Omno seems like the perfect game to kick off this list with – one of its greatest strengths is its peaceful atmosphere and the sense of unhurried, natural exploration that unfolds in front of you as you move through it. It’s a little hard to describe what it is, because Omno doesn’t go into a story as such; there was a lost civilization that came before, and the remains of it litter the lush surroundings you pass through, but your journey is more about the experience of the journey itself, rather than a particular quest or mission . It’s a gorgeous game where exploration is perfectly complemented by a soaring soundtrack as you glide through deserts, snowfields, and forests. Aside from the occasional time-sensitive puzzles, you’re under absolutely no pressure as you solve puzzles and overcome obstacles – there’s no combat either, just a variety of weird and mysterious creatures to watch. while you are traveling. If a peaceful sigh was a game, this would be this one – and we’ve got an Omno solution to help you out as well.
Lake is another great pick for this list – it’s one of the more laid-back games to launch in 2021, and revolves entirely around two weeks in the ’80s in the life of Meredith Weiss. Meredith took a hiatus from her career at a software company to replace her father as a letter carrier in her hometown of Providence Oaks. There’s the big decision to be made at the end of those two weeks – whether she’s going to stay or go – but there’s absolutely no pressure in the gameplay itself. Meredith just needs to deliver the mail, reconnect with the people of Providence Oaks, and explore her hometown the way she does. Your days will be filled with quiet chores, helping townspeople, driving around Providence Oaks, and deciding what to do with your evenings. It’s a charming, laid-back game with a sweet sense of ’80s nostalgia – but other than that clue, Lake feels pretty timeless; if you are looking for something simple and enjoyable, with a beautiful city to explore, Lake is your game.
Valley of stars
How could we have this list and not have Stardew Valley on it? Stardew Valley is somewhat contradictory in that it’s one of the most relaxing games you can play – as long as you come up with a plan, or are happy to take the day as it comes. If, like me, you panicked the first time you played around how to make the most of each day and walked through the first spring like a headless chicken, you probably won’t find it so relaxing at first. . Once you find your feet, however, you are off; enjoy the valley while pursuing any of the Stardew Valley activities that appeal to you. It’s easy to get lost in Stardew Valley and waste many more hours there than you might initially expect. In other words, Stardew Valley is a real gaming treasure and is the perfect way to relax, whether you are playing for the first time or for the tenth.
Townscaper seems tailor-made for a list like this. It’s described as a cross between a toy and a game, and developer Oskar Stålberg says there is “no real gameplay” as such – it’s just a nice chill out experience in which you build cities. Buildings change and morph depending on where you place the blocks, so gardens, statues, benches, and more appear or disappear as you add more to your city. You might end up with a church or a city that floats on propellers; it is exactly what you want it to be. Colors and sound effects are subdued and play into that lovely relaxed feeling, as flocks of birds take flight as you move the buildings. It would be easy to invest more time in it than you initially thought. it is also an early completion.
Like Townscaper, Unpacking is another recent addition to Xbox Game Pass that seems perfect for chilling out. It does exactly what is written on the box and asks you to unpack your belongings for neat storage in a new home. There’s an accessibility option that lets you place your belongings anywhere you want (which also makes it easier to list Unbox’s achievements), but there’s a sweet narrative to the game that could be missed that way, so as you gradually learn more about the life of the person you’re unpacking for. This is a great option, whether you have just ten minutes or an hour or so, and can be easily picked up and dropped off.
In a complete change of tone we have The Artful Escape – a game that’s less of a game than a psychedelic musical adventure across the cosmos. We play the role of Francis Vendetti, a musician who struggles with his idea of his own stage character after languishing in the shadow of a famous relative. Naturally, this journey takes him through “the impossible depths of the cosmic extraordinary”. There is no fight; it’s all about the music and the cast of wacky characters he meets along the way. It’s an explosion of noise and color, and it’s just stupidly fun to play, and you’ll most likely find that you’ve disappeared on this cosmic adventure without really wanting to – if you’re in the mood for a bit more. For more on that, see The Review of Luke’s Artistic Escape.
Spiritfarer describes itself as a “comfortable game of death management”. Despite what seems like a slightly depressing subject, Spiritfarer is a cheerful and uplifting game filled with the same kind of comfort and productivity you would find in Stardew Valley, with its own charming story and beautiful art style. It is full of things to do, like farming, fishing, mining, cooking, crafts, and more. or watch the sun rise. Eventually, however, you’ll have to learn how to say goodbye to your passengers, and while Spiritfarer aims for a bittersweet note, be prepared – it can be a bit devastating.
On a less vital note, we have Slime Rancher – the brightly colored, ridiculously pleasant simulation that loads you into arguing with slimes. It’s a bit like herding cats, in that they do exactly what they want whether you like it or not – but you’re armed with the vacpack, with which you can shoot slimes towards you and send them off. to navigate in the distance, or to use is to bombard their enclosures with food when they are hungry; or as a defense against Tarr’s sludge. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to hone your skills before Slime Rancher 2 bounces around the corner in 2022.
These are just a few of the many gems of Xbox Game Pass – we’ll update this article from time to time with some of the more recent additions to Xbox Game Pass, but in the meantime; will you try any of them? Let us know in the comments!