December 10, 2012 9:00 AM   Subscribe

Non-reflex dependent, not-too-hard video games, preferably for the Xbox?

I like to play video games to relax and decompress. However, I have terrible, terrible, grossly awful reflexes and a low threshold for trying to figure things out. Like, I just want to push some buttons and have things happen already.

Can you recommend me some games, preferably on the XBox? For games that are really awesome, I also have access to a PC, a Mac, and iOS.

Games that I love, either on the XBox or elsewhere:
  • Kingdom Rush
  • Viva Pinata
  • Defense Grid
  • TD Bloons
  • Linley's Dungeon Crawler
Games that I have tried, and that do not work for me:
  • Any puzzle game whatsoever (I have no tolerance for frustration when I'm playing video games. For example, Braid is too frustrating. Same for those two other beautiful and great-for-other-people Doublefine releases, Psychonauts and Stacking.)
  • Castle Crashers (I have terrible reflexes. Oblivion, Skyrim, Assassin's Creed, and anything like Arkham Asylum are right out.)
  • Lego video games (Seriously, I'm not kidding about the terribleness of my reflexes. See also, puzzles.)
  • Carcassone and Catan (Spatial puzzles with strategy component? HALP NO)
  • Botanicula (Too open-ended)
  • The Sims (Too open-ended)
  • Chime (Too much time pressure)
  • Time management games (Too much time pressure)
  • Every point-and-click adventure game I've ever tried (Stupid puzzles. Stupid frustration.)
  • Tiny Towers, Jurassic Park, and other iOS games that are overtly designed to suck money
posted by joyceanmachine to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (17 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
XCOM: Enemy Unknown
posted by cali59 at 9:09 AM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you love Costume Quest, and are okay with using emulators, Earthbound and Mother 3 are highly recommended. Earthbound was a big inspiration for that game, and is in the OMG BEST GAME EVAR lists of so many people.
posted by naju at 9:13 AM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

The fair people of MeFi who own XBoxes should be along soon, but if you'd like to give adventure games one more try, you could try The Curse of Monkey Island i.e. Monkey Island 3. It has a lot of dialogue and even though puzzles are what you'd expect, they aren't too difficult with one exception late in the game. It's also hilariously funny and it runs on modern computers through SCUMMVM and iOS.

On preview: If you follow the emulation route, play Chrono Trigger. Turn-based, good characters, not too open-ended but not too linear either and all-around fun.
posted by ersatz at 9:19 AM on December 10, 2012

The episodic Walking Dead game is awesome, there are one or two puzzles but they aren't that bad and not reflex related at all.
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 9:33 AM on December 10, 2012

You might like Superbrother's Sword and Sworcery EP (for IOS, PC, etc), I recommended it in another thread. There's a bit of reflex stuff but it's not too bad, and it's point-n-clicky but without being overwrought. The atmosphere is really great.
posted by hellojed at 9:36 AM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Beautiful Katamari...haven't played that particular one (no xbox) but all of the games in the series are beyond awesome...simple to learn, hard to quit...it's VERY Japanese and VERY wacky...roll around a giant sticky ball and pick up stuff...thats it. The more stuff you pick up, the bigger the ball gets, the bigger the ball, the bigger stuff you can pick up...from thumbtacks and ants to skyscrapers and planets....and the music is catchy like herpes. It's one of the very few games out there that's a) fun to watch others play and b) fun even if you totally suck at it...
posted by sexyrobot at 9:37 AM on December 10, 2012

Best answer: You might give the Mass Effect games a try. ME2 and ME3 both have very streamlined "critical paths" that pretty effectively hold your hand throughout the game (making the way forward very clear, while still allowing for exploration). ME2's "casual" mode makes running through the combat areas a breeze, without removing all the satisfaction of deciding on weapon loadouts, managing your team, etc.

ME3 even has a "narrative" difficulty mode, which "is intended for players who are more interested in story than combat. Shepard and squadmates are stronger, weapons are easier to handle, and enemies are weaker and less aggressive." Might be perfect for you.

In all three Mass Effect games, you can also pause and adjust your aim at any time, which basically makes reflexes a non-issue. (I don't enjoy twitchy shooters, but I love Mass Effect.)

Fallout 3's difficulty level is also highly adjustable. The VATS system essentially lets you pause the game to choose (from a menu) which enemies to target. Not demanding of reflexes at all, and there's generally pretty clear guidance on what to do and where to go next.
posted by aparrish at 10:01 AM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Also, if you like Linley's Dungeon Crawl, you might be interested in any of the many roguelikes available for iOS, like 100 Rogues or Sword of Fargoal.
posted by aparrish at 10:13 AM on December 10, 2012

I second X-Com:Enemy Unknown. Tt's a medium-deep game (by which I mean it's not Chess) with excellent stretches of base-building, research, resource mismanagement (the way I play, at least), and then it has turn-based combat with a very good interface. No reflexes needed, as combat is purely a dice-roll; you've got the same odds on any given shot as the twitchiest gamer ever born.

