11 Chilled Out, BAFTA-Winning Video Games

If you’ve ever searched online for relaxing, combat-free video games, you’ll know the barrage of pure shit that Google will come back with. But, if you search hard enough, in amongst the piles of Candy Crush rip-offs there are some incredible games to be discovered.

From beautiful scenery to award-winning storylines that will have you thinking about them for weeks after you complete them, these games are pure, unadulterated quality. So next time you want a little gaming R&R, take the work out of the search with our list of beautiful BAFTA-winning video games.

1. Kentucky Route Zero – Original Property (2021)

Kentucky Route Zero (TV Edition) is a super-chilled, atmospheric, point-and click-adventure by Cardboard Computer in which you play as Conway, an ageing man tasked with delivering antiques for Lysette’s Antique Store. Beautiful animation combines with curious storytelling to create a magical, mystical world for you to navigate.

The Original Property Award is given out to games who display innovation in a world of meh, and Kentucky Route Zero really is a breath of fresh air for those hankering for something different.

Available on: PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One.

2. Outer Wilds – Best Game (2020)

Just reading the YouTube comments on the trailer is enough to make you want to play this game:

“This game sucker punched me right in the feels. Loved it!”
– “I just finished the game, and my god the whole thing was beautiful. Might be my new favorite game of all time. Just wonderful work.”
– “This game is so really wonderful, unique, beautiful, imaginative and just very something that I have not seen in any other game. Amazing and full of wonder.”

And it seems that the fancy-pants’ at BAFTA agree, awarding it Best Game of 2019. Outer Wilds is an action-adventure game by Mobius Digital in which you explore a galaxy in order to solve an ancient mystery. There are puzzles and tasks, but the real enjoyment of this game comes from the exploration, discovering the beautiful planets, each one so different from the next. If you’re looking to chill, there’s nothing more relaxing than floating through space.

Available on: PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4. Coming to Nintendo Switch, summer 2021.

3. Florence – Best Mobile Game (2019)

Florence is not your typical game, it feels like an interactive comic in which you help the protagonist along in her quest for love and acceptance. Game studio, Mountains, has created a coming of age story about first loves and creative passions which most can relate to, from the first flutters to the inevitable soul-crushing disappointment. It won Best Mobile Game, and its pick-up-and-play qualities make it perfect for gaming on the go.

Available on: PC, Mobile, Nintendo Switch.

4. What Remains of Edith Finch – Best Game (2018)

Playing What Remains of Edith Finch is like stepping into a novel. In this game by Giant Sparrow, rather than having you solve complex, fast-paced puzzles, the game gently draws you in and wraps you up in its enthralling story. As the mystery deepens, so does your determination to get the bottom of all the unanswered questions it throws your way. It’s like a great book, movie, and game all rolled into one, with stunning, scenic backdrops and a beautiful soundtrack to match.

Available on: PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One.

5. Gorogoa – Best Debut (2018)

There’s something about hand-drawn games that instantly inspire a serene vibe, and Gorogoa is no exception. Yet another Annapurna Interactive game, this time by Jason Roberts, this game is truly unique. There is no dialogue for a start, but the best part of the game is its quirky mechanics. When I first figured them out, I genuinely let out a little gaspy “Oh!” – literally outside-the-box gameplay, didn’t see it coming. Having played video games for the past 33 years, I don’t often get caught off-guard, so it was nice to feel that childhood awe again.

Available on: PC, Mobile, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One.

6. Firewatch – Best Debut (2017)

If you’re looking for some alone time, then Firewatch is the game for you. After arriving in the Wyoming wilderness to start your new job as a lookout, you’ll soon discover that your only emotional lifeline is faceless voice at the end of your walkie-talkie. As you get to know the park, you’ll also get to know that it hides some worrying secrets. This stunning game by Campo Santo manages to somehow be relaxing and full of suspense at the same time, and that makes for a proper enthralling gaming experience.

7. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture – Best Music (2016)

There’s nothing more quaint than the chocolate-box beauty of the English countryside, with its thatched cottages and wildflowers – but when the inhabitants of an entire village disappear, things start to get a bit creepy. In this story-based adventure game by The Chinese Room you find yourself wrapped up in a mysterious plot straight out of a science-fiction story. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture won the award for Best Music, and when you add the soundtrack to it’s stunning backdrop, it becomes a solid piece of gaming art.

Available on: PC, PlayStation 4.

8. Monument Valley – Best British Game/Best Mobile Game (2015)

Monument Valley is one of my favourite BAFTA-winning video games and one that really turned me onto no-combat gaming. It pulled me in from the get go and I couldn’t put it down. The colours, the animation, the unique environments, the music, it all came together to create something magical that really stuck in my mind and made me want to seek out similar games. Developed and published by Ustwo Games, this game is a story-based physics puzzler that will have you scratching your head as you unlock all the different, mesmerising levels.

Available on: Mobile.

9. Journey – Best Online Multiplayer/Best Music/Artistic & Audio Achievement (2013)

Journey is another game whose YouTube comments alone make me want to buy the game.

“This game isn’t like the others. It’s like meditation in some imaginary world of sand and sun.”
-“When l play this game it makes me cry a little bit.”
-“Journey is so much more than just a game to me. Playing it inspired deeper emotions than I never imagined I would feel, let alone from a video game.”

In this indie adventure game you are in a vast desert heading towards a mountain in the distance, but there are others on the same journey, players that you can meet and help, but that you can’t communicate with. This sense of anonymous companionship with real people is what gives the game such an emotional edge. Obvs it’s another peach published by Annapurna Interactive (mobile and PC), this time developed by thatgamecompany and Santa Monica Studio.

Available on: PC, Mobile, PlayStation 4.

10. The Unfinished Swan – Innovation Award (2013)

The Unfinished Swan has a real storybook aesthetic with unique two-tone graphics and a stunning soundtrack. In it, you play as a little boy who is chasing a swan that has escaped from a painting, this then leads you on a great adventure. In a refreshing take on game mechanics, you splatter paint around to discover the world around you, which is what netted developers Giant Sparrow and Santa Monica Studio the BAFTA Innovation Award.

11. Flower – Artistic Achievement (2010)

In Flower, you play as the wind, picking up petals as you move through beautiful landscapes. This game is surprisingly meaningful and has been described as “poetry”, even being inducted into Smithsonian’s permanent collection. It was developed with a green message in mind by thatgamecompany and Bluepoint Games, in which everything you touch has an effect on the environment. Flower is the epitome of relaxing video games but with a powerful message behind it.

Available on: PC, Mobile, PlayStation 4.

So, now you’ve got all these brilliant BAFTA-winning video games to choose from, it’s time to dig out your hoodie, grab some snacky snacks, turn off the lights and get lost in some of the most beautiful, relaxing video games the world has ever seen. It’s better than yoga.

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