Cozy games took over my life in 2020. While everything in the world was going wrong, having your own comfortable and aesthetically pleasing corner was all that got me through life. In 2023 they’re still a big part of life for me. Let’s take a look at the best cozy games you can play today, but first let’s have a brief explanation as to what they are.
What are Cozy Games?
Cozy games are a growing trend in the video game industry, offering players a way to unwind, destress and indulge in a leisurely and relaxing gaming experience. These games typically have a slower pace, simple mechanics, and a focus on creating a warm, inviting atmosphere.
One of the key features of cozy games is their emphasis on aesthetics. These games often have charming, colorful visuals, and calming music that can help to create a peaceful and calming environment. The gameplay mechanics are also often straightforward and intuitive, allowing players to relax and enjoy the experience without getting bogged down in complex controls or high-pressure situations.
Cozy games can be found in a variety of genres, and many popular titles have emerged in recent years. For example, games like Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley, and Harvest Moon offer players the chance to build and manage their own virtual farm, interacting with a cast of charming characters along the way. Similarly, games like Minecraft and Terraria allow players to explore vast, procedurally generated worlds and build their own structures and creations.
Other cozy games may focus more on puzzle-solving, such as the critically acclaimed game Monument Valley, which features a series of surreal, dreamlike environments that players must navigate by manipulating the environment. Games like Journey offer a visually stunning experience with simple mechanics, where players explore a mystical world and uncover its mysteries.
Overall, cozy games offer a unique and enjoyable gaming experience that prioritizes relaxation, comfort, and enjoyment over challenge and competition. These games are perfect for players who want to unwind after a long day or who simply want to enjoy a more relaxed and leisurely gaming experience.
All that being said, let’s take a look at the best cozy games today.
1. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a popular cozy game developed by Nintendo for the Nintendo Switch console. In this game, the player takes on the role of a villager who moves to a deserted island and starts a new life. The game offers a relaxing and immersive experience, with a charming aesthetic, unique gameplay mechanics, and a variety of activities to enjoy.
One of the key features of Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the ability to customize and decorate your island and home. Players can gather resources, craft furniture and decorations, and design their own outdoor spaces using a variety of tools and materials. This allows for endless creativity and personalization, making each player’s island unique.
The game also features a cast of adorable animal characters, each with their own personalities and interests. Players can interact with these characters, build relationships, and even invite them to move onto their island. The characters have their own schedules and routines, creating a sense of life and community on the island.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a perfect game for players who want to relax and unwind. The game operates in real-time, with different activities and events occurring throughout the day and year. This creates a sense of progression and variety, and players can enjoy the game at their own pace without feeling rushed or pressured.
In general, Animal Crossing: New Horizons offers a charming and immersive gaming experience that is perfect for anyone who enjoys cozy games, creative expression, and a relaxing atmosphere. The game has received critical acclaim for its unique gameplay mechanics, charming aesthetics, and engaging social features, making it a must-play game for Nintendo Switch owners.
2. Stardew Valley
Stardew Valley is a popular cozy game developed by ConcernedApe, released in 2016 for PC, and later on consoles and mobile devices. The game is a charming and immersive farming simulator that allows players to build and manage their own farm, interact with a cast of unique characters, and explore a vast and diverse world.
Stardew Valley is distinguished by its open-ended gameplay, which allows players to determine their own objectives and priorities. Players can select from various activities such as farming, animal husbandry, mining, crafting, fishing, and socializing with the game’s characters, allowing them to experience the game according to their own preferences and pace.
The game places a strong emphasis on community building, with players able to enhance their farm and the town around it by unlocking new areas, buildings, and resources. The characters in the game have their own unique personalities, interests, and stories, providing opportunities for players to develop relationships with them by offering gifts, completing quests, and participating in town events.
Stardew Valley presents numerous activities and content, including diverse crops and animals to cultivate, a broad range of crafting materials and recipes to discover, and challenging caves to explore and conquer. The game also features day-night cycles and seasonal changes to create a sense of time and progression that adds to its immersive qualities.
In summary, Stardew Valley is an exceptional and captivating game that offers players a plethora of activities, customization options, and social features. Its cozy aesthetic, open-ended gameplay, and strong emphasis on community building make it a must-play for enthusiasts of farming simulators and cozy games.
Minecraft is a popular sandbox video game developed by Mojang Studios. The game was first released in 2011 and has since gained a huge following due to its unique gameplay and endless possibilities for creativity.
