Games for the Anxious - Low Stress and Engaging?

I have never been a gamer, but I’ve always wanted to be.  Now that I have a little extra time on my hands, and a desire for distraction from real life, I’m looking for games that won’t leave me feeling stressed out and anxious. I'm also looking for a game that will engage me long enough to get into a zone, where I forget time and space.  I need the antithesis of Temple Run.


So far, the only game that has managed to keep my interest has been Monopoly,  of all things, considering I was never a fan of the board game.  It has just enough interaction, thought requirement, and ease of use, plus reward, that I have been able to play it for hours.  The only challenge with Monopoly though is that you can get to a point of beating the computer, then giving the computer just enough money back in trade and gifts that you can play in an endless game of simply siphoning off it's salary.  Sounds a little too much like the way monopolies in real life work. 💩  It is a great game for playing with others over bluetooth or wifi as well.

Lego Harry Potter

Lego Harry Potter brought on a little stress from time to time, but I found that when something struck me as too stressful, I could just wander around in the game and look at things.  The scenery is pretty great, and being a huge Harry Potter fan, it made up for the moments of stress.  I did get to a few points in the game where I was stymied and didn't know what to do next, so that was just frustrating.  I ended up cheating and looking up solutions on the net a few times.  I guess my impatience won out.  I have only played years 1-4, and since I never finished the game, I didn't feel right buying years 5-7, though I would like to just for the scenery.  Maybe someday when I'm feeling flush with cash I'll spring for it.  

I do wish there was a Harry Potter game for the iPad that wasn't Lego.  It's sort of distracting having all of the characters be all blocky, but I'll take what I can get for now.


I throw this one in because the character and the storyline are just SO adorable you can't pass it up.  Now, the caveat...  It was so difficult to figure out some of the puzzles that I often tossed it aside in frustration.  Somehow though, the actual game play isn't stressful, and in each scene, you get to explore at your own pace and do the problem solving.  Perhaps I've been too anxious when playing to pay full enough attention for the problem solving.  I've owned this game a long time, and come back to it time and again, simply restarting at the beginning.  I know how to get through the beginning stages and it's so fun to watch the scenes unfold that I haven't tired of it yet.  One day I hope to get through the whole game, just to see more neat scenes. 

I could really use some suggestions for some more good games that fit the criteria which seems to be impossible to find. I keep searching phrases like: 

  • iOS games for non-gamers
  • iPad games for non-gamers
  • Games for people that don't like games
  • Low-stress iOS games
  • Engaging low stress games for iPad
  • iPhone games for non-gamers
  • No stress games that hold my interest
  • Low stress, high engagement iOS game

These search terms don’t seem to be leading me in the right direction.

I long for the days of the old Sim City and Roller Coaster Tycoon, which were barely able to run on my old Gateway desktop computer that I dragged all around the country over a decade ago.  Those games were simple, they were engaging, they were low stress.  I was able to ignore the world for hours, staying up all night building parks and cities.  I want to find that same type of experience again, only I want it on my iPad.  

It seems like there are a million apps on the store for building cities, towers, civilizations, farms, and even people.  The problem is, those games all seem to need constant attention.  It’s like the old Tamagotchi pocket pets, and the last thing I need is notifications popping up telling me that I’m falling behind at caring for some digital, needy, something or other.  I just need a game that when I play it, I get into it.  

I thought that the iOS version of Sim City would solve my woes, but for some reason the color scheme looks post apocalyptic and depressing.  It’s turned me off since the day it came onto the App Store.  I fell in love with the game when it was on DOS.  That statement makes me feel old.  The old school versions were my favorites though.  I remember playing for hours with roommates and friends on the Super Nintendo when I was in my late teens.

Some of the construction type games are fun, but they don't hold the same appeal of getting lost into a world, and I don't find them to be ones I want to come back to time and again.  I usually turn to them when I've been searching for something new and I don't have any luck, and at least I know I don't hate them.  I guess I'm apathetic to them unless I'm in the right mood.


I'm not giving up hope yet. Surely the right one will come along in due time. 🙏