Popular “Cozy Games”


Sofia Clark

A collage showcasing a variety of cozy games (Photo by Sofia Clark).

Video games have been rapidly gaining popularity, especially in the last few years because of quarantine. The following are games that have gained popularity for being “cozy,” and are known for allowing the player to get lost in their vast worlds.

Stardew Valley:

In this 8-bit farming simulator, you play as an office worker who just inherited your grandfather’s old farm. The main purpose of the game is to expand your farm and form relationships with the villager NPCs. NPCs are Non-playable characters that roam around in games and are often made to interact with. One of the most attractive features of the game is the endless customization. From your unique character looks to the design of your farm, you can customize every aspect of your virtual life.

There are twelve available NPCs to form relationships with, all with different cutscenes to go along with their story. In order to get more “hearts” (used to track your relationship status with the villager), you must talk to them daily and give them some of their favorite items twice a week. There are no restrictions based on the gender you choose to associate with during first character customization, all NPCs are available to romance.

The currency in Stardew Valley is gold and is obtained through selling crops, ores, fish, items, or completing quests. The game is more complex than initially meets the eye, though, there are annual activities, hidden plots, and many characters with vastly different personalities. More than farming, fishing, and mining is available; a lot of aspects of the game can be unlocked through completing quests, such as different islands, new clothing, new materials, and different farm animals. Time is tracked in this game through the years, each month bringing a new season and therefore different crops to plant. If you are a fan of farm simulators, story games, or are simply looking for a cozy game to try, Stardew Valley might be perfect for you.

The game is available on Nintendo Switch, Playstation, Xbox, Mac OS, iOS, and Windows, and costs $14.99. There is no available downloadable content (DLC) for the game, but downloadable mods can enhance gameplay (only available on PC or Mac OS). 

The Sims 4

In this game, you essentially control every aspect of another person’s life that you create. The first part of the game is customization, where you are given the opportunity to completely design every feature of a person to your liking. Down to personality traits and voice pitch, everything is up for you to decide. If customization is not your thing, you are also given the option to play as one of the base game characters. When choosing to play as them, you are given their house, money, and belongings as well. If you choose the customization path, you are given twenty-thousand simoleons (the game’s currency) to begin with.

There are three different worlds available with the base game: Oasis Springs, Willow Creek, and Newcrest. Both Oasis Springs and Willow Creek offer different types of housing, all with prices ranging depending on the size and quality of the house. In each world, there are different places available to visit while playing, such as parks, gyms, bars, and libraries. There are many aspects to the game, such as cooking, working (with different job options accessible), forming friendships, romantic relationships, and essentially, any other action. Virtually anything you can do in real life is an option for your Sim on the Sims 4

DLC is available for purchase in the form of Game packs, Stuff packs, and Expansion Packs. This downloadable content adds more features to the game and can range from $5 to $40. The game is available on Windows, Mac OS, Xbox, and Playstation and costs $39.99.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons:

This game, available only on the Nintendo Switch, gained immense popularity over the beginning of quarantine. Nintendo released the game on March 20, 2020, and its demand only grew over time. With people kept up in their homes due to the Pandemic with essentially nothing to do, they turned to video games, and Animal Crossing: New Horizons (ACNH) was one of the most well-known. ACNH is a continuation of previous Animal Crossing games such as (most notably), Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Animal Crossing, and Animal Crossing: Wild World.

The player is given an island and the task is to completely redesign it with endless customization options specifically related to building. Not only can they design the island, but they can also personally choose the interactable NPC animal villagers that live on their island. Outfits can be unlocked and bought by simply playing the game, and there is even a tradeable, game-wide currency called “bells.” Their currency can be used to buy items on their own island, pay off debt accumulated through construction, or buy items from other players. The game is CO-OP, meaning the player can visit other players’ islands through the online aspect of the game.  Overall, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the perfect cozy game to lose yourself in for a few hours.

There is one DLC pack called “Happy Home Paradise” that is available for $25.00 in the Nintendo E-shop. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is available on the Nintendo Switch in the Nintendo E-shop for $59.99. 

All in all, there are many cozy games that cater to vastly different interests and they only require a bit of experimenting to find one to get lost in. Popular cozy games are often found on Steam, Xbox, and Playstation. Happy gaming!