This is part two of our list of seven wholesome games to cheer you up. If you somehow ended up here by accident, click here to go to part one!
Assemble With Care (Apple Arcade, PC)
If your idea of mind-balm is watching things slot perfectly into place — we can’t be the only ones who watch hours of extremely satisfying YouTube montages, can we? — then Assemble With Care might be the precise tonic your brain is after.
Sitting in a workshop on the sunny isle of Bellariva, your job is to restore antiques by carefully taking them apart, patching them up, and dutifully piecing them back together. Each of the 13 items which arrives on your table is a fresh puzzle to focus your mind on, while the details of each reveal the nature or history of its owner. It’s a brief experience, but one that never wastes your time, and provides a remarkably tactile satisfaction as you inspect, rotate and repair each antique that’s brought your way.
Slime Rancher (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
Released back in 2016, Slime Rancher may be getting on a bit in years, but you’ll struggle to find a cheerier farming game around. Setting up shop on an alien world, your job is to scoop up slimes — unflappably smiley, bouncing blobs of jelly — from the environment, bringing them back to your ranch where you’ll care for and feed them as they produce valuable goods for you.
Slime Rancher is an unrelentingly jolly experience, and the game’s success has seen it receive plenty of updates since launch. If you’ve not tried it before or haven’t played since the months after release, then this is a great time to muck out the sties and get those hands goopy on a colorful alien planet.
Related reading: The best farming games to chill out with
Arcade Spirits (PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One)
Arcade Spirits imagines a world in which the video game crash of the 1980s never happened, leaving us with a world brimming with color, neon signs and more than a few games cabinets kicking about. But while arcade games are cool and all, the real heart of this romantic visual novel is in the relationships.
Picking up a job at the Funplex arcade, you’ll meet all sorts of game-hungry customers there for a good time, high scores, and maybe a smooch or two. Oh, and you’ll probably want to save the whole place from an suspiciously sinister takeover. Unlike most relationship sims, Arcade Spirits isn’t just about the loving, you’re free to pursue platonic relationships with all the cast, not just commit yourself to one person per playthrough.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Nintendo Switch)
Be honest, you knew this one was coming, didn’t you? The initial wild rush of Animal Crossing: New Horizons may have passed, but it remains one of the best games around right now to chill out with. Embarking on a happy little island adventure, New Horizons offers the chance to dive in each day for as long or short of a session as you like.
Chat to your adorable friends, head out on nook miles adventures, grow flowers, lay down paths, and design cozy rooms in your house. How much time you put into Animal Crossing: New Horizons and what you choose to do with the time to commit is entirely up to you, and the game won’t punish you for it. New fish and bugs arrive each month, and the regular events like the current Stamp Rally which mark the game’s calendar can keep you entertained throughout the year. New Horizons is our go-to chillout game, and is likely to remain that way for a long old time.
And there you have it, our choice of seven wholesome video games you can play for a smile whenever you’re feeling down. Do you have your own perfect game that’s guaranteed to deliver a sunny spell? Share some of those smiles with us by leaving a message down in the comments below.