A wide variety of video games in the market emphasize comfort and cozy gaming. Yet, only a few cozy games see worldwide recognition; most become cult classics. Only some people have the attention span for consistent action and quick button presses on the screen. Others lack interest and prefer a more grounded and slower approach to playing video games.
Players wanting a break from explosions and split-second decisions should play cozy games this winter. Keep in mind that some cozy games in this list emphasize coziness throughout, while others only have subtle themes of comfort.
1. Firewatch (2016)
Henry, the protagonist in Firewatch, seeks comfort and solitude away from home in the Shoshone National Forest in Wyoming. He signs himself on a job to monitor potential fires across the forest. In doing so, he believes he can get past his grief and heartbreak.
The main narrative intrigues players, and the mystery at its heart grows as the cozy game progresses. Despite subtle tones of uneasiness, the environment and soundtrack convey a sense of comfort like no other. Players often take casual walks through the forest to appreciate its beauty.
2. Minecraft (2011)
A thriving community and consistent updates help Minecraft remain relevant within the gaming community. At its core, the game has two modes for players to play. In Creative, players have free reign over what to do, while Survival mode emphasizes survival in a hostile world.
At its core, Minecraft provides a sense of coziness that few can compete with. For players to survive in the game, they must build a house. Adding paintings, detailing the floors and the walls, and implementing unique materials make that house a home. The timid beats of the soundtrack go a long way in inducing easiness in players.
3. Journey (2012)
Journey treats players with a view of a distant yet magnificent mountain they must eventually reach. Getting to that peak proves difficult initially but not impossible. Players come across several hurdles on the way and may even encounter some help.
Journey's visual design and cinematic setpieces convey a high sense of solace. The core gameplay loop involves light platforming, but simplistic controls make progress a breeze. Certain parts of the game include getting help from another player somewhere across the globe. The end credits include the usernames of the players who chose to help players throughout their Journey.
4. Abzu (2016)
The central themes of comfort in Abzu match those present in Journey. Instead of reaching a prominent peak in the desert, players rejuvenate life deep in the ocean. Visually pleasing particle effects and a world teeming with life help soothe even the most troubled players.
In this cozy game, players must take charge of a desolate ocean world on the edge of dying. Many players describe the entire gameplay experience as highly pleasurable, albeit a few tension-inducing moments. Watching marine life seep back into their natural habitat comforts players.
5. Valheim (2021)
Hailed by fans for its exploration, Valheim surpasses most games today for its sense of discovery. Upon starting the game, players find themselves naked, powerless, without tools, and afraid. The unknown world around them consists of wildlife, monsters, and undiscovered ruins.
The core gameplay loop involves finding and finishing off several bosses marked by their altars at the spawn. Players must not only grow stronger but also build shelter along the way. Few cozy games come close to providing the relaxation Valheim supplies players as they rest for the night. Something as simple as cooking raw meat by the fire proves calming.
6. No Man's Sky (2016)
Upon release, a rocky start and limited content plans troubled No Man's Sky. However, several years of development and passion allowed this game to thrive and succeed. No Man's Sky has no end. Players can travel entire galaxies for years without even nearing the center.
The true comfort of the gameplay comes from landing and exploring different biomes and worlds. Players face difficulty navigating rugged terrain on some planets, while others have lush foliage. A central hub in space connects players looking to trade and purchase materials. Most players feel a sense of community after the first few hours of gameplay.
7. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011)
Skyrim still influences the videogame industry despite being released more than a decade ago. This cozy game raised the bar for role-playing games and continues to set the standard for immersion. A thriving community and mod support help Skyrim maintain relevancy in the modern world.
In this game, players explore and chart their own adventures in the world of Skyrim. Throughout their travels, players meet several people, battle creatures of all types, and make difficult decisions. However, players may also choose to live a life filled with solitude. Engaging in combat only when necessary and prioritizing the essence of life.
8. Outer Wilds (2019)
Outer Wilds rarely holds player's hands and lets them do their own thing. An intriguing central mystery and captivating gameplay help cement Outer Wilds as the best puzzle game ever. Without diving into spoilers, players must discover more and more about the universe if they want to continue with life.
The game's comfort primarily comes from interacting with the universe and characters. The soothing soundtrack plays consistently throughout the game. At first glance, the ship players fly seems trivial, yet it becomes a safe haven as the story progresses.
9. A Short Hike (2019)
A Short Hike promises players a relatively brief adventure, though one that includes many lessons and comforts. Players must reach the top of a mountain peak to get reception on their cell phones. Instead of linear gameplay segments, A Short Hike emphasizes open-world exploration.
Players commonly get distracted from their objective of reaching the peak along the way. The pleasing visual design highlights characters and locations of crucial importance. Meeting these characters sometimes leads to engaging adventures of their own. Although designed as a short experience, players immerse themselves in this cozy world for several hours.
10. Hades (2018)
Despite its hellish setting, Hades's dialogue and consistently beautiful visual design elevate its nicety. In this cozy game, players control Zagreus, who wants to leave the depths of the underworld. However, he must go through an army of monsters and bosses before he can do so. Upon failing to do so and dying, Zagreus returns to the bottom, from which he has to start his ascent again. His father, Hades, forbids him but doesn't stop him from trying.
Many players love Hades for its unforgettable characters and engaging dialogue. Each person Zagreus meets has something of value to say or give to aid him in his journey. His interactions with everyone he meets often change on each consequent run. Many players find conversing and developing relationships with the characters comforting.
12. Celeste (2018)
Yet another cozy game designed with comfort in mind involves reaching a mountain's peak. In this game, players control Madeline, who wishes to reach the top of a treacherous mountain named Celeste. Players encounter several friendly and unfriendly characters on their ascent.
Madeline suffers from anxiety and depression. Watching her overcome her insecurities and conquer her panic relaxes most players. By the end of the game, she knows how to befriend her greatest enemy and find solitude.
13. What Remains of Edith Finch (2017)
What Remains Of Edith Finch has masterful writing and a way of storytelling unrivaled in modern media. In this game, players play as Edith, who visits her abandoned family home. Players go through the unique architecturally designed house into each family member's rooms. They discover the Finch family curse and how each member succumbed to it.
Fantastical imagery and a captivating soundtrack bring this game to life. While tragic, each story plays beautifully and engages players throughout. Most players describe playing through this game as an interactive movie.