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As 2023 comes to a close, it’s nice to wind down the year by playing a cozy or two (or more as my Nintendo Switch playtime stats love to remind me). Yet, for that lull of waiting for the new year to begin, you might have some vacation time on your hands. If you’re looking to pick up a cozy game or even celebrate 2024 in-game, here are a few cozy games to play this weekend.



You can’t have the cozy game genre exist without farming sim/farming life sim games. This year was full of new (and old) releases. Personally, the following are what I’ve been playing throughout the year.


Harvest Moon 64



Dropped via the Nintendo Switch Online N64 app earlier this month, Harvest Moon 64 is now easier to get ahold of and play (legally). This is one of the most iconic games in the Bokujō Monogatari series (alongside its mirror world version for the PlayStation, Harvest Moon: Back to Nature). For fans who initially played Harvest Moon 64 back in the day, this will be a nostalgia trip. As for new players that want to see what the fuss is about… please keep in mind that this a 24-year-old game that hasn’t aged well in the controls department. So, you’ll want to look up the controller inputs along with a few tips and tricks. Still, it’s worth a playthrough or two.

A bit of a warning though, there are a handful of serious topics scattered throughout (including child abuse and domestic violence). Also, this is one of the few Harvest Moon games where liquor isn’t scrubbed as fruit juice (or milk) and there’s a festival where the goal is to out-drink the entire town. The original localization can be a bit awkward too (Natsume’s own name is still misspelled on the startup screen). Yet, despite all that, this a quintessential cozy game.


Fae Farm



Fae Farm is a magical farming sim game in more ways than one. Sure, there are enchanting elements like fae NPCs, whimsical crops and creatures, and a magic system (which helps with farming and combat). Yet what keeps me coming back to Fae Farm is its gameplay loop and flow. You can jump and utilize bouncy mushrooms throughout Azoria (along with fast travel locations once unlocked) with ease. (It reminds me of a less buggy version of Harvest Moon: A Tale of Two Towns’ mushroom travel system.) There’s a fairly robust character creator (for a farming sim game) included and combine that with all the unlockable costumes and color palettes, you can easily make a fun avatar. This month the game also got its first of two free updates on Nintendo Switch, so there’s a new location to explore. Yet, for those who thoroughly enjoy the social aspects of farming life sim games, Fae Farm will disappoint you. The NPC dialogue is rather weak and festivals are just special shopping events. Despite that, Fae Farm is an extremely fun game to play – solo or with friends.


Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life



Another game from the Bokujō Monogatari vault, but this time as a remake. Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life isn’t a typical farming life sim game – seasons are 10 days long and time jumps happen between years (don’t worry, the days are 25 minutes long in real-time). The idea of A Wonderful Life is that you are playing a character’s life – from starting out taking over their dad’s farm to growing old and dying. This farming sim is fairly heavy on the social sim aspect – you have to get married by the end of the first year to continue playing and NPCs age and die alongside you (to a degree). Luckily, the remake added a variety of quality-of-life improvements, redesigned the bachelor characters (that weren’t initially intended to be bachelors), added new social events, a non-binary option for the player character, and more. Personally, I wish the remake had more time and/or a bigger budget to add in features like rival marriages and their kids along with some allegedly cut content from the initial game (and I love the original duck designs instead of the new white fluff balls). Despite that, I’m glad that Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life is now available to a new gaming generation.



The cozy genre is more than just farming life sim games – there are plenty of puzzle games with good vibes (or chaos).


A Little to the Left



A Little to the Left (and its DLC, A Little to the Left: Cupboards & Drawers) is a wonderful mix of aesthetics and puzzles with an added dash of a cat messing around with your setup. The puzzles are focused on organizing everyday items – bowls, bread tabs, cardboard boxes, food on a shelf fridge, books, and more. You’re tasked with arranging the items which means there are multiple solutions to each puzzle (i.e.: pattern, color, size, type, etc.). The base game has over 75 puzzles and the DLC adds on another 25. It’s a great time to dive into this game too as it’s on sale via the Nintendo Shop ($14.83 for both base game and DLC).





Similar to A Little to the Left, Unpacking is an organization puzzle game, yet focused on the idea of moving from place to place. Players will unpack the same character’s belongings throughout key points in her lifetime – noticing what’s left behind between moves and what’s saved. I don’t want to spoil too much of Unpacking’s story, but it’s more than just a puzzle game. It’s a masterfully woven wordless tale that’s told with possessions, cardboard boxes, and packing material. The audio is also fantastic, especially the sound effects (there are over 14,000 of ‘em). Luckily, Unpacking is part of the big Nintendo eShop holiday sale, which means you can get it for $9.99.





