For plenty of people, watching a favorite show or playing a low-key kind of video game is a great way to destress after a long day, and if you’re looking for some games to add to your bedtime rotation, then you’re definitely in the right place.
Unofficially, we here at GL are experts in calming games to play before bed, and it may or may not be because we’ve spent many a night falling asleep while playing calming games. (We also fall asleep to Columbo reruns pretty often but that’s not exactly relevant to this article.)
Ok, so let’s move on to the games. We hope you’ll find at least one that helps you relax.
Easily one of the most original game ideas in the indie space in recent years, Unpacking is a game all about unpacking boxes throughout various moves. There are no visible characters, just the belongings of our characters.
Over a period of in-game years, we see the objects that have come along for each move, and the player has to find places to fit absolutely everything in each home, and certain types of objects can only be placed in certain rooms or spaces. For example, you can’t just put a toothbrush on the coffee table in the living room.
It might sound a bit tedious, and you might start to feel that way if you try to play through the whole game all at once, but it’s actually a lot of fun, and it somehow manages to be uplifting as well.
Flower is a pretty famous game in the relaxing game category. It was developed by That Game Company, a studio well-known for executing innovative and creative design ideas.
Your objective in Flower is just to collect flower petals to add to your flying cloud of flower petals. Maybe you can guess where the game gets its name.
But it quickly becomes a larger, more impactful experience as you start to revive sections of the environment.
We won’t spoil where it goes from there, but the overall peaceful tone and the lack of dialogue make this an especially pleasant game to play before going to bed.
From the same developer as Townscaper (which is another great nominee for this list), Dorfromantik is a very peaceful puzzle game where you build towns and natural spaces using a stack of tiles with various features on each.
You can accomplish various “missions” along the way, which will earn you more tiles. When you run out of tiles, the round ends.
If even that sounds too stressful, the game also includes a creative mode.
An uplifting game about death and coping with loss, Spiritfarer lets you play as Stella, the new spiritfarer who takes souls to the land of the dead, and all the souls in question happen to belong to people that Stella knew in life.
As for gameplay, it’s a management sim with some platforming elements and a bunch of minigames, on top of navigating your ship through choppy waters to all kinds of unique locations.
Chances are you’ve already heard of this game, and at the time of writing, it’s been announced that it will be coming to mobile platforms via Netflix. Go figure.
Here it is once again. Stardew Valley comes up in a lot of our game-related lists, and it definitely qualifies as a calming video game to play before going to bed.
You play as a disaffected corporate employee (well, ex-corporate employee) who now needs to learn how to run a defunct farm.
But it doesn’t stay defunct for long as your strong parsnip sales will quickly give you the resources to expand into growing other crops and maybe even purchase your first livestock.
It’s just a great game, and you don’t even need to take our word for it. Just look at any other review of Stardew on the internet.
Literally Any Animal Crossing Game
The Animal Crossing series is basically tailor-made to calm you down. That’s kind of its whole job. And while we would argue that some of the more recent entries in the series have done a better job of this than previous entries, any Animal Crossing is a good choice for what to play before bed.
There are technically goals set before you in these games, but all of them are optional, except for maybe some initial tutorial-style tasks. These are games about what you want to do, how you want to relax after a long day of real-world nonsense, where none of your neighbors are cutesy animals.
Katamari Damacy Reroll
A stunningly creative set of games, Katamari is a franchise about rolling up objects all around the world to create stars and other heavenly bodies.
If you’re worried about the ethical implications of destroying entire towns against their will to send them out into space, you’re probably looking into the whole thing way too much.
Katamari Damacy Reroll is a modern remaster of the original game in the series, which was originally released for the PlayStation 2.
To be honest, this is definitely not the most exciting or polished game in the franchise overall, but the nature of the remaster also means that it’s now available on a whole bunch of different systems, including (probably) whatever game system you have in mind right now.
If you’re an XBox person with Game Pass, then it is in fact currently available through Game Pass, so you can play it without paying anything extra. Also, this might change in the future, so keep an eye out on that Game Pass list just in case.
Part Time UFO
This is a tiny little game from HAL, a legendary game development studio that was the original home of the Kirby and Smash Bros. games. Good old Satoru Iwata even helped found the company back in the day and got them in touch with Nintendo, who would turn out to be a pretty big deal in the video game industry. Maybe you’ve heard of them.
Anyway, Part Time UFO is a kind of arcade-style game where you play as a little UFo that’s just trying to pay the bills by taking on all these random odd jobs, most of which will require you to stack various things on a platform without letting them fall over.
There are more specific requests in the mix as well, but if you like the core gameplay, then you’ll be motivated to work through every one of them.