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6th June 2024

Three cute games for de-stressing

What could be better for stress than soft colours, cute animals and vegetables with rocket launchers?
Three cute games for de-stressing
Credit: worm club

Words by Valentina Ashdown

No matter their degree, every student has unique ways of winding down after assessments or in between study sessions. It may feel like you can’t work enough to get where you need to, but sometimes you’re much more practical once you’ve let your brain rest for an hour or two. I’m here to recommend some games that are easy to pick up, and light-hearted enough to distract you from the nauseating anticipation that comes with worrying about exam results.

Frog Detective: The Entire Mystery

Grab your magnifying glass and try not to let it slip out of your hands! Frog Detective: The Entire Mystery is a delightful collection of three games by developer worm club that gives you exactly what the title would lead you to believe. This is technically three games in one, but they’re each so short and digestible that it feels closer to hopping from case to case. 

You play as the titular frog detective, the 2nd best investigator around, right behind the revered lobster cop. He may be easily swept up in conversation and unable to wear hats due to the shape of his head (Frog says this about himself), but he’s on the hunt for more than flies: he’s looking for answers. Throughout the cases you meet a series of whimsical yet blunt characters such as your biggest fan, Mystery Monkey; a loitering mouse, Rhonda Dynamite, and an alert mallard named Orbit.

Credit: worm club

The dialogue is frank and witty, subverting the rounded and silly aesthetic of these animals with the feeling of a classic noir film vibe, certainly assisted by the jazz-inspired soundtrack. And before you start with the copaganda allegations, Frog is just a little guy driven by mystery and corruption that even he has to contend with. The gameplay is intuitive and mainly based on finding items and swapping them with the individuals you meet as you leap into these mysteries. 

The cases included in the collection are Frog Detective 1: The Haunted Island (2018), Frog Detective 2: The Case of the Invisible Wizard (2019), and Frog Detective 3: Corruption at Cowboy County (2022) and altogether don’t take longer than five hours to finish. You’d be toad-ally stupid to pass up an opportunity to play these games! 

Untitled Goose Game

Have you ever wanted to terrorise a rural village while having a button designated to flapping your intimidating, white wings? Untitled Goose Game (2019) was a huge hit online soon after its release for the simple chaos it allows one to indulge in. You play as a goose and spend your time completing a hand-written to-do list that pretty much revolves around being an asshole by sneaking around, stealing grocery items, having a picnic, scaring children, snapping brooms, becoming a tv-star, destroying the relationship between two neighbours, and so many more shenanigans. 

Developed by House House, the controls are easy to pick up and the stealth mechanics that the player is required to use in order to waddle deeper into this English village. The visuals are rich with colour that perfectly characterises this setting, and the minimalist style makes it a calming game – when you aren’t being chased down by a gardener who just wants his thermos back. This is without mentioning the beautiful piano that accompanies when moments grow more tense depending on if you’re being chased by a gardener, or engaging in a tug-o-war with an old man. And when the game makes it impossible not to do these actions, it punctuates the otherwise peaceful ambience of the game. 

‘It’s a lovely morning in the village, and you are a horrible goose.’
Credit: Panic Inc.

This game isn’t relaxing in the traditional sense, but it is captivating and silly, making it easy to pick up and just go wild for a while. Maybe it’s the power geese wield over so many people’s fear that makes this game so appealing. Lots of us have memories of being bitten by geese, so maybe we’re just reclaiming that moment. This game exudes happiness and if being able to HONK at will doesn’t make you chuckle, you have a much colder heart than a goose.

Turnip Boy Robs a Bank

It’s not only animals that can be cute, but vegetables too. In a similar vein as Untitled Goose Game, Turnip Boy Robs a Bank is a relaxing game in the sense that it allows you to forget about your problems and get sucked into some rapid gameplay and some light-hearted humour. 

This game sprouted in January 2024 as a sequel to Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion (2021), following the titular Turnip Boy into his new endeavours of heavily armed robbery with the help of the Pickled Gang. Each time you return to the bank, you only have a few minutes to steal as much money as possible, kill as many peach cops and snail security guards as possible, find better guns to trade into your guy so your starting weapons improve, and progress deeper into the bank to fight bosses. All this so you go back to your base and spend a bunch of money on performance enhancers and the dark web. Get back to your escape van before the time runs out or you’ll have enemies coming at you from every angle. 

Credit: Graffiti Games

The developers, Snoozy Kazoo, used an adorable, pixelated style with bright colours that add to the zippy feeling of the game, as well as an energetic soundtrack to match the fast pace of the roguelite gameplay with the occasional bullet-hell boss fights. The unhinged cast of characters you get side quests from have as little chill as Turnip Boy with a chainsaw. From the Shroominati cult you can join to the unprofessional streamer SlayQueen63, you won’t be given a moment to think about any serious worries. It’s ripe with enjoyment to be had, and who doesn’t want to see a turnip firing a grenade launcher or using a scythe?

All of these games are great for a long sitting or short burst of playing it so you can easily fit them into your schedule if you just need to step away from life. Why go outside when you can solve or bring chaos from the safety of your own bedroom?

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