Cozy Games Take Center Stage: The rise of stress-free gaming experiences

Perfect during COVID and rainy days, cozy video games have seen a rise in popularity. These stress-free games usually feature no violence, relaxing music, adorable human and animal characters, and objectives like farming, socializing and collecting. The aesthetic design of cozy games is pleasing and cute, and the setting is usually a tranquil town or a small island. If you want to learn more, here are a few popular cozy games to try out with a little explanation about their contents. 

Animal Crossing: New Horizons took COVID quarantine by storm when it was released at the end of March of 2020, right after the shutdown. Gamers flocked to this cozy game, making it the best-selling Animal Crossing game in the whole series. You begin the game at the airport, where Timmy and Tommy act as your airline customer service agents, from whom you bought a new deserted island package where you will be relocating. They ask you some questions and let you choose an island map, then you set off for your new island home. Along the way you meet with other animals who are moving to the same island, shop clerks, and residents of nearby islands. Build your new home from the ground up as the island’s representative and start making your island the vacation destination

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Stardew Valley is one of the most popular farming simulation games. You begin as the new farmer of Pelican Town, a small town in Stardew Valley where you take over your late grandfather’s abandoned farm. You can befriend the villagers by giving them daily gifts, but each has their own likes and dislikes, so make sure you don’t give a villager an item they hate or it will cost you in friendship points. You can farm, fish, mine, and fight cave monsters for loot in this pixel-art-heavy video game. After befriending residents, you can court and later marry any of the twelve marriage candidates in the game. Stardew Valley can be multiplayer, where you can co-op with up to three other farmers. Live out your farming dream with this charming game. 

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My Time At Portia is similar to Stardew Valley, in that you take over a relative’s property and marry within the village, but instead of farming, you arrive in Portia as the newest Builder and will craft inventions that help sustain the city. You receive the workshop of your distant father after he has passed away, and start your life in Portia as a fledgling Builder. You will be given commissions from the local townspeople to complete, as well as from Portia and other cities. Upgrade your workshop, befriend the residents of Portia, and improve the city with your high-quality creations

Cozy Grove is a laid back indie game about everyday life on a haunted island, but the game is not scary by any means. You arrive as a spirit scout whose job is to help usher stuck souls into the afterlife by helping them complete missions and gather necessary materials. Most of the island is in black and white, and as you help various spirits out, small areas of the island get their color back. Befriend these spirits and give them daily hugs, collect materials, and discover more parts of the island as you do your job as a spirit scout. Build furniture and decorate your island with crafted items while bringing the color back to the whole island

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Pokémon Snap was originally released in 1999 for the Nintendo 64; a remastered version has recently come out for the Switch. In the new version, you work with Professor Mirror in researching the new phenomenon called Illumina, where some Pokémon and vegetation have a special glow. Travel around new terrains and take photos of Pokémon living in their natural habitats, keeping a keen eye out for those affected by Illumina. Your photos are rated at the end of the ride based on the Pokémon’s rarity, position, expression, and size. You get bonus points if you catch the Pokémon in a remarkably exceptional pose. You can use music or food to try and bait these Pokémon to do special poses. This game is fun and relaxing, with a simple objective: take photos of Pokemon. Test your skill as a photographer and practice your angles with this easygoing photo adventure. 

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Dim the lights, play some ambient music and get under a fluffy blanket as you prepare to spend hours playing any of these cozy games. If you like to build, craft, gather, farm, or mine without worrying about incoming enemies or the stress of time running out, check out a relaxing and joyful cozy game to put your mind at ease and play your stress away.