Most Relaxing Exploration Games

In a world full of intense games that have your character constantly on the brink of death, it’s nice to take a break. Not every game needs health, weapons, and the world’s fate at stake. How often has your character dangled from a high ledge seconds away from demise?

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Unfortunately, some believe all video games are about violence, destruction, and defeat. While many titles include battle and peril (which are entertaining), some go in a different direction. Considering how stressful daily life can be, people need to reduce anxiety more than ever. Every game genre has its place, but including a more easygoing experience in your rotation might be beneficial.

8 Proteus

Proteus Sunset

Imagine a procedurally generated island with lush landscapes to explore. Rather than a photorealistic art style, Proteus opts for an 8-bit oasis. This first-person experience offers surroundings that often look like art on a painter’s canvas. This island isn’t void of life but instead brimming with real and fantasy animals.

Everything in Proteus generates a sound as you pass by it. The music continually cues based on what you interact with and where you go. You can’t die; your goal is to explore the island at your own pace. To some, this title may seem dull. The point of this game isn’t to get your heart pumping, but to ease you into a carefree state.

7 Eastshade

pathway throught the forest eastshade

Eastshade takes you to a fantasy world with vibrant forests, stone cities, and stunning vistas. You play as a traveling painter who captures the world around you onto canvas. See a babbling brook lazily traveling over small waterfalls through the forest? Select your image with the game tools and transfer it onto canvas.

You can meet many characters and even offer to help them. You learn more about the world and unlock new places by completing quests. This game is like stepping inside a storybook illustrated to capture the imagination. You can take your time, explore, and find new areas. There are some challenges in the form of light puzzles, so it’s not a walking simulator. But you won’t be trying to survive or encountering anything dangerous on your journey.

6 Abzu

Abzu swimming up into school of fish

Step into the clear blue waters of Abzu and explore the aquatic wonders of the ocean. This game features an eye-catching art style with colorful plant and animal life. Some areas have you surrounded by whales or swimming past unique rock formations. The swaying green kelp forests and reactive schools of fish are mesmerizing.

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The lighting, cell-shaded visuals, and orchestral music offer a relaxing and intriguing experience. You play as a diver, and the goal is to bring life back to areas of the ocean. While much of the game is contemplative and carefree, you will encounter some resistance.

5 Flower

sunset wind farm flower

It’s challenging to define Flower as it doesn’t fit neatly into any particular genre. You play as a collection of petals and must fly through the environment, transforming the landscape. The game starts in a congested city, showing bumper-to-bumper traffic. But, soon, you’ll be gliding across pristine green meadows.

The smooth movement and colorful graphics lull you into a calm state. You’ll notice the environment changing as you progress through the various levels. Yet, your task remains to create blooming flora wherever you go. One striking detail about the visuals is the thousands of grass blades moving as you skim the ground. While the game loop is straightforward, it nonetheless feels satisfying.

4 theHunter: Call Of The Wild

forest thehunter call of the wild

You might wonder, “Why is a hunting game on this list?” You are correct; technically, this is a hunting simulation game. But, developer Expansive Worlds has hand-crafted stunning photorealistic wilderness areas. You aren’t required to hunt and can instead freely explore the vast maps available.

See forests, meadows, mountains, unique plants, and reactive animal life. Without using your rifle, this game is essentially a virtual hiking simulator. So, you can wander through thriving nature biomes, listening to wildlife as sun rays peek through the forest canopy. There is a day and night cycle along with various weather conditions.

3 Myst

mechanical age myst

The original Myst launched in the ’90s as a point-and-click adventure game. You enter a world of mystery, puzzles, and books that can transport you to unbelievable places. An updated version with a graphical overhaul lets you move around freely, replacing the point-and-click. This game features excellent audio design, pleasing music, and stunning scenery.

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You will encounter some tricky puzzles, but exploration should provide solutions. As you play, you’ll experience several places called “ages.” Each age has a unique theme and requires some problem-solving. The worlds of Myst aren’t dangerous, and there isn’t a time limit putting pressure on you.

2 Paleo Pines

Feeding a dinosaur a Poppin in Paleo Pines

Sit back and enjoy the whimsical island of Paleo Pines. This game has you exploring different areas and interacting with friendly prehistoric animals. It mixes elements of ranching simulators with quests to find dinosaurs and communities.

The colorful and cartoony art style puts you at ease, and there is plenty to do. Once you travel the island, you can build the ultimate dinosaur sanctuary. But each animal is different, and you must learn what makes them happy. You can lose hours in the world of Paleo Pines without the threat of danger or a game over.

1 American Truck Simulator

A trucker drives down the road with the Revamped Dynamic Suspension mod in American Truck Simulator.

This game might not strike you as relaxing, but American Truck Simulator has that effect on many. You hit the open roads of California, Nevada, and Arizona doing deliveries in actual modeled trucks. The game lets you customize your cab since you’ll spend plenty of time behind the wheel. Listen to music, see the sights along the road, and safely deliver goods.

This title is a simulation, not a racing or arcade experience. You must follow speed limits and laws to get the job done right. Some congested areas are daunting, but many enjoy the wide-open virtual highways. You have time to look at your mirrors, experience the scenery, and often don’t have a time limit.

Next: Most Relaxing Simulation Games

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