There’s a lot of stressful stuff happening in the world right now, and it can be hard to feel cheerful.

Videogames offer a good escape – but even those can add to our stress levels by being too difficult, too dark or too depressing. Not all of them, though. There are plenty of bright, happy games out there that offer a great pick-me-up when you’re feeling low.

We’ve rounded up 13 of the happiest games we could think of. Give them a try if your day needs brightening – we challenge you not to play them without a smile on your face.

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Bugsnax

Bugsnax review

Available on PS4, PS5 and PC

The first time you come across a little hamburger on legs, chanting bunger, bunger, bunger as it goes about its business, you’ll have a huge grin attached to your face. It’ll stay there pretty much constantly as you make your way through Bugsnax, an adorable adventure about exploring a mysterious island and capturing snack-like creatures. As adorable as the titular Bugsnax are, though, it’s the other characters you meet while playing that give the game so much heart. It’s touching and engrossing, but most of all, Bugsnax is wonderfully happy.

Read our review of Bugsnax

Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley

Available on PC, PS4, Xbox One and Switch

Stardew Valley‘s a great happy game because, unlike most videogames, you don’t have to play by the rules. A little like an open sandbox, you can approach Stardew Valley however you see fit. The game revolves around a farm you’ve just inherited, which you can cultivate and grow into a beautiful, thriving business. But you don’t have to. You can bum around town, talking with villagers, engage in a spot of fishing or treasure-hunting if you prefer. It’s all entirely up to you. And it’s brilliant. If you’re feeling under the weather, paying a visit to Stardew Valley is bound to cheer you up.

Read our review of Stardew Valley | Buy on Amazon

The LEGO Movie Videogame

easy xbox one achievements

Available on PC, PS4 and Xbox One

The LEGO Movie’s theme tune is “Everything is Awesome”. And it’s hard to not feel like everything is awesome when you’re playing the accompanying LEGO Movie Videogame. Retelling the story of the film, you’ll play through numerous levels, destroying bricks, finding collectibles, dancing with Unikitty and all that other fun stuff. All LEGO games are instant pick-me-ups, but few are as happy as The LEGO Movie Videogame. Even when the evil Lord Business shows up, it’s still hard to feel too bad about stuff.

Buy The LEGO Movie Videogame on Amazon


PaRappa the Rapper

Available on PS4

Kick, punch! It’s all in the mind! PaRappa the Rapper is a classic – and thanks to a remaster a few years back, it’s readily available to play on PS4 and PS5. Okay, it’s not the longest game in the world, but that’s partly why it’s such an excellent game to cheer yourself up with: stick it on, and in less than an hour everything will seem so much better in the world. We love PaRappa and his friends, and this will always be one of our go-to happy games.

Read our review of PaRappa the Rapper Remastered

Katamari Damacy REROLL

Available on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Switch

If you’ve never played a Katamari game before, you’re in for a treat. They’re some of the happiest, most joyous games out there. Well, providing you’re not actually a NPC living in the game, that is. In Katamari, you take control of The Prince – a green guy with a funny-shaped head. He’s got a Katamari, a type of ball that he rolls around, collecting pieces of ‘stuff’ as he goes. As he rolls, the ball gets bigger, allowing you to collect more and more stuff. Katamari Damacy REROLL is a remaster of sorts, taking some of the best levels of previous Katamari games and combining them. Give it a roll (pun intended); you’ll not be able to wipe the grin off your face.

Read our review of Katamari Damacy REROLL | Buy on Amazon


Dreams

Available on PS4

The latest game from Media Molecule, Dreams is a lot of things. It’s a game creation tool, but it’s also a library of other games – stuff created by users, as well as some games created by Media Molecule itself. There’s a lot to see and do. If you’re the creative type, getting lost in the game’s creation tools, building your own world, creating a piece of art or even a fully-fledged game can be a lot of fun. But if you’d rather just enjoy what other people have to offer, you’ll unlikely be disappointed. There’s a huge range available, and being able to witness other people’s creativity so easily is a heart-warming and happy experience.

