Nothing compares to Glitch
August 27, 2015 11:05 AM   Subscribe

I miss Glitch. What can I play to scratch the itch?

I like to keep a couple of games around specifically for anxiety reduction, and as such I need games that do not create anxiety.

Glitch was the ne plus ultra of soothing games for me, as it was nice to look at, had basically no stakes except self-improvement, required no specific dexterity to play, could be dropped into for 5 minutes or an hour, no chasing or time-sensitivity, and had enough of a quest engine that I could do something when I wanted something to do. It was so nice that being nice to things and people gave you points. Lots of wandering around looking at different stuff.

So, of course, it didn't last. And nothing has really replaced it for me.

I am not a gamer-gamer, and am only a simple puzzle-gamer. My crisis game (or for keeping my hands busy when listening to something else) is Bejeweled, and I can zone out for a while on Mah Jong, but they don't really provide any sense of exploration. Monument Valley had a lot of promise, but it actually makes me a little motion-sick and it's too hard. Tiny Wings was too hard and required too much tapping. Peggle Blast is one of those asshole games designed to get too hard to play without sharing shit on Facebook or whatever, no. I am enraged by games that provide no explanations for themselves and then also make me feel stupid for not having the explanation, so Botanicula can go fuck itself and so can Kentucky Route Zero.

I do not care about social features. If they are ignorable and can be hidden, that's fine.

I have gotten some enjoyment from iPad pinball games, but I am not interested in paying money for a single table that turns out to be way more boring than it looked as soon as you've coughed up the cash. A guaranteed fun and variable pinball game would be awesome.

I have played The Room and The Room 2 and several other games like it. Those are reserved for playing with my husband together (but if anything new has come out lately, I don't know about it yet - tell me!). I adored the original Plants vs Zombies even though it was stressful, but hate PvZ2. (I actually liked the Facebook game and it did pretty much scratch this itch, but it was too Facebooky and then went away I think.)

It would actually be nice to have at least one option that is web-based or Steam multi-platform (I am sitting in front of a PC all day and a Mac in the evenings) as they tend to be easier on my hands/arms, but I also always have an iOS device within reach and are good for when I want to listen to an audiobook and play something in bed or on the couch.

I am willing to pay, so options do not need to be free, but it would be nice if I can get an actual sense of the game before I buy.
posted by Lyn Never to Computers & Internet (23 answers total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
Neko Atsume is great, for the play-for-a-few-minutes itch. It's about making friends with neighborhood cats.
It's entirely in Japanese, but pretty easy to figure out. It's cute and very unstressful.
I've now collected all of the cats, their treasures, and everything you can get in the store, and have not spent any money on it. The android version is free, I'm not sure about the iOs version.
There's a MeFi thread about it here.
posted by Adridne at 11:12 AM on August 27, 2015 [7 favorites]

Dominations is good for this. It's kind of a grind sometimes, but there's enough new stuff that comes through to keep it interesting and only requires a few minutes of play time whenever you want it.
posted by youcancallmeal at 11:16 AM on August 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

Fairway Solitaire! Been playing it everyday for years now. (Not to be confused with Fairway Solitaire Blast, which I don't think you would enjoy as much.)
posted by jbickers at 11:20 AM on August 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

I knew someone who started playing Here be monsters on Facebook to scratch the itch.

(As an aside fan efforts to reboot Glitch using the released source code continue, see here.)
posted by Wretch729 at 11:22 AM on August 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

I am really liking Alphabear. The art is pretty and the difficulty ratchets up at a reasonable pace (and you can drop down to lower chapters if you're not feeling up to the higher difficulty whenever you want).

It's free-to-play, but it's really humane/fair about when it asks for more money, or asks you to view an ad (that's right, no ads unless you specifically request to see one). So much so that I'm probably going to pay the $5 for unlimited in-game currency soon, even though I've never had a problem with running out of in-game currency.
posted by sparklemotion at 11:34 AM on August 27, 2015 [5 favorites]

I like Dots, TwoDots, 1010!, and Switch&Drop for these purposes.
posted by General Malaise at 11:34 AM on August 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

Have you tried Minecraft? If not, I think Minecraft in Survival Mode but on Peaceful setting might work for you. You still have to explore to find materials to build the things you would like to build, but you don't have to worry about being surprised by a hostile monster. It's very low stakes, no surprises, and lots of time to build a house or a minecart track or sail in the ocean or whatever you want to do. There are lots of ways to approach Minecraft, and it is super popular for good reasons. I like it just as much as my six-year-old and nine-year-old do.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:05 PM on August 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

(And if you don't want to scrounge for resources, you can play on Creative mode, build whatever you want, fly around the place, and have a good time.)
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:06 PM on August 27, 2015

HIGHLY recommend Triple Town (buy the Unlimited Turns) and Puzzle Craft (timed but not really a hindrance). Drop7 is pretty good also.
posted by AloneOssifer at 12:45 PM on August 27, 2015

Puzzle Quest 2 is Bejewled wrapped in a (very light) fantasy RPG world, it has, I think, just enough questy world map bumf around the puzzling to keep the match 3 from wearing me out.

