Products You May Like
Not every video game needs to be a punishing test of reflex and perseverance. Some games aspire to put you in a state of pure bliss, focusing on wonder and enjoyment instead of competition and reaction times. If you’re looking for just such a chill experience this year, a number of exciting, cozy titles on the horizon could be just the thing to lose yourself in.
And not all of them are farming sims, either. I mean, there are a lot of farming sims, yes, but we’ve endeavored to gather a nicely eclectic selection, from sims and management games to relaxing, beautifully stylized RPGs.
While some of these games are coming sooner than others, we tried to prioritize games that are likely to land in 2023. That said, release dates sometimes drift, so don’t be too surprised if some of these end up coming out a little later than hoped.
Vibes: A 3D farm sim in a cheery environment with brilliant colors and opportunities for magical battles, and co op!
Availability: Late 2023 on Nintendo Switch
If you’re a little tired of 2D pixel art farm sims, self-described “cozy” game Fae Farm beckons with gentle colors, peaceful farming, and interior decorating, all set in an isometric 3D environment. And you can play this one with up to three friends.
But it’s not all farming. Trailers show off some combat scenarios too, set in magical realms beyond just your farm. Fortunately, the color palette retains its delightful cheery, lush spectrum so it doesn’t look like Fae Farm is gonna suddenly go all Dark Souls on ya.
Vibes: Collecting, battles with cute and funny critters, the feeling of being very, very tiny
Availability: July 21, 2023 on Nintendo Switch
If you’re a Pikmin fan, then you probably don’t need me to tell you about it. But if you’re new here, one look at the trailer will give a good taste of the game’s soothing piano score, varied environments that make the world loom over you, and an adorable crew of little minions that help you collect miscellaneous objects and even do a bit of battle.
There are some newer variants of the titular Pikmin this time around too. One is an ice Pikmin that allows you to freeze water and enemies, adding some elemental variety to the usual colorful crew.
Vibes: Classic-inspired JRPG action with pretty pixel art and turn-based combat
Availability: August 29, 2023 on macOS, Windows, Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S
How about a turn-based JRPG with lovely pixel art, satisfying sound effects, and gorgeous environments? Sea of Stars hits in August 2023, and it looks like the kind of classic Final Fantasy experience I’ve been craving lately.
If you’re concerned that the combat might be a bit too demanding, there’s currently a demo available for Switch (any only Switch, unfortunately). But overall, Sea of Stars looks like it won’t be overly punitive . In combat, fallen allies will come back after enough turns, so death seems like a little more than a cooldown than the “time to panic” feeling you get in some turn-based battlers.
Vibes: Chill farming, NPC chats, and battles in very pretty environments
Availability: September 5, 2023 on Windows and Nintendo Switch
Farming, mini-games, dialogue, combat, and the ability to transform into adorable little creatures, what’s not to look forward to in Rune Factory 3? Originally released on the Nintendo DS in 2010, you may already have fond memories of this game. It’s returning as a remaster on September 5, 2023 on both Nintendo Switch and Windows.
Rune Factory 3 has a really chill color palette that I’m quite digging in screenshots and trailers. Backgrounds have that static pre-rendered look of days long gone, which I’m totally here for.
Vibes: Chill farming and NPC dialogue with male, female, and nonbinary character options
Availability: 2023 on Windows, Nintendo Switch, PS5, and Xbox Series X/S
Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life, the latest in the series previously known as Harvest Moon, has been out for a few months in Japan, and it’s coming to western territories on June 27. A remake of the 2003 GameCube game Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life, Story of Seasons ought to feel like a nice, peaceful throwback for those with fond memories of the original.
Story of Seasons looks like another chill Natsume farming sim of the sort it’s been producing since the SNES days. It offers male, female, and nonbinary gender options as well as complete freedom over who you’d like to date and marry. So go live your best queer cottagecore life.
Vibes: Positive vibes, pretty art with cool shifts from 2D to 3D, and a colorful adventure
Availability: 2024 on Windows, Nintendo Switch, PS5, and Xbox Series X/S
The Plucky Squire’s first trailer was quite the surprise, showing off what many at first thought would be a fun 2D fantasy adventure romp played out in a storybook setting. Then protagonist Jot literally hopped out of the book and started walking around in a 3D environment. Wild stuff!
