20 Best Relaxing Switch Games For The Ultimate Unwind Time

20 Best Relaxing Switch Games For The Ultimate Unwind Time

Nintendo Switch gives gamers access to what seems like an endless amount of games. Obviously, the classic Nintendo franchise games like Mario and Pokémon are offered, but there is a surprising amount of relaxing, indie-style, games available.

When gamers want to unwind, puzzles or simple task-motivated games are a good go-to on the platform. The best relaxing Switch games often feature beautiful art and graphics, intriguing concepts and exploration, and usually even music that soothes the soul.

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Updated on November 18th, 2021 by Hannah Saab: There’s no shortage of new relaxing Switch games that have become fan favorites over the past year. As more and more players discover the joy of playing cozy Switch games, developers continue to produce and improve titles for the console. With a surge of fans experiencing the Switch for the first time with its recently released OLED version, it’s the best time to introduce more popular chill Switch games that anyone would enjoy.

Updated on October 29th, 2022 by Jom Elauria: There have been a lot of memorable Nintendo Switch releases this year, including the quaint management game Bear and Breakfast and the much-awaited Bayonetta 3. From exciting hack-and-slash titles to expansive platformers, the Nintendo Switch library is rife with variety. There are also a lot of relaxing games available to play on the handheld device, which means that gamers can kick their shoes off and lose themselves in tranquil worlds wherever they are.

Bear and Breakfast (2022)

A screenshot from the upcoming game Bear and Breakfast

The recently released Bear and Breakfast has captured the hearts of Nintendo Switch gamers everywhere. Gamers assume control of a bear named Hank who needs to flip a bed and breakfast, turning it into an accommodating establishment fit for humans.

The game features a slow-paced management gameplay where players unlock more places that they can turn into a cozy hotel. The game also features a charming map where Hank can collect various resources and craft items that will elevate the status of his properties.

Carto (2020)

Carto and islanders around a campfire in the video game, Carto

Developed by Sunhead Games, Carto is a relaxing game where players can find quaint puzzles and a chill narrative. In the game, a girl named Carto must use what she learned from her cartographer grandmother in order to find her way out of a deserted island.

Its puzzles are relatively easy, and the simple gameplay is also paired with beautiful graphics and soothing music, which makes it the perfect game to play after a stressful day. The narrative is also top-notch, as, despite being a silent character, Carto’s lovable and empathic personality makes her a standout female protagonist in indie games.

A Short Hike (2019)image from the video game A Short Hike featuring a house on a hillside with a river below

There’s a good reason why many gamers think that A Short Hike is one of the most comforting titles in video game history. The game’s open-world gameplay allows for the exploration of a cute and adorable world. In the game, players control an anthropomorphic bird and reach the summit of a mountain.

The game does not pressure the players to quickly wrap up the story. Along the way to the top, players can explore the world and do various relaxing activities, such as fishing, hunting for treasure, visiting far-flung islands, and commandeering a boat. A Short Hike has a moving narrative that will make gamers feel warm inside to boot.

Firewatch (2016)

Firewatch in game screenshot.

Some of the most relaxing games available on the Nintendo Switch feature visuals that capture the tranquil essence of nature. Firewatch, a game developed by Campo Santo, sees the players assume the role of a fire lookout who needs to uncover a mystery alongside his supervisor Delilah, who he talks to via a walkie-talkie.

Firewatch is a nature-inspired video game that gives players an escape from the stresses of their everyday life. The stunning environment is based on a painting by the game’s director, and apart from the game’s beautiful graphics, it also has an engrossing narrative that gamers won’t be able to resist.

Untitled Goose Game (2019)

A picnic in Untitled Goose Game

Players will have a lot of fun taking control of the main character in Untitled Goose Game. The stealth adventure game has players control a domestic goose who wreaks havoc in a peaceful town. Gamers are tasked with doing various scheming activities, such as stealing from humans or disrupting their peace.

Sometimes what gamers need to relax and unwind is to be an accomplice to chaos. If that’s the kind of escape that they’re keen on having, Untitled Goose Game has plenty of activities for them to do (although they do need to watch out for the NPCs that they’re torturing as these are not afraid to retaliate).

