Mischief Maker’s Chill Game List

Like the title says. Games to help you chill out, maaaaan.

Trine 2: The Complete Story

To this day one of the most beautiful games ever created, and yes that is also in comparison to Trine 3 and 4.

Trine 2 is a side scrolling puzzler with a heavy emphasis on its physics engine and strongly influenced by The Lost Vikings. The player controls 3 characters with varied skills who can body-switch in a blink, and fight their way through armies of nefarious goblins and mind-boggling witch’s portal-traps to solve the mystery of the talking flower. Along the way they’ll pick up hundreds of magic potions that unlock new powers in their extensive skill trees, providing new ways to fight and new tools to solve puzzles.

All of this happens in one of the most gorgeously rendered storybook-come-to-life worlds I’ve ever seen realized in video game form. I’ve long since solved the game’s puzzles, but playing it over and over is still a delight to this day, it’s that pretty.

Aven Colony

A “lite” city builder that tasks you with creating mankind’s first space colony on the nearly Earth-like moon of the gas giant Aven Prime using TNG-esque levels of technology.

It’s not all juggling power levels with food income and entertainment infrastructure. Aven Prime is teeming with life, much of it unfriendly, like giant sand worms, or floating plague spores, or more intelligent foes who need to be fought off with plasma turrets. The moon’s environment itself constantly throws curve balls, changing seasons from summer to winter in a single day and frequently having lightning and hailstorms. But despite all this the game remains imminently accessible, maybe holding your hand a little too much with constnat tutorial mini-quests that give substantial resource rewards (sandbox mode lets you play without these tutorials).

While a game like Surviving Mars shows what a claustrophobic nightmare being trapped on an Elon Musk-style Mars colony would be, I would love to live on Aven Colony. Building an entertainment center and gaining the ability to explore your creation in a 3rd person chase cam behind a hover cab is an experience that feels hopeful and optimistic in a way Star Trek hasn’t been for decades. It doesn’t hurt that the graphics really show off the Unreal Engine 4 at its absolute best.


Solitaire is a chill game, but gets kinda boring. Shadowhand is solitaire mixed with a Puzzle-Quest-style battle system and all tied around an extensive story of a young 18th century noblewoman who by chance is forced to take on the disguise of a busty highwayman and go on an alarmingly murderous rampage to save her friend and uncover a vast conspiracy. So significantly less boring.

The solitaire game is fairly simple at its core. Cards are fanned out in various piles on the table, and your job is to remove them by picking a card one point higher or lower than the current card in your hand, replacing your hand card with the one removed, keeping it going in as long a combo as you can before having to draw a new card. Longer combos give larger rewards. The combat scenarios have you and the enemy making matches from the same table of cards, with combos charging up your weapons, and longer chains add to a damage multiplier. Weapon attacks end your turn. Sometimes the card piles are locked until you find a key item buried in another pile, sometimes you and your enemy are racing to be the one to grab the healing potion buried under some piles. The game has a surprisingly deep equipment system, allowing you to see the strengths and weaknesses of your opponent and change outfits before every match to maximize your advantage while gradually dressing your protagonist into some kind of lunatic clown pimp.

The one detail that might harsh your chill is this is solitaire at the end of the day, and a bad shuffle is a bad shuffle, even in verses battles. But the game does give you several active powers to turn the odds back in your favor, including a titular Shadowhand ability the re-scrambles the entire table. Do you want the very best Solitaire game ever made? This is it.

Tokyo 42

An isometric overhead GTA-clone taking place in an idealized sci fi Tokyo at a “Where’s Waldo?” level of zoom. In the future, death has been cured by nano-drugs that restitch people’s bodies back together in seconds, making assassination a much less despised profession. Forced into becoming a freelance hitman to get the underworld contacts necessary to clear your name of a crime you didn’t commit, Tokyo 42 is the chillest game about murder and mayhem I’ve ever played.

You move with WASD and aim with the mouse. Bullets are rendered as 3D objects and need to be lined up vertically as well as horizontally, but this game is much more forgiving than Brigador with the aiming mechanics. At any time you can rotate the camera 45 degrees to get a better angle on your target or reveal new routes to travel in. Occasionally you will get a warning that there’s a rival assassin in the crowd and you need to figure out which random passerby is about to attack. If you go on a rampage, the game has a full GTA-style star system where you’re at first attacked by cops in hover cars, later by “Ghost in-the-Shell spider tanks.

The aesthetic of the game is like Mirror’s Edge if that bright dystopia was much livelier and more inviting. The music is wonderfully immersive and very, very chill. Note that the Smaceshi’s Castles downloadable content is just a series of short puzzle missions a la the VR Missions from Metal Gear Solid on an entirely different map.

Driftland: The Magic Revival

A real time 4X game in the vein of Sins of a Solar Empire taking place on a shattered fantasy world made up of floating islands. You and your opponents are the first wizards born in a generation powerful enough to bring the floating shards together and bridge them, setting off a war to see who will be the first to rebuild and subsequently rule the world.

In addition to Sins, Driftland is influenced by the Majesty games. Your army is made up of individual hero units who you don’t control directly, but rather influence their actions by placing reward flags throughout the world. The economy is nothing like Majesty, though, none of the heroes have their own money, you’re instead balancing the limited housing each shard can support with the land-hungry farming necessary to feed them so your citizens can be put to work extracting resources used to equip your heroes with various skills to make them more potent fighters against hostile barbarians and rival kingdoms. The most powerful floating islands you can capture have nests on them where heroes can tame a flying mount ranging from a giant raven to an actual dragon (Dwarves don’t tame, they build their own flying machines). Obviously in a world of floating islands, heroes who can fly have a huge advantage.

Another game that shows off the Unreal Engine 4 at its best. Gorgeous glowing spell effects, close zoom levels that let you see a dizzying horizon of stars above the exposed planet’s core. And each of the 4 factions has their own separate musical score that changes dynamically with the action. I personally love the African Tribal sound they chose for the wood elves’ OST, reminiscent of Civilization 4. Note that there’s a big balance overhaul/expansion coming in June so aspects of this mini review may be out of date very soon.

Yoku’s Island Express

A pinball Metroidvania! You play a dung beetle tied to a huge pinball who has just been given a job as the postmaster on a magical tropical island, but just as you arrive an ancient evil called the Godslayer has critically injured the Lovecraftian deity who sustains the island. So it’s up to you to gather the island’s scattered elders to heal the deity while delivering everyone’s long-overdue letters and packages.

You can roll your ball across flat stretches dung beetle-style with the arrow keys, but the island is dotted with color-coded flippers everywhere that flip automatically when you hit the corresponding shift key, sending the ball flying with your effectively weightless beetle dangling behind it. Your primary mode of travel will be bouncing your way through ramps and other obstacles behind your ball. The entire island is basically a giant pinball table!

The game is rendered in bright colors with a peppy soundtrack as you bounce and slide your way through its delightful environs. Unfortunately most of the distinct “tables” in the game are solved by shattering their targets, not leaving much room for repeat play in a single session. But this is a game I’ve 100%’ed many times, and replaying it doesn’t get any more old than replaying a favorite pinball cabinet. (Protips: some flippers are hidden in the background and only revealed when you flip them, and the noise maker can explode nearby slugs. You’ll thank me later!)

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Mischief Maker