Ten Feelgood Games to Make You Smile

Ten Feelgood Games to Make You Smile

By  Gary Sheppard - 15th Jan 2024

What to play when you just want some wholesomeness. 

Ten Feelgood Games to Make You Smile

There are times when you want a really fast-paced and intense game to get the adrenaline going: something with lots of action and adventure and perhaps some really large monsters to flatten. These titles aren’t for those times, however. Instead, here’s a selection that will give you a big ol’ dopamine hit. Because, when it comes down to it, who doesn’t love a videogame with heart, charm, and perhaps a few cute animals thrown in for good measure? So here are ten games that you can play when you just need a pick-me-up. 

Arcade Paradise

Genre: Simulation

Developer: Nosebleed Interactive

Publisher: Wired Productions

I don’t know about you, but nothing makes me feel comforted like nostalgia. Arcade Paradise has that in absolute spades. You’re tasked with building the arcade of your dreams after realising that the laundrette you inherited from your father actually makes more money from the old coin-op in the corner than the laundry machines themselves. But this isn’t just a builder; you can, in fact, walk around to play all those fantastic machines. Within Arcade Paradise, there are tonnes of lovingly crafted original games, all created to evoke the feel of those coin guzzlers of yesteryear. If you’re a gamer of a certain age, or you just love the early days of our wonderful hobby, then it really is paradise. 


Genre: Puzzle, Rhythm

Developer: Zoë Mode

Publisher: OneBigGame

With a concept that’s essentially Tetris meets ambient dance music, Chime is one of the most relaxing games that you’re ever likely to play. The music is layered as you place tiles on the board, building up loops and patterns as you play. This makes for a soundtrack that’s unique to each instance of a round. Originally created to benefit the charity publisher OneBigGame, the developer still donates a portion of the proceeds to charity to this day, so you get to feel good about where the money goes to boot.

Donut County

Genre: Puzzle

Developer: Ben Esposito

Publisher: Annapurna Interactive

With cute graphics, adorable characters, and the most charismatic raccoon antagonist, this is a game that ups the squee factor to ten. You’ll be controlling a hole that swallows up everything in sight, growing along the way. It’s a very satisfying game with a wholesome and cute backstory running through it. Add in the soothing, soft soundtrack, and you’ve got the gaming equivalent of a quiet Sunday afternoon in the garden. 

Doraemon Story of Seasons

Genre: Farming Simulation

Developer: Marvelous Inc.

Publisher: BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment

Talking of gardening, how do you improve on one of the oldest and most loved farming simulators? By adding one of Japan’s oldest and most lovable cartoon characters, of course! Blending the chill of tending to crops with the beaming smile of Doraemon gives the game an even more feel-good twist. The core gameplay is just as good as always, but the added licence is the cherry on top. 

Key We

Genre: Co-Op Puzzle Platformer

Developer: Stonewheat & Sons

Publisher: Fireshine Games

This one is for when you want to feel good but in co-op. Key We puts you and a second player in control of two adorable little fluffy kiwis (the bird, not the fruit) as you try to post letters, type messages, and otherwise run the postal service of a sleepy little town. Things can get a bit hectic at times, but the fuzzy little title characters mean that nothing is ever too far from being cosy and charming, even when you are frantically running against the clock to get all the post out on time. 

Ni no Kuni Wrath of the White Witch Remastered

Genre: JRPG

Developer: Level5

Publisher: BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment

Studio Ghibli is often affectionately referred to as the Disney of Japan. This makes sense, given that most of their output is of the charmingly wholesome variety that’s fun for all the family. With their animation behind the game, Ni No Kuni was always going to be a delight to see, and with the traditional JRPG style, it’s a title you can play at your own pace. Just as well in my opinion, as artwork this lovely demands savouring. 

Planet Zoo

Genre: Simulation

Developer: Frontier Developments

Publisher: Frontier Developments

Given that many of my picks here contain cute animals, you may well have guessed that this was going to feature. If you have a favourite animal, it’s almost certain to be in this game or one of its many DLCs. There’s just so much to see and do in Planet Zoo, and even after hundreds of hours of play, I’m still finding new things to add to my resort each time I play. Plus, there’s a huge amount of information to learn as well, so it serves as a knowledge booster for real life. 

Songbird Symphony

Genre: 2D Platformer

Developer: Joysteak Studios 

Publisher: PQube

Another game that features a cute animal and a lilting soundtrack, Songbird Symphony has all of the charm and heart that you might expect from a 16-bit platform game. It looks like one, too, with absolutely beautiful pixel art. The main character is even called “Birb”, so it’s definitely another one for people who like their animals cute,, and their games adorable. 

We Love Katamari REROLL

Genre: Puzzle

Developer: Monkeycraft

Publisher: BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment

There’s nothing about the Katamari series that isn’t cheerful. From the jaunty J-pop style soundtrack, through the colourful and vibrant graphics, to the endless upbeat positivity of the characters throughout; it’s gained a reputation as a wholesome and happy title with good reason. This HD remake just adds another level of sheen to an already wonderful game, which is just as much fun to play as it was back on the GameCube. 

Yooka Laylee

Genre: 3D Platformer

Developer: Playtonic Games

Publisher: Playtonic Friends

And talking of older-style games, this Nintendo 64-style platformer was created by members of the team behind that system’s classic Banjo-Kazooie. Seen by many as something of a spiritual successor to that title, Yooka Laylee is a collectathon platformer in a bright and cartoon-like world. If you were a fan of that genre back in the day, then you’ll enjoy the nostalgia. But even if you’re not, it’s still a wonderful piece of joyful platforming action that you can’t fail to be entranced by. 

So there we are; whether it’s a calming round of gathering carrots, an evening spent looking after animals, or hectic laughs with a friend trying to get fuzzy birds to post letters, there’s something for everyone here. With all of these games available now on Fanatical, why not treat yourself to a few grins with one of these great games? 

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