In Minecraft, players are placed in a vast, procedurally generated world made of blocks, where they can explore, gather resources, and build just about anything they can imagine. The game allows players to build structures, craft tools and weapons, and explore the world around them, all while avoiding or fighting off various monsters and creatures.
Minecraft’s primary characteristic is its open-world gameplay, providing players with the freedom to create their own goals and objectives. Players have no fixed missions or quests, and they can explore the world, construct anything they want, and interact with other players in multiplayer mode.
Minecraft has a variety of game modes, including survival mode, creative mode, adventure mode, and spectator mode. Survival mode is the default mode, where players must gather resources, build shelter, and fend off monsters to survive. Creative mode allows players to build without any restrictions, with unlimited resources and the ability to fly. Adventure mode is designed for custom maps and allows players to explore and interact with custom-built worlds. Spectator mode is for observing other players’ gameplay.
Minecraft has a simple, blocky aesthetic that has become iconic, with players able to create and modify their own textures and skins. The game has a large and active modding community, with mods available that can add new features, gameplay mechanics, and even entirely new worlds to explore.
Journey is a critically acclaimed adventure game developed by Thatgamecompany and released in 2012 for PlayStation consoles. In the game, players control a robed figure who must navigate a vast and mystical desert, uncovering the secrets of an ancient civilization along the way.
One of the unique features of Journey is its non-linear gameplay and lack of dialogue or text. The game relies on visuals, music, and sound effects to convey its story and atmosphere, creating a deeply emotional and immersive experience for players.
Players must explore the desert, solving puzzles and overcoming obstacles to progress through the game. Along the way, players can encounter other players who are also on their own journey, and they can choose to cooperate or simply travel together in silence.
The game’s visuals are stunning, with a unique art style that combines sweeping landscapes with intricate details and lighting effects. The music, composed by Austin Wintory, is also a key aspect of the game, with a haunting and beautiful score that elevates the emotional impact of the gameplay.
Journey is a relatively short game, but it offers a powerful and unforgettable experience that has resonated with players and critics alike. The game has won numerous awards for its innovative gameplay, stunning visuals, and emotional storytelling, and it remains a beloved and influential game in the industry.
5. Monument Valley
Monument Valley is a puzzle game developed by Ustwo Games, released in 2014 for mobile devices and later on consoles. The game features a unique and surreal aesthetic, with levels inspired by the works of M.C. Escher and other optical illusion artists.
In the game, players control a character named Princess Ida, who must navigate a series of increasingly complex levels filled with optical illusions and perspective-bending puzzles. Players must manipulate the environment to create new paths and solve puzzles, using a combination of logic and creativity to progress through the game.
One of the key features of Monument Valley is its minimalist design and use of color and sound. The game features a beautiful and calming soundtrack, with a dreamlike atmosphere that adds to the game’s immersive qualities.
Monument Valley has received critical acclaim for its innovative gameplay mechanics, stunning visuals, and emotional storytelling. The game has won numerous awards, including Apple’s Design Award and the BAFTA Games Award for Best British Game.
The game also has a sequel, Monument Valley 2, which introduces new characters, puzzles, and environments while retaining the original game’s signature style and gameplay mechanics.
So, Monument Valley is a unique and engaging puzzle game that offers a surreal and immersive experience. Its innovative gameplay mechanics, stunning visuals, and emotional storytelling make it a must-play game for fans of the puzzle and cozy game genres.
Spiritfarer is a game created by Thunder Lotus Games, released in 2020, where players play as Stella, a ferry master who helps guide the spirits of the dead to the afterlife. The game’s emotional storytelling is one of its key aspects, with a focus on themes of loss, grief, and acceptance. Players must establish relationships with the spirits and assist them in resolving their unfinished business to help them move on.
Spiritfarer includes various gameplay mechanics such as farming, crafting, and exploration, requiring players to manage resources and upgrade their ship, the Spiritfarer, to accommodate new passengers and visit new locations. Additionally, the game has a cooperative multiplayer mode that enables players to share the experience with friends.
Spiritfarer features a beautiful hand-drawn art style that provides a cozy and comforting atmosphere. The game’s music, composed by Max LL, is also an essential aspect as it enhances the emotional impact of the gameplay with its haunting and memorable score.
To sum it up, Spiritfarer is a unique and touching game that creates a deeply emotional and immersive experience. Its cozy aesthetic, engaging gameplay mechanics, and powerful storytelling make it a must-play for fans of the cozy game and management game genres.
