Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Cozy Grove. Come for the ghosts. Stay for the R&R

 Cozy Grove is the latest Iyashikei game we’ve tried. It’s a Japanese genre that is about healing and decompression, no conflict and often about nature.  It’s actually much more of an anime genre than a video game one but Animal Crossing was our introduction to it. (Which might be why the other two video games we’ve tried aren’t Japanese)

In Cozy Grove, you are a spirit scout, a gender neutral branch of scouting that is devoted to camping, outdoor crafts and exorcising restless ghosts. Wait, what was that last one?

You are stranded on the island of Cozy Grove which is positively teeming with unhappy spirits. Who are all incredibly friendly anthropomorphic bears. The game consists of low key fetch quests, resource gathering and decorating the island.

And Cozy Grove is a slow burn, even compared to Animal Crossing. You will run out of resources and fetch quests for the day and it won’t be too difficult to reach that point. As opposed to Animal Crossing, where you could catch fish and bugs all day long if you felt like it.

I have to make a special note of the music and graphic design. It’s a lot of fun to see areas burst into life after you’ve helped someone or added light to the world. But the music is what really sells the feels of Cozy Grove. I could listen to the soundtrack for hours.

We still have a long ways to go before we complete the game. While the stories are melancholy (these are ghosts after all), I hope there isn’t any twist like you’re actually dead all along or the bears are all restless because they killed the last scout. I want this to be Iyashikei to the end.

Animal Crossing was a quiet revelation for me. Cozy Grove isnt quite as immersive or impressive but it has its own strength and poignancy. So I will see where its story goes.

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