Finding a little peace and distraction while self-isolating can be helpful. Here are three games that I’ve found provide that, and as a bonus, are cheap and cheerful:
- Melody’s Escape;
Available for PS3, PS4 and PS Vita, Windows and iOS.
Flower is from the same game designer as Journey (see Meaningful games (Part 1)). It’s a fairly simple game – you control a group of petals that is blown across a landscape. As you move over the nascent flowers they burst into life, as you move to inject light, colour and life into a world that desperately needs it. The music is low key, the game play simple and is quite relaxing to play.
It’s even been used in cathedral worship to enhance a celebration of creation.
Available on Windows
Melody’s Escape is a simple endless runner style game that picks music from your own music library (MP3s, WMAs, iTunes, FLAC, OGG, etc.) or its own music and synchronises the game with it using ‘beat detection’.
The game works in several different modes:
- Relaxing – Just listen to the music and press a single button for all obstacles;
- Normal – The type of obstacles (and associated color input) depends on the musical key of each specific beat;
- Intense – Everything amped up.
Available on Windows
Islanders is one of those games that takes you by surprise. It doesn’t pretend to aspire to be a Civilization or Sim City, but its very simple game mechanics lead to some quite complex games: you have an island, you build things on it, and depending in what is near to what you place you gain or lose coins. Get enough coins and you can move on to the next island.
The sound creates nice ambience while you play, pesky questions around ecology and development are suspended, and you can create some quite interesting communities. One of the best features is being able to suspend at any moment, which makes it a great casual game to play for 5-10 minutes, chill out and then get back to other things.
Here are a couple of reviews
“I’m glad it was Islanders, though. Sweet but not too sweet, without a mean bone in its body, a vintage genre given a modern reworking, and a fine sign that PC gaming is, as always, in no danger of resting upon its laurels.”
“The last time I saw beautiful little islands like this, they were being invaded by bloodthirsty hordes in pulse-pounding strategy Bad North. But Islanders is a different kind of strategy game: soothing, charming, and maybe the most relaxing strategy game I’ve ever played.”