My favorite new puzzle game of 2023 is Storyteller – a game where you’re given a story in a sentence and must arrange characters and places in beat boards to tell it. I gushed about it in my review of this story-building puzzler earlier this year, and luckily my one complaint was partially resolved in September via a free update. (I still want more puzzles, though.) For anyone who enjoys storytelling and writing their own tales, definitely pick up this puzzler while it’s on sale for $9.99 on the Nintendo eShop (or play it for free if you have a Netflix subscription).


Untitled Goose Game



Hear me out – Untitled Goose Game is a fun, chaotic bird time where violence (the fun kind!) is chosen with each playthrough. Part stealth, part puzzle, and part “HONK HONK HONK”, it’s hilariously charming and anyone can play it. (Warning: small children may forgo the plot and constantly hit the Y-button to “HONK!” and it’s certainly a mood I can get behind.) Sure, it’s been out on Nintendo Switch since September 2019, but it did receive a free update in 2020 where you and a friend could play local co-op with two geese. And, listen, you might be mentally done with 2023 (especially if yours was a dumpster fire of a year). What might make you feel better is to get that aggression out by causing problems in a controlled digital world where you won’t get arrested and/or sued. So go on, drag that rake into a lake, steal utensils, and ring a bell as we enter 2024. (And just like A Little to the Left and Unpacking, Untitled Goose Game is also on sale via the Nintendo eShop for $9.99.)


Suika Game



If Suika Game (a.k.a. the Watermelon Game) didn’t charm you for US$2.99 during its free Nintendo Games Trials, then I don’t know what will. Yes, it’s a simple puzzle game of combining fruits, but it’s oh-so satisfying. The physics, the cute fruit – it’s no wonder that this is being stolen to port on the PlayStation 4 and ripped off in mobile ads. My only gripe is that the music can get a bit repetitive and the Halloween-themed mode was removed once the holiday was over. (Some of us want to be spooky all year round, thank you very much!)







MMOs typically aren’t cozy games, but Palia is just that. I have it under the YMMV because, at the end of the day, it is an MMO/live service game. For some players, that’s an automatic “no” due to the nature of that genre. Yet, for players who don’t mind, Palia is a fantastic game to start alone or with friends. Farm, mine, craft a home and furniture, catch bugs, fish, hunt, forage, cook – there are plenty of activities to partake in. Plus there are currently over 20 NPCs to befriend (and some of those can be courted too). The other bonus is that Palia is free-to-play and doesn’t require an active Nintendo Switch Online subscription. Yes, there are microtransactions, but only in the form of cosmetics (clothing, pets, and gliders). There’s no pay-to-win here!


Disney Dreamlight Valley



What if there was a Disney version of Animal Crossing? Yeah, that’s what Disney Dreamlight Valley is, but with some extra frills. In 2023, however, I’m hesitant to recommend DDV to brand-new players due to how its release has been handled and that they are still microtransactions on top of the buy-in price. If you wanted to own every digital item in Disney Dreamlight Valley so you could decorate to your heart’s content without any restrictions, you’re over a year too late. Gameloft has locked items behind events, Twitch drops, Early Access versions, physical editions, redemption codes, and more. Then there are microtransactions using DDV’s premium currency and paid DLC which requires another purchase. It’s an expensive game (no one ever said the “D” in Disney stood for discount). It’s a bit disappointing, especially since DDV’s writing is good. Interactions between various Disney characters make sense and can be hilarious. Plus, the base game’s storyline isn’t what I expected from a “cozy Disney game.” It deals with some sensitive topics (loneliness and depression) and doesn’t fumble it in this Disney magic-filled setting.


Fashion Dreamer



When Fashion Dreamer was announced earlier this year (and that syn Sophia, the studio behind the Style Savvy games, was making it), it instantly found a spot on my wishlist. Unfortunately, Fashion Dreamer lacks the charm, wackiness, and plot that was stitched into Style Savvy. It’s no more than a paper doll sim game that’s missing some of Style Savvy’s basic features (I can’t organize what clothes I have by color?!). While the game is getting updated and is starting to roll out events, it still needs more fine-tuning ASAP. That said, if you like paper doll sim games and can’t pick up any of the Style Savvy games (on DS, 3DS, and one ported to the Wii U), Fashion Dreamer might be worth looking into. Borrow it from a friend if you can.


Harvest Moon: The Winds of Anthos



Natsume, who previously localized the Bokujō Monogatari series and retains the Harvest Moon trademark, has been producing their own Harvest Moon games since 2014. Some of these games have been interesting additions to the farming life sim genre (Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley’s crop mutation mechanic) or needed a few more years in development (Harvest Moon: One World). That said, their latest addition, Harvest Moon: The Winds of Anthos, can be fun. It’s a massive improvement from One World, has a host of wild animals to befriend, multiple farming locations (including seasonal biomes), and some nicely designed bachelor and bachelorette characters. It does have its drawbacks – the map is too big, there’s no jump or climb mechanic (which is key in such a massive world), the writing is a bit weak, the mining hazards aren’t implemented well, and standard things like tool upgrades are locked behind paid DLC. It’s 2023, Natsume, can we do away with the last one.