X-Com is not, however, a drop-in-and-fight kinda game-- sometimes you have to spend time on the base side doing management. However, when you're out of things to do (and nothing takes much time), the clock accelerates to a super-speed until an event occurs-- and event that needs your attention, at least, which keeps the pace of the game exactly where you want it.

I also second aparrish's Fallout 3 recommendation. I can't speak for the ME games, though.

Also, props for recognizing the awesomeness that is Defense Grid. I didn't like tower games until I met Defense Grid, and I'm looking forward to the sequel.
posted by Sunburnt at 10:20 AM on December 10, 2012

Best answer: Seconding The Walking Dead - it's more like an interactive TV series and the 'puzzle' sections aren't even really puzzles.

XCOM - consider it a deeper, thicker, less funny version of Costume Quest.


Little Inferno for PC. No gameplay at all, you just burn stuff and... stuff happens, you'll see.

Dear Esther.

Thomas Was Alone. It's a platformer-puzzle game, but I personally found the puzzles really easy. Again, YMMV, but you ask me, it's a great decompress game. Definitely no Braid-style PhD cleverness puzzles.

These are really, *really* short games, but you and everyone should play Gravity Bone and Thirty Flights of Loving.

Civilization V? You don't need fast reflexes, and if you play on an easy difficulty, you don't really have to figure much out. You just start a game, do stuff, end the turn, ad infinitum. Sounds pretty much perfect, if you ask me.

To The Moon. No real gameplay to speak of, so you're good. Fantastic storytelling.
posted by Senza Volto at 11:19 AM on December 10, 2012

Plants vs Zombies - it's a tower defense game, but even the boss level is pretty do-able. No twitch required.
posted by rmd1023 at 11:46 AM on December 10, 2012

I would try the Xbox Carcassonne again on easy. It requires pretty much no skill at all at that level.
posted by fiercekitten at 12:45 PM on December 10, 2012

Best answer: Xbox is kind of the wrong platform for casual games, I think, so I can't help you there, but...

Kirby games are carefully designed so you can't get stuck. They're also easy in that while they do use reflexes, recovery items are plentiful and death isn't a big deal. Start with Kirby Superstar for the SNES if you can't get access to a Wii. In Kirby's Epic Yarn there I think there's no such thing as death.

Japanese visual novel based games (bear with me here) are often structured so that there's sub-optimal choices but no failure, so even if it's got a plot similar to, say, an old Lucas Arts adventure game, you won't be stuck if you can't figure out which random item goes in which random hole - you'll just have some minor penalty and the story will go on. I'm most familiar with the Sakura Wars series which I won't recommend because combat's kind of involved (though easy), but that might serve as a good starting point.

Have you tried the Tales games? They're like Final Fantasy in that they have a looong story and you run around and fight monsters sometimes, but monster fights happen in real time and you push buttons and things explode. You have to understand the combat system a bit but as far as I recall they're all easy.

Little King's Story for the Wii is probably similar to Costume Quest in some ways - it's top down and you run around and smack things - but it has the village-building element. Worth a look.
posted by 23 at 9:10 PM on December 12, 2012

Best answer: Oh man, I loved costume quest! It's one of like 3 games this year that I've played for more than an hour. The other 2 are dungeons of dreadmor (PC, turn based, funny, and you're gonna die) and terraria (also pc, and maybe too open-ended for you).
posted by hishtafel at 6:20 PM on December 17, 2012

Response by poster: As an update, we gave XCOM: Enemy Unknown a spin. Mr. Machine enjoyed it, and I can see how it's an interesting game with serious depth, but oh my god. It was too much responsibility for me. I wanted to put a towel over my face and lie down in a dark room when we got halfway through the second mission in the demo AND THE ALIENS LEVITATED OH MY GOD THEY CAN FLY TOO MANY DECISIONS AUGH THEY JUST KILLED THE MEDIC GUY OH GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD

So uh. We'll give Mass Effect a shot and Little Inferno.

If that don't work for our distraction purposes, we'll borrow a friend's Wii and give some of those games a shot. Thanks, all!
posted by joyceanmachine at 2:32 PM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Which is also to say that Doublefine did, in fact, release Middle Manager of Justice. It's delightful for a freemium game, and has some really Costume Quest-esque humor moments.
posted by joyceanmachine at 2:33 PM on January 2, 2013

Response by poster: As a follow-up, because it looks like people are still keeping an eye on this, I played Dugeons of Dredmor. It was super-ridiculously awesome and funny and low-stress (while still being full of hideous death, but the auto-save/no permadeath options helped with that!)
posted by joyceanmachine at 3:09 PM on April 5, 2013

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