The Best Cozy Switch Games To Tap Out Of Your Daily Grind

The Best Cozy Switch Games To Tap Out Of Your Daily Grind

These snuggly, underrated gems for the Nintendo Switch will leave your brain feeling squeaky clean

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A school of blue fish in the game Abzu.
Screenshot: Giant Squid

I know your mind is racing, so why don’t you sit down tonight with your Nintendo Switch and try out one of these six relaxing games?

There’s time for it, I promise. I know that everything feels like a lot—there are an infinite number of people to call, cavities to fill, and bills to pay, as well as, a never ending string of monkeypox and forest fires out in the wider world. I often find video games to be stressful, too, but within them, there’s always an easy and finite solution, and that in itself can be soothing.

But these games let you complete simple, visually pleasing tasks like pouring steamy cups of coffee or indulging in an atmospheric fantasy within the deep blue depths of an ocean floor. Relaxation is just as important to schedule as anything else, so take a little bit of time to read through this list and plan your next brain vacation.

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2 / 9

A Short Hike

A Short Hike

A snowy mountaintop in A Short Hike.
Screenshot: Adamgryu

Adam Robinson-Yu’s A Short Hike is a compact and profound experience of exactly what it says on the tin—taking a short hike. Except, in a twist that will entice both Animal Crossing and Celeste fans, you also get to play as a bird with a cell phone and chat with the vibrant, changing landscape’s witty NPC friends.

Wandering through wildflowers, wading in water, flapping your puny wings, and diving into crisp, clear air will satisfy you. And the game’s storyline will have you feeling indulgently contemplative about family, the world, and how you fit into both. In a 2020 Kotaku review, Narelle Ho Sang said, “A Short Hike is a great reminder that there’s both good and bad to this life, and sometimes, as frustrating as that can be, it’s as simple as that.” It’s as simple as that.

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3 / 9

The First Tree

The First Tree

A fox running across purple ice.
Screenshot: David Wehle

Also short (it clocks in at around two hours), and also about an animal (this time, a fox) on a poignant journey for family, The First Tree offers players a gentle, emotional world to get lost in. Run through sparkling, starry waters, and purple, twilight fields of snow as your life entwines with that of the hushed, human narrator suffering his own familial tragedy. In this game, nature is the inescapable, powerful sadness that covers everything. But when it’s presented to you like this, sprinkled carefully throughout a majestic, abundant forest, life’s unavoidable tragedies are more cathartic than anything else.

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4 / 9

Coffee Talk

Coffee Talk

A green-haired character in Coffee Talk waits for coffee.
Screenshot: Toge Productions

If indulgent contemplation is your ideal way to unwind, not only are we kindred spirits, but you’ll also love Coffee Talk. In this game, creatures of all stripes—vampires, werewolves, girls with blue hair—share their problems with you: a barista and good listener. Relish in the safe sunset of the game’s fictional take on Seattle in 2020 while preparing frothy lattes and spiced teas for your customers and friends.

You might particularly like this game if you have some barista experience yourself, as Harper Jay did in a 2020 Kotaku review. They wrote that the game reminded them of time spent advising any “stranger who somehow felt comfortable enough to tell you something that’s probably way too personal. You tell them how it is, even if you have no fuckin’ clue, and then you make them a flat white.” Coffee Talk lets you soak in the most comfortable, relaxing aspects of café culture without any rude customers or coworkers, but like a real mug of chai, this game might be enjoyed best on a rainy night.

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5 / 9

Good Pizza, Great Pizza

Good Pizza, Great Pizza

A man waits for his pizza order.
Screenshot: TapBlaze

Drizzling milk into a coffee cup is pleasurably repetitive, but it works up your appetite. Good Pizza, Great Pizza has the solution, relish the pleasurable cycle of building extremely specific pizza orders instead.

In this game, you satisfy even the strangest of customer pizza requests to earn cash, upgrade your restaurant with ingredients, snake plants, and candles to outdo Alicante, your blustering pizza rival. The premise is cute and the pizza looks delectable, what more could you ask for?

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6 / 9

Abzu

Abzu

Whales swimming in the game Abzu.
Screenshot: Giant Squid

Eventually, you might ask for more to life than pizza. Eventually, you might want to know what else is out there (though you’d never abandon the occasional sausage slice here or there). Enter Abzu, a game that is less interested in earthly delights than it is in earthly secrets.

As a diving game, Abzu is preoccupied with hidden beauty and intrigue, pushing you to swim deeper and further to witness incredible yawning whales amid glowing schools of fish, orange waters filled with reaching, wavering plantlife, and passageways hidden behind puzzles. If you want to slow down in the already slow lull of the ocean, you can perch on top of “meditation statues” and sit still while observing fish and listening to the water’s calming bubbles.

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7 / 9

Inmost

Inmost

A greenish forest in the game Inmost.
Screenshot: Hidden Layer Games

For some, the vastness of the ocean is enough to scare you out of your daily troubles. But if you want something a little spookier (though just as existential), you’ll have fun with Inmost. This gloomy puzzle game is bite-sized at around five hours of gameplay, but its pixel landscapes are lush and layered. Its sounds echo and float around you like dust. Inmost’s dark story is a bit heavy-handed at times, but if hiding under the blankets with an Agatha Christie novel is how you wind down, this game was made with you in mind.

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8 / 9

Yoshi’s Crafted World

Yoshi’s Crafted World

Yoshi jumps for joy.
Screenshot: Good-Feel

Side-scroller Yoshis Crafted World is a chaser video game, something you can play to cutesify your thoughts after experiencing any toil or unpleasantness. In a 2019 Kotaku review, Keza MacDonald wrote that the game is “so appealingly beautiful” and “wonderfully tactile,” successful in its goal to be a baby-friendly game while also appealing to adults that want to chill out with a little regression. Soak up its fuzzy, arty 3D design and simple but varied levels, crack open a juice box, then lay down for some much needed nap time.


These are my recommendations, but let me know in the comments which Switch games you like winding down with!

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9 / 9