While The Plucky Squire looks like some delightful hack ’n’ slash (and bash) adventures, it looks to also have some neat puzzle sequences that involve playing around with words to complete portions of the storybook to help the characters move forward in the story. A fair amount of action is also evident, but it’s all set in a loveable, cozy environment that ought to make for a great experience if you’re looking for a tad more intensity than you’d get from just gathering carrots or something.
Vibes: City management plus mining opportunities with bug battles
Availability: 2023 on Windows, Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
What if you want your farming to be a bit…dirtier? Perhaps…subterranean? SteamWorld Build is a city-sim game coming out in 2023 that sets you off to work building infrastructure, managing NPC happiness, and various technological upgrades to take your settlement to the next level. Eventually you’ll get the option to dig below the planet’s surface, collecting mineral resources in order to expand your settlement.
Digging deep into the planet has its risks too, such as some nasty bugs who aren’t too happy to see you. The dual nature of SteamWorld as both a mining and city sim ought to make for some nice variety to keep things fresh.
Vibes: 3D farm sim gameplay with chibi characters and hidden fantasy mysteries
Availability: 2023 on Nintendo Switch
Cute chibi characters, a colorful world, farming, cooking, exploration, and some fun-looking combat encounters make Fantasy Life i: The Girl Who Steals Time, a sequel to 2012’s 3DS Fantasy Life, look like a pleasant way to pass the time.
You get a whole island in Fantasy Life i (yes, that’s the lowercase letter i, not a Roman numeral, at least as far as the trailer is concerned) and over a dozen “Lifes” to master (think jobs like Miner, Woodcutter, and Alchemist). But there’s also a neat little mystery packed into the otherwise chill-out-at-your-own-pace gameplay. A girl who controls time and a mysterious dragon, as the trailer describes, hint at some potentially intriguing revelations in this adorable, crafting-focused action-RPG.
Vibes: 2D rhythm-based platformer with Scottish folk music
Availability: 2023 on Windows and Nintendo Switch
With visuals you can easily stare at for hours and some wonderful music, A Highland Song follows the story of Moira McKinnon as she explores the Scottish Highlands in a rhythm-based platformer that’ll have you scaling heights, skipping over water, and searching for hidden areas.
Scottish folk bands Talisk and Fourth Music have lent their talents to the sonic landscape of A Highland Song, making for some real pleasant listening as Moira endeavors to finally reach her uncle’s lighthouse and gaze upon the sea for the first time.
Vibes: Teenage dinosaur band drama featuring rhythm games at the end of the world
Availability: June 15, 2023 on Windows, PS4, and PS5
Goodbye Volcano High is actually kinda dark. But wait, don’t leave yet! Yes, it’s about a group of anthropomorphic teenage dinosaurs dealing with high-school band drama while a rapidly approaching asteroid is poised to destroy civilization, but…looks how cute is! I can’t help but be intrigued.
As a game, Goodbye Volcano High looks like a relatively chill narrative game with some rhythm-based sequences set during the protagonists’ practice sessions as they ready themselves for a battle of the bands. There’s also lotsa dialogue dripping with teenage drama. But does a band even matter when the world is gonna end?
Goodbye Volcano High a dark premise looming over the horizon, this could make for a chill, but sad, cozy narrative journey.
Vibes: Medieval matchmaking sim
Availability: Q3 2023 on Windows
So you got yourself a little medieval Viking village with an eye toward future expansion. If that sounds like an invitation to do some matchmaking, then Lakeburg Legacies might be worth a look—and there’s even a demo available now on Steam.
Lakeburg Legacies promises versatile matchmaking opportunities for straight and gay couples, with both having the option of raising a family. Your choices seem to play a role in what kind of a legacy the parents will leave behind, and thus how the village will continue to grow. It’s a cute-looking game that’s thankfully not interested in just essentializing straight couples.
Oh, I can’t wait for this game. Planet of Lana is finally expected to arrive in 2023 after first being teased in 2021. Featuring a strange and cryptic science-fiction world that protagonist Lana must journey through with her little creature buddy Mui, platforming isn’t your only job here. Encounters with odd robots will test your stealth and puzzle skills. I could see a few of these getting a little tense, but the world seems so full of color and dreamy vistas that it looks delightful to just drift off to.
