I’ll second Wylde Flowers. It’s a bit of Stardew Valley with a lot of Hallmark television movie–in a good way! It’s on Apple Arcade as well as Steam.
Speaking of Apple Arcade, I’m finding Japanese Rural Life Adventure to be a real treat. Again, a good amount of Stardew Valley/Harvest Moon energy, but this one gets super detailed in a lovely way. You’re placing stones for your koi pond one at a time, and revarnishing torii at the shrine, turning branches into bonsai, and repairing the local waterwheel piece-by-piece. I’m running into a problem now keeping some of the specific Japanese terms straight in my head, but although there’s a seasonal calendar, I don’t feel any pressure to get my 21 lanterns ready for the summer festival on time, since there’s always next year…
I had mentioned I had a lot of trouble starting out in Stardew Valley, which I figured is probably the friendliest for a newb in this genre, so this time I’m going to read a guide like this first before giving it another try.
Mh, funny enough my “cozy games” tend to be the “wide open sandbox” type of games.
I tried Stardew Valley and a few games in the same vein, but the main problems I run across with those that I either attempt to overoptimize it (why sniff the flowers when I could corner the flower market and make a gazillion megabucks!) or run across my crippling fear of commitment. (So, marriage…oh, and raising kids…uh…look, over there! An obvious distraction! teleports out). So, that kind of game tends to stress me out, doubly so if there’s any blink-or-you’ll-miss-it opportunity windows or a ticking clock (you have X years before bad thing Y happens).
Rule #1 of game development: Unless you do something against it, Gamers™ will optimize every bit of fun out of your game. Rule #2: If you do something to prevent it, they will bitch and moan.
ARPGs can have a certain zen-like pattern of clearing out monsters and looting them, but I consider them more of a skinner box than a cozy experience. Without the presence of the carrot (higher numbers go BRRRRR) I find the gameplay loop rarely to be enjoyable. Particularly not when “properly” optimized with a 1-3 skill build that’s basically "press 1 to murder screen, 2 to hover up loot and hit 3 repeatedly in case of bosses. That’s kinda dull. No matter how pretty the lights and how high the numbers.
I also hate repetition. Randomized layouts and events help to a certain degree, so does a large enough pool of events, but what for example killed Grim Dawn for me in the long run is the absolute rote world progression.
However, puttering around in for example the Mudrunner games? Happy as a pig in said mud, really. No Man’s Sky scratched my itch for a long, long time. Yes, the elements repeat. Yes, some worlds look REALLY similar. No, that never bothered me as badly as running the wild west section of Grim Dawn for the 10th time on the third character.
Give me toys. Remove undue pressure. I’ll make my own fun, thank you.
My Time at Sandrock jumps $15 in price tomorrow. Has anyone spent any time with it to say whether it’s worth grabbing before it does so? Does it do anything notably better/different than the first one other than the move to the desert?
Ooh, what a coincidence. Warhammer 40,000 Inquisitor is my favorite space game! I love how you use a star map to pick your next mission!
Personally I’d probably use a term like “comfort game” to describe something that felt familiar/soothing/relaxing to me, but didn’t really overlap with the general community usage of “cozy games”, at least if I wanted people to understand me. But words are all made up anyway, and I’m not your dad (as far as you know), so do what you want!
None of this week’s game releases are exactly killing it in terms of reviews/buzz, but it sounds like there is some fun to be had if the premise is appealing (except for the Switch version of Mineko, which apparently suffers from terrible loading times). It does sound like the new Harvest Moon is easily the best of the games released by Natsume after the split, though that may be damning with faint praise.
Only one review up so far, but it’s generally positive. BTW, this site is a good addition to your RSS reader to pick up games that go under the radar of most sites.
So, I tried out the Palia beta. Kind of fun, neat art style very fortnite esque.
I built my first house, and while most of the game runs through in-game time where a day runs through in 30-45 minutes, it popped up that my house will take 8 hours to complete. Not in game hours, but 8 real world hours.
So, I guess I am done for the day? I was looking forward to decorating my house, but that will have to wait for 8 real world hours. Why?
Already mentioned in the wallet threat thread, but probably worth noting here too that Ooblets is now on Steam, and with a 40% off launch discount. This is one that I’ve been meaning to play more of, and my kids vouch for it highly.
I actually haven’t yet picked up any of the new releases from last month, but I have been playing Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin. This was on my radar when it came out a couple years ago, but I noticed it on PS+ and jumped in and have been liking it so far.
It definitely does its own thing in terms of farming mechanics, with a multi-stage sequence of tasks to raise each year’s rice crop (as a harvest goddess, your battle statistics only go up with the rice harvest, not from fighting). And in between, you’ve got bite-sized levels to battle your way through and collect materials, and a heartfelt story about Sakuna and the group of misfit humans she is responsible for.
Relevant to the locus of ARPGs and cozy games, we have the just-released Silent Hope, an ARPG from the developers of Story of Seasons and Rune Factory, and nominally set in the same universe (though as I understand it the crossover is mostly in the realm of vibes and a few creature designs rather than a major factor).
The demo felt like a lost 3DS game to me, and I would be happy to play more but have held off on purchasing due to time. One novel element is that you are encouraged to swap among the seven playable characters during each expedition. Each one comes in with a finite amount of health an potions, and when you find a crystal to tag in a replacement, you not only replenish those resources, but get a substantial buff specific to the departing character that lasts until you leave the dungeon (and stacks as you swap out more and more characters).
Looks like XSeed has a big sale on their releases as part of Amazon’s current Prime promotion, with several farming games on Switch for $20 each.
Many of these are already on Game Pass and/or PS+, and this isn’t the first time they’ve been available for $20. But this is the first time I’ve seen Rune Factory 5 for under $30.
And on the rest, this is a genre that I feel benefits more from portability than it does from extra graphics power, so the Switch is a good home for them if you’ve been thinking about trying one. That especially goes for Rune Factory 4 Special. As I mentioned, that’s the consensus pick for the peak of the series in terms of gameplay and content, but it’s still a remaster of a 3DS game, and the lower-poly models and blurry textures are more of a distraction on a giant TV than on a handheld screen.
I pulled the trigger on Sandrock while it was still cheap, because I really enjoyed Portia. Having just finished my last game (Yakuza 0!), I’m looking for something to play. Is anyone playing Sandrock now, or are you holding off the the 1.0 release on Nov 2nd?