When most non-gamers hear “video games,” they usually think of titles like Halo, Grand Theft Auto, and World of Warcraft. Maybe they think of casual games such as those found on Facebook or mobile devices. The truth is that there are some great PS3 games where no one is shooting at you and that progress at a more leisurely pace. These three titles for the PS3 are all low-key, Zen-type experiences that can easily be played by non-gamers who have a basic handle on how the controller works. They are equally enjoyable for more experienced gamers who don’t feel the need for bloodshed.
Unfinished Swan – This unique game is a mysterious, puzzle-oriented adventure. You start with a blank screen and no instructions. If you can figure out what to do next, you’ll slowly unfold a story and the world will begin to take shape. This is mostly relaxing fun, although one or two of the areas required some fancy footwork (jumping) skills that I generally lack. It is available for download from the PlayStation Network.
Okabu – Okabu is a quirky little puzzle game with an environmental message. You play as two whale-shaped clouds, Kumulo and Nimbe, with the option to explore single or multiplayer. The clouds set out to combat against a series of environmental hazards, but although it clearly has an eco-friendly message, it’s not a preachy title. In fact, it’s not a deep game at all. Okabu is a fluffy title, if you’ll excuse the pun, but one that lends itself nicely to a relaxing session of gaming. Floating around as a cloud is hardly a bad way to spend an afternoon, and the puzzles aren’t particularly challenging. Instead, you can just focus on the playfulness of the whole thing and maybe bring your kids along for the ride. Okabu is available on the PlayStation Network.
Journey – Journey is a beautiful gaming experience. You find yourself alone in desert terrain. As you drift across the sand toward a distant mountain, you begin to see ruins emerge ahead. What will they hold? As you explore, you’ll find yourself delving deeper into a mystery, all the while undertaking your own personal Hero’s Journey. I don’t want to give away much about this title, but I should add that you can play online multiplayer. There is no dialogue and you can only communicate with other journeyers by your onscreen actions. I played through Journey (single player) in one night on my couch in the dark and I loved it. There are some tricky puzzles and some dark and creepy scenes, but very little fast finger work with the controller. Journey is now available bundled with two other titles, Flow and Flower, which also subscribe to the philosophy that gaming doesn’t need to be a frenetic experience. Journey is the most substantial of the three. Journey can be found at Amazon, but also as a download on the PlayStation Network.
All three of these games are mostly relaxing, although the puzzles can occasionally be frustrating. If you want a really chill experience, keep your laptop or tablet nearby and look for help online with puzzles that are stressing you out.
Do you have favorite titles for low-key gaming?
Disclosure: We received review copies of all three of these games. There was no additional compensation and no promise of a positive review. All opinions are my own.