If you’re unfamiliar with APICO, it’s a laid-back beekeeping sim game. You can find bees, breed them to create new types, and release them into the wild to repopulate the world. There’s even some resource gathering, home building, and exploration involved. Plus, you can use honey the bees produce to make other fun items to sell, like Apicola (honey soda)!
APICO is super laid-back, but can feel a little overwhelming at first. Instead of implementing forced, unskippable tutorials, the game uses a set of books you can access at any time at the bottom of the screen. The first one, “Grandpa’s Guide”, contains 46 chapters. These chapters are tutorial pages that explain what to do, and reward you when you complete it. These pages of explanations can be accessed even after completing, which is great for those of us who are forgetful.
Graphics and Bees
APICO is SO cute. Seriously cute. Its pixel graphics lend a sense of nostalgia to it, but it’s beautifully colored, too. There’s no overwhelmingly bright colors and nothing is difficult to look at. Nevermind that the little beehives and different wild bee species are adorable, too. Plus, each one of those has their own specific color so it’s easy to determine what type of bee it is at a glance. To make it easier to determine what kind of bee you’re looking at, it’s labeled with a three-letter abbreviation. Rolling your mouse over the bee will pop-up a small window with more information about it, too.
As for breeding the bees, Grandpa’s Guide walks you through setting that up really well. Then, “Beelia’s Almanac” further discusses each species. It also rewards you for discovering different types of bees! There are 45 different bee species for you to discover, making for a good amount of playtime as it may take a few rounds of crossbreeding to produce new species. Plus, you can use what your bees produce to make things like Apicola to sell in order to advance in other areas of the game.
The world of APICO is fairly small. There’s the mainland you start on, swamp biome, tundra biome, and the Hallows located at the center of the map. There are also some fishing spots in the ocean, and a few coral reefs which were recently added in. So, while exploring is a part of the game as each biome has its own unique species of bees, it’s not the main focus. Each biome has been lovingly crafted, though, and offers its own resources.
At first, the map feels too small, but it’s honestly perfectly sized for a game that isn’t adventure-focused. It’s easy to get to the different biomes with the boat to get resources or bees, and be back home quickly. It’s not a chore going anywhere, especially when you’ve turned on the Walk Through Trees accessibility option (which I recommend using; it makes playing so much easier). It also places the focus solely on the bees and breeding them, which is perfect. And you can terraform! So you can make space to suit your needs. Create the perfect bee garden with a little work!
APICO is an otherwise relaxing time. There are no time constraints to complete things. You can explore how you wish, even swimming through the shallower waters around the islands. You can terraform and build and decorate how and when you wish (items are unlocked via completing quests and such, but otherwise done at your pace). There are NPCs you can talk to, but they aren’t adamant and annoying about needing interaction. They also act as the shops of the world, offering useful items. It’s a great little game that’s perfect for learning about bees! And if you’ve done everything in the game, it not only supports, but encourages modding so you can get even more out of this sweet little game!
Nevermind that upon starting up the game, the main menu has links to the wiki! That’s a wonderfully useful piece of the internet that I used a few times as I played. There’s also a link to a charity that helps our real-life bee populations! So, not only is APICO a cute little bee game, it endeavors to support our real-life bee preservation efforts. I couldn’t love it more.
I love fall, and especially love Halloween. I eagerly await it every year. I’m always in search of cozy games to play that get me in the right mood for the time of year, so I’m excited to share games I think fit that mood. And next up on my list of games to get you into the spirit of Halloween is Almatetra! This adorable little game is another perfectly cozy, yet spooky game to add to your to-be-played list. Overall, it’s a short little action-adventure game with some combat and mystery!
Embark on a journey that will have you questioning your reality. You play as a girl living in a world ruined by mysterious cosmic forces. You’re also haunted by a ghost named Mary, and on a mission to find your missing friend. The rest of your friends join you in your search and a very unlikely companion joins you too.
Will you find your missing friend? And exactly what happened to your friend?
Night in the Woods follows Mae Borowski, a college dropout who has returned home to Possum Springs. It’s a former mining town that’s absolutely falling apart, but Mae seeks to return to her aimless life there. You play as Mae as she tries to reconnect with old friends, and re-enter her old life. Things seem a little different, though. Old friends have grown up and changed. Leaves are falling as the wind grows colder. And strange things are happening in the darkness.
Plus, there’s something lurking in the woods. Embark on an adventure that focuses on exploring the town, engaging in compelling story lines, and unique character interactions. Night in the Woods is surely the perfect spooky cozy game to get into the spirit of Halloween!
It’s October, which means it’s time to get into the spirit of Halloween! Or at least get into the spirit of fall, if you’re not big on Halloween. Either way, Book of Hours is the perfect place to start. It’s cozy and charming, with a dose of mystery. There’s no combat, and it’s not scary so those of us who are scaredy cats can enjoy it too!
In Book of Hours, you play as a Librarian who has chosen a solitary life full of books and research. Your library, the famous Hush House, was once a bastion of knowledge. For fifteen centuries it stood as a place for patrons to gather and learn. However, a fire wiped out the book collection and the former Librarian simply disappeared. Now, you spend your days peacefully organizing books and helping visitors seeking information.
You’re also on the lookout for answers. Researching the occult stones around you, you’re determined to uncover the mysteries of history and that fire. Book of Hours offers an elegant, but melancholic experience as you spend time crafting inks and other tools to use in your day-to-day. You’ll even get to decorate your new home, study the nine Wisdoms, more!
