We’ve all been the to dusty, blood-ridden planes of Helghan. We’ve all enjoyed a frantic bumper fest, checking the rear-view mirror as a loved one ploughs into a wall in a fiery ball of fire.
Hey, we’ve all killed our fair share of people, wrecked our fair share of cars and basically saved/destroyed the Omniverse at one time or another. It’s what games are there for, right?
Yes, undoubtedly. But that doesn’t stop some people making tranquil, relaxing pieces of entertainment, and then being featured in a list, this list, to help you find your spot of peace in the ether.
Golf is always relaxing. It’s always fun (apart from in real life, when your legs start to hurt from too much standing up), being surrounded by trees and grass and leaves and flags (FLAGS!) as you swing and miss at a tiny while ball like some sort of athletic racist. But it can be even more relaxing when it’s given the Everybody’s Golf makeover!
Chuck in MORE trees, grass and flags (FLAGS!!), add wildlife not afraid of being knocked-out/killed by a tiny sphere going at 100mph, really catchy music, and the sweet tones of Bonnie, your caddie, advising you that the ‘slope goes up!’ and the ‘slope curves right!’ and the ‘bread goes in mouth!’. It’s your 5 minute of tranquillity – you know, before the game gets hard as nails.
Wait, what? Yes, reader, GTA IV is relaxing. ‘But’, you splutter, ‘how? It’s a gritty third-person death feast with drugs, sex, violence, robbery, murder, drugs, sex, radio, sex, and helicopter! How can it be relaxing?!’. Ah, how little you know.
You were probably to busy taking people out on dates and seeing Ricky Gervais to realize, but going into cinematic cam (circle) and pressing R3 makes the whole world slo-mo. How does this soften the gritty undertones of Liberty City? Jack a Patriot, hit the gas, mount the curb, and hit R3. There’s something beautiful about the way an innocent bystander gracefully backflips, spine broken, before hitting, face first, the hard floor, instantly perishing. Relaxing, and most defiantly illegal.
Sure, the game has some dark bits – Oblivion, for example, or the many caves and dungeons, but that’s not what anyone remembers from Bethesda’s epic RPG. No, it’s you and your trusty Shadowmare, galloping into forests of lore, off in hunt of a unicorn, picking some flowers, testing magic tricks, slaying goblins. The mix of beautiful trumpets, lush, green forests, the Imperial Tower, and, if your lucky, a sunset or two, and you’re unresponsive to the outside world for quite some time.
Hey, don’t have a go at me. You’re the one who misread the title. We didn’t say ‘most beautiful’, or ‘least evil’, we said ‘most relaxing’, and for many, nothing is more relaxing then playing Vin Diesel with blades.
Stuck on the Dark Athena, Riddick must slay his way though an army of fleshy bots using clubs, hairpins, knives and Ulaks. There’s some wonderfully relaxing feeling, as you sneak up behind a target, in the shadows, blades glistening. The soft thus of a blade penetrating the hard skull, the dragging of the body to a remote corner, the looking down at your blood-soaked wife-beater vest – you’re unstoppable, un-killable, and that means you fear nothing, feel at peace, feels weirdly serene…plus, blades. Blades make everything better.
Quick review: You play the wind, swooping through fields and valleys collecting petals, before…No-one really knows why, or how you progress, but hey – PRIMARY COLOUR OVERLOAD! With thousands of independent blades of grass, wind turbine, flowers of all colours and shapes, an epic orchestral soundtrack and vivid sunsets, it’s almost the most relaxing game we could find. Apart from the last level or two, which gets slightly cramped and…odd.
The first game by the people who made Flower (Flow – FLOWer? Get it? Ohh, it’s like the Da Vinci Code, but good), you play…a fish, or something, eating…..other fish, or whatever, and chomping on…red…fish, to descend to the bottom of the sea and eat an egg and hatch a new…fish thing. Or something.
Who cares? It’s brilliant. Using the Six-Axis, you control your little organism as you gently float around, eating parts of other animals to grow bigger. Turn off all the lights, chloroform your family to sleep, close the doors and boot up the surround sound. The rich blues, the deep reds of angry fish, the simple circles and lines that make up the critters, and then the othe backgrounds, depending on your creature – yellow, pink, cloudy with lightning – it’s about as close as you could get to Zen.
WHAT? NO! HE WAS NO-WHERE NEAR ME!? HOW DID HE CONNECT? AHH! STOP THAT COMBO! WHAAA! TAKE THAT! EAT MY FIREBALL, MOTHERFUCKER! YOU LITTLE BLUE BITCH, C’MON THEN, HIT ME FUCKER! WHAT!??!?! WWHHAAT!? HE TOTALLY MISSED ME, HOW DID THAT KO ME?! WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?!?!?!