Spiritfarer (2020)

A screenshot of Spiritfarer on the Nintendo Switch

Spiritfarer is a management simulation from Thunder Lotus Games. It shares similarities with the best farm games like Stardew Valley, but also differs in its slightly darker central theme. The gamer plays a character named Stella whose job is to bring spirits to the Everdoor so they may move into the afterlife. Farming, mining, cooking, and collecting help the player and spirits build a relationship while they’re on the ferryboat.

The art of the cozy Switch game is dreamy and creative. The player adds new levels and features to their ferryboat and can even engage in two-player cooperative play as Stella’s cat, Daffodil.

Gris (2018)

A woman holding her hand out in Gris on the Nintendo Switch.

Gris’s game concept covers a more serious topic of mental illness but does it in an incredibly beautiful way. As the player moves throughout the game, they will encounter different puzzles and gain new abilities as they solve them. There is an entity following along on the journey, but it only pops up occasionally to challenge the player.

The art and music will be the first thing gamers notice about Gris. The visuals feel like they are floating through a celestial temple, and, as the player brings color back to the realms through enchanting exploration, this game will not only excite the senses in a meditative way, but will also provide self-reflection in a calming manner.

Unravel (2016)

Yarny uses thread to walk from one branch to another in Unravel on the Nintendo Switch.

Primarily a puzzle game, Unravel focuses on Yarny, a tiny thread character that unravels as players travel farther in the game. Yarny’s thread is the tool players use on the adventure through breathtaking landscapes and potentially dangerous puzzles. It’s slightly morbid but in a strangely adorable way, as players essentially use Yarny’s body to navigate the harsh environments.

The story of the first installation of Unravel is to reconnect the memories of a lost family. A fairly unorthodox game to be published by EA, Unravel was followed up by a sequel, appropriately titled Unravel 2, in 2019.

Starman (2018)

The player character standing in the middle of an abandoned playground in Starman on the Nintendo Switch.

As Starman, gamers will solve puzzles in different rooms along with soft, soothing music. It’s a point-and-click game in what looks like a mansion floating through space among the other puzzle rooms. It’s one of the best cozy games on the Switch that is perfect to play on a cloudy day.

There are more than 30 puzzles in 24 levels, but it’ll only take most gamers around three or four hours to power through this one – it’s one of those short video games that anyone can finish in a weekend. With a short story mode, Starman will easily grab gamers’ attention and later open a “flow” mode to play the puzzles anytime.

The Last Campfire (2020)

Ember holding a worm-like creature in the forest in The Last Campfire on the Nintendo Switch.

As a lost ember, the gamer will encounter other lost creatures in yet another puzzle game meant to unwind the mind. The goal is to journey to light ‘The Last Campfire.’ Every step players take in the relaxing Nintendo Switch game brings them into new, beautiful environments teeming with life.

While gamers will face adversaries and there is a dark forest, it is still one of the more aesthetically pleasing and calming games from 2020. The title is narrated by Steven Burgess – he fills in the backstory and reacts to Ember’s actions since the protagonist doesn’t seem to speak at all.

Koloro (2018)

A girl stands next to a floating companion under a box with a glowing pink orb in Koloro on the Nintendo Switch.

Skoll Studio is the independent video game group behind Koloro. Koloro is more like Gris in regard to aesthetics and the Mario franchise in regard to the action-platforming gameplay. It’s a perfect match, as players will find that this relaxing Switch game is the ideal combination of a fun but chill challenge.

Kora, a young, pink-haired girl, is looking for her sister through a puzzling, dream-like landscape. There are over 300 levels, and it focuses on friendship and love. It even has co-op mode and hidden bonuses.

AER Memories Of Old (2017)

Two images showing a character sitting on the edge of a landmass floating in the sky and a bird soaring above buildings in AER Memories of Old on the Nintendo Switch.

AER’s art style is somewhat cubic, minimalist, and more abstract than the other games. The player is one of the last shapeshifters in the world and can transform into a bird and explore the floating islands in the sky.

On this journey, the goal is to find hidden secrets and solve mysteries in temples to save a reality that is crumbling because the old gods have been forgotten. While there is a clear goal for players, the game has been described by both developers and fans as being more about the journey to get there.

My Brother Rabbit (2018)

An image of a rabbit comforting an upset character in My Brother Rabbit.

