Written by Sara Giampa Kease
Our Practice Manager, Sara, loves relaxing with a cosy video game.
Games that ditch adrenalin pumping action for a very chill style of gameplay are a cure for the modern stresses of our times. Many young and old gamers might not have gotten through those harsh lockdowns without one of the most well-known titles in the genre – Animal Crossing.
This week, Sara shares her top 5 recommendations for cosy video games.
1. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Animal Crossing: New Horizons was released at that very moment that the whole world was being rocked by covid lockdowns, and it really does deliver on every cozy game front.
This cutesy life simulator gives you – the player, your very own private island to build up. As the island representative, it’s up to you to make friends with animal villagers, build infrastructure and homes, grow food and flowers, fish, catch bugs, grow the island museum, craft, make bells (island currency) and lot’s more.
It really is all up to you how you choose to spend your time on your island, just don’t ask me how many hours I have clocked up!
2. Cozy Grove
Cozy Grove is a beautifully illustrated indie life-sim game, centring on everyday life spent on a haunted, ever-changing island.
You play the role of a spirit scout and your main goal is to help the spectral inhabitants with their afterlives. You set up camp, and slowly bring colour back to the black and white maps by helping the spirit bears in their afterlife. Sounds dark I know…. but it is so very heartwarming.
Much like it’s inspiration (Animal Crossing), you build a camp, make friends with the characters, explore the forest, forage and fish… and craft, slowly adding your decorating touch to the island.
Cozy Grove sessions are short and sweet, which makes for half-hour-a-day kind of play. Its gorgeous artwork and heartfelt dialogue are what sets this game apart from the rest, you cannot skip forward or binge play… this is the perfect game to take things slow and wind down your day.
Wytchwood is a crafting adventure game set in a dark land of fairy tales and fables.
In this game you play as an old witch of the woods, where you explore a strange map of forest, swamps, fields and caves. Along the way you collect magic ingredients, brew sorcerous spells, and enact justice upon twelve seemingly wicked fellow inhabitants. Do you forgive or punish? The journey is up to you.
Wytchwood is an enchanting game that is heavy on gathering and crafting, but also satisfying in it’s finite ending. Unlike in animal crossing and cozy grove where there is really no “end game”, it’s nice to be able to say you have finished a game in this cozy genre.
4. StarDew Valley
Stardew Valley is a slow-burn farming simulation game. You start by creating a character, that is the recipient of a plot of land which was once owned by your grandfather. You then select from several different farm types and work to clear the overgrown land so that planting crops can begin. Tending to the crops and livestock will help you to generate revenue to further expand your farm and the town’s facilities.
You interact with non-player characters that inhabit the town, which includes engaging in relationships with them. This can ultimately lead to marriage, which means you will have a mate that will help you tend to your farm! You can fish, craft, explore caves, mine the caves for ores and materials and help to restore the town’s community centre.
The game uses a simplified calendar, with each year having four 28-day months that represent each season. This determines which crops can be grown and which activities can be beneficial.
If you know anyone that plays Stardew, you will realise it’s cult-like following and just how deep some people get into the gameplay. Steam reports that even now, 6 years after its release, there are an average of 30,000 monthly players!
Spiritfarer is another indie adventure game where you play a character called Stella.
Stella is tasked with ferrying the deceased to the Everdoor. You get to build a boat and explore a beautifully illustrated world, where you befriend and care for spirits before releasing them into the afterlife. Yes, there is a lot of afterlife and spirit themes in these cozy games… but they really do lend themselves to emotional and, relaxing gameplay.
Written by Sara Giampa Kease
Published 12 May 2022
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Image courtesy of Nintendo, shared for the purpose of reviewing Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
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