If you’re anything like me, sometimes you simply want to unwind with a wholesome video game free of stress. As we move into the second half of 2023, there are a handful of new game releases that are perfect for low commitment, low stakes, or a way to escape extra stress in your life. Check out some of my anticipated cozy game releases!
Mineko’s Night Market
Mineko’s Night Market is my most anticipated gaming release of the year! You play Mineko, a young girl who has just moved to a struggling island. As you explore the village, meet cats, craft items, and complete quests–the story about your new home unfolds.
Vibe: nighttime market, Japanese culture, cats, puzzles and minigames, story-driven, soothing, atmospheric
Similar games: Night in the Woods, Bugsnax, Calico
Release date: Sept. 26, 2023
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PS5, Windows, Mac
Fae Farm is a 3D farming simulation–but with so much more! You can play with up to three friends, explore the magical lands, collect items, visit the market of Azoria, and engage in combat with your magical spells!
Vibe: cottage-core and fairies, magical, farm-life, co-op, light combat
Similar games: Stardew Valley, Wylde Flowers
Release date: Sept. 8, 2023
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
For extremely low-stress and low-stakes, check out the sandbox village-maker Gourdlets! I’ve fallen in love with the adorable villagers and the sweetest city design.
Vibe: pastel, ambient, easy farming, low-stress, blobby characters
Similar games: Pocket Build, Cities: Skylines, Apico
Release date: Coming soon
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
I’m over the moon for Moonstone Island; a simulation game reminiscent of the style of Stardew Valley with the magic of Kiki’s Delivery Service. As an apprentice witch, you’ll need to explore islands to grow stronger and learn the power of alchemy!
Vibe: witchy and magical, collect nature spirits, light combat, mining, and crafting
Similar games: Potion Permit, Stardew Valley, Animal Crossing
Release date: Q3 2023
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Windows, Mac, Linux
Sea of Stars
Can combat be allowed in the cozy gaming genre? With these gorgeous, illustrative graphics and what seems like an engrossing storyline about two children teaming up together to fight off monsters, I can’t help but include it in this list.
Vibe: Low-stress turn-based combat, gorgeous graphics, deep exploration, lush worldbuilding
Similar games: Golden Sun, Final Fantasy 2D Pixel Remaster
Release date: Aug. 29, 2023
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PS4/PS5, Xbox, Windows, Mac