Life can be frustrating, no matter how old you are. There is always something that’s going to get on your nerves and ruin a perfectly fine day. One refuge from all of this are our hobbies, helping us either relax or become too tired to be furious.
As gamers, we have it easy in some respects, and hard in others. On one hand we have dozens, hundreds of games at our disposal, on the other: many of them are very likely to cause more frustration without relieving any.
To make things a tad easier we’ve made a little list of anger relief games which can help you either calm down, or vent your anger into remorseless destruction.
Games to play when angry
Grineer on the other side of the fence
A couple years back developer Digital Extremes created a game largely based around grind: grind for ability-boosting mods, grind for resources for crafting, grind for crafting recipes… It may sound boring, but has some features making it great for the list.
For one: the missions are pretty short on their own, taking maybe fifteen minutes each, depending on how well you’re doing. There are also no consequences for losing, at worst you simply don’t get the resources you gathered, but that’s easily rectified when you play that mission node again. Yeah, replay. If you’ve played a node before, you can play it at any time, as often as you want.
It results in pretty easy way to descend into a favourite routine, and you always work towards something new, be it a new “character”, weapon, or maybe unlocking a schematic in your clan’s dojo.
Besides, shooting and using character abilities looks great, and your mobility is a blast.
Just Cause (pick any)
|Release year:||2006 (JC1), 2010 (JC2), 2015 (JC3), 2018 (JC4)|
The original agent of mayhem
Just Cause, especially the later entries, are something of a treat, and can in a way be treated like a highly explosive sandbox. The protagonist is James Bond by way of John Woo and Michael Bay, causing indiscriminate mayhem anywhere he wants.
And being able to mess around with the tools you’re given can be pretty liberating. Especially the zipline in Just Cause 3 provides ample opportunities to make the game’s physics engine to have a momentary breakdown, which almost always makes for some really amusing turns of events.
Just Cause doesn’t take itself too seriously, which makes it even easier to have a more or less good-natured fun with it. Which always works great against anger.
|Genre:||Adventure, art game|
Life is a journey. Time is a river. The door is ajar
Unlike the previous two games, Journey is much more about calming down, rather than venting. This game won’t have you vanquish your enemies, barely has explicit narrative, and it’s focused predominantly on traveling through a stunning desert, jumping and gliding through the air.
In some sense it is something of an artistic experience rather than a game in popular sense, but the subtle music, beautiful environmental design and a certain serenity of the entire premise makes for a supremely relaxing experience.
|Release year:||2011 (Magicka 1), 2015 (Magicka 2)|
|Developer:||Arrowhead Game Studios (Magicka 1), Pieces Interactive (Magicka 2)|
We’ve written about Magicka before, and the statement we made back then still stand. Playing Magicka is a real blast, and mutually enjoyable destruction of the other player is endlessly funny, as you discover new ways of getting them hurt.
Another thing that makes Magicka a great fit for letting off some steam is that it is a riot. The world and characters are so silly that it’s hard not to at leat chuckle. Especially when you are well aware of fantasy tropes, which Magicka endlessly mocks.
And goblins blow up in a very satisfying way.
Sure. It’s a game about farming. A glorified Farmville, right? Except it happens to be a very calming and satisfying management game, in addition to being pretty charming and friendly in its presentation.
While destruction is fun, many people find greater satisfaction in creating things and helping them grow. It’s likely many will scoff at this, and for them we have a couple more entries here on this list, but playing as someone useful to the community isn’t something games allow us to do. Doing some honest work turns out to be calming even in a video game form, and without having to hack your way through the entire region’s population of goblins.
|Genre:||Hack and slash|
|Release year:||1997 (original game), 2018 (latest main line release)|
Carringtons go to war
The musou games are something of an acquired taste, and probably won’t be to everyone’s liking. But seeing one of legendary heroes of Chinese myths and history smash and slash their way through nearly literal armies of enemies during each mission bring a certain degree of sadistic pleasure.
Most of the time in Dynasty Warriors you are fighting extras, dying by the dozens as soon as you start going about your favourite attack routine. Which is fine, because during a single battle you are likely to have a killcount going hard into quadruple digits. Characters of DW are like Doomguy of the ancient world, nearly invulnerable, except to other heroes.
It’s a great way to unwind. And if you are an enthusiast of anime, the same developer has made a couple spin-offs based on some anime series, most prominently One Piece and Berserk.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
|Developer:||Bethesda Game Studios|
Nording walking simulator
Not to retread statements we have made in the past, let’s just say that roaming the harsh province looking for treasures, dragons, and trouble is pretty relaxing. At least until a giant gets the drop on you and you make like Team Rocket.
|Genre:||Construction and management simulation, roguelike|
About Dwarf Fortress we’ve also written before. In a way this game lets you relax before you even really start playing. Depending on your machine, running the world creation at maximum possible settings (even in the ASCII version) can turn into long minutes of waiting for the world to stop trying to make up for thousands of years of cultural turmoils and millions of years geological processes. No biggy.
