Cozy Games: Why a Healthy Trend Became a Recognized Genre

There is no right way to relax. For me, walking around a Spanish island taking photos of the local wildlife, climbing to the top of a mountain, and returning to my hometown after dropping out of university are just a few of my favorite ways to relax. I haven’t done any of these activities in real life, but I was able to experience them all through games like Alba: A Wildlife Adventure, A Short Hike, and Night in the Woods.

These types of games encourage players to take it easy and enjoy the cozier things in life, which is why they have earned a reputation as “cozy games.” While there is no official definition of exactly what a cozy game is, those that fall into this categorization have a particular vibe that is easy to spot. Generally, a cozy game will be laid-back, have minimal if any combat, an endearing art style, and wrap its action around a wholesome story. These kinds of games have become so popular in recent years that they’ve sparked a welcoming online gaming movement: inspiring developers, shaping lifestyles, and building communities.

keeping it cozy

Animal Crossing: New Horizons The Chicken Coop

(Image credit: Nintendo)

“People need to have stress-free moments during the day and just relax and smile. In the last year, more and more games with cozy vibes have come out, and I firmly believe that they help when you’re having a rough day.” says Bee, one of the developers behind the upcoming Kitori Academy cozy living sim. It doesn’t take much searching to see that Bee is right, several games on Steam’s best-seller list could be classified as a “cozy game”, and the same goes for other digital stores like Nintendo eShop and PlayStation Store. But what constitutes a cozy game? According to Bee, it’s about the feelings a cozy game gives you, and less about sticking to a strict set of genre rules or game mechanics.

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