Did you ever watch Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away and think to yourself “I’d love to run a bath house for spirits”? What better way to get to interact with the fantastical and wonderful, after all. Well, now’s your chance! Spirittea offers that opportunity. You drank the Spirittea and now can see all of the different spirits that are causing trouble in town. Humans have stopped worshiping and leaving them offerings, so they’ve become lost and purposeless.
Your job in Spirittea is to find those mayhem-causing spirits and help them solve their problems! They’ll only become paying customers of the bathhouse once you’ve helped them. This might involve getting the spirit a bowl of spicy noodles, digging up their long-lost treasure, or some other task. You’re also in charge of running the bathhouse, so you’ll need to keep it running smoothly. Sweep away cobwebs, provide clean towels to customers, collect used towels, and keep things dry and organized. Provide tasty meals for your customers while ensuring their bath water is heated to their preferred temperature. And make sure you plan carefully. Some spirits dislike each other, so sit them apart from each other, while placing friends together for best results!
When you’re not busy running your mountain-side bathhouse, be sure to talk to the townspeople of Spirittea. They each have their own unique personalities and schedules, as well as hobbies. Plus, many run the local shops which will be helpful in decorating your home. The shops can make a variety of furniture to fit your interior decorating tastes. Make your simple house a cozy home fit for you!
It’s Steam Next Fest time again! Last time, I found five cute and cozy games to play and wrote about them here. This time around, there are 10 games I thought fit the bill. These games are a fairly wide variety, so hopefully you’ll find one you love, too! One has combat, but the rest are perfectly relaxing and stress-free, so perfect for kicking back for some fun. If you haven’t tried any of these demos yet, I suggest you do it!
Bug & Seek
First up on the Steam Next Fest list is Bug & Seek! Once the lifeblood of the town, as well as the center of its economy, the Insectarium now stands abandoned. Someone stole all of the bugs and displays in the dead of night one day. Now, it’s up to you to restore the Insectarium, and even solve the mystery of the Great Bug Heist! Catch over 175 real-life types of bugs. Use those bugs to fulfill requests, as well as restore the Insectarium to the once fantastic bug display it used to be.
This demo was much shorter than I expected, and left me wanting more! With its charming pixel graphics and simple gameplay, Bug & Seek promises to be a perfectly relaxing game.
Cupid Island is a cute life simulator all about bringing together couples and nurturing their blossoming relationships! You play as a Cupid, and it’s your job to explore the human world and make couples. Once coupled, you can bring those humans to live on Cupid Island where you’ll collect their Love, Joy, and Passion which will help expand the island. Build and customize absolutely everything from your own home to the looks of your couples. Farm, fish, dance, and even play soccer in your down time. And who knows, maybe you’ll find your very own true love!
This was another short Steam Next Fest demo that I really enjoyed. It’s adorable, charming, and just so positive. It definitely will give you the warm and fuzzies!
If you enjoyed Forager, give Vexlands a try. You’re a lone survivor deep within a cursed land and you need to explore the world by unlocking surrounding tiles. You do this by gathering resources that appear around you, sell them, and use that money to unlock new tiles. Those tiles will reveal more resources, loot, dungeons, monsters, and even disasters! Unlocking a tile also cleanses it of the mysterious curse surrounding it. Craft gear to help you in your adventures, and even build your very own home base with decor. You’ll also unlock the ability to raise animals as you grow your home base. There’s even cute hats to collect!
In Manitas Kitchen, you play as Trexito, a Tyrannosaurus who has a dream to make pizzas! Your short little arms make that difficult, though. Under the supervision of a tiny, rude boss, however, you’ll gather a team of other dinosaurs to make up a kitchen full of the best cooks. With a humorous crime drama narrative, you’re sure to have a ton of fun with this one. You’ll learn to make pizzas and get to unlock new recipes as you buy ingredients from the store.
I found this Next Fest demo to be quite a bit of fun. You get a little bit of story and a little bit of gameplay to get a peek into the whole picture. I did find Trexito to feel a little slow, and the movement felt a little clunky. However, this one seems like it’ll be a ton of fun once released!
Snufkin: Melody of Moomin Valley is a charming game with a classic storybook art style. It’s easy to play and easy to navigate with a compelling storyline. You play as Snufkin, who’s returned to the valley after a long winter, only to find a series of parks has popped up. These parks ruin the natural beauty of Moomin Valley, and Snufkin’s determined to get rid of them all. Explore the beautiful valley as you remove ugly signs, knock over unsightly statues, and dismantle grotesque park fencing. Complete puzzles and gain friendly help using your trusty harmonica. Even sneak around park patrols to restore the beautiful valley to what it once was!
