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10 Relaxing Mobile Games To Soothe Your Stressed-Out Brain Cells

For when you just need to zone out for a bit.
IMAGE ALTO'S ODYSSEY - NOODLECAKE STUDIOS INC, PENGUIN ISLE / HABBY

Living in the Philippines means playing the game of life on extra-difficult mode—but the past few weeks have been something else entirely. If you want to zone out for a bit and quiet down all the scary thoughts, you can check out these relaxing games. They’ll help you reset your brain to focus on just one thing at a time and hopefully help you do what you need to do. You’ll have to face reality sooner or later (and it’s healthier to do so ASAP!) but nobody can blame you if you need five minutes to just breathe. Plus, did we mention that these are free to download? Check out these 10 relaxing mobile games you can download for free:

Viridi

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If you can’t take the commitment needed to take care of an actual living being, why not take care of a virtual plant? Viridi lets you grow small potted plants in real time—minus the actual consequences if you don’t take enough care of them. You can take your time choosing, decorating, and growing all kinds of succulents in your pot. It’s a quiet place to retreat to when everything gets too messy outside.

Available on the Apple Store and Google Play.

Penguin Isle

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This game takes “chilling out” to the next level. Here, you start with a small iceberg and a couple of cute penguins. You can help them build an entire city on the iceberg but your main “job” is just to watch as the isle grows and grows. You could drop in some fun things and watch as the penguins’ habitat evolves; spot an outdoor cinema, their own “beach,” and even a rocket station.

Available on the Apple Store and Google Play.

Alto’s Odyssey

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You might remember the little T-Rex that pops up on Google Chrome whenever you lose connection—well, this game is quite similar except this one has calming graphics and even smoother gameplay. All you have to do is guide Alto as he drifts along on his sandboard through dunes, canyons, and other fantastical areas in the dessert. You can also play on Zen mode; there are no points to be earned here so you can sit back, listen to the calm music, and glide with Alto across the cool landscape.

Available on the Apple Store and Google Play.

hocus.

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If twisting your brain cells around is your idea of a fun time, then hocus. is worth checking out. This puzzle game uses illustrations based on Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher’s famous perspective-bending works. All you have to do is lead the red square though the maze-slash-puzzle—just don’t let the perspectives confuse you. Plus, you can create and share your own mind-bending puzzle. It’ll take all your last three brain cells working together to play this game, meaning you thankfully won’t have time to think of anything else.

Available on the Apple Store and Google Play.

I Love Hue

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As the Marie Kondo method proves, organizing stuff is a surefire way to get back into the groove—and even get a sense of satisfaction. I Love Hue is a pretty straightforward game: simply move the color tiles around to get them in a visually satisfying order. Aside from the minimal graphics—and of course the colors’ soft hues—practically everything about this game invites you to play at ease. There’s no timer, no points to earn, and no pressure.

Available on the Apple Store and Google Play

Infinity Loop

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This is another game that will entail every last one of your brain cells focusing on one thing. Infinity Loop is all about tapping a set of lines on the screen so that they rotate until it forms one cohesive image. The game supposedly has an infinite amount of levels—we’re not sure how to prove that—which means you can spend all the time you need just zoning out and tapping away to connect the lines. It won’t max out your brain cells, but it will absorb you into a few moments of zen.

Available on the Apple Store and Google Play

Mekorama

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We know there’s a part of you that’s fascinated by dioramas. In Mekorama, you lead a somewhat clumsy but very adorable little robot through 50 puzzle-filled dioramas. You do more than just tap in this game as parts of the little islands are interactive and can be moved around to get your robot where he needs to go. The cool 3D graphics, smooth sounds, and the lack of a timer or all let you figure out the puzzle at your own pace. Plus, each level presents a different kind of challenge so you’re sure to keep finding new stuff.

Available on the Apple Store and Google Play

OCO

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Those who have a hard time following a beat may find this game more challenging than relaxing, but we’re sure the musically-inclined will enjoy. OCO is what a person with a word-count quota to fill would call an “audio-visual game that looks great and sounds even better, as long as you play it right.” All you have to do is tap the screen to make a dot glide, jump, and hang through a cool-looking, circular platform puzzle; the goal is to collect the other dots. The background music is a great clue on how to move as a beat plays every time you pass through a dot—so you can get your groove on, too.

Available on the Apple Store and Google Play

Terrarium: Garden Idle

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Here’s another game for the plantitas and plantitos out there. Discover and collect all kinds of adorable virtual plants and take care of them; the plants give off oxygen, which you can use to buy and expand your garden. You can take a step back, relax, and watch as your garden grows in this idle game. Just give your plants a check whenever you need a bit of a breather.

Available on the Apple Store and Google Play.

Shadowmatic

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Remember those games you used to play with shadows whenever power goes out? Well, this one’s just a much-improved mobile game version of that. Shadowmatic mixes cool 3D graphics and ambient sounds to let you really focus—while letting your imagination fly—as you move an object around to create a familiar shape with its shadow. There’s no pressure here, so you can take your time discovering what cool shapes you can make.

Available on the Apple Store and Google Play.

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This story originally appeared on Spot.ph.

* Minor edits have been made by the Candymag.com editors.

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Katherine Go 4 hours ago

Cold Food

The most thrilling and delightful moment of any school day is opening up your baon during breaks. There is always so much excitement in unveiling your homemade meal and snacks housed inside matching heat-insulating containers. Because preparing packed meals is an age-old tradition of showing parental love, loved ones pour effort into curating a nutritious meal accompanied by a selection of side dishes, desserts, and beverages daily; it reminds us that we are being taken care of, even from far away.

