The world’s gone a bit topsy-turvy. We’re all unsettled, concerned for loved ones and dealing with some pretty major changes to our daily lives.

Here are some of my favourite stress-relieving games, for anyone spending more time than usual cooped up indoors right now.


Available for Apple, Android and Windows: price varies

This is a beautifully designed game where you plant trees and gradually lop off their branches in an effort to get them growing into the light.

Once they hit the sun’s rays they start sprouting blossom, but as the game progresses more barriers get in the way of your tree’s growth.

The lack of a time limit and the calming soundtrack all add to the zen-like experience.

screenshotDingbats: Between the Lines

Available for Android and Apple: free, with option to buy ad-free version

Decipher each puzzle’s visual clues to find the common phrase they represent.

(‘Long time no see’ – geddit?)

The game is available in English (geared towards British English) and French, and you can even submit your own puzzles.

screenshotZen Koi

Available for Apple and Android: free

Swim your little carp around a pond, eating wriggly grubs and looking for gems. As the game progresses, the pond gradually gets larger until your fish ascends into heaven as a dragon, or something.

You can breed your koi to create fish in all kinds of patterns and colours, but the big appeal of this game for me is that it is so languid. Nothing really happens for LONG STRETCHES at a time. Very therapeutic.

screenshotI Love Hue

Available for Apple and Android: free

This stylish game looks like a Pantone colour chart. A grid of colours first appears in an ordered, rainbow-like formation and is then mixed up. It’s your job to get it back in order.

And some tips on playing games without adding to your stress

Many games are designed to suck your time, attention and money and their designers will use every trick in the book to do it: getting you embroiled in unwinnable competitions, encouraging you to spend money to progress in the game or just designing the puzzles to be infuriating.

Here are my tips to make sure you’re not adding to any stress by playing games on your phone:

  1. If you can, buy the ad-free version. It’s a far more pleasant experience for the sake of a quid or two.
  2. Prioritise games that don’t have time limits as you don’t want to be playing under pressure.
  3. Avoid games that constantly push in-app purchases or encourage you to compare your score or achievements with others.
  4. Keep noticing how you feel. If your heart is racing or you feel irritable, take a break.

4 thoughts on “ Calming games you can play on your phone or tablet ”

  1. Extremely valuable post, as always! Thank you so much! I have been missing reading your posts. I find you have a different voice than most other minimalists (a European voice?). If you have a patreon account or a montly subscription for a post a month, I am in! (as long as it reasonable). I have 3-4 blogs that are valuable for me and I would like to support them, it just feels like a good choice, especially if I can avoid ads. I would not spend more than a total of 5 euros a month though but this is the kind of ad-free, content based economy I am dreaming of.
    On a side note, my daughter (6 years) and I are playing “the farm” and her attitude is very inspiring, totally non-competitive, i.e. she lets the cows sleep and rest and does not try to increase their productivity 😉

    1. I just want to add that I have followed you from the start (more ore less, at least since you posted on Miss Minimalist) and I have commented before under the name “Serene Focus” but I realize I havn’t commented on your last few blog posts (sometimes life gets in the way) so I guess I have to take my part of responsability for you writing less often. If you had had 30 comments on every post, you would surely write more often. I think it is an unfortunate general tendency for people to comment less (maybe because we are reading blogs on our phones, in the bus, waiting for the train, in the middle of more distraction and less confort to write than before when we were more at our desk on our computer etc…)

    2. Hi there Beatrice, thanks for such kind comments. I’ve not been blogging very much for the past year for a reason I’ll explain in a post to come, so no need for any readers to blame themselves! Your daughter’s approach to The Farm sounds absolutely adorable. Bless. And thanks for asking about donations, I did set up a Paypal donations facility a while back (mainly to help with the running costs of Simplicity Voices and keep it ad-free) which can be found here:

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