I loved this demo. It’s an absolutely gorgeous game. I felt like I’d been dropped down into one of my childhood storybooks. Plus, it’s easy to learn how to play. It’s perfect for relaxing after a long day, and great for adults and kids alike!
Ever wanted to escape city life and run a cute, cozy little cafe out in the woods? Now you can in this Steam Next Fest demo, Nom Nom: Cozy Forest Cafe! This game is a relaxing cafe management game where you complete simple rhythm minigames to bake tasty treats. Serve a variety of adorable animal customers, and even talk to them while they enjoy their food. Even decorate the cafe to your liking with different wall colors, flooring options, windows, signs, and more! You can also design custom t-shirts to give away to your customers as a thank you.
This demo was WAY too short. I got to experience a single customer, made one item for that customer, and decorated the cafe with a few options. I wanted more! What was there was so, so cute, though. Definitely keep your eyes on this one!
Time to Morp is like Pokemon meets automated machine production, and I’m all about it! You’re in charge of building up this planet, starting with making use of the cute little creatures name Morps. Build them suitable enclosures, and feed them different materials to watch them transform and produce resources! Explore a vibrant, colorful world in search of new Morps, new resources, and exciting new biomes. Then, settle in and build a network of pipes, pumps, wires, tubes, and more to create an automated system. Use it to feed your Morps, or direct them where to go, and more!
This demo was a lot of fun. The colors are super vibrant, but work really well within the game. The Morps are fun to take care of, and exploring is interesting with the wild variety of terrain and plants. Plus, the people you interact with are quirky, which makes for fun dialogue. This game doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Next up on my Steam Next Fest list is Horticular! You’ve been magically summoned by gnomes to restore a garden that’s seen better days. You’ll engage in a fantastic world where you have total creative freedom. Build and expand your garden. Use hundreds of unlockable surface types to create lush grasslands, lavish pond habitats, and ornate rivers. Decorate with a variety of items and plants, too. Create inviting habitats to attract back animal friends in order to restore the ecosystem. Just be sure to maintain the magic elements as magic will help you with unhappy animals, garden decay, and corrupted agents sent to sabotage you!
I really enjoyed this demo, too. It was relaxing, even though there were objectives to complete. There wasn’t a rush to complete them, and I could rearrange and redo my garden however I wanted. Plus, the sheer number of items promised in the full game, just makes me more excited. This will be the perfect game for designing gardens!
Chill Town promises to be a soothing blend of idle game and life sim. And really, it reminds me of ACNH, but people instead of anthropomorphic creatures. You run around collecting resources on a beautiful island. Catch bugs, visit the shops or town hall, fish, farm, and tame cute creatures. Unleash your creativity in build mode and create your perfect home using a variety of different decor items. Even add your personal touch to the outside of your home with benches, light posts, and more. Even take care of your very own furry friend!
This demo was super cute. You got to interact with some of the townspeople and get an idea of what they’re like, while learning how to fish and collect items. I’m thinking this will be a great alternative to players looking for more ACNH-like games!
A New Leaf: Memories is an adorable new farming sim where you wake up on a mysterious beach with no memories of how you got there. The mayor has graciously gifted you a plot of land, and the townspeople helped equip you with the necessary tools. Grow a number of fruits and vegetables on your farm, and sell the produce or use them to cook fun recipes. Explore the island to find a network of caves where you can gather resources. Even take a moment to fish in the different bodies of water found across the island. Plus, raise farm animals, complete quests and build relationships, befriend an adorable cat or dog, and decorate! You’ll be able to customize your look, as well as change your clothes. And of course decorate your home to create a cozy escape from farm work!
I’m sure we’ve all been eagerly awaiting A New Leaf: Memories, and thankfully they released this demo during this Steam Next Fest, because boy was it adorable. The demo shares just the basic first steps, but it was beautiful to run around and explore. Plus, the plot of land you get for your home is massive! I can’t wait to see all of the fun farms people create!
Garden Story is a wholesome adventure where you play as Concord the Grape. Tasked with the care of the kindergarten, where new townspeople are born, you quickly discover something’s not right. The vine that produces new people hasn’t done so in a long while, and it’s actually dried up. Then you’re thrust into the job of guardian, and tasked with saving The Grove. Adventure through 4 different areas to complete tasks and requests, forage a variety of items, fight off the Rot, and solve the mystery of why the rot are there and why the vine is dying!