The game itself, while frequently becoming kind of ridiculous, manages to capture the same kind of joy in creation and fostering that Stardew Valley does, only in fantasy trappings. And things start being the most entertaining when it turns out something starts to go wrong, and before long you’ll find yourself briefly angry at half-witted people you have to babysit rather than anything else. DF simply requires too much of your attention to leave space for anything else.
A Doomguy put aside for them, for them…
Some games are about creating. Others are about using the systems to cause the most widespread chaos. Others still calm via exploration and giving the player plenty of time to reflect and chances to vent in manageable chunks.
And then there’s Doom.
Doom doesn’t care, and neither does Doomguy. This is the kind of game you launch if you want wanton devastation, gallons of blood, and a chance to get the elusive ‘flow’ which makes your gamer mind devoid of emotion and smooths your reflexes to help you achieve peak efficiency. And then you make like Neo and everything dies around you.
Sure, it may emphasise the worst things people think about us gamers, but external opinions of the uninitiated don’t change how great this game and letting you channel your frustration.
Focusing on something constructive and creative is likely the best thing you could get used to in search of a way to calm the frank down. Unbridled freedom of putting your visions into physical structures exemplified in Mojang’s game make it one of the best games out there, as far as this list subject matter is considered.
|Genre:||Action RPG, FPS|
Point a gun, press left mouse button (or corresponding button on your gamepad), keep shooting until things die and you can pick up loot. That’s as simple a moment-to-moment gameplay as it gets, and coupled with bombastic presentation and tonnes of diverse loot makes BL3 on of the best video games to relieve stress lingering after a long day at school or work.
Borderlands also offers something just as effective at improving the mood as any amount of spectacular shooting: a sense of humour. It’s often crude, and usually quite silly, but there’s a good chance you’re going to at least chuckle every once in a while. Each of the game’s four playable characters is slightly ridiculous in some way, and has plenty of B-movie voice lines.
Devil May Cry 5
|Genre:||Action-adventure, hack and slash|
Devil May Cry 5 has a very satisfying balance of a “git gud” difficulty, very high skill ceiling, and sheer joy of using a sword to juggle demons in the air like a bleeding, screaming hacky sack. Gruesome though it sounds, DMC5 revels in making the player look as cool as possible, and the Bloody Palace mode is a hundred floors of spectacular slaughter.
There are three playable characters: weapon- and style-switching Dante, Nero with his brutal sword and hi-tech arm prosthetics, and V, who fights using mostly his summoned demons. Each has quite a number of unique quirks to their playstyle, making them a real force on the battlefield. Getting to stylishly kill demons makes DMC of the best games to play when you’re angry.
Dishonored was a fantastic game. It gave the player a few tools and an engine flexible and coherent enough to let you play around with them. Dishonored 2 is that, but doubled by the sheer virtue of having two characters with two different toolboxes. Being a supernaturally talented, highly skilled assassin turns out to be quite pick if you need some game to calm you down.
There are many videos on the internet showcasing the complex kills you can perform, which make using Stop Time to snatch crossbow bolts from the air look basic. Emily in Dishonored 2 can link the fates of her enemies, which opens the way to many brutal solutions. Dishonored’s being a freeform assassin playground puts it among the counter-intuitively relaxing video games.
Far Cry 5
|Developer:||Ubisoft Montreal, Ubisoft Toronto|
The Far Cry series tends to throw explosive mess towards the player and have them deal with it through overwhelming firepower. It also likes giving the player a chance to sneak around, eliminating enemies quietly with professional detachment. Far Cry 5 somehow manages to give the player all of the above, and supplement them with serene environments of Hope County, Montana.
What’s even better, is that in FC5 you can recruit companions to assist you in eliminating your enemies, whether stealthily or in open combat, and one of them is a tamed bear called Cheeseburger. Far Cry 5 is a pretty good way to unwind. It’s quite likely that the absurdity of some encounters will even make you laugh.
One Finger Death Punch 2
|Developer:||Silver Dollar Games|
A small, light, game, One Finger Death Punch 2 has simple, if clear, graphics, and a ridiculously simple control scheme consisting of two buttons. Which makes it amazing how good a fun this game can be, whatever your mood is. Your task is simple: enemies come at you from both sides of the screen, and you need to tap a [left] or [right] button when they get in range.
It’s a very simple game, but once the speed ramps up and there are dozens of multi-hit enemies coming at you, all you have time to do is attack and hope you don’t miss a click. A good round can give an amazing sense of flow and you start to feel like Neo fighting a swarm of Agent Smiths, and it turns OFDP2 into quite a stress buster, one of the simplest anger-relieving games.
Relax, it’s the end
This, as usual, doesn’t, by any measure exhaust the list of stress relief games you could use to let off some steam, since in the end everyone has their own favourites, including, somehow, Dark Souls, if several reddit threads are to be believed.
What are your picks? Let us know in the comments.