Play as Percival “Percy” Bilkin in this beautiful adventure puzzle game, Bilkins’ Folly. Percy is a treasure hunter on a mission to find out what happened to his mother and grandfather, both of whom mysteriously disappeared years ago. The problem is, his ship just got wrecked in a major storm, and now he has to find a new ship, reunite with his crew, and then resume his investigations. And of course, dig up hidden treasures along the way.
Bilkins’ Folly is a lovely narrative adventure that follows Percy and his trusty dog companion, Drayton. You’ll team up with your canine friend to uncover the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Percy’s family. Spend quality time with Drayton to level up your bond and earn points to spend on new skills. These skills can be used to clear puzzles. Also use Percy’s cartography skills to customize your map. This will help you solve puzzles, some of which you might need to come back to later in the game!
Socialize with the inhabitants you encounter, just remember they’ll remember how you treat them. Recruit aspiring sailors to join your crew. Fish for fun sea creatures and even enter treasure hunting contests to earn rewards. Play a number of different minigames in Bilkins’ Folly, too, like sheep herding, lock picking, and more!
Critter Cove has been on our radar for a few years now. In fact, we’ve been keeping an eye on it since 2019! You can find them all here to read about the game in case you haven’t heard of this super cute life sim. In this game, you get to rebuild a whole island. Discover and invite new citizens to move in, too, ultimately creating a vibrant place to live. Even explore a colorful and handcrafted open-world to collect resources and more!
Thanks to the developers, I got to play the Critter Cove demo a little early, and I had an absolute blast. The world is beautiful. It’s so colorful and lovely to look at. Plus, that character creation menu allows for some fun designs and choices, too! Choose from a human, cat, birds, lizards, even snakes. Hairstyles and colors, and even pupil shape can be changed to personalize yourself.
You even get to choose from several of the abandoned buildings to set up as your house. I picked the one with the fun umbrella and light display above the walkway. It makes the neighborhood feel pretty magical. Add in Critter Cove’s sassy characters with some scathing dialogue, and you get a living, breathing island full of interesting areas and people to interact with.
And now you get to try the demo, too! It went live on Steam recently, so now you get to experience the fun I did.
The full release of Critter Cove is projected for Q1 of 2024, so not too far away! You can find it on Steam. It’s also coming to PlayStation!
If you haven’t taken a moment to check out Dredge, let alone play it, you really should. I have a review here that you can read, but it’s a spooky, cozy fishing adventure that really nails just about everything. You play as the captain of your very own fishing trawler as you explore a set of mysterious and remote islands, as well as the deep sea that surrounds them. Sell what you catch to the local markets, and spend your hard-earned money on boat upgrades that will allow you to carry more cargo, go faster, and fish deeper. While you’re at it, unravel the mystery surrounding the islands by talking to the inhabitants and completing missions. Just, be careful about being out at night. You might not enjoy what lurks in the darkness.
The Latest Update
Dredge has already released one paid DLC, called Blackstone Key, which gives players access to the locked workshop on Blackstone island, as well as a new engine option and talisman. However, the devs have recently released a new free update! This is actually their third free update, and this update includes some fun stuff, plus bug fixes.
This new update for Dredge now lets players customize their boat! After you acquire the dredge crane as part of the main quest line, you can head on over to Little Marrow where a new character has set up shop. The Painter will be able to make adjustments to the appearance of your boat. He starts with some basic options, but you’ll be able to unlock more as you discover paint ingredients. Dig through the different shipwrecks, including the new ones added with this update, to find different flags. You can then take those flags to The Painter to have them recolored and displayed on your boat. The Painter will also allow you to change the bunting that’s displayed (the little garland of triangle flags), including the color of it, too.
The Painter being added is the biggest, and best part of this update. However, Dredge does now have crab aberrations, or crabberations as per the Steam update page. As well as a new filter to the Encyclopedia to display crabs, which brings me to the other two free updates. The first free update added map zoom and map pins, so you can set one of 50 markers in 6 different types on the map to have reminders for yourself. They can also be viewed through the Spyglass. The second free update added Photo Mode, so you can take pictures of the different creatures you come across. These include 10 new aberrations and 8 new types of wildlife, and now the crab aberrations! There’s also a Passive Mode, so you don’t have to worry about the things that lurk in the night for a more relaxing experience!
These are some great additions to an already great game. Plus, Dredge announced their next paid DLC, Ironhaven. This DLC will feature the mysterious Ironhaven Corporation who’s looking to establish a drilling operation in the area to revitalize the towns. Their ultimate goal, however, is unknown, and you may yet uncover it through meeting new characters and helping the company build its operation!
Lost Nova is the perfect cozy game for those of you looking for something without time limits or enemies. You play as the adorable Mia. She lost her way during a vacation and crash landed in some mysterious place. Take your time exploring the world and repairing your ship, plus more!
Discover hints of a bigger mystery in Lost Nova as you wander the world. Why is everyone ending up in this world, and why is it so hard to leave? Make friends with the locals and help them find their way. Teach a ghost how to be spooky, help a single parent with his children, and help a robot work through his artistic burnout. Create a hub for your friends to gather, and watch as the world and people change based on the actions you take.
In Lost Nova, you’re equipped with your trusty salvaging laser which you can use to gather all the resources you could need. Earn money by mining, farming, fishing, and resource gathering. Use that wealth to revitalize the local pet store, where you can buy useful items for your spectral cat pet. Whatever you choose to spend your days doing, do it at your own pace!