Quests and Tasks
This is a very simple, easy to learn game and is pretty laid back. You can complete Garden Story at your own pace. So, if you want to rush through and finish the story line, then circle back to do some repairs and decorating, you can. Or maybe you want to complete a little of the story, then work on decorating, rinse and repeat, you can do that too! I love that about this game, because I often flip flop between the two play styles.
You will have main story related tasks to complete, but you’ll also have up to three daily tasks for the town you’re in. Completing these tasks will level up different stats for the town, which will unlock things like more weapons upgrades. Those weapons upgrades will become valuable later on. That said, I never completed a full line of upgrades on any of my weapons and was able to complete the story with no problems.
The main story is wholesome and compelling. You’re a tiny little guy who’s never seen the world, but suddenly you must venture out into and help everyone! Overcome the Rot and what’s causing it, help the villagers, and more. I didn’t think I’d ever care for a bunch of produce as much as I came to love and care for those in Garden Story. It’s carefully crafted and clearly has a sense of love embedded in the game.
That said, there IS combat. Your first weapon is a cute little item called a pick. It looks like a toothpick, and acts similar to a sword. It’s perfect for fighting off the blobs of grossness called the Rot. You’ll receive other weapons as you progress through the story and venture into each of the 4 areas of the island. Now, combat against the Rot isn’t particularly hard, especially as you upgrade your weapons. It’s also not always necessary. There are some instances where you need materials they drop, or a daily task wants you to defeat so many. Otherwise, you can just ignore them and walk on by.
Speaking of combat, there are boss battles. These boss battles are necessary to complete the story line, so if you dislike fighting in games, maybe skip this one. There are only 4, and they’re not wildly difficult. I did struggle with one until I upgraded my weapon, but after that it was easy peasy. You also get a shield that’s useful against ranged attacks.
As I’m writing this, I’m seeing there’s a “perish prevention” mode listed in the gameplay settings. This mode lets you forgo the stresses of combat. This mode also helps you with getting past difficult enemies and boss battles. I wish I’d seen that while I was playing. I bet that mode makes the whole experience SO much more cozy. So, if you want to play this game, but dislike combat, use “perish prevention”!
My Chief Complaints
Garden Story is one of those games where saves happen when you sleep for the night. Sleeping to save isn’t my favorite mechanic, but what I found really frustrating was that you can only go to sleep in the evenings in this game. Sometimes I just want to skip a day without running around all game-day, but that’s not possible here. Trying to sleep too early gives you the message “Concord isn’t tired yet”. Concord might not be tired, but I am!
This might just be me wanting to check out from using my brain when I play cozy games, but there was a lot of dialogue. It is how the story is delivered, but it felt like a little too much dialogue all at once. Some conversations were fairly long, I felt. Granted, those conversations deliver a heart-felt, heart-wrenching narrative that made me feel sad and hopeful for a bunch of produce! So they’re absolutely well-written and interesting. You get a good sense of the different personalities of the villagers you talk to, there’s just a lot of it.
Garden Story is absolutely adorable. I mean, you play as a tiny little grape named Concord who’s suddenly the guardian of all the islands. A tiny dude thrust into big things makes for a pretty compelling story. The graphics are cute, too, and there’s a nice, pleasing color palette. Plus, the background music is ambient and repetitive, but not annoying.
Tavern Keeper is a charming business simulation where you get to build and run your very own tavern! You’ll start out with the shell of a tavern out somewhere in the backwater remote area of the kingdom. It’s up to you to build a thriving business by meeting the demands of your customers. And as your profits increase, you can decorate the place, expand your tavern, add new dishes, hire staff, and more!
You’ll play your way through a single player campaign that takes place in a fantasy world full of unique characters. Encounter shape-shifters, skeletons, and more as each day brings you new surprises. Tavern Keeper is also full of simulated details for you to enjoy. You might have days where your staff is sick, or the personality traits of others present an obstacle to your day-to-day. There are dozens of other systems in the game that will keep you on your toes and keep the game play interesting. Don’t worry, though, you’ll have the tools to deal with everything that comes your way!
What’s really promising is the design mode in Tavern Keeper. If you love building and decorating, this might be the game for you. Design mode gives you the creative power to design the perfect tavern. Place a single candle on a table to create a cozy atmosphere, or even make an extravagant pile of pillows in the corner, perfect for relaxing in. You can even share your designs with others with the click of a button!
Coming Next Year
This fun little management sim is expected to release in quarter 3 of 2024! You can find Tavern Keeper on Steam, where you can Wishlist it.
