Can you game your way into a better mental space? Sometimes, having a pleasant escape to occupy your mind for a few minutes can help. With gorgeous graphics, calming music, and simple, relaxing gameplay, these apps are all about helping reduce your stress and anxiety.
A non-competitive app focused on soothing and comfort, #SelfCare can help you feel comfortable and cozy in a virtual space. When you first get started, the app explains how it operates under the framework of different energies: celebration, curiosity, love, intention, and care. You can choose a different energy to explore whenever you open the app.
The game function of the app itself takes place in a gorgeously illustrated bedroom, and you can interact with its elements. For instance, pet the cat for a bit and watch its animated response. Decorate the duvet cover with different colors and designs to create a space you enjoy. Tap the book to play a word game or tap the flower for breathing exercises. Read the zine or write in the journal.
There's a lot to interact with inside the room, and you can discover new games and objects over time. The game doesn't reveal all of its secrets at once, which keeps gameplay engaging. It's fun to explore the room and discover what each object will invite you to do. Sometimes, gaming is its own form of self-care.
Available with an Apple Arcade subscription, Patterned is a tile-sorting game designed to help you focus and relax. Listen to soothing background music as you assemble the tiles into a gorgeous repeating pattern.
When you first open a new puzzle, it appears as a gray sketch of the finished image. Put the pieces in place to create a colorful version of the patterned, repeating picture. It's easy to zone out as you study the screen to find the fitting pieces, which also invites you to appreciate the details of these artist-created images.
You're welcome to take your time while assembling the pieces, too. Your selected puzzle piece will turn red until it's placed in its correct spot, which makes assembly a little easier.
The app includes over 500 puzzles, so it can keep you occupied for quite some time. Categories include seasonal, kid-friendly, animal-centric, and geometric images, in addition to many, many more. You're certain to find some eye-catching images you'll love assembling (and they make great phone backgrounds once completed).
You can also check out the hundreds of other games Apple Arcade gives you access to for a monthly fee.
Download: Patterned Available for iOS (Subscription required, free trial available)
A calming game that invites you to grow and cultivate a tree, Prune also tells a larger story while you continue playing. Stark, simple animated graphics and meditative music combine to create the unique and immersive experience of playing Prune. Watch trees grow and prune off their branches with simple swipes.
The premise sounds simple, but helping the trees navigate their environment gets progressively more difficult along the way. It can take a little forethought to prune the trees so that they grow around obstacles and toward the sunshine that makes their flowers bloom.
Beautiful, engaging, and soothing, Prune is a unique experience in the world of games. Prune+ is also available as part of Apple Arcade.
4. Fidget Toys 3D - Antistress
Scroll through a large collection of colorful toys in this fidget game. Break plates, pop balloons, sort colored pencils, clear a foggy window, and play a sliding numbers game. It's a super-simple collection of fun distractions. Reviewers also mentioned enjoying the sound effects for their ASMR properties.
Lengthy video ads are included as well as in-game banner ads, but you can get rid of these by purchasing the paid version. If you'd rather enjoy games without paying, then there are many mobile games you can enjoy for free.
For the most part, if you're someone who enjoys fiddling around with buttons or solving simple puzzles, then Fidget Toys 3D is a fun choice.
5. Hex - Anxiety Relief and Relax
A hexagonal board game, Hex invites you to think about lines and shapes in an engaging way. Tap the hexagonal figures to rotate them, and arrange the lines into elegant shapes. It's fun to watch the jumble of lines slowly transform into one continuous figure. Plus, there's a help button if you get stuck on a particular puzzle, which provides some guidelines for the shape you're making.
It's also gratifying to see the final shape of each figure, some of which feature intricate loops and other designs. The subdued color palette is also pleasing. Between the soothing music, colorful lines, and simple game objective, Hex is a wonderful way to calm your mind.
Download: Hex for Android (Free, in-app purchases available)
6. My Oasis: Anxiety Relief Game
Build your own oasis in the clouds with this gentle tapping game. Tap the screen to earn hearts, which are essentially the currency of the game. You can also watch ads to gain more hearts.
An integrated piano at the bottom of the screen invites you to play notes for more hearts. You can also tap on the animals that inhabit your area, and they offer uplifting affirmations.
You begin the game with a small oasis, with the chance to upgrade to Star Island, Emerald Hill, and more areas over time. With its calming music and simple, calming gameplay, My Oasis is a solid choice for anyone seeking a virtual escape.
Ease Stress and Anxiety With Calming Mobile Games
If you need a little break to rest and calm your mind, these stress-busting mobile games can help. Occupy your mind with gently growing trees, gorgeous puzzles, and soothing virtual spaces to relax and unwind at any time.