girl named Gris as she struggles with a tough time in her life.

Her sad state is reflected in her dreams, where you navigate through a unique platforming-style game. There are no enemies or obstacles that can hurt you, only light puzzles that you never have to rush through. It’s a gorgeous game that can really tug on those heartstrings when it wants to.

10 Pokemon Let’s Go

Pokemon Let's Go protagonist standing in a field surrounded by big and small Pokemon

Pokemon Let’s Go is a pair of two games, one of which features Eevee as your companion Pokemon while the other features Pikachu. The game is a remake of the original Pokemon games Red and Blue, putting a modern spin on the classic titles.

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If you enjoyed the game in the ’90s, or if you’ve never picked up a Pokemon game before, this game is an easy, relaxing game to pick up. It’s extremely beginner-friendly and doesn’t have the usual tough challenges that most other Pokemon games do once in a while.

9 Firewatch

Protagonist of Firewatch holding a walkie talkie in the forest

Firewatch is an adventure game set in the late 1980s in Wyoming. In this game, you control Henry, a firewatch worker in a national park who has no one to talk to except his coworker on the other end of his walkie-talkie.

The game has you explore the vast wilderness in order to try to track down the clues to a strange mystery. This makes it interesting without the urgency that other games with mysteries tend to have. Firewatch has an interesting storyline that draws you in, and the scenery is peaceful and fun to sink into as well.

8 Untitled Goose Game

The goose from Untitled Goose Game honking

Untitled Goose Game is an indie puzzle game in which you control a goose whose only mission in life is to cause mayhem for everyone around it. As one of the most iconic indie titles of 2019, it pretty much needs no introduction.

You’re given a list of objectives you have to complete in each area of the game, and it’s up to you to find a hilarious and creative way to complete every item on the checklist. If your form of relaxing is bugging other people, you’ll definitely have a good time with it. But even if you just want some fun gameplay without high stakes or seriousness, this game is worth checking out.

7 The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild

Link walking up to a Shrine near some ruins

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is one of those titles you can pick up whether you’re a Zelda veteran or know next to nothing about the series. Its open-world nature means you can run around exploring, solving puzzles, and cooking without being forced to do the actual plot.

Although this game can have some intense moments, most of them are avoidable. It’s up to you when you want to progress through the story, if ever. Just wandering around the Hylian landscape and solving the puzzles in the shrines make for a relaxing and immersive experience.

6 Unpacking

piles of cardboard boxes are stacked and open in a bedroom that is slowly being decorated with stuff

There’s something oddly satisfying about tidying up. While, for most folks, that means cleaning, this is the opposite. Unpacking is a game about jumping to various stages of the protagonist’s life and unpacking her belongings in the process. You’ll find items of the eras, from Tamagotchi pets to cassette players, gradually moving forward in time to newer and more modern items.

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The secret beauty of this game is watching the way this character changes over time. Piece together the way her life changes, one packed-away trinket at a time. It’s relaxing, calming, and oddly cathartic. By the end, you’ll find yourself happy to have known someone you’ve never met.

5 Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

captain toad diorama style level with piranha plants

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a fun and simple puzzle-platformer that has Captain Toad searching for treasure across a variety of different maps, all of which are filled with all kinds of hazards and enemies. It’s not just about running around; you’ll have to decide which move is the best course of action for upcoming obstacles.

Although this game is simple to learn, it’s just challenging enough to stay fun and keep you playing without being so difficult that you’d get frustrated and quit. And the best part is that you can play with a friend to see who can survive better!

4 Night In The Woods

Mae running down a hill in town

Night in the Woods is an exploration-based visual novel with a unique art style. This game is focused on exploring the world around you, but the exploration options are somewhat limited, so it’s not so involved and complicated that you will really have to put too much thought into playing.

The game follows Mae, a college dropout who’s recently returned to her hometown. As Mae reconnects with her old friends and surroundings, she learns that more may have changed there than she had thought. As you play, you may even find that you relate to some of the characters in interesting ways.

3 ABZU

A character swimming in an ocean up to the surface in Abzu

Deep water can be terrifying and dangerous, but not in this game. ABZU is an ocean-based exploration game that has no health meter or goals, allowing you to explore the depths of the ocean at your own pace and in your own way. You’ll meet many fascinating fictional ocean creatures along the way.

There are plenty of exploration games, even those underwater, that can eat away at your time. This game has a special visual style and is fun for those who just want to relax and have a comforting experience in a game.

2 VA-11 HALL-A

Protagonist serving and talking to Anna Graem

VA-11 HALL-A is a futuristic graphic novel where you work at a bar called VA-11 HALL-A, often referred to as Vallhalla by its patrons. The bar is frequented by a wide range of different characters who all come and talk to the protagonist, a bartender named Jill.

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You have to mix drinks for the patrons to keep them talking. Each one of them has their own interesting, funny, and sometimes deeply sad lore for you to learn about. There are also different pieces of dialogue for your actions, so make sure to experiment. It’s a fun way to relax and just enjoy the storyline of the game.

1 Stardew Valley

Villagers standing and running around in fields of vegetables and flowers

Stardew Valley is usually considered very similar to Animal Crossing. It’s a simulation game in which you move to a farm you recently inherited from your great-grandfather. It’s then up to you to improve the farm, make some money, and build friendships and relationships with the people that live in nearby Pelican Town.

You’re free to run your farm however you please, and getting to know the characters will unlock new interactions and cutscenes for you to get to know them more. All of them have different traits and flaws, and you can eventually marry one of your choosing!

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