Welcome to Cheaphaven! It’s a short, but charming game full of agriculture and delightful NPCs. Play as a cute little lizard as you get to know a cast of NPCs who live in a nearby small town. Take time to clear the land of trees and debris in order to start your very own farm. Grow some crops, raise some chickens, and fish for a while. Even go shopping in town and collect fun cosmetics for your character like hats!
You won’t get hundreds of hours out of Cheaphaven, but you will encounter a few great hours of relaxed escapism in it!
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!
Roots of Pacha is a lovely farming and life sim set in the Stone Age. You and your tribe mates will discover new ideas and inventions, as well as bring those ideas to life. Improve your community as you explore the world. Tame animals, make friends, even get married! And of course, you’ll run your own farm where you plant a variety of crops to use in jams and other recipes.
Now, Roots of Pacha is receiving another fun update that brings more content, and goodies! This update will add a new animal, called the auochs. This cow-like creature will be tameable by playing its own unique song. Move them to a barn on your land and gather fur and milk from them. Plus, they may even play a major role in future game updates!
Roots of Pacha is adding quite a few new additions for NPCs, too. Voda will be romanceable now. You can join her in the woods to visit with the wolves, and more. Plus, there will be new NPC cut scenes, as well as gifts from those NPCs you’ve achieved a high enough friendship level with. Receive 16 new recipes, 10 new hats/masks, 11 furniture pieces, and 2 new accessories. Then there’s unions. Players have wanted to be able to break unions (marriages) for a while now, and now they’ll be able to! So, if you like to marry everyone in a game for completionism, this is your chance!
Then there’s these fun new Roots of Pacha additions:
Sitting on chairs will restore your stamina
You can now grow herbs and mushrooms
Use traps in savanna to get meat, or butcher animals you’ve raised
The race maps were polished
Performance optimizations implemented
Fruit tree costs lowered, plus a new one added that makes animals never get sick
Fish will have quality levels
Japanese language added as a playable option
Cross play will be available with Switch, PlayStation, and Xbox releases.
Finally, and perhaps the most exciting, is that Roots of Pacha is coming to Nintendo Switch and PlayStation November 28th! An Xbox port will come sometime next year. You can also find it on Steam now.
There is an abundance of cozy farming games out there now. Stardew Valley, Coral Island, and Roots of Pacha are some of my all-time favorites. They are wholesome and have a bit of story while still being open to be played however you want. I think what makes them so cozy is the repetitiveness of farming, while being able to break from doing the same thing. What I’ve really wanted is a city-based cozy game where you visit shops in the neighborhood and befriend people sounds like a dream. And now we finally have one!
Moonlight in Garland is a cozy, open-ended life sim. You’re brand new to the bustling city of Garland, and you’re building a new life in the metropolis. Start by finding the perfect apartment by choosing from four options. Cedar Court has beautiful historic features. Maple Place has a great foodie culture and green space nearby. The student accommodations are close to the city’s best nightlife. Or there’s even a modern and stylish high rise called Birch Tower! Each apartment comes with its own unique challenges and community of people to get to know. Once you’ve settled into your new home, engage in a number of different activities across the city.
Spend time getting to know your neighbors in Moonlight in Garland, as well as help the building manager to solve community problems. Even make friends with other residents of Garland to experience meaningful events and cut scenes, and perhaps fall in love. Or take some time to photograph and document the local wildlife you find in the city. Just don’t forget to water your houseplants, either! You can also take on a part time job, get married, attend festivals, solve local mysteries, and more in this cozy city life sim.
Moonlight in Garland is available now on Steam. There are plans to port it to other platforms once full release on Steam happens in 2024!
Tales of Autumn is an open-ended wild farming RPG with an emphasis on raising animals and managing terrain. Restore the abandoned ranch to create a thriving new home for yourself. Befriend and tame cute wild creatures, as well as adorable farm animals. Each animal has their own specific requirements for living on your ranch. Meet those requirements to have happy, healthy animals! Change the terrain around the ranch to create different biomes. These biomes will allow the growth of specific crops and attract new creatures for you to tame. And don’t forget the fish, either. Grab your fishing pole and lures to catch a variety of fish.
