There’s over 100 games to pick from with Xbox Game Pass on console and PC. While we love a competitive, white knuckle shooter as much as the next gamer (and we highly recommend Rage 2 for that particular urge), sometimes you simply want a title with which to sit back, relax, and clear your mind. So, leave it to your Maxin’ and Relaxin’ Engineers at Xbox Wire to pick some of our favorites from world building to puzzle solving to park management to enjoy. And since these are all Xbox Game Pass titles, playing nets you Microsoft Rewards points that you can use to help support a good cause. So, sit back, relax, and play some games.
Disneyland Adventures – Will
Disneyland might be closed right now, but you can still spend countless hours exploring the happiest place on earth from the comfort of your couch. Frontier Developments and Asobo Studios have created a picture-perfect recreation of the iconic theme park that is remarkably close to the real thing. You’ll be able to explore the entire park, enjoying adventurous minigames based on 18 popular attractions and engaging in 100 challenging quests. What’s more, you can interact with 35 beloved Disney characters without wading through a sea of kids. Whip up some delicious Dole Whips and Churro Bites and dive in!
Farming Simulator 17 – Jeff
The only experience I’ve had farming is driving past one on the freeway, so while I’ve been familiar with the series, I never fired one up until Farming Simulator 17 hit Xbox Game Pass. It may not be the newest iteration, but if, like me, you can’t tell a harvester from a… well, I’m not sure I can even identify a harvester, this is as good a place to start as any. A series of friendly tutorials patiently walks you through preparing your farm’s land, planting, fertilizing, how to take care of livestock, and more. That’ll prepare you to start your career in agriculture, where you cultivate from seed to store. There’s a lot to do on this farm, but there is a relaxing rhythm to it all.
Fishing Sim World: Pro Tour – Mike
Experience the great outdoors… indoors. Kick off your alternate life as an amateur angler and try to unseat some of the sport’s top professionals across bass, carp, and predator tours. Then once you’ve ousted them, take your skills online and compete in various tournaments as you wrangle and dangle with 29 different species of fish.
Human: Fall Flat – Mike
Okay, so the physics system may create some frustrations with the game’s later puzzles as you navigate your little dough man. But there’s something deeply satisfying about throwing them off a ledge to let them fall flat on the next level. Especially after a more difficult solution. Best to keep your wits sharp and your brain dust free during this time at home we say. Even if you get stuck, it’s perfect to play with a friend on the couch or hop online to solve some brainy puzzles together.
Minecraft (Creative mode) – Mike
Whether you want to sit on the couch and create something with your housemates via split-screen, or connect online with an old friend (even if they play on Nintendo Switch or PS4), the Creative mode in Minecraft gives you all the tools to make something lasting together without having to deal with those pesky Creepers, Zombies, and Spiders. Perfect if you want to build an island resort, create a village deep in the woods, or simply stack dirt and rocks into a giant tower to try and touch the clouds.
My Time At Portia – Jeff
A youngster arrives (unsupervised!) in an island town called Portia to find the homestead their father left for them is a bit of a fixer upper. Fortunately, Portia is a town that values builders, and you’ll find everything you need to get started in the handy manual dad left by the workbench in the yard. Cheerful and colorful, there’s a town to explore and people to meet as you gather, craft, build, repair, buy, sell, and otherwise live out a productive, bucolic fantasy. While your goal is to rise to the top of the workshop rank, your time in Portia will be a relaxing one.
Pikuniku – Jeff
A chill, absurdist platformer taking place in a world that looks carved out of Roger Hargreaves’ “Mr Men/Little Miss” books, with your character resembling a barefoot Mr. Noisy. Once you blunder into town, you solve problems for some (semi-grateful) townsfolk, all set to a bouncy soundtrack. The game isn’t just low key, it’s quite funny, kicking off with a brief infomercial featuring a hilarious sprite which appears to have watched Tim and Eric’s ‘It’s Free Real Estate’ skit too many times. Bonus: the game includes about a dozen local co-op minigames to enjoy.
The Gardens Between – Mike
As we find ourselves sitting back and reflecting on how life used to be, view yesterday through the lens of best friends Arina and Frendt as they re-experience some of their fondest memories together through intricate, time manipulation puzzles. It’s not an incredibly long game, but it can make you think back on your own childhood memories. Maybe even get you to pick up the phone and check in on an old friend.
Totally Accurate Battle Simulator (Game Preview) – Will
You might not think that a game with ‘battle’ in the title would be relaxing, but that’s definitely the case with this hilarious gem. Remember those “Who’d win in a fight?” arguments you used to have with your friends? Well, the developers at Landfall Games have turned that into a physics-based simulation, allowing you to place a huge variety (and number) of googly-eyed units on a battlefield and letting them go HAM on each other. If you ever wondered whether two dozen Viking berserkers and twenty medieval archers with a catapult could take down three wooly mammoths and ten flintlock-wielding pirates, now’s your chance to find out!
Tracks – The Train Set Game – Jeff
As a hot air balloon floated across the title screen to a gentle piano tinkling, I knew Tracks: The Train Set Game would be among the chillest games I’ve played in a while. I was not disappointed. Have you ever played with wooden toy train tracks? Now imagine you never ran out of tracks; all shapes, sizes, junctions and heights are at your disposal. Let your imagination run wild to build an apartment-spanning track, then hop into the engineer’s seat and ride the train through your creation. Where was this when I was a kid?
Viva Pinata – Mike
Before gardening season returns in full bloom, why not try your hand at growing pinatas? Adorable, colorful, and wacky pinatas! One of the most unique games of the entire Xbox generation, Viva Pinata is in a class by itself mixing humor, strategy, and “animal” simulation into a relaxing experience that lets you sit back and create a land full of silly creatures. It is perfect.
Zoo Tycoon: Ultimate Animal Collection – Mike
Don’t Feed the bears. No, really. It’s fine. That’s your job now. In addition to picking up animal droppings, keeping the food carts stocked, and making sure all your guests are happy. Oh, and caring for a tremendous variety of animals, like more than 200 varieties of species. But don’t feel like you have to go at this alone. Up to four of your friends can join you online to help maintain and manage the zoo of your dreams.