Cozy Grove immediately caught my attention as someone who soaked way, way too many hours into Animal Crossing: New Horizons over the last year. I wanted more of that sort of comfort game, and Cozy Grove answered this want in spades. 

Cozy Grove is a game you can play in short bursts when you need a break, and can be a game you get lost in for hours as you restore color to the game’s world and build strong relationships with different characters. 

It’s not perfect, there are some minor issues I experienced that pulled me out of the calm, peaceful state the game put me in at times, but overall, Cozy Grove is a game that I think many will find countless hours of enjoyment in. 

Cozy Grove Review | Stress-Free Vacation

 
Cozy Grove opens with a map that’s stripped of color. As you complete small, easy to accomplish tasks, you’ll gradually restore color and warmth to the world. The focus here is small, easily accomplished tasks.

In the first hour of the game, the game rewards you with the amount of tasks you’re able to accomplish, and I think this sort of gameplay can potentially be therapeutic to people who may be feeling depressed or anxious. 

It’s nice to feel like you’re getting a lot done, it’s nice to feel helpful and useful and to see progress being made. The game has a natural way of encouraging you to keep playing, but it also counters this by only letting you do so much each day. 

Eventually you’ll reach a point where you’ve done so much the characters basically tell you hey, you’ve done a great job, come back and chat with us tomorrow.

Rather than try to time travel around this like I would in Animal Crossing, I found myself taking the hint from Cozy Grove that maybe I should take a break. 

You also technically can’t time travel around these stopping points in the game… which may turn some gamers off. With how chaotic my life has been lately and how bad my anxiety gets, I ended up welcoming these stopping points. 

I felt assured that if I did decide to take a break, I wasn’t going to be missing out on anything. It also helps that the game is as approachable as it is, it’s not hard to jump right back in and pick up where you left off. 

As approachable as the game is, there’s also a lot of depth to it from its story to the sort of items you’re able to acquire.

I spent a lot of time just digging, fishing, talking to Mr. Kit and browsing through his inventory of items, and building decorations near Flamey, the friendly campfire with a big personality (who I absolutely adore by the way). 

I think if you’re looking for a game like Animal Crossing or Stardew Valley, Cozy Grove should hit all the right sweet spots for you… but as mentioned above, it’s not perfect.

Your enjoyment of the game will vary depending on the platform you play it, and based on my time with Cozy Grove on the Nintendo Switch, I’d recommend picking up the game on a different platform.

It doesn’t perform as well as it could on the Switch from its slow loading times and frame rate drops, to the fact that it’s hard to see bits of text and even some items on the ground – like areas where you can dig – when playing with the Switch in your hands as opposed to docked and connected to your TV. 

I consider my eyesight to be pretty solid when I have my glasses on, but there were moments of real frustration for me where I genuinely couldn’t see or find what I was looking for in Cozy Grove.

The text size is also really, really small and some of it can blend in with the background.

For example, in the image above, the "owned: 0" section is difficult to make out on Nintendo Switch... at least for me. Adding to the frustration, the options menu is less than helpful. It doesn't really contain much that would help you in this situation, or others.

I think the game could benefit in a big way from an expanded menu and accessibility options, like the ability to increase the text size.

Of course, I imagine if I were to play Cozy Grove on a different platform like PC I’d be able to navigate around this a bit better so again, the platform you play the game on will play a role in how much you enjoy the game.

In summary, Cozy Grove is a great time to sink some time into. Its cheerful atmosphere will put a smile on your face, you’ll be able to make progress in the game at your own pace, and there are natural stopping points that remind you that it’s ok to take a break.


Pros: 

  • Relaxing gameplay that lets you move at your own pace.
  • Rewarding, the tasks you’re asked to complete never feel overwhelming. 
  • Lovely art style that you can’t help but look at and admire, especially as you restore color to the map.
  • Cute characters and concepts.

Cons: 

  • Small text size, certain things are hard to see. 
  • Could benefit from additional menu/accessibility options.
  • Performance hiccups on Nintendo Switch and slow loading times. 

Score: 8

A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review.