When you’re not working on the ranch, take time to get to know the people of Tales of Autumn. The inviting town will reward your good behavior and ignore you for poor behavior. Receive gifts, discounts, and helping hands for being friendly with the people of your town, or they’ll keep their distance and shutter their doors to you for not being friendly! Talking to the townspeople will let you hear about their lives, though, and involve them in your own. Plus, you can attend town festivals and experience character and animal events.
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!
Lonesome Village is a relaxing puzzle-solving life sim where you play as the adorable Wes, a coyote. Wes is looking to solve the mystery of this empty village and the tower that popped up. You’ll enter that tower to complete a number of different puzzles in order to free the villagers trapped on each level. As you do that, the story of what happened will unfold, and it’ll be up to you to stop the evil that threatens it all.
There is no doubt that Lonesome Village is uber adorable. The art is wildly cute, and each character you save is some variety of animal. Each has a great individual design. Even the main character, who’s a little coyote character dressed like Link. Even the overworld designs of each area you can explore are cute. Overall, this game is visually great.
The puzzle tower is a fun concept. You’re tasked with rescuing the villagers of the world, and to do that you need to complete a puzzle on each floor. Completing the puzzle releases villagers from the statues they’ve been encased in. Sometimes it’s just one character, sometimes it’s a whole family of characters. The puzzles aren’t super hard, which is perfect for having a relaxing game play experience. Some of them make you think harder than others, but none of them had me stumped for too long. I enjoyed the variety of puzzles, too. It wasn’t repetitive rehashing of the same ones over and over.
The day/night cycle doesn’t affect things like sleep, either. I found that to be a nice touch. It adds ambiance and life to the world, but doesn’t lock you into a specific way to play. There’s no running to bed to beat the inevitable 2am pass out, like some other life sims!
Coronya and Quests
I’m afraid that despite mostly liking Lonesome Village, my cons list is longer than the pros. True to early Legend of Zelda vibes, you’re equipped with a mirror item that allows you to talk to your fairy companion, Coronya. This is a great way to have a reminder of what you were doing as far as the story goes, as there is no quest log. However, she likes to pop up from time to time at the shrine levels of the tower. These levels require you to find the item the shrine requests and place it there in order to open the door to the next floor of the tower.
Coronya likes to pop up on these levels to talk to you about what the item is and how to get it. That’s cool, and often useful. However, she then returns to wherever she comes from, and must discuss EXACTLY what she just said, word-for-word, via the mirror. She’s also adamant about telling you that you must save everyone in the tower, so don’t forget to do that! It’s all so unnecessary. The point of the game is to release people from the tower. And I certainly don’t need an exact repeat of what was just said, right after it’s said. I would have preferred a quest log.
Which brings me to the fetch quests you get from villagers. Lonesome Village’s newly released inhabitants will have quests for you to complete. It’s how you’ll earn hearts to continue through the tower. Talk to a villager and they immediately launch into their quest, then it immediately opens your inventory so you can complete the quest, even if it’s your first time hearing about the quest. Just be sure to write down what it is you’re looking for if you go accept multiple quests. Again, there’s no quest log to keep up with what needs to be done. It made for a frustrating time when I’d pick the game back up and had to go around talking to people to figure out where I was in my fetch quest endeavors.
There is No Autosave and Storage is Lacking
I repeat, there is no auto save. Maybe I’m spoiled by modern games, but I expect autosave to be the standard in games these days. Having the ability to also save at will is great too, but autosave has saved me so much trouble over the years. Lonesome Village doesn’t even have the sleep to save mechanics like Stardew Valley. Instead, you have to visit one of the statues scattered across the map to save. I don’t have words for the frustration I felt when I thought I’d saved, but hadn’t and closed the game. I was set back several floors of the towers, and several villager quests.
Backpack size is woefully tiny. Access to the storage chest isn’t super convenient. There’s a chest in your house, your tent, and in the tower elevator. Sifting through storage is fiddly, at best. Everything shows up in a line that you have to scroll through to find what you need. The backpack is the same way when turning in quest items. Plus, there is one hotkey slot, so you have to go into your backpack, choose the item you want to hotkey, then use the item. It makes switching tools cumbersome and slow.
I’d still recommend this game overall. It’s cute and chill. There’s no rush to complete things, so you can play at your own pace. Plus, there’s no stamina drain or health to lose, adding another layer for a stress-free experience.
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!