Cozy Grove is a life simulation designed to guarantee relaxation. It was released on April 8, 2021 for PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and for Apple Arcade. The title is published by The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild and the development is carried out by the Spry Fox studio.
As a member of the Spirit Finders, an association that has made the welfare of stray souls one of the slogans, we are sent on our first sole mission to the formerly bear-inhabited island of Cozy Grove. In an undertaking of no more than 48 hours, we are supposed to appease the haunted ghosts there.
Our loyal companion Flammi, the campfire, is at our side. After a short time it becomes clear that we will be busy for more than two days, because our boat is taking off and we are officially stranded. According to the local ghost bears, another ghost finder has already tried to deal with their problems before us, but failed miserably. Well, so much for our prospects, but at least we quickly find new friends in the form of ghosts who keep us preoccupied with their worries and desires.
The story behind our excursion isn’t particularly gripping, but it is a fitting addition to the rest of the game. The mysterious atmosphere on the island is underlined and our adventure is given a framework that is not too forced.
Our daily quest give us today
At the very beginning, it should be noted that in Cozy Grove, your gaming experience is limited by the availability of daily updated tasks. If all offered missions are completed after about 30-60 minutes, 24 hours must pass before there is anything new to do. Flammi informs us when all tasks have been completed on a day and suggests that we could just do a little fishing or collect mussels in the meantime. But that is not really a great consolation and is not enough to fill the gaps that arise satisfactorily.
The typical everyday life of a Cozy Grove player consists of making the round around the island, which is still colorless at the beginning, and offering his help to all the ghosts. Most of their problems are rooted in the longing for certain items that we should get for them. If the postman expects a missing letter, for example, we go on a search for him, which is often more difficult than we thought. Interactive objects and the background often merge and at first glance the hidden object cannot be solved. However, in principle it is good that it is not made too easy for us here. Just like at Easter as a child, one is not most happy about the chocolate in the middle of the table, but about the hard-earned Easter basket from the depths of the undergrowth.
Quelle: PC Games
As soon as we hand over an object of desire to the bear in question after a successful search, he rewards us with ghost wood, which we can feed to the good Flammi in order to expand the island and thereby discover even more ghosts. In addition, and this is an important mechanic in the game, the affected area is colored and the plants bloom. But only until the ghost reports an emergency there again. This gives us further motivation to complete the tasks, which is also very satisfactory and visually appealing after the work is done.
In the first days of the game, the missions can still be handled quite smoothly and the flow is pleasant. If all ticks are ticked, it is sometimes easy to cope with the fact that it is only worthwhile to take a look the next day. But after about a week we get orders that require a lot of patience to be fulfilled. Some items can only be obtained through luck, in which we pray that the island-based dealer Mr. Kit will have them on sale on the respective day. So it can be that we start the game in anticipation, but then have to find disappointed that there is really nothing for us to do.
Fame, fortune and interior design
Quelle: PC Games
If we are not busy running errands, we can devote ourselves to making money. Fish, mussels, fruits and other collectable items can be sold off from Mr. Kit. As soon as we are liquid enough, he can sell us his own goods. Alternatively, we can invest in an extension of the shop or our tent or camp.
Coins, like other rewards, are also given to us when we earn badges or donate something to the collection of Captain Prachtschnabel Schnauz. Collecting it is actually quite a mammoth task, because there are 361 different types of flowers alone, not to mention the different fish and foods! If you can’t leave a collection incomplete without worrying about sleepless nights, you will quickly find yourself on the hook here.
In terms of furniture and decoration, we can do whatever we want. With the help of recipes we learn to build objects that we can then place anywhere on the island. A little specialty is that there are different types of decoration, each of which has an impact on its surroundings. Our pet ravens may prefer a rustic ambience, while a potted plant might want a fruit tree for company. A nice detail, but the advantages of these placements do not outweigh the disadvantages. It’s easy to lose track of things, and who wants the furnishings of their own campsite to be determined by a shrub that is too demanding?
“Come for the view, stay for the friends”
The soundtrack is unfortunately not very varied and doesn’t really stand out. As far as the graphics are concerned, there is little to complain about. The world looks lively and lovingly designed. The characters in particular are a delight for the eyes. But her charm is not just about her appearance, the dialogues are also entertaining. There are funny moments and the peculiarities of the individual bears also become clear. Although, if you take a closer look, the potential is unfortunately never fully developed. After all, Cozy Grove’s motto is “Come for the view, stay for the friends”. The conversations could have been made a little more personal. For example, a player name of your choice would have made sense.
Quelle: PC Games
In addition, the premise of the game actually suggests that we are gradually uncovering the backstory of each individual bear, and to a certain extent that happens, but at least at the beginning it is flat and unsatisfactory. Incidentally, the texts of the NPCs outside of the missions are the same for all characters and, based on experience, amount to about four different sentences.
This inconspicuous gem is made for fans of decelerated simulation games like Animal Crossing. A visit to the island can become an almost meditative ritual and to see how more life and color shine with every little progress brings joy to the heart. Unfortunately, the task limit is annoying and, unlike in Animal Crossing, where self-realization and specific goals are in the foreground, the principle of dividing time in 24-hour rhythms is more frustrating.
Cozy Grove put to the test: a trip to the cozy forest (1) [Quelle: PC Games]
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