Baon plays a significant role in a Filipino childhood. Almost every Filipino child comes to school with baon made especially for them by their parents or household helpers. Even Filipinos in the labor force continue to bring baon for varying reasons: to save money, recycle leftovers, cater to personal taste, or attend to special needs. Nonetheless, eating your baon is a heart-warming experience that allows Filipinos to bring a piece of home along with them wherever they go.

Even other cultures practice making packed lunch. In Japan, mothers create bento--Japanese meals in partitioned boxes. Because of the popularity of bento, trends have emerged, such as the Kyaraben, or character-themed bento. Naturally, Japanese parents and students began competing for who had the cutest and tastiest bento, and this is similar to what I have witnessed in my own childhood. I remember seeing my classmates sharing their snacks and lunches. They would compare and boast about their parents' or yayas’ cooking. In my case, I never had the chance to join in the competition or indulge in homemade cooking. Up until this day, I have never brought any baon to school.

For a long time, I envied others. As trivial or petty as it may seem, not having baon became a problem for my grade school self. During that time, I had to sit in a separate cafeteria away from my friends because the kids who bought food were assigned to sit elsewhere. You could consider me spoiled, but I wanted to experience something most kids did. I had food at home, so what made it so hard to bring some with me to school?

Now that I am on my final year in high school I have come to realize the benefits of purchasing my own food. Since I spent on food everyday, I learned to budget my allowance at a young age. Over the years, I learned to practice self-control whenever I wanted to eat more greasy fries and drink sweetened beverages. I have tasted the strangest viands at the school cafeterias, and I have repeatedly satiated myself over my latest delicious discoveries. Despite the struggles, I am thankful that I have never had baon because of what I have learned. Not to mention, I never had to experience eating cold food.

Choosing between dreams and practicality is never easy. My CETs season just ended with the release of the UPCAT results. Anxious as I logged on the website, I started to think about what would happen if I didn't pass UP. Ever since I was six years old, I fixated on the idea that I will become an iska, serving the country and studying at my dream school, which is UP. I strived and studied hard for the UPCAT, sacrificing a lot of things like hang-outs and gala weekends for reviews.

Throughout my CETs journey, I started seeing myself studying only in UP, and while there were no results yet, my friends and I already started planning our lives around the fact that we're gonna study in UP. It was a big deal for me, my friends and my family that I get the chance to study in UP since it's so far from my hometown which is Benguet, and better yet, it's a very well known university.

January 2020 came and universities started releasing CETs results. I was expecting my DCAT and ACET results that month. I passed DCAT but brushed it off because even though I liked the school, I never really saw myself studying there. Same thoughts with Ateneo, since it never really crossed my mind that I might study in ADMU. In fact, Ateneo was never really a choice for me, I only took it just to have another choice in case I failed the UPCAT. I also applied for financial aid not because I was really planning on studying there, but more of "para lang sure na may college ako". I know it's a bad thing but they were just my back-up schools because my main goal was really UP.

One Friday afternoon, ACET results came out. I passed, managed to get a scholarship, and in that moment, my plans just started to crumble.

Seeing that I got a 100% tuition and fees discount, free dorm fees, and an additional book allowance got me into considering studying to Ateneo. Suddenly, I got torn between UP, my dream school, and Ateneo, which offers so much more.

As the months passed, and after talking to my parents, my plans and decisions got more jumbled and messy. I still wanted to go to UP even if there were no results yet but Ateneo offering so much would mean a lesser burden to my parents in terms of finances.

Even though my parents told me that they'll support me no matter where I choose to go, the practicality that Ateneo offers in terms of finances was not an easy thing to waive. Sometimes I would laugh at the fact that I'd spend less on a private school than on a state university. Talking to my friends helped somehow, but they also have various opinions about the two universities. I managed to tell myself to hold off the problem until UPCAT results get released, and so I did.

UP released the UPCAT results and seeing that I passed made me scream and cry, literally. At that moment, all I was thinking was that I passed my dream school and I'm officially a QC college student.

My parents were so proud of me even though they got scared because I screamed, but ultimately, they were happy for me. The next day, I sat down, stared at my UPCAT and ACET results, and told myself that I needed to decide. This was the hardest part. I tried deciding using the pros and cons method but it didn't really work. Talking to my parents also didn't help because they'd support me either way, so their judgement was not a factor at all. I also had the same course in both schools so that wasn't a big help. I was 99% close to letting go of my dream university and decide to go to Ateneo.

I weighed options and Ateneo was the cheaper and more practical option. I also started to see myself studying as a blue eagle, roaming around the campus etc. And financially, I didn't need to worry much except for food. At that point, I started to really like the idea of going to Ateneo more than studying in UP. But then, as the weeks went by, the Ateneo Plan started to lose my interest.

I realized that studying in Ateneo would be a great opportunity, but not something that will really make me happy. The finances and all would be so much better but I wouldn't be happy and content, and I felt that Ateneo couldn't give me everything that I wanted and needed. Then a light bulb lit up.

As I was imagining myself at UP, I ultimately felt that happiness and content that I didn't feel with Ateneo. I realized that, if I didn't study in UP, I know later in my life, I would regret it. I would regret not choosing my dream university because I didn't choose what would make me happy.

In short, I chose my dream over practicality. I know that I would be successful in both tracks, but I simply chose my dream because it is where I'm happier and more content. Besides, we can make our dreams practical but not all the time can the practical choice equate to our dreams. So to those having a hard time choosing between dreams and practicality, weigh it out and always remember to put yourself and your happiness first. And of course, choose the choice that you know you'll not regret later on.

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