7. My Time at Portia
My Time at Portia is a simulation role-playing game developed by Pathea Games and released in 2019 for multiple platforms. In the game, the player takes on the role of a builder who moves to the town of Portia to start a new life and help rebuild the town.
My Time at Portia is know for its open-world gameplay, which allows players to explore a vast world filled with diverse characters and activities. Players can gather resources, craft items, and participate in various activities such as farming, fishing, and mining.
The game also has a strong emphasis on social interactions, with players able to build relationships with the characters in the game by completing quests and giving gifts. These relationships can lead to marriage and even starting a family.
My Time at Portia features a charming and colorful art style, with a mix of 3D graphics and hand-drawn elements that create a unique and quirky atmosphere. The game’s soundtrack, composed by various artists, adds to the game’s immersive qualities, with a variety of relaxing and upbeat tracks.
In conclusion, My Time at Portia is a fun and engaging game that offers a wide range of activities, customization options, and social features. Its open-world gameplay, charming art style, and diverse cast of characters make it a must-play for fans of the simulation and cozy game genres.
8. Donut County
Donut County is a physics-based puzzle game developed by Ben Esposito and released in 2018 for multiple platforms. In the game, players control a hole in the ground that grows larger as it swallows up objects and structures in the environment.
The game’s main character is a raccoon named BK, who works for a donut shop and accidentally causes chaos in the town by using an app to control the hole and swallow everything in sight. Players must navigate the hole through various levels, solving puzzles and uncovering the story of how BK caused the mess in the first place.
Donut County features a charming and whimsical art style, with colorful and quirky characters and environments. The game also has a humorous and lighthearted tone, with witty dialogue and playful animations.
The game’s physics-based gameplay is unique and engaging, with the hole growing larger as it swallows up objects and causing various objects to interact with each other in unexpected ways. The puzzles in the game require players to be creative and think outside the box, using the hole to manipulate the environment and solve challenges.
Donut County is a delightful and innovative game that offers a fun and engaging experience. Its charming art style, humorous tone, and physics-based gameplay make it a must-play for fans of the puzzle and cozy game genres.
9. Slime Rancher
Slime Rancher is a first-person adventure game developed by Monomi Park and released in 2017 for multiple platforms. In the game, players control a character named Beatrix LeBeau, who moves to a faraway planet to become a slime rancher.
The gameplay in Slime Rancher revolves around capturing and raising various types of slimes, which are colorful and gelatinous creatures with unique abilities and behaviors. Players must collect food and resources to feed the slimes, manage their habitats, and sell the plorts (slime droppings) to earn money and expand their ranch.
The game features an open-world environment, allowing players to explore the planet and discover new types of slimes and resources. There are also various challenges and obstacles to overcome, such as hostile wildlife and environmental hazards.
Slime Rancher has a charming and whimsical art style, with bright and colorful visuals that create a playful and inviting atmosphere. The game’s soundtrack, composed by Harry Mack, adds to the game’s immersive qualities, with a variety of upbeat and relaxing tracks.
Overall, Slime Rancher is a fun and lighthearted game that offers a unique and engaging gameplay experience. Its charming art style, quirky characters, and addictive gameplay mechanics make it a must-play for fans of the adventure and cozy game genres.
Gris is a platformer game developed by Nomada Studio and released in 2018 for multiple platforms. In the game, players control a young girl named Gris, who must navigate a surreal and abstract world filled with puzzles and challenges.
One of the key features of Gris is its emphasis on art and music. The game features beautiful hand-drawn graphics, with a watercolor aesthetic that creates a dreamlike and ethereal atmosphere. The game’s music, composed by Berlinist, is also a key aspect of the game, with a haunting and emotional score that enhances the player’s experience.
The gameplay in Gris is focused on exploration and puzzle-solving. Players must use Gris’s abilities, such as jumping and transforming, to navigate through various levels and overcome obstacles. The puzzles in the game are often based on the environment and require players to think creatively and outside the box.
Gris is also known for its emotional storytelling, which is conveyed through the game’s visuals and music rather than through dialogue or text. The game explores themes of grief, loss, and acceptance, creating a deeply moving and immersive experience for players.
In general, Gris is a unique and beautiful game that offers a deeply emotional and immersive experience. Its focus on art, music, and storytelling make it a must-play for fans of the platformer and cozy game genres.