Humble Bundle is a great resource for the thrifty gamer with their bundle offers. Pick a bundle, then choose what you wish to pay. It’s a great way to grab a bunch of games for cheap. Right now, Humble Bundle has a Cozy Games bundle perfect for trying out a bunch of games you may have had your eye on! And these are all worthy of playing. They’re cute, cozy, and wholesome. Some feature powerful stories, while some are just perfect for kicking back and relaxing with.
This offer ends in 20 days, so take your time to decide, but don’t let it pass by!
Cat Cafe Manager
Cat Cafe Manager has you taking over your grandmother’s derelict cafe in the sleepy town of Caterwaul Way. Restore the cafe, renovate it, and decorate it as you wish, turning it into an inviting home for the plethora of cats that call Caterwaul Way home. Hire employees to help manage the cafe, and explore the village to befriend the inhabitants and learn new recipes.
Witchy Life Story
In Witchy Life Story you’re the youngest member of the magical von Teasel family, but you’re not exactly their pride and joy. In fact, you have one more chance to prove yourself or your witch training is over. So, you arrive in the village of Flora to try and save their harvest festival. You have two weeks to make it a success. So, gather herbs, brew potions, get to know the townspeople, and even cast some spells. Maybe cause a little chaos, even.
Here Comes Niko
Play as the adorable Niko, who’s just become a professional friend for Tadpole Inc. in Here Comes Niko! You’ll explore different scenic islands while making friends with people you come across. Complete requests for them by catching fish and bugs, solving puzzles, and even just listening to them. If you’re lucky, they’ll pay you and you can then invest in a train system to get to new islands!
Welcome to the Grove! You’re its new guardian, and it’s your duty to rebuild the village and uncover the story of its past. Garden Story is a chill wholesome game where you’ll complete quests to defend against encroaching Rot, gather resources, restore, and improve the town. There’s even a way to turn off combat to make it even cozier to play!
Lemon Cakeis an adorable little game about restoring a run-down, haunted bakery. Grow fruit and care for animals, who provide ingredients for your bakery. Repair, furnish, and decorate every room to create an inviting little business. Mix and bake up some fantastic recipes, and maybe even convince the ghost to help you out!
Alba: A Wildlife Adventure
Join Alba as she visits her grandparents on a once-beautiful Mediterranean island in Alba: A Wildlife Adventure. She’s ready to explore the island with her friend Ines, but when she sees an animal in trouble, she realizes she needs to help it. As Alba, you’ll start a whole campaign to clean up the island! Convince the townspeople to help out and gather volunteers to restore the island and help the wildlife.
A Short Hike
A Short Hike is about exactly that, hiking! Spend time in the peaceful mountainside of Hawk Peak Park simply exploring. Hike the marked trails or explore the wild back country. Climb some rocky cliffs. Glide over lush landscapes. Take your time to absorb the beautiful surroundings and meet other hikers. Perhaps you can help each other out. Even discover some treasures!
Assemble With Care
Assemble with Care features a meaningful, evocative story line about Maria, a globe-trotting antique restorer as she arrives in Bellariva. She wants to help the inhabitants fix their personal items, but discovers it’s their personal lives that are starting to fracture. It’s harder to fix those, but she’s determined to help. You’ll solve puzzles by fixing items brought to her, meet the townsfolk, and tune into a lovely soundtrack inspired by the 80s.
65% off Coupon for Haven Park
Unfortunately, Haven Park isn’t included in this bundle, just a lovely 65% off coupon! It’s a great discount for such a cute game where you play as Flint, who has just taken over his grandmother’s beloved park. He wants to make it a park campers will love, so it’s up to you to help him out. Fulfill each camper’s wishes and build whatever their hearts desire. Happy campers will attract more business, which means more quirky characters for you to talk to and enjoy!
When J.K. Rowling published Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone back in 1997, she had no idea how popular the book would become. The book was so popular in fact, that Rowling went on to write another six books, all of which were turned into great films.
With J.K. Rowling being an undeniably great writer, in combination with the attractive magic (but still refreshingly relatable) premise of the franchise, it’s no wonder the series has a cult following. And so for all you Potterheads out there, here are six games picked especially for you. ?
Games already released
Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery
Set in Hogwarts and the Harry Potter universe, this game was bound to make the list. Developed and published by Jam City under license from Portkey Games, This RPG game was released for Android and iOS devices on the 25th April 2018.
The game is set between Harry Potter’s birth and his enrollment at Hogwarts. Upon beginning the game, players can create and customise their character, who is about to begin their studies at Hogwarts. Your player can attend various different magic classes, learn spells, duel rivals, and undertake quests.
The game is free to download, but there is the option to make in-app purchases for additional perks.