Vibes: A fight-the-system friend simulator set in a 3D visual novel
Availability: 2023 on Windows and Xbox
Cyberpunk, the genre, has always been about the literal punks, people living under the heel of a monstrous, corporate-controlled society, depicting dense cities in which average people are just trying to get by in a world with as many threats as there are opportunities to maybe craft a life worth living. From the looks of things so far, Solace State gets that.
A 3D visual novel promising branching narratives and different endings, you’ll explore protagonist Chloe’s desire to connect with others in a maze of a surveillance society. Sounds a little too familiar, honestly.
If curling up with a Philip K. Dick novel or a reread of Neuromancer is your idea of cozy (it sure is mine), Solace State is one to keep on your radar.
Vibes: Chill vibes, exploration, and some combat, gecko style (and not the smartass kind, either)
Availability: 2023 on Windows and Nintendo Switch
A puzzle-y platformer in which you scale the walls and surfaces of ancient buildings and natural environments as a cute little gecko, The Gecko Gods’ world looks to have that certain Journey vibe that made that earlier game so beloved.
While The Gecko Gods will feature some combat, the developer describes that level of action as light, so it’s reasonable to expect exploration and puzzle solving are the real appeal here.
Vibes: Narrative mystery solving in a creepy hotel
Availability: 2023 on Windows
Described by Canadian developer Lowbirth as a “neo-noir” mystery, This Bed We Made sees you take on the role of Sophie, a “nosy chambermaid in the 1950s.” And if you like rummaging around in shit-that-ain’t-yours, this narrative adventure might be just the thing when it comes out later this year.
And you wouldn’t be alone in thinking This Bed We Made has some horror vibes. I mean just look at that damn hotel. Rest assured, you probably won’t have to fight anything. But the devs did reveal that perhaps one of the most frightening life challenges of all will be a primary feature: talking on the phone.
Vibes: A cooking sim that looks straight out of a Jhumpa Lahiri novel
Availability: Spring 2023 on Windows and Nintendo Switch
Venba promises to explore the lives of Indian immigrants in Canada in the 1980s. Taking on the role of the mother, you’ll cook up some authentic Southern Indian dishes and spend time with the fam.
The game has a beautiful hand-drawn art style that doesn’t fail to grab one’s attention. You’ll probably want to take some notes on these recipes though, because I’m going to bet it’ll be hard not to build up an appetite as you spend time with this family.
Vibes: Perspective-altering exploration and puzzles with eclectic art styles
Availability: 2023 on Windows and PS5
Viewfinder looks like a trippy solo quest through a fascinating environment. Using photography and art, you’ll have to line up various images to move through the world. But the game promises to be more than just a neat visual tech demo.
As described on the game’s Steam page, exploration is all well and good, but it’s also in service of unraveling a narrative to “learn the secrets of the world [and] the reason why it exists.”
Vibes: Slice-of-life journeys through heartache, music, and moving on
Availability: 2023 Windows, Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5
Set in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, Afterlove EP explores the life of Rama, whose romantic partner passes away. It’s definitely a heavy subject, but with the manga-inspired artstyle, and use of music in rhythm mini-games, Rama’s story looks like a slow, delicate tale of what it means to move on after losing someone.
Afterlove EP describes itself as a mashup of a narrative adventure, dating sim, and rhythm game, along with branching narratives and different endings.
Vibes: Lush artstyle with a narrative focused on childhood memories
Availability: Spring 2023 on Windows, Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S
Life sometimes moves too fast, and Dordogne looks to explore how those memories can drift away. Taking on the role of Mimi, you’ll endeavor to recover memories of childhood summers, when the world likely felt very different than it does now.
Recovering items left untouched, Mimi will reconnect with various memories of her family and youth. The blend of hand-painted environments with more modern video game models and animation really seems to convey that elegant liminal space of nostalgia and will hopefully make for a great immersive, cozy experience.
Whether you’re looking to pass the time with blissful pastoral farming, or engage with some tender emotional moments, 2023 looks packed with a ton of cozy games on a wide variety of platforms. Do you have others on your radar?