When times are stressful, being around other people can sometimes get a bit tough. There are a lot of opinions out there, and it’s not ideal to have to deal with more of them than we’d like showing up in our mentions, at our desks, on the street, and so on. You know, wherever people can be found.
Even if you’re feeling burned out on the whole ‘interacting with other humans’ thing, though, isolating yourself can be unhealthy. And if you just want a chance to interact peacefully, going offline may be a step beyond what you’re looking for. These five games leave the lines of communications open while keeping the potential for harassment and arguments at an absolute minimum.
Created by Might and Delight, the folks behind Shelter and Pid, Meadow is a social game that allows you to take on the role of a small animal in the woods. Like any other baby badger or bear cub, you can’t talk — but you can still communicate using a selection of emotes. You can also play together, explore, and unlock new features as you go.
Just check out this review from Steam user Dread Baron Beardly:
I was born a badger cub. I wandered around not knowing what to do.
I eventually came upon a bear cub. We played and ran around collecting flowers. I was happy… then the bear cub died. I was sad and didn’t know what to do. I found a ball which I pushed to the tree where I met the bear and sat there and cried.
Then a weasel showed up and we played ball. And a bunny jumped in. I was happy again.
The life of a badger.
Sounds like just the thing, doesn’t it? Meadow is new, and still has a pretty small audience — but it’s an audience that can’t talk politics, so does size really matter?
You probably already know of thatgamecompany’s Journey. You may have already played it. But if you need a refreshing break from hostile game interactions, it’s still wonderful to revisit. It’s not as popular as it once was, but hey — the more of us who decide to replay it, the more kind, generous people there will be to play with.
The Endless Forest (PC)
Like Meadow, Tale of Tales’ The Endless Forest is a multiplayer game that allows you to play around in a mystical forest without using words. You play a stag who can cast spells, explore, and emote — pretty much anything but talk. It holds up surprisingly well for a game created in 2005, but its developers plan to improve it with a major update they hope to crowdfund.
Hearthstone (Win, Mac, iOS, Android)
Sometimes you want a competition, not a romp in the forest. In those cases, Blizzard Entertainment’s Hearthstone may be just the thing. The collectible card game is not only free to play, it also leaves out any sort of chat between competitors. Basic communication is possible with emotes, but the game is the focus — not your opponents.
If you’ve played in the past, you might want to take a look at the upcoming expansion, The Mean Streets of Gadgetzan.
Splatoon (Wii U)
In 2015, Nintendo took on a genre that doesn’t really fit with its kid-friendly brand: the multiplayer shooter. But Splatoon manages to make shooting utterly adorable. In order to keep things safe for its audience, Nintendo chose not to include voice chat. That also makes it the perfect shooter for those times when chatting is just too much.