Magician’s Quest: Mysterious Times
Described as a cross between Harry Potter and Animal Crossing, Magicians Quest: Mysterious Times was published by Konami for Nintendo DS in Japan on the 12th November 2008. The game hit the shelves in the US on the 11th May 2009.
Magician’s Quest: Mysterious Times is a fantasy life simulation game for the Nintendo DS. After customising the appearance, name and gender of their character, players are able to attend classes at the game’s magic academy. During classes, players will learn spells and incantations, the mysteries of magic, and interact with fellow students.
Despite criticism for its striking resemblance to Animal Crossing games, Magician’s Quest offers plenty of unique features for players to enjoy. Examples include: monthly quests during ‘Mystery Time’, dates with other students, the ability to form a band, getting to prank others (and be pranked), plus many more amusing quirks.
The game is quite rare, and therefore rather pricey, but pre-owned copies of it often pop up on sites like eBay and Amazon.
Guildlings is a JRPG single player episodic adventure for mobile. The game is a fantasy adventure game ‘set in a world of wizards and Wi-Fi’.
Playing as a homeschooled teenager, you unfortunately manage to activate a cursed smartphone. Recruiting your friends as Guildlings, you must utilise their incredible powers to rid yourself of the curse, and more importantly, save the world.
Game developers Sirvo Studios released Guildlings for iOS on the 8th November 2019. It was also a featured release on the Apple Arcade.
Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time is an action adventure RPG game. The game was initially released in Japan for PS4 on the 30th of November 2017. It was released worldwide on the 15th of May 2018. The game was developed by A+ Games and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment. It is currently playable on PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows.
For those unfamiliar with Little Witch Academia, it is an anime series that takes place at Luna Nova Academy, a school for witches in training, The protagonist of the series is a Japanese girl named Akko who is from a non-magical background.
In the game, you must uncover the mysteries at Luna Nova Academy with Akko and her friends. Players get to explore dungeons, cast spells, and use witchcraft, in order to discover the seven wonders, and solve the peculiar shift in time.
Witchbrook (which initially had the working title of Spellbound), is an up and coming RPG simulation game with turn-based strategy elements. Currently in development by Chucklefish, the pixel-art-stylised game is described as ‘Stardew Valley meets Harry Potter’.
The game is set in a magic school, where the player is enrolled as a student, Whilst completing their studies, players will go on a journey to discover who they really are. The game offers a variety of side activities that include social events, potion making, fishing, gardening, artefact hunting and more!
You can find out more about this highly anticipated game by clicking here.
Ikenfell is a pixel-art-stylised turn-based RPG game that features a group of troublesome magic students. The game utilises timing-based battle mechanics to allow players to power spells and block attacks. Ikenfell is set in a vast and mysterious magic school. Inside the school, players will encounter numerous monsters and bosses to fight, discover hoards of hidden treasure, and uncover dark secrets never meant to be discovered.
Ikenfell is currently still in development by Happy Ray Games. It will be published by Humble Bundle. Upon its release, the game will initially be available for Windows and Mac. However, the Ikenfell website says that ‘other platforms and consoles will be announced as they are confirmed.’
Coffee Talk is a narrative game currently in development and production by Toge Productions. You may know Toge for games like She and the Light Bearer or Magicat.
Although seemingly dark, we find Coffee Talk to be a warm and relaxing story of everyday problems through the lens of magic.
About Coffee Talk
Set in an alternate version of Seattle, Washington, you will be a barista serving fantastical patrons. As rain fills the night outside, you’ll get a glimpse into the lives of orcs, elves, mermaids, and more. You will participate in dialogue with customers while also trying to perfect whatever drink they order.
Unlike other narrative-based games, the storylines and decisions will branch not from your dialogue options but from “how you treat and serve the customers of your café.”
A dark and earthy color scheme meets with a ‘90s anime-inspired art style that is both beautiful and calming. On top of that, the music is a jazzy assortment of lo-fi. Toge calls the game “an experience to make you think, feel, and help rest your body and soul.”
Fantasy Characters: Although the problems are familiar, the characters are anything but. Meet mermaids, orcs, elves, and other yet-to-be-disclosed fantasy races.
Unique Outcomes: The way you treat characters while serving them will change the decisions they make.
Chill Aesthetics: Along with the look of the game, you will have a selection of chillhop music to help set the scene.
Here’s the teaser trailer
Coffee Talk is slated for a PC and Mac release “sometime after midnight” this year. A playable demo is available on Steam, itch.io, or directly from Toge Productions’ website. You can follow updates for the game on Twitter.