'Cozy Grove' Is the Escape I Didn't Realize I Needed 2023


Key Takeaways

Cozy Grove delivers a well-balanced mobile experience designed to pull you in each day without forcing you to waste hours staring at your phone.Spry Fox's latest game features a 40-hour campaign designed to take place over the course of months.Cozy Grove is a perfect example of how mobile games need to balance progression and the amount of time you spend playing each day.

Spry Fox / Nintendo

Cozy Grove accomplishes what many mobile games fail to do, bringing a full-fledged adventure to your fingertips without ever demanding too much of you.

Arriving on the island of Cozy Grove, I wasn't sure what to expect. Many of Apple Arcade's titles have left me feeling unsatisfied, often leading to me dumping them from my phone almost as quickly as I've installed them.

Cozy Grove is different, though. It pulls you in with a heartwarming story, but it never asks you to invest so much into that story that you have to spend hours staring at the screen of your smartphone.

It's a precarious balance that many mobile games have to walk the line of, and one that many fail to achieve properly. Developer Spry Fox has done it magnificently, though.

Cozy Grove's daily task system and slow drip story keep me coming back for more every day, as I work to help the ghostly inhabitants of the island, all while bringing color and warmth back to the island I've found myself stranded upon.

Scouting It Out

You arrive on the island of Cozy Grove without an inkling of what lies before you. These opening moments feel like the start of a mystery. Here is this deserted island, complete with a talking fire named Flamey.

Flamey will be your companion along the way, slowly expanding the coverage of what you can see as you feed it this special item called Spirit Wood.

You can attain more Spirit Wood by helping the local ghosts that inhabit the island. Each day, new tasks will be made available to you, and you can complete them, learning more about each of the inhabitants, as well as more about what happened on Cozy Grove to leave the island in its current state.

Spry Fox does a great job of slow-dripping the story along the journey, unlocking new bits and bobs of the mystery. It gives you a true chance to put the story together and helps to make the entire experience feel less overwhelming or grindy.

Grindiness is something that many life sims like Cozy Grove often find themselves dealing with, and it was a relief not to find it prevalent within this new adventure.

Keep it Simple

Perhaps the biggest strength that Cozy Grove builds off, though, is simplicity. The core gameplay loop itself is extremely simple. So simple, in fact, that you might look at the game and think it's probably boring. That isn't the case.

While the tasks put before you are menial, they aren't meant to be the most engaging part of the experience. The story that Spry Fox weaves within the dialogue, and the subtle hints to the lives these ghosts used to live before, all spins together like a spider's web, beckoning you deeper. 

Each ghost you help means more Spirit Wood for Flamey, which means more of the island opens up to you. What begins as a small island with but a single ghost quickly transforms, offering multiple areas for you to explore and find new secrets within.

Yes, it is a simple gameplay loop, but it's one that Cozy Grove masters artfully.

Finding Happiness in Small Things

Spry Fox has made a name for itself by crafting mobile games designed to only require your attention for a few moments each day. Cozy Grove is no different.

While you can continue fishing and doing other things well after your tasks are completed, this is very much a game about savoring the happy things in life. After all, small victories are still victories, and each one deserves time for reflection and proper enjoyment.

Every ghost helped is a victory in and of itself, and not one that should go ignored. Finding joy and bringing happiness to others and yourself is a key part of the story of Cozy Grove.

If you enjoy games like Animal Crossing, but you want a bit more story to chew on, then Cozy Grove delivers just that. I highly recommend picking it up and carving out 20-30 minutes of your day somewhere just to enjoy the journey that the island has to offer.