Cozy Grove 2021: Review
April 8th, 2021
Spry Fox LLC
Beautiful, dynamic, hand-drawn landscapes that come alive when you help a spirit in need.
Dozens of memorable characters and spirits for you to find and befriend. Each spirit has a unique, extensive story for you to unravel over time.
Collect spirit animals, craft decorations, go fishing, and more!
40+ hour campaign filled with side quests, designed to span months of playtime.
Cozy Grove is a relatively laid-back “cozy sim” game with foraging, gardening, building, light questing, and lots of looking for hidden treasures as its main gameplay mechanics. You’ll find a well-made, very calming game here, even though it has some mechanics that some players may understandably detest (see below).
In Cozy Grove, You take on the role of a young spirit scout, someone who aids ghosts. You were unintentionally assigned to an island that even veterans wouldn’t venture to visit while you were nearing the conclusion of your initiation time. It’s your responsibility to interact with the local spirits and offer any assistance you can.
You’ll be able to access 17 different ghosts after many weeks (in real-time). These all have individual histories and personalities. Each ghost may have a task for you once per day (again, in real time). Each quest can either be a side mission that exposes information about the ghost’s backstory or it can be an optional job. The stories are well-written and frequently contain a good amount of irony. Because the ghosts were regular people in their lives, doing and thinking about regular things, some of the discussions seemed rather banal. Yet they are enjoyable to read in general.
It took us 77 days to watch the credits roll, 111 days to complete all of the basic game stories, and 130 days to complete all of the DLCs of Cozy Grove.
The recommended daily playing time for the Cozy Grove game is 1-2 hours. As a result, each day involves gathering your plants and any available pebbles, feeding your pets, and touring the island to see if any of the ghosts have any missions for you.
The quests in Cozy Grove are generated randomly and are very straightforward, but there is some variety in them. For example, you might be asked to a) find unique objects that are hidden on the island, b) chase imps around the island to make them drop stolen items, c) deliver resources that are typically always available, d) take a picture with the content requested by the ghost, e) purchase specific items from the merchant, or f) deliver specific items that other ghosts may have already given you or will give you
You can find a variety of randomly appearing features while exploring the island in Cozy Grove, including grass mounds, dig spots, imps that will ask for items, small shells that can be picked up and sold, animals that can be caught and sold, large shells that can be hit with skipping stones to release rewards, and more. When you interact with some of these elements, you may receive resources, sellable items, or coins. You can buy products from the merchant, update the merchant’s store, or increase your storage capacity with coins.
If desired, you can also construct or purchase a sizable number of structures in a variety of architectural styles and use them to adorn the island. Depending on their tastes, they can also make plants and animals happier.
After making a few circuits around the island, you won’t find any more features for the day because the spawn rate of the majority of features is limited. Afterward, you can gradually earn money by catching animals and fish (which appear to spawn eternally), but it’s more effective to just quit the game and wait until the following day.
Players that are content to incorporate the game into their everyday routine will benefit the most from these game elements. This game will provide the hour of relaxation you’re looking for, say, before going to bed. However, we think this game’s design is poor. When we play a game, we want to become lost in its world and advance as long as we have the time and find it enjoyable—not just until the game stops allowing us to make any more progress for the day. We also don’t always have the same amount of time available; for example, today we might have 4 free hours, during which we would like to play the game.
However, it quickly obstructs all avenues for advancement and figuratively tells us to return tomorrow. But even though we might not have time tomorrow or the day after, we do now. We find this to be really aggravating, and we detest the conceit of game designers who seem to think that adults with jobs, families, and possibly a tonne of other responsibilities would fit a casual game into their daily routine.
There are those who have the leisure to fit a game like this into their schedule and who appreciate such a stable routine, so we are obviously not the intended audience here. Therefore, even while we can’t help but complain a little about a gameplay element we detest, it doesn’t necessarily mean the game is horrible. It is very upfront about this mechanic and even prominently displays a suitable warning on the product page.
A second potential source of annoyance in the design of this game is as follows: Since there are so many things to find, it keeps track of all your discoveries, which contributes to its long-term appeal: There are 360 distinct kinds of flowers, 253 different kinds of shells, 180 different kinds of fish, and more. And the majority of these will only show up during particular seasons in the present. This is fantastic if you’re a “progressionist” since you can play the game for a year or longer and still progress; you’ll still find new items for your collections, even if they’re merely variations on the same flower shape that you’ve previously discovered a dozen times.
But if you’re a “completionist,” this may be a nightmare. You’ll be compelled to grind for several hours each month for at least a year (possibly more) in the hopes of finding all the spawns that only appear during this period. Additionally, the spawns come in a variety of rarities, with the rarest objects or animals only appearing fewer than 1% of the time. To avoid burning out on the game before you can finish your collections, you’ll either need to genuinely enjoy the grind or be really stubborn.
But once more, if you play primarily for progression and don’t mind if things are left unfinished, this mechanic of Cozy Grove can be perfectly up your alley.
It is quite enjoyable to look at Cozy Grove since it uses beautiful, adorable visuals in a painterly style. The idea of making the environments black and white by default before turning vibrantly colored around a cheerful ghost is extremely original (or your campfire). Then, by erecting lampposts, the light can be dispersed even more. Undoubtedly, a colored environment makes it simpler to find hidden stuff.
The sound effects of Cozy Grove are adequate yet unremarkable. Slow country music, performed on instruments like a guitar or harmonica, is included throughout the game and is intended to conjure images of a cozy campfire. The Cozy Grove game doesn’t have voice acting, and in our opinion, it doesn’t need any.
The game’s environments are hardly present. You have three different volume sliders, a resolution selection, and a fullscreen/windowed toggle. Then there are switches for a custom cursor, everlasting daylight, and “autosaving regularly.” That is essentially everything. Keys cannot be remapped, the graphical fidelity cannot be changed (which could have helped to lessen the occasionally noticeable stutter-scrolling), and there are no accessibility options at all. That’s not very good.
Either the mouse or keyboard can be used to play the Cozy Grove game, however, the mouse controls are terrible. If you click on an area where there are several different items overlapping one other in the surroundings, the game frequently becomes confused about where you want to go. Although WASD and the arrow keys are all that are available, the keyboard works better for motions. Additionally, if you move the mouse just one pixel when clicking on an item while trying to multi-select it, the game will assume that you wish to drag it, canceling the multi-selection. Again, using the keyboard is an option, but it is somewhat awkward.