Video games can be anything. They can be tough, hard-hitting action adventures. They can be head-scratching puzzlers. They can also be warm and cosy, relaxing to the point where you can play them and feel your troubles melting away. If you’re looking for a cosy game that’ll give you good vibes without the need to exert brain power, or just something that’ll keep you occupied with low-stress gameplay for a few hours, there’s plenty of great options on Nintendo Switch.
Here are a few games to get you into a calm and cosy groove.
Cozy Grove is an idle game where players are tasked with restoring a grassy world filled with wild spirits looking for rest. Each has a number of requests for players, which can usually be fulfilled by picking flowers, crafting goods, placing lanterns or exploring beaches. Once these requests are complete, more of the game’s campsite opens up, letting players explore further, and spread colour across the entirety of their island.
This is an unsurprisingly cosy game perfect for dropping in and out of, when you feel like it. The way it’s structured means there are several tasks you can complete each day, with some requiring you to wait for items to respawn or new spirits to appear in real time. The pacing may frustrate players looking to fully complete the game in a rush, but the forced patience gives you time to relax in the game’s world, and to get to know each character. It’s a very relaxing game, and great for practicing daily mindfulness.
Each Picross S game allows you to dive in with a number of traditional picross puzzles, which allow you to discover an image based on number, column and row clues. The Picross S Genesis & Master System Edition is the version of the game we recommend because it allows you to puzzle through multiple Sega-themed challenges while enjoying the music of the era. Sonic features heavily here, as does Alex Kidd and Phantasy Star. You never know what image you’re uncovering as you work through clues, but it’s always a delight when you finally solve that head-scratching puzzle.
Some players will want a less intensive game to really turn off their brain, but if you’re somebody who loves puzzles, this game is a great way to keep your mind off the world.
If you’re looking for more picross madness, but you prefer something with more story, you can also check out picross detective game Murder by Numbers, which features an actress learning to be a detective with the help of a robot assistant.
We’ve talked about Unpacking a lot at GamesHub, largely because it’s a stellar narrative journey told through original, immaculate gameplay and gorgeous pixel art – but beyond this narrative, Unpacking is also a delightful, mindful experience. If you’re looking for a relaxing, cosy game for Nintendo Switch, you can’t go wrong with this point-and-clicker where you neatly arrange your character’s belongings. Each movement here is very relaxing, and while the game occasionally throws a puzzle into the mix with items that can be placed in ‘incorrect’ locations, the overall feeling here is one of deep satisfaction.
As you work through each stage in the game, you can let your mind wander and wonder. You can place books and DVDs on shelves, and wonder what kind of person you’re unpacking items for. You can let your gaze wander over each pixel, and take in the cool, calming vibes of each living space. It’s a great game to relax with, whether you’re paying attention to the story or just enjoying the clicks and crackles of gameplay.
A Short Hike
A Short Hike could have been every entry on this list – you really can’t do much better than this wholesome, cosy game. The premise here is extremely simple, to the point of minimalism: you play as a young bird who must find their way up a mountain. Along the way, you’ll meet and help a number of animal creatures, discover unique feathers that allow you to fly further, and explore a rocky mountain brought to life by simple pixel art and plenty of love.
The colour palette is made of cool blues, greens and pinks, and each character is designed to be as cute as possible, making each turn along the mountain a genuine joy to discover. While originally only available on PC, A Short Hike was ported to Nintendo Switch in 2020 and immediately became a must-play for the console. The whole experience clocks in at about 2 hours, and they’ll be the most refreshing, relaxing two hours of your life.
Glass Masquerade and its sequel, Illusions, are fantastic digital jigsaw games which task players with completing multiple artworks by placing glass pieces in a round window, to form beautiful, intricate mosaics. Each game spans multiple countries, and features puzzles inspired by cultural celebrations, themes, locations and imagery. You can even visit Australia and build out an aquarium jigsaw.
Piece by piece, players will recreate these unique stained glass installations, working from the outside edge until every detail finds its place. Some puzzles are extremely hard – to the point where you’ll be working with over 70 pieces of glass to create your mosaic – so the game can be stressful, but the end result is worth it. You may be required to expend some brainpower, but you’ve got all the time in the world to relax with each puzzle and figure out where everything goes.
Verlet Swing is a game inspired by the ‘neon retro’ aesthetic of vaporwave, an abstract form of art that takes items and places them in strange contexts, and the web-swinging of Spider-Man. There’s no story to guide you here, just countless puzzles where the only goal is to swing your way to victory. You start off in a vague pink abyss, and must use the items around you to swing and twist your way forward, avoiding obstacles and ensuring your path to victory is clear.
This entry does come with a caveat: eventually, the game shifts from being cosy and relaxing to being quite stressful. But those early chapters – a decent chunk of the game – are pure, relaxing joy. You don’t really need to do anything here. You just swing on a vine, and let yourself go sailing through increasingly abstract worlds filled with floating pizza, meatballs, and statues that stare at you as you fly past. Verlet Swing is one of the weirder games in the Nintendo Switch library, but it’s also one of the best.
Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles
Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles is a relaxing farming-adventure simulator from Brisbane’s Prideful Sloth, and it has the distinct honour of being one of the few cosy games in the genre to really feel relaxing. Stardew Valley, which features similar gameplay, tends to be stressful and addictive because it operates on a timer and players have limited actions they can take each day. Similarly, Harvest Moon/Story of Seasons suffers from having too many mechanics.
In Yonder, you don’t really need to spend time mastering half a dozen techniques. All you need to do is pack your bags and head out on an adventure to meet people, make friends with animals and explore a wild and free pastel world. Sure, there’s plenty you can do if you want, but there’s never much pressure to go in one particular direction or complete one particular quest. The world is your oyster in Yonder, and it means you can do whatever you like, at your own pace.
Pokemon: Let’s Go Pikachu / Eevee
Pokemon: Let’s Go Eevee and Pikachu distilled the Pokemon formula down to its purest form: a wholesome adventure where you could catch Pokemon, make friends and tackle quests. While battling still features in this entry, it’s much easier than past games, making adventuring a total breeze. Actually catching Pokemon is much easier too, because the game adopts the catching mechanics of mobile title Pokemon Go – meaning it’s a simple matter to complete your Pokedex.
The lack of difficulty here rankled some fans when the game launched, but what it actually does it make Eevee/Pikachu two of the best and most relaxing Pokemon games around. There is a vague story to follow, but for the most part you’ll just be running around a wide world, encountering creatures and vibing. Newer titles that feature random encounters can be frustrating, but the world of Let’s Go is perfect, and great for settling down with. Plus, you can pet the Pokemon you catch – and that’s just downright adorable.
The perfect relaxing, cosy game helps set your mind at ease. It doesn’t have to be complex, and it shouldn’t make you think too hard about gameplay. If you’re looking for something to just sit down and vibe with, these games are a great start. They can be palate cleansers between bigger adventures, or a great balm for an increasingly busy, frantic world.