Why I play Cozy Games

If there’s a genre that I play the most right now, it’s cozy. I’m just addicted to the vibe. Chances are, you are too… have you ever wondered why?

ByRaine ColubioSeptember 10, 2023

I am OBSESSED with cozy games. If there’s a genre that I play the most right now, it’s cozy. I’m just addicted to the vibe. Chances are, you are too… have you ever wondered why?

Cozy games have taken the industry by storm. Every direct, showcase, or state of play, there’s bound to be games specifically for the cozy community… But what even are cozy games?

What are cozy games?

What is the first thing you think of when you think of cozy games? It’s probably Animal Crossing or Stardew Valley… a cute little farming game where you interact with a colorful cast of NPCs. It’s all very chill, you can do whatever you want to do at your own time.

Is that all there is to cozy games? Nope.

Unlike most video game genres, the “cozy game genre” is not bound by mechanics. First person shooters are games where you shoot things in the first person perspective…

Cozy games are more defined by how they make us feel. Warm. Relaxed. Intimate. Cozy.

I’d say there are three kinds? Types? Hmm it’s more of the main points in the spectrum of cozy games.

Number one. Pure Cozy. These are games that are cozy through and through… from the gameplay, to the sound and visual… to the story so think Animal Crossing or Stardew. Also non-farming games like Melatonin, a very aesthetically pleasing rhythm game… or A Short Hike or Lil Gator Game… these are small, short open-world games, with really simple quests… and you can just do whatever you want for the most part. I’d also add Pokemon snap… a game where we literally just take endless photos of cute pokemon.

There’s a lot of pure cozy games on mobile… a really popular one on Tiktok is Good Pizza, Great Pizza… and tons of other cute cafe style games.

Number two. Dark Cozy. These are the games that may be cute and cozy on the outside… but the story is deep and you have a 100% chance of crying… or at least I do.

Games like the Life is Strange series – where I just cry at the end of EVERY episode.

Or Planet of Lana – a side-scrolling platformer with beautiful backdrops, but then your sister gets kidnapped by alien robots.

Spirit Farer – a game that I love but I can’t finish because I am not ready to let go. I’ve been hurt way too many times.

Omori – a very cute and colorful pixel game with themes of depression, anxiety and unaliving oneself.

Number three. Part Cozy. These games are not really cozy games but they have cozy elements. Significant sections in the gameplay that really have the vibe.

A few examples would be…

The Legend of Zelda Breath of the wild.. Or even Hollow Knight. controversial. Yes, this game is difficult. But when you find a place to rest and just enjoy the view…, it’s so beautiful and relaxing.

Still, I think cozy games are a spectrum. A lot of these games are in-between pure and dark… like Cozy Grove – a game about a spirit scout and the cute ghosts they help. It has dark elements, but it’s still pretty light.

Or Don’t Starve… a traditionally NOT Cozy game. It’s a survival game where you get kidnapped to this alternative world called the Constant and you have to survive not only from hunger but also from the creatures that lurk in the dark… With a few tweaks in the settings, or downright installing a mod, it can be played mostly cozy.

So yeah, Pure Cozy, Dark Cozy Part Cozy. My favorite kind is Dark Cozy because it challenges me to reflect a bit more. Let me know what yours is in the comments below.

Why do I play cozy games so much?

Now that we have established the different kinds of cozy games, here’s why I play them so much.

1. Easy peasy, pumpkin peasy / Cozy games are easy.

I am not a very patient person… and I’m gonna be honest, I don’t really have that much time to play games. So when I start a new game, I don’t want to have to learn so many things before I get to the good parts.

That’s one of the things I love about cozy games. Most of them are casual games that are super easy to get into. There’s no need to wade through an hour-long tutorial…

So less time trying to figure out how everything works… more time getting to what actually matters.

2. This game made me feel feelings / Cozy games as a form of self - care

I play games as a form of self-care. To escape the hustle and bustle of life for a little bit. Reset. Look at something pretty and low-stress.

Sure, I sometimes need something hype and intense to de-stress… but most days, I just need some lofi beats in the background, and a game that doesn’t take too much brain capacity to play. Like a spa day… but for my brain.

It’s more than that. Remember my favorite kind of cozy game? Dark Cozy. One of my all-time favorite cozy games is GRIS… a beautiful platformer with no dialog.. It made me cry at least 4 times the first time I played it. I interpreted the very subtle story as one about overcoming grief… specifically the death of a loved one, in this case, her mom.

Some cozy games can be pretty dark… but never traumatizing, really. Instead, a lot of these games invite the player to be introspective… to reflect on their lives and emotions through the beautiful, soulful, and sometimes gut-wrenching stories they tell.

A new game I played recently that really moved me was Venba. It’s a very short game about an immigrant family. They are migrating from India to Canada. We play the game for the most part through the eyes of Venba, the matriarch of the family. Like most asian moms, she expresses her love for her family through food. Delicious Indian food. Playing this made me so hungry.

Even though I am not an immigrant, nor am I Indian, I still connected so much with this game. It made me think about my cousins and what it was like for them to grow up in America as Filipinos. I thought about the sacrifices my mom had to make to feed me and send me to school, and then realizing in retrospect just how ungrateful I was by not eating my lunch.

While the game was short, because it was still a slow game where I could take as long as I wanted to think and absorb the story, it effectively gripped my heart and left me in tears.

3. Escaping the doom and gloom of real life / Cozy games to escape.

Animal Crossing was the golden game of 2020. The game that saved the entire world from completely falling into the depths of depression in the height of the pandemic – and for good reason.

Animal Crossing, and games like it can transport us to a world without woe. A world where everything is perfect, unlike the hell we were in a few years ago.

While I did not play Animal Crossing in 2020, I sympathize with these escapists because at the time, I could think of nothing better than frollicking in the wide fields of Hyrule, solving simple little puzzles to find Koroks, and discovering all the recipes I could create on a crock pot with nothing more than 5 random ingredients, and endless gluttony as Link.

Even now, post-pandemic, we’re still playing cozy games to escape. Life didn’t get easier after Covid. Cozy games are still here because life is hard.

We all need something that isn't going to stress us out more than we already are.


I think cozy games will keep getting popular. There is a huge audience for it.

The main cozy playerbase are in their 20s to late 50s (depending on the game). These are people with disposable income for the games they want to play, and all the cute things related to them.

While the vocal audience and content creators that help spread the word of cozy games are predominantly feminine, the genre isn’t really constrained by gender. Despite how it looks on the outside, the audience (at least on our channel) and playerbase of cozy games are closer to 50/50 between males and females.

The genre is so diverse, there are endless possibilities for potential concepts. It’s near impossible to get bored of it.

The developers, publishers, and brands see this trend and they’ll continue to create more games and merch.

Just as there is space for heart pumping, skill-based, high-energy games… There is also room to get cozy… and I can’t wait to play more.

Related pages