I Fell Down The Cozy Game Rabbit Hole
I was inspired after watching my girlfriend have a blast as she played over sixty hours of Grow: Song of the Evertree, so I decided to check out some of the other popular “Cozy Games” that have released in the last year or two.
This genre started out many years ago with farming sims, codified and made famous by early examples like the original Harvest Moon. In recent years it has grown into a much more elaborate and involved thing, spawning the new Cozy Game name. These games use the click-heavy mechanics and inventory intensive feedback loops of something like Diablo but pointed towards less violent ends. Farming crops is still often the core of these games as it was when the genre started out, but you’ll now also explore interesting worlds, craft and gather all kinds of loot, experience highly involved story lines that go beyond who you’re going to befriend or marry, build and customize structures, and sometimes even manage numerous different types of industry all while keeping an eye on the clock.
The “cozy” nature of these titles often means that the stories are lower stakes than the whole “save the world and fight these huge problems” narratives that dominate most video games…and I think this actually lends them some narrative strength right from the beginning. They are forced to tell interesting human-driven stories with characters at the forefront. Real arcs, emotions, and relatable problems often push their stories forward, even if the trappings of the games are still just as fantastical as other more combat-based titles.
Here are some of the games I’ve tried so far, along with my initial impressions of each. I bought all the games featured out of my own pocket and had no contact with any of the publishers of these games.
This game is my girlfriend’s new favorite post Grow, and it doesn’t take long to figure out why the game was such a huge success when it first launched on Apple Arcade. The game has since also come to the PC and Switch.