We'll be the first to admit that, in spite of the wide array of genres there are out there, we do tend to associate video games with action-heavy storylines and high-octane bullet storms. It's in our nature, and it doesn't help that the bulk of triple-A releases are made up of such things, either. But, for every thousandth action game there is usually a single counteroffer, one that doesn't go by the books. A peaceful, more collected type of game that only wishes to let you unwind between hours.
Perhaps you're looking for a way to mellow out between major releases, or just wanting to dabble in calmer waters before diving back into the rougher tides. Whatever your case, you can always find a safe haven somewhere in the world of gaming. It's just that, well, they're a little harder to come by, especially when you don't know where to begin your search.
Think of Lake as a children's version of Death Stranding. Well, maybe just a little bit. It's more or less a tale that follows a postie, only without the hustle and bustle of a monster-infested wasteland. That's Lake, in a nutshell, and it is perhaps the sweetest, most soothing journey you'll ever embark on. And the best part is—there is no pressure to get anything done. It's just you, your box truck, and a wide-open world to explore and make your own.
Lake takes you to Providence Oaks, a remote lakeside town that thrives on communal effort. As a returning citizen, you're tasked with delivering the mail for two weeks before going back to the big city to live out your physically and emotionally demanding career. In those two weeks, you can make lifelong friendships, uncover the town's mysteries, and come to love the ins and outs of the tranquil home away from home.
Flower isn't a game that will keep you for weeks on end without purpose. It will, however, invite you on a relatively short journey that will open your eyes to the beauty that surrounds your own home. And what's more, it will teach you the joys of nature, and how flowers in bloom can be the source of light in darkened times.
In Flower, you control the power of wind. Using just a single element, you'll be able to sway a single petal into becoming the leading force behind a flume of vibrant colors and creations. For every petal you gather and field you revitalize, another portion of the land will spring to life and rid the charcoal tones that hold it captive. With that, you can think of yourself as nature's keeper.
From the same creators that brought us Flower comes Flow, an independent game that gives you control over a worm-like creature that has the choice of whether or not to consume a series of microorganisms. Based over a collection of 2D planes, you will have to gradually evolve by interacting with your surroundings. Doing so will result in your little specimen becoming the top of the food chain. Or, something of the sort.
While the goal behind Flow is to consume a great deal of the world's inhabitants, it doesn't mean there's a whole lot of confrontation between species. If anything, it's the exact opposite, which means you're free to pick and choose your own goal to work toward. Simple, yet effective.
ABZÛ has been praised for its high-quality visuals ever since it graced the community a little ways back. And it's understandable why so many sing such praises, given the beauty that it portrays from beneath the big ocean blue. But if you have yet to test its very waters and see for yourself the wonders it holds—then perhaps it's time to go swimming.
The idea is as elementary as it gets, which means you don't have to to fret about having to overcome ludicrously hard challenges. It's just you, the deep blue sea, and a whole other world to scoot around in. What you'll find down there is something best left for the imagination. Though one thing's for sure: you'll definitely want to go diving again once it's all over.
Firewatch isn't just your average walking simulator. Oh no, it's much more than that, and it bleeds through a series of thought-provoking puzzles and engrossing conversations. Though, at its heart, it is a peaceful game that shows you the perks of being isolated in a remote location with only a single purpose.
After your character's wife becomes ill and out of reach, you decide to take up a job as a firewatch attendant. During your time out in the toasty regions of a wooded reserve, you soon realize that there is more to the posting than keeping a lookout. With nothing but a radio and a single voice on the far corner of the reserve, you take it into your hands to investigate. A flume of smoke echoes on the horizon, and it's your job to find its source.
So, what's your take? Do you agree with our top five? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.