Cozy games have been well and truly thriving and continue to become that much more of a mainstream genre with each and every passing year. That’s no surprise really considering how Animal Crossing: New Horizons came to the rescue for plenty of us during the lockdown of 2020. With even more eyes being drawn to such a trend for video games since then, there are plenty of titles that offer such a feeling of welcoming wholesomeness. But that’s quite the extensive list to consider, so to condense it, we are celebrating one key aspect within said genre for this specific list; that of cozy games for animal lovers.
Stray is one of the newest titles on the list, having released last year but still being fresh in the minds of any avid gamer for its accolades, having been nominated and winning entries within the Golden Joystick Awards, The Game Awards and Steam Awards. While not exactly the quintessentially coziest of examples one could pick, what with the game being set in a dystopian postapocalyptic and cyberpunk world, the optional activities in how exactly to explore such a setting is where such notable features come from. Really embody said cat here, from meowing, sleeping and nuzzling against NPCs. That goes without saying the major component here is solving puzzles as a cat.
There’s plenty more cats where that came from for this list.
As “A pretty weird game about farming, creature collection, and dancing”, why we have selected this title is not just because it says our key interest here as one of its major selling points in its own tagline. Rather, Ooblets is a joyfully carefree and wholesome time, one in which focuses in on a creature collecting system of original design. The titular Ooblets will help tend to your field and farm, participate in dance battles against other trainers and can even be planted to raise one from birth. Organise and set up your very own cutest version of Pikmin ever with the Ooblets – it doesn’t get any better than that.
Untitled Goose Game
Untitled Goose Game wins in a variety of ways. As a comedic stealth game, one that can be played co-operatively or solo with plenty of problem solving required in a uniquely colourful design and presentation, Untitled Goose Game is a whale of a time. Discover and explore a bustling village that awaits your trouble making as its titular Goose. Honk your way to victory with a simple and easy to use objective book with so much entertainment for the entire family or for a quiet evening all to yourself.
Calico is not just immediately appealing to the eye for its cute visuals but what it has to offer for any animal lover is an endless stream of wholesome fun. With the sole main goal being the rebuilding of town’s cat café, players are tasked with filling it with new and friendly animal faces. In this stress-free game where its customisation options are just as endless as its content – that of unlocking recipes, decorating the café and getting to gripes with its alchemy system – meeting, interacting and befriending every single creature you find along the way is where the title shines most.
If a cat café is not to your liking, then how about a cat themed RPG instead? While certainly much more simple but just as fun, Cat Quest is chock full of satisfying cat puns and a solid and well defined hack and slash/action RPG system. Alongside a fantasy motif and world bustling with side quests, endearing characters and plenty of customisation options to explore and unlock as you traverse its adorably designed overworld map, Cat Quest delivers on the very best cozy vibes to be had from an animal themed title.
Best Friend Forever
As the very first dating sim to combine said genre with pet care simulation, Best Friend Forever is as unique as it is satisfying on both fronts. Choose which breed becomes your very first doggy companion and love interest in Rainbow Bay as its newest resident as you attempt to excel in both romance and becoming a capable dog owner. Adding a unique spin on the dating sim genre with its dog caring mechanics, Best Friend Forever’s particular charms and challenges make it a refreshing take on said genres.
Okami is a stunning cult classic where players take the role of Amaterasu in the form of a white wolf on a quest to take down Orochi. With a particularly breath-taking design with its Sumi-e ink art style and gameplay mechanics that utilises this art direction in some of its interactive segments, Okami for the most part is a highly satisfying wolf simulator of a title. Offering some of the smoothest and most fun free-roaming for such a vibrant and unique setting and world design, Okami is a must-play for any animal lover for such fluid movement and motion throughout it.
Bug Fables: The Everlasting Sapling
As an often described Super Paper Mario clone, Bug Fables: The Everlasting Sapling proves to be just as much of a worthwhile adventure as the titles it draws similarities to and inspirations from. Not only is it a love letter to said video game series, but Bug Fables is just as much of a gem for its own unique factors. With solid level design across seven greatly distinctive and engaging chapters with plenty of sights to see and unique lands to experience, this is only ever elevated two fold by its highly entertaining and witty dialogue and script.
Chicken Police – Paint it RED!
Possibly our most out of left field selection comes in the form of a detective noir visual novel. With an extremely fitting design with its slick, monochrome style and dark humour found within its mystery-solving gameplay, Chicken Police is as hilarious as it is highly satisfying for its interrogative gameplay and cinematic presentation. With all the anthropomorphic animals with brilliant voice acting presented in a consistent and stylised fashion, Chicken Police is as entertaining as it sounds on paper.
The Good Life
If you thought things could not get any weirder, you thought wrong. The Good Life starts off with a murder mystery set in the idyllic Rainy Woods, anything is possible in the “happiest town in the world”. Go from snapping photos to increase your social media following for a few more bucks to… transforming into a cat. Or dog. It depends on the situation because to solve the core mystery to the game, players will need to reap the benefits of transforming into either animal or as a human to progress into plot. Or ride around on a sheep.
That’s our 10 Best Cozy Games for Animal Lovers. Please ensure to check out Gamer Journalist on Facebook to join the discussion and keep up to date with our content. You might also like to check out similar lists on the site such as 7 Best Cozy Games on Steam and Switch for Winter.