Cozy Games to play after getting obliterated by your finals
By Valery Perez, April 20 2023—
Finals season is upon us! The next few weeks will be full of big-brained, caffeine-induced hard work for most of us. Extra condolences to those of you who now have to catch up on months of work due to your cute little procrastination habit. In preparation for the unavoidable carnage that finals will leave behind, I have prepared a list of cozy games to help in your post-final mental recovery. Bonus points if you have a handheld device and find yourself a cozy spot to play outside. This will have the added effect of allowing you to catch up on all of that vitamin D you’ve been missing out on these past few months.
This game is for those of us who are indecisive about whether they want to be a cool, courageous badass adventurer or a cozy, friendly trinket shop owner. It combines the fun of being a merchant and running your own shop, with the excitement of exploring dynamic caves and collecting artifacts to sell to your patrons.
The game throws a regular work day on its head as your day actually starts at night, and you begin exploring ever-changing caves in order to collect trinkets and artifacts to sell in your shop. As you explore you discover new enemies, unique artifacts, and slowly unravel the story of how these caves came to be. The enemies you encounter can initially seem intimidating, but you quickly realize that their movements are predictable and they’re easy to beat. Once the sun rises, you can sell what you’ve collected and craft new tools to keep your adventure going. Then you sleep and start over again.
When selling your trinkets, you get to choose the asking price. The customers will then let you know if the price you chose is too expensive, reasonable, or if you’ve given them a steal of a deal. Based on these reactions, you can change the price of the trinkets as you see fit. Be careful not to sell too much of one thing though, as making an item too common means you have to charge less.
There’s just enough variety to keep you interested without becoming overwhelmed. The game was intended to be played on “Hard Mode” but, personally, I have been playing through it on “Normal Mode.” This has allowed me to get a hang of the different moving parts and focus on the story. Remember, there’s no one to impress. Just you, a cup of your favourite warm drink, and your trinkets!
Described by its developers as “part block-fitting puzzle, part home decoration,” the goal is to organize your life into different rooms and do your best to “create a satisfying living space.” Its slow pace and soothing music are ideal for those of us who deal with game anxiety or are looking to relax.
As you shift from room to room, you’re slowly shown a story in parts of a character whose face you don’t even know. Despite the lack of a direct introduction, you develop an intimate attachment to this individual through organizing their home. There is some method to the madness, as the game doesn’t allow you to just place anything anywhere. If it’s not satisfied with your unpacking, objects will flash red to indicate they must be moved.
It is extremely easy to become obsessed with unpacking and finding the best ways to fit everything together into the spaces. I found myself immersed for hours as I allowed my brain to shut off and focused only on organizing. No thoughts, only cozy game vibes!
Bear and Breakfast
My favourite of the cozy games! You’re a friendly bear who fell for a capitalist scheme and are now in charge of running your own chain of Bed and Breakfast locations. You revitalize, and by that I mean destroy, the woods that have been undisturbed by humans for years. They begin to flood and pollute the area as you build cute cabins for them to stay in. With their money and garbage collected, you go on a journey to build your Bed and Breakfast empire.
The game mixes exploration with management and organization. It is quite structured and can feel like you’re being babied through certain parts so for the more adventurous gamer, this might be frustrating. For those of us who love and have the patience for a slower pace, it’s nice not to be aggressively overwhelmed by a learning curve. It lends itself well to relaxation and no thoughts. A great combination after a rigorous winter semester!
Hopefully these games make the transition from final exam overstimulation to a relaxing summer a bit easier. Moonlighter and Unpacking can be found on the Nintendo Switch, XBOX, Playstation 4 and PC through Steam and GOG. Bear and Breakfast can be played on the Nintendo Switch and on PC through Steam, GOG and EPIC games.