Study break must-haves: video games & mindset for escapism

It’s crunch time as we enter finals season. Get that last bit of studying in and organize your calendar for your exams!

Need something stress free and relaxing to play during your study breaks? We’ve got some soothing video games to recommend!

1. Animal Crossing: New Horizons (2020)

Platform: Nintendo Switch

You’re probably familiar with the older iterations of Animal Crossing. The game continues to be a fun life simulator where your villager moves to an island with animal villagers and works to upgrade your house, island and museum.

There’s endless possibilities. Create rivers and waterfalls by terraforming your island and get inspired to make outdoor environments with various themed items.

Use Dodo tickets to find your favourite villagers and invite them to move to your island (Bob is the best villager, hands down.) Plus, enjoy the soothing music as you fish and find D.I.Y.s to customize your house.

2. Stardew Valley (2016)

Platform: Desktop, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch and mobile

You’ve inherited your grandfather’s plot of land in Stardew Valley! As an open-ended country life RPG, you can play at your own pace and discover everything to know about Stardew Valley’s inhabitants.

Like, what’s up with that tower in the forest? Things may not be as simple as they seem—where did these blue chickens come from? You’re ready to begin your new life harvesting crops, raising animals and exploring Stardew Valley.

The game’s music, characters and freedom to play how you want really sells the soothing nature!

3. Townscraper (2020)

Platform: Desktop, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch and mobile

Townscraper is a super relaxing game that requires low effort. Save your energy for your exams! It’s easy to navigate and best played on desktop or mobile. Get creative and build your own city on the water.

Little city details like railings, windows and plants will appear on their own as you build. You can also select the colour scheme. Check out the demo for a chill building experience.

4. Katamari Damacy REROLL (2018)

Platform: Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Amazon Luna and Google Stadia

Katamari Damacy REROLL is a remastered version of the original game. In this puzzle-action game you play as a prince who needs to remake the stars and constellations after your dad, King of the Cosmos, accidentally destroys them.

How is this accomplished? By rolling a sticky ball called a katamari that picks up everything smaller than it.

You’ll navigate strategically picking up smaller objects until the katamari grows big enough to roll up buildings and mountains. You want to roll up everything with the katamari: paperclips, spoons and cats.

The stars aren’t going to remake themselves! Plus there are side missions like collecting specific items with the katamari.

5. Untitled Goose Game (2019)

Platform: Desktop, Xbox One, PS4 and Nintendo Switch

Is this the most soothing game? Well, it’s certainly relaxing…for the player. The premise of this video game is being a horrible goose in a lovely village. You’re fixated on doing horrible goose things like setting up pranks, stealing sandwiches and honking at the villagers.

Yes, really. Harmless goose mischief in the form of a puzzle stealth game.

Not to mention using your goose brain to come up with creative solutions. You’ll sneak around and set up plans, but also…you’re a goose. There are very little consequences when you get caught!

6. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (2017)

Platform: Nintendo Switch and Wii U

Link awakens and travels across Hyrule to regain his memories and defeat Ganon. This game is part of the Legend of Zelda timeline.

Breath of the Wild has a lot to explore in the beautiful landscape of Hyrule. This action-adventure game has a variety of things to do from collecting items and new gear to cooking, crafting, exploration and side quests. It really allows players to discover solutions for themselves through trial and error. Breath of the Wild feels like an open world, the music is calming and the storyline can progress in a nonlinear fashion.

Want to cook a meal or craft an elixir? You’ll need to gather the ingredients. There’s everything from radishes and truffles to…hightail lizards and bokoblin horns?

The ultimate feature of this game? You can befriend and feed the dogs. Additionally, you can tame horses, deer and bears to ride on your adventure.

7. Hidden Folks (2017)

Platform: Mobile

Hidden Folks is like a where’s Waldo game as you search the aesthetic black and white environment. The artwork is fantastic and every environment is interactive.

Roll up the blinds, open the door and check in the grass for who you’re looking for.

8. Kami 2 (2017)

Platform: Mobile

This paper folding puzzle game is about selecting the right colour to turn the screen into one colour. You want to do this in as few moves as possible.

Additionally, the visual of paper folding to reveal each colour is pretty calming and mesmerizing.

Found your new go-to game? While we might love action-packed video games, something calming and not too serious is perfect when you’re busy. If you’re looking for something quick, try out a mobile game. After all, we all need something that brings us joy during finals season.

Did you know that Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Stardew Valley also have multi-player options? Want to play with a friend or discuss video games? Check out Humber College Esports (HCE)’s discord server and meet their community!

In a gaming mood? Here are free games you can play virtually with friends.

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