Cozy Grove
Developed by Spry Fox
Published by Quantum Theory Games
Played on Nintendo Switch

The Skinny – What if Tom Nook was dead the whole time?

Cozy Grove is a chill game in the style of Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley that can best be described as a ‘chore simulator’ but that’s hardly a bad thing. Players are put in the boots of a novice Spirit Scout, sent to Cozy Grove to hone her skills and put the many ghosts haunting the island to rest. Also, the ghosts are anthropomorphic bears, because why not.
As you meet each ghost and learn a bit about their story, they will task you with quests, most of which involve gathering either specific items hidden on the island, or resources earned from fishing, mining, and other activities. Players can also commission and place decorations and raise plants and animals.
While this all will sound very familiar to players of the genre, the systems are well executed, and the hand-drawn art is charming. The island is rendered in muted black and white tones, but as ghosts have their daily needs fulfilled, the areas around them fill with color. These areas can be expanded using decoration in the game, making the game easier to see and giving it a real sense of progress.
Cozy Grove does require a great deal of patience, even for a game of this type. Items the characters need to complete the next part of their stories are often locked behind quests for other characters, or require high amounts of limited resources. Characters don’t give story missions every day, either. It can be frustrating to wait for a character to give you what you need for another part of the story. Especially if multiple other characters need something from them.
I played on the Nintendo Switch, but Cozy Grove feels like it was designed with tablets in mind. While the button controls are by no means bad, the game has a bit of trouble with targeting, and often selects the wrong object to interact with when using button controls. There is a ‘swap target’ that occasionally appears if the game is unsure where you are pointing, which somewhat resolves the issue, but it isn’t always there.
These are minor quibbles in what is an excellent, heartfelt, and charming little chill-out game. Cozy Grove is a perfect game to wake up with over coffee or unwind to after a long day The game is available on mobile, PC, and major consoles. If you have the time and inclination, it is a cozy goth delight.