Tidalis is a match 3-ish game with a slightly different mechanic, which for me keeps it more varied and interesting, and a pretty long "story" mode which straps on some (light) progression through variations on mechanics. No specific questing or moving yourself from place to place though.

Scribblenauts Unlimited is a super silly, zero-stakes, explory, fun and funny world kinda game. You help characters out and solve problems by magicking into existence things by typing their name. It appears very aimed at kids but there's huge scope for adults to come up with creative solutions to its "puzzles".
posted by protorp at 12:45 PM on August 27, 2015

You might like Little Inferno. Depends how cheerful you like your games.
posted by O9scar at 1:04 PM on August 27, 2015

The art person from Glitch went to Spry Fox and worked on Road Not Taken, which is an adorable little puzzler. (Other Spry Fox games getting recommended are Alphabear and Triple Town.) It is Steam based multiplatform.
posted by foxfirefey at 1:04 PM on August 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

Monster Loves You! is a kids' game but I have enjoyed it immensely. Very shallow without a ton of replay value, but great on Steam if you can get it for super cheap.

I relax with Banished, which is a pretty chill build-a-town-for-your-people game, but it does have a bit of a learning curve and your townsfolk do die of old age (or from accidents) from time to time, and you can potentially really mess things up in terms of food and firewood. On the other hand, there are no "enemies," and there's no clock-watching or artificial time constraints. So I guess there are stresses there, but if you take your time with it and just generally ease into it, it's nice just to watch the seasons come and go while your farmers farm, the blacksmith smiths, etc. etc.

Your mileage may vary significantly, but for a game that leads inevitably to starvation and death in the frozen wilderness, I find The Long Dark eerily beautiful and in its own way quite soothing. I play it on the easiest level where there are no animal attacks; it's about exploration, finding food and fuel, and basically surviving in the Northern wilderness. The most atmosphere of any game I think I've ever tried, and they keep adding to it.
posted by Shepherd at 1:05 PM on August 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

I asked this same question a while ago and enjoyed playing Don't Starve for a good while.
posted by Specklet at 2:19 PM on August 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

Don't know if I missed it, but have you played Flow Free? Least stressful yet engaging game I've ever played.
posted by thetortoise at 3:46 PM on August 27, 2015

(Though, sorry, no exploration there, just comforting zen puzzles.)
posted by thetortoise at 3:47 PM on August 27, 2015

I miss Glitch too! Here Be Monsters was fun, but it seems they have stopped updating it at all, which is disappointing.
posted by sarcasticah at 4:28 PM on August 27, 2015

I miss Glitch dreadfully too. I have tried to soothe myself with Here Be Monsters and Klondike (both have former glitchen FB groups) but neither come close. I've also tried Animal Crossing (3DS)... I play a lot of Tripletown and Alphabear for the vaguely glitchesque graphics. Road not Taken same, but I found that painfully hard.
posted by ginoiseau at 7:00 PM on August 27, 2015

Deep Loot is a scuba diving/treasure hunting game for ios/android that really does it for me in this department. Relatively tolerable music and soothing underwater sounds, all sorts of unlockable costumes/upgrades/achievements/collectibles that add replay value to a pretty simple game mechanic. Lots to explore and discover. There are baddies, but they move when you move, so it's more strategy than twitchy.
posted by gennessee at 7:19 PM on August 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

I asked this question a few years ago and also found NOTHING that really compares to Glitch. I've been following the progress of the Glitchen remakes on Facebook but they aren't finished yet.

Have you tried Kingdom of Loathing? It's a totally different art and gaming style than Glitch, but I loved them both equally.
posted by good day merlock at 6:48 AM on August 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

Sim City BuiltIt has been, partially, filling that hole for me and Mrs. VTX.
posted by VTX at 8:20 AM on August 28, 2015

Lyn, I can't guess if kill-loot-level RPGs might be of interest to you, but I find EverQuest 2 to be a very relaxing, undemanding game which had lots of opportunities for exploration and non-combat gameplay. Your primary avocation will probably be adventuring (kill 10 rats), but you can also gather resources, craft items, search for collectible items (which appear as shiny spots on the ground), or decorate as many houses as you care to own. I play entirely solo, combat and advancement is dead easy*, there are a zillion zones to wander through, more quests than you could ever hope to complete, and periodic holiday events that are designed for players of all skill and interest levels.

* stay away from the "Time-Locked Expansion" or TLE servers, which are designed to be much more challenging than the standard servers (combat mechanics and advancement are tuned differently)
** I find the biggest problem with EQ2 is that the difficulty curve is backwards - systems in the game are hard to understand at first, but once you get it, there's never anything new to learn. There are extensive in-game help files.
posted by trunk muffins at 8:40 AM on August 28, 2015

I just saw this article about Lovely Weather We're Having and it sounds exactly like what you're looking for.
posted by O9scar at 3:04 PM on August 28, 2015

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