My Brother Rabbit is basically Alice in Wonderland’s alternate reality where the player is already in a surreal imaginative world that is meant to help them problem-solve their troubles in the real world. The protagonist’s goal as an older brother to an ill sister is to use the power of imagination to understand and escape the harsh reality.

There are five different lands to explore, filled with chameleon TVs, eyeball snails, robot-moose, and unique landscapes. The game has a relaxing soundtrack, with music that is slow-moving and rhythmic rather than overwhelming and intense.

Shape Of The World (2018)

A screenshot of a river inside a red cave in Shape of the World on the Nintendo Switch.

Visually, Shape of the World is similar to Gris and AER, but, in this game, the world and environment grow and change as the player moves through it. There are no hidden boss fights or adversaries, no timer, just psychedelic wildlife and hours of escape. It’s a unique and relaxing Switch game that will surprise players with each new fascinating location.

A walking simulator of sorts, the player interacts with the flora and fauna, new paths may open, and the world itself only materializes as it is moved through. As the visuals shift, so does the audio, amplifying the immersive elements.

Cozy Grove (2021)

A screenshot of a character in the middle of a town as they select a fishing rod in Cozy Grove.

Cozy Grove is a life sim game that brings in elements from other camping or farming simulation games like Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing. Players in the game are camping on a haunted island and are known as “Spirit Scouts.” They’ll be able to wander around the forest each day, look for secrets, and soothe the local ghosts.

The landscapes are hand-drawn, and, as players find the spirits in need, they will collect spirit animals, craft decorations, farm, and fish. Cozy Grove has a 40+ hour campaign that will keep gamers busy any time they need to unwind.

Night In The Woods (2017)

Mae stands in a graveyard and looks at a radio tower in the Switch game Night in the Woods.

Night in the Woods follows the story of Mae Borowski as she travels back to her hometown after dropping out of college, only to discover that something in the forest is causing strange changes around her.

Players mostly walk around and talk to her old friends, confront her parents, and even play mini-games on her old laptop in an effort to uncover more about her surroundings. It’s a game that has been lauded for its poignant narrative as well as its relaxing music and aesthetic. But players who don’t want to deal with an emotional story should steer clear of this one.

Abzu (2016)

Swimming through coral in Abzu.

At first glance, Abzu may seem like just another underwater simulator with the same old mechanics. However, fans of the game would say that it’s a unique title that offers players the chance to explore the ocean in a meditative way.

Players can actually meditate in certain spots in the game and zoom in on the creatures around them. It also has an overarching story that involves ancient ruins and a mysterious power, although most of the focus of the game is obviously in its gorgeous visuals and smooth controls.

Stardew Valley (2016)

The player character on a horse next to a barn in Stardew Valley.

Stardew Valley is already considered a classic at this point, as it’s one of the most popular simulation games in the market today. Years after its release, it still has a dedicated following, which is a testament to how successful the title is in the gaming community.

A lot of the farming sim games draw inspiration from Stardew Valley, which is much more than a title that allows players to grow crops. Fans can play mini-games, craft goods, raise livestock, and even get married and have children. It’s not surprising that fans can spend countless hours playing this chill Switch game.

New Pokémon Snap (2021)

Gyrados rising from a lake in New Pokemon Snap.

Fans were curious to see what a photography game would bring to the table when New Pokémon Snap, the sequel to the 1999 title Pokémon Snap, was released. Most were pleasantly surprised by what the relaxing Switch game had to offer and no one could have expected a photography title to be so much fun.

Players travel around the Lental region to photograph various Pokémon in their natural habitat. Each picture is added to the Photodex, which is crucial for the scientists trying to better understand how the creatures act and look in the wild. It’s fascinating how there are different Pokémon around depending not only on the location, but also on the time of day players choose to snap their photos.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons (2020)

The player character standing in the middle of a farm full of crops in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons took the gaming world by storm when it was released by in 2020. The simulation game continues to be extremely popular today, with an ever-growing fanbase that is always looking out for new characters and updates.

Those familiar with the game may know that it’s a chill Switch game that’s played in a nonlinear way. Players can decorate their islands the way they want to, visit their friends, harvest fruits, meet new anthropomorphic characters, and more. Paired with the cheerful and relaxing soundtrack, New Horizons is a great game players can try when they just want to sit back and relax on their own private island.

NEXT: 10 Best Nintendo Switch Games To Play As A Family

Author: Jack Cook