Saying Cozy Grove is the next Animal Crossing undermines its uniqueness.
It’s hard to pin down exactly one thing that makes a cozy game, well erm… cozy.
But if I were to name one game that stood out as the quintessential cozy game it would be Cozy Grove on the Nintendo Switch.
WHAT IS COZY GROVE?
In Cozy Grove you play as a sprightly Spirit Scout who’s landed on an island inhabited by the most huggable ghosts you’ll ever meet – that’s because they are all bears!
You set up camp with the help of Flamey, your little campfire, who acts as your guide throughout the game, shedding light on your next steps.
You soon discover that the inhabitants of Cozy Grove are in need of your help. They have lost their memories and they would like you to help them piece them back together so that they can finally be at peace.
“I sense dozens of wounded, restless spirits here. Desperate for help, but not conscious of it.Flamey – Cozy Grove
This… doesn’t seem like the sort of place young Spirit Scouts typically go for their first solitary excursion…
COZY GROVE VS ANIMAL CROSSING?
After a year of playing Animal Crossing, I was really eager to find the next game in the same genre. New Horizons was the only game that helped me unwind after enduring long and unusual hours at work during the pandemic.
Unfortunately, I spent as many hours playing New Horizons as I did working, and my wrists ultimately gave out. They haven’t been the same since. I had to come to terms with the hard truth that I was spending too much time gaming. It wasn’t good for my health.
I didn’t pick up another game until later in 2021 when I discovered Cozy Grove.
Unlike Animal Crossing, Cozy Grove forced me to rest.
Cozy Grove is set in real-time but it’s time-gated. The game developers at Spry Fox LLC intentionally designed the game to be played for no more than 2 hours a day. Essentially locking new story lines until the next day.
Because the game forces you to wait before new content unlocks, there may be periods when it feels like nothing is happening. But there is always fishing, decorating, and collecting materials if you can’t wait.
Cozy Grove became the relaxing ritual I didn’t know I needed.
Over a year later and I still haven’t completed every storyline, or even unlocked every character. Nor do I want to yet. I want this game to carry on being my mini ritual for as long as I need it.
IS IT THE BEST COZY GAME THOUGH?
Cozy Grove wants you to bring color, and life, to its little island each time you log in.
The watercolor palette fades back to grey every day symbolizing how the passing of time makes us forgetful. And how, with a small amount of kindness and care, our joy and memories can be rekindled.
It has just the right amount of elements that other games in the cozy genre have without being overwhelming. Disney Dreamlight Valley is slowly releasing new characters but their storylines are over in a blink of an eye and the underlying story is about defeating someone or something. Wytchwood focused heavily on crafting mechanics and became repetitive.
And well, I’ve already mentioned my total lack of control with Animal Crossing.
Cozy Grove is 100% wholesome! The characters’ content is drawn out which encourages play over time rather than in one binge. I rarely find myself getting bored in the 40 minutes I often play.
Cozy Grove is not without its faults though. Occasionally the game will freeze when loading or jump frames when I’m running leaving me fearing the game would crash, but it never did. And I know the time gating is a sticky point with some players but personally I like it and wouldn’t want to see it changed.
Overall I can’t recommend Cozy Grove enough. I think it’s the perfect game to get started with if you’ve never played a cozy game before or transitioning to Nintendo Switch from Mobile.
Though it is available on Apple Arcade too. I’m just an Android person.
And a little tip before I go – UPGRADE YOUR TENT! While researching for this post I came across cats, yes CATS! There are apparently cats in Cozy Grove and I had no idea because I never bothered to upgrade my tent.
Cozy Grove is the game that just keeps giving.