It might, technically, not be a cozy game, but the vibes are too good to pass up.


Splatoon 3’s Frosty Fest



Splatoon 3 isn’t exactly a cozy game. No matter which mode you’re playing (story, 4 vs 4 matches, or Salmon Run) there’s an element of stress, action, thrills, and neon color palettes. Yet, for January, Splatoon 3 will be getting spruced up again thanks to the winter-themed Frosty Fest event (sorry Southern Hemisphere players). Similar to the 2023 Splatoween event, January’s Splatfest comes with a decorated Splatsville (and Inkopolis Plaza if you have the DLC). Plus, Deep Cut and the Squid Sisters will be dressed to the nines in new outfits for the weekend and Squid and Octo-kids can score some new headgear items. If you want to RSVP, mark your calendar for Friday, January 12th, 2024 at 4 p.m. PT | 7 p.m. ET to Sunday, January 14th, 2024 at 4 p.m. PT | 7 p.m. ET. No need to partake in Turf Wars or Tricolor Battles, you can always walk around Splatsville and take some photos!



Want to countdown to 2024 in a video game? Then stay up late to play…


Animal Crossing: New Horizons



Yes, Animal Crossing: New Horizons will be turning four years old in 2024, but it’s still worth visiting your island on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Provided that you’ve unlocked the Resident Services building (and Isabelle!), the Countdown event will start on December 31st at 5 a.m. Stay up till midnight and you can ring in the New Year with adorable villagers (complete with fireworks). While things may be a bit lowkey on January 1st, you can still celebrate the New Year with Brewster at The Roost and buy some special New Year’s-themed items from Nook Shopping (though nothing 2024-themed, unfortunately… excluding the zodiac set, of course).



The cozy genre is vast and chances are your favorite game isn’t on the list. Well, here’s a quickfire round:

  • Stardew Valley: Listen, this sucker help catapult the farming life sim genre into the mainstream gaming scene. If you haven’t played it, I can’t recommend it enough. It’s a love letter of a game to the Bokujō Monogatari fandom created by a fan! Though, while it is available on Nintendo Switch, I recommend picking up the PC version due to the mod community (notably, Stardew Valley Expanded). Here’s to Version 1.6’s release in 2024.
  • PICROSS series: These nonogram games were always my favorite go-to during the 3DS era and there are 13 of them on Nintendo Switch. If you love this particular image puzzle, chances are you’ve played through all of these versions and are waiting for the next installment. The series is also on sale via the Nintendo eShop.
  • Pikmin franchise: Yes, the Pikmin series does deal with the possibility of your tiny Pikmin friends dying before your very eyes… yet somehow (thanks to the scale of the environments) it qualifies as a cozy game. All four mainline Pikmin games are available on Nintendo Switch, so you have plenty of options of where to jump right in. But let’s be real, Pikmin 4 has a dog and you can’t go wrong with a game where your companion is a dog.
  • Anything from the Kirby series: Kirby games are (typically) action-platformers, but they feature Kirby. He is round, he is pink, and he is friend shape. He is cozy.
  • Doraemon Story of Seasons and Doraemon Story of Seasons: Friends of the Great Kingdom: Take Story of Seasons and center it around the Doraemon franchise. It’s cute, charming, and laid back.
  • New Pokémon Snap: Dig this gem out of your gaming stash and take some pictures of Pokémon. There’s also the original N64 game available on the NSO N64 app if you want to get a photoshoot with the OG Surfing Pikachu.
  • Cozy Grove: Another island sim game, but you’re lost on a haunted island. As a Spirit Scout, it’s your duty to befriend your paranormal neighbors and assist with what’s preventing them from moving on (if they want to). How else are you going to earn badges? (The base game and DLC are on sale via the Nintendo eShop.)
  • Spiritfarer: Stella and Daffodil’s journey of assisting spirits into the afterlife deals with some heavy topics in a poignant manner. Still, before you say goodbye to the friends you’ve made along the way, you get to upgrade your boat and collect and craft goods in typical cozy game fashion.


With how popular the cozy gaming genre has been over the last few years, there’s no doubt it’ll grow even more in 2024. Until the next major releases start rolling out, now is the perfect time to peruse what’s available (or even your backlog) and have a chill gaming session. Here’s to good vibes for 2024!


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Written by Jennifer Burch

Illustrator, designer, writer and big Nintendo geek, you can find Jennifer with an N3DS within reach 24/7. As the oldest of three, she has survived many Mario Party, Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart sessions intact in addition to getting her brothers hooked on some really weird games. (Cubivore anyone?)