Buy Dreams on Amazon

Sonic Mania

Sonic Mania Plus

Available on PC, PS4, Xbox One and Switch

How can you not feel at least a little happy when you’re staring at that wonderful blue hedgehog? It’s impossible. Sonic Mania is perhaps the best Sonic game we’ve had in the last decade or longer; it re-imagines classic 2D Sonic as we remember him. Perhaps even better than ever, if we dare say so. If you loved Sonic games on your Mega Drive or Genesis back in the day, Sonic Mania is going to put a smile on your face.

Read our review of Sonic Mania | Buy on Amazon


Super Mario Odyssey

Available on Nintendo Switch

Mario’s biggest and best outing yet, Super Mario Odyssey is a game packed with heart and soul. Mario’s worlds are bigger, brighter and happier than ever. And his cheeky spirit – accompanied by the delightful Cappy – is bound to brighten your day. Even if you’ve never particularly been a Super Mario fan, there’s something incredibly endearing about exploring Super Mario Odyssey‘s worlds. There’s so much to see and do – and you won’t feel sad while making your way through it all.

Read our review of Super Mario Odyssey | Buy on Amazon

Pikuniku

Available on PC, Xbox One and Switch

Just look at Pikuniku. Look at it. How could you possibly feel any other emotion other than elation and happiness playing a game about colourful blobs on legs? It’s an absolutely adorable adventure game that tasks you with solving problems, helping strange-looking villagers, and generally saving the world. It’s a happy-go-lucky game that will leave you feeling very pleased with yourself when you save the day.

Read our review of Pikuniku


Untitled Goose Game

Untitled Goose Game sun hat

Available on PC, PS4, Xbox One and Switch

The second you load up Untitled Goose Game, you’ll find yourself grinning from ear to ear. There’s something incredibly cathartic about being in control of a mischievous goose, and there’s a real reason why it took the world by storm when it released in 2019. Not only does it look absolutely gorgeous, it’s a heck of a lot of fun to play too. As the goose, you’ll have to work your way through a checklist of activities that involve causing mayhem for the villagers of a small town. Steal a bra from a washing line, for instance, or nick a small boy’s toy plane and force him to buy it back from a shopkeeper. It’s nefarious stuff, but delightful, happy, nefarious stuff – if such a combination is even possible.

One Finger Death Punch 2

Available on PC, Xbox One and Switch

Look, okay, ‘One Finger Death Punch’ doesn’t exactly sound like a happy game. Happy things don’t usually contain the words ‘death’ and ‘punch’, especially not together. And so as a concept, perhaps One Finger Death Punch 2 isn’t that happy of a game – it has you kicking and punching your way through hordes of enemies, blood spurting abound. But if you forget about that part of it, and just enjoy the action of playing, boy, One Finger Death Punch 2 is an absolute joy. You’ll feel like an unstoppable machine as you chain together combos and fancy moves; there’s nothing else quite like it, and it’ll cheer you up no end.

Read our review of One Finger Death Punch 2


Manual Samuel

Available on PC, PS4, Xbox One and Switch

Being that Manual Samuel starts with the titular Samuel getting run over by a truck and dying, it doesn’t sound like happy game. But bear with us. After getting taken to the underworld, Samuel is brought back to life, and accompanied by the grim reaper. If he can get through one full day on Earth, completing his usual tasks, he’ll be brought back to life permanently. The catch? He’s lost all bodily functions, and so it’s up to you to control him. Manually. That means controlling Samuel’s arms and legs independently – and even telling him when to breathe and blink. It sounds like an absolute recipe for disaster – which is kind of is – but it’s hilarious as a result. Manual Samuel is laugh-out-loud funny, and will infinitely cheer anyone up of a case of the blues.

Read our review of Manual Samuel

Cake Bash

Cake Bash 2 (1)

Available on PC, PS4, Xbox One and Switch

You’ll need to grab a friend or two to get the most out of Cake Bash, but this party brawler is one of the happiest games you’ll ever have the pleasure of playing. After all, what could be more joyous than taking control of a fondant fancy as you slap seven shades out of a smiling pink cupcake? Packed with a variety of minigames and brawls, Cake Bash is all about being the best cake there is. After playing against your friends or the CPU in a minigame, you’ll spend your winnings by adorning yourself with sprinkles and decorations. It’s incredibly sweet in every sense of the word.

Read our review of Cake Bash