While playing games online or in person with mates is cool, sometimes you want to play a game that is a solo adventure. Putting on your headphones, loading up the console or the PC, putting your favourite music on - or getting lost in the game music and grinding away.
Playing games is incredibly relaxing; as soon as the loading screen starts, you can forget whatever else might be going on and really get into it.
Does gaming reduce stress?It would be difficult to skip the fact that there are internet memes that look at how aggressive some players get, screaming, throwing controllers, and generally being aggressive. But research leans heavily into the fact that gaming, for most other people, is an enjoyable and relaxing thing.
But what is about gaming that is relaxing?
- Video games offer a form of escapism - the same one that people who read a lot get.
- They are fun; playing your favourite game is a lot of fun and highly engaging. And fun means endorphins - the feel-good hormone. Gamers might just be happier.
- There are rewards when playing; almost all games have goals, and meeting goals gives us a sense of achievement. Not to mention collecting trophies, coins, gear or mounts.
- A lot of skills come while playing games, things like problem-solving, logic, and mathematics.
- We know that reaching a flow state for work or meditation is a powerful relaxant, and gaming helps us get into that flow state.
The Elder Scrolls OnlineMany MMORPGs come and go, but TESO is one of the better ones with a dedicated player base. For players who like to explore, do things in their own time, kill things as they want to and generally like to have full control of their game time, then this is the game for you.
The thing to remember is that if you choose to be solo as often, you’ll have to put extra work into taking things down - not everything in the game can be soloed.
PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Google Stadia.
Outer WildsIt is an indie game, so you can expect all of the typical quirks and fun stuff that only indie games really have. You’re in outer space, and as for the rest… Well, it is not what you might usually expect.
As a little alien, you will don your astronaut boots and start your very first day on the job. So, of course, a supernova will wipe out a galaxy - leaving you to adventure through space and time to work out what exactly happens. It is a smart game with a lot of interesting storylines.
Nintendo Switch, PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, and PS5.
Ori and the Will of the WispsIf you are into games that just look magic, then this is a great option. You have the very cute characters Ori, Sein, Naru and Ku. Ori and the Blind Forest was a game that quickly gained popularity for its lovely graphics - and this is an improvement on everything.
Moon Studios has successfully taken everything that people enjoyed and added to it while keeping this game as simple as possible. However, if you play this one before Ori and the Blind Forest, there are spoilers from the last game, so you might want to play the definitive edition of the Blind Forest first.
Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, PC.
God of WarSolo players have likely already played God of War - at the very least, in a demo. God of War has had rave reviews since the very first release, and each release since the initial one has been even better. It makes sense to go and try the latest one.
However, if you are into lore and storyline, it is worth returning to the original God of War 2005 release and moving through the story from the start. While you don’t need to play them in order, there is an overarching story that is interesting.
PlayStation(s), depending on where you start in the series, PC.
SolitaireYou might not have cars to hand or even be interested in playing cards on a table - but luckily, there are plenty of options online. Solitaire is great for solo players who want to work their brain muscles for a few hours, and it has been shown to help with cognition. Great stuff - but it is also fun!
Games like Spider Solitaire are so popular because they are relaxing, quiet and classic. As an added bonus, you can often play these via mobile rather than being hooked up to a console or a PC.
Elden RingStraight back into fantasy games with Elden Ring - a beautiful open-world game that has more things to explore than you’ll be able to cover in a single gaming session. There are enemies aplenty, dungeons and plenty of magic, too.
What makes Elden Ring such a great game is that it allows players to play how they want to, but you will still be looking to progress and take down huge enemies. Elden Ring offers a lot of character customisation - which is where many people end up spending the first hour or more of the game. There is a reason it was one of the biggest-selling games in 2022.
Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5, PC.
World of WarcraftAnother MMORPG that allows players to pursue whatever it is they enjoy about gaming. It is typically best if you join a guild - but once you have those perks, you can play however you want. There are plenty of quests, and with some skill and finesses, you can take down many of the group quests alone or group up for a few minutes to get them done.
The best gear is usually earned through downing the biggest foes in a raid, but just like other group quests, you can join up with runs in trade or via the LFG system.
There are a few expansions, and if you want to maximise your game time, you can skip all of the boosts (they have catch-up mechanisms for those who want to get to max and gear quickly) or choose to play Classic, which still holds the same challenge as it did when it was first released.
The Witcher 3: Wild HuntThe Witcher has long been a popular solo game, and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is no different. It is important to note that combat style isn’t in keeping with many other combat games - so you’ll need to get a handle on it. That said, The Witcher games are some of the best around and are for the truly adventurous. It will probably take you being beaten by a few monsters before you manage to master the combat.
The general rule of thumb to master is to learn to dodge, roll and parry quickly. This one is not your average hack-and-slash; you’ll need to employ some skill to play well because the game can be brutal.
For a taster of The Witcher, you can watch it on Netflix - and decide if Geralt of Rivia is for you!
PS4, Switch, Xbox One, PC.
Gaming is one of the most enjoyable forms of entertainment, and the best thing about it is that there is no one way that you need to play. You can take it easy with card apps on your mobile phone, battle beasts across multiple fields, or spend your time gathering and making gold.