We’re all under stress these days, and sometimes our games don’t help. Games can be frustrating—and that frustration is often part of the reason games are fun. But sometimes you’re in need of a calming influence. Here are six stress-relief games I’ve found to be both calming and enjoyable.

Breath of Light

Breath of Light is billed as a “relaxing puzzler.” You use a couple of different tools to direct the flow of light across crystals until they bloom into beautiful flowers. All the while, relaxing music is playing. You can sit and fiddle around with the flow of the light for quite a while as you breathe and relax. I really enjoy the little islands of tranquility in my day when I play this game.


flowy pictureFlowy encourages you to take deep breaths.

Flowy has a pretty ambitious premise: it aims to help you slow down your breathing and “prevent panic attacks.” According to the developer’s website, a randomized controlled study showed that people would benefit from playing the game and that they would stick with the game. “Flowy is based on breathing retraining, a controlled respiration technique demonstrated to be effective for managing the unwanted side effects of anxiety and panic, including shortness of breath, dizziness, light-headedness, and heart palpitations.” It’s a simple idea, but it works. If you tend to forget to take those helpful deep breaths—or you fail to take the time—it might work for you too.

Kaleidoscope Drawing Pad

It’s so easy to make elaborate drawings with Kaleidoscope Drawing Pad.

stress relief games

If you find drawing and doodling relaxing (and I think a lot of people do), you might try a kaleidoscope drawing game like Kaleidoscope Drawing Pad. It actually feels kind of magical and satisfying, even though it’s very simple and easy to use. You pick colors and styles, and then you just touch the screen to make your very own kaleidoscopic drawing.  You can make lines, curves, circles, or dots that reproduce themselves symmetrically on the drawings. And you can make as many layers as you want. When you’re done, you can play a little movie of the making of the drawing and share themon Facebook or over email.

Monument Valley

We’ve written a lot about this award-winning puzzle game. The puzzles can be kind of hard. But the music and atmosphere is so lovely and calming that if you can get over your desire to solve the puzzles quickly you can really relax and enjoy this beautiful game.

Plant Nanny

plant nanny

Plant Nanny is not strictly a stress-relieving game. But did you know that drinking more water is proven to relieve stress? Plant Nanny is really good at encouraging you you to drink water.  It calculates how much water you need according to your weight, and then it sends you reminders. And here’s some proof that it works: since our staff started using Plant Nanny, our coffee consumption has gone way down. It’s a very cute game, too.

Zen Koi – A Tranquil Aquatic Journey

Zen Koi is a game that lets you breed virtual koi. You’re looking down on the colorful fish as they swim. The stunning visuals are accompanied by pretty Japanese-influenced tunes. Tranquil indeed.

This article was written by

Linda learned to play video games as a way to connect with her teenaged kids, and then she learned to love video games for their own sake. At Pixelkin she wrangles the business & management side of things, writes posts as often as she can, reaches out on the social media, and does the occasional panel or talk. She lives in Seattle, where she writes, studies, plays video games, spends time with her family, consumes vast quantities of science fiction, and looks after her small cockapoo. She loves to hear from people out there. You can read more about her at her website, Linda Breneman.com or her family foundation's website, ludusproject.org.