It’s the final exam period for most students attending college, and while it’s a necessary evil, it can also be an incredibly stressful couple of weeks. While studying and writing papers should be the priority, it’s also a good idea to schedule some time to de-stress so you’re not always half an inch and an eight minute nap from your breaking point. So with that in mind, here are some games that I personally love playing to relieve stress from final projects.
Platforms: PC / Mac / XB1 / PS4 / Switch
Stardew Valley is literally a game about escaping the stress of a corporate job and moving to Stardew Valley in order to take over the farm your late grandfather left to you. As the character you’ve created, the only true goal in this game is to live out a life you enjoy. While the game has many different categories you can level up in, none of them are necessary to continue playing. For instance, I prefer foraging to fishing as I personally hate most fishing mechanics, but the game never punishes me for not wanting to do that. The levels do eventually reward you for the things you decide to put time into, which is a good mechanic that reminds us all that you don’t have to be perfect in every area.
Super Mario Odyssey
Super Mario Odyssey is the latest installment of the Mario franchise and one I highly recommend if you need to take some time to yourself. Each kingdom in the game is chock full of power moons and purple coins that you’re able to find as you explore the various areas in the kingdom. Additionally, one nice thing is that most of the boss fights are fairly easy to get through so there’s no added pressure of feeling like you need to be good at games to get through Odyssey. In fact, in my first playthrough I completed 90% of the game without realizing that I hadn’t even been using a lot of moves/controls available, which has been fun to utilize through my second playthrough. Super Mario Odyssey is a great one to pick up and relax with as you explore the game and find its secrets.
Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer
A spin off game from the traditional Animal Crossing series, Happy Home Designer features the playable character as a new employee at Nook’s Homes and is tasked with designing new houses and rooms for various characters from the beloved series. It’s a mellow game with a relaxed atmosphere as you design themed rooms with few specifications from the client. There are no time limits, so take as long as you’d like to scroll through all the furniture options to find the perfect accents for your designs. It’s definitely a game that’s easy to unwind with for a half hour when you need to decompress for a little bit.
Platforms: PC / Mac / 360 / XB1 / PS3 / PS4 / 3DS / Switch / iOS / Android
Minecraft is a survival game that can be hard to get used to at first, but once you have a set goal you’re working towards, it can be a chill game that is helpful for decreasing tension. There’s no real goal in Minecraft, you can pretty much do whatever you want, and if you don’t want to deal with the survival aspects of the game then you can always create a world in Creative Mode where you have access to every item in the world and can build whatever you’d like. It sounds a little lackluster in terms of excitement, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken a break from papers to continue clearing out space for my underground farm with a glass of cheap wine.
Octodad: Dadliest Catch
Developer: Young Horses
Platforms: PC / Mac / XB1 / PS4 / Switch / iOS / Android
Octodad: Dadliest Catch is an interesting game about an octopus pretending to be a human and trying to do normal tasks without alerting his wife and kids to the fact that he is not actually a human (How did he have children? Who knows). The controls will take a minute to get used to as you’re controlling someone without bones, so Octodad is a bit wiggly, but it’s a funny story to go through and just enjoyable all around. There’s also a co-op mode where you and a friend are each assigned different body parts to control and must work together to complete the game!
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