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Game Info:

Cozy Grove
Developed by: Spry Fox
Published by: The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild
Release date: April 8, 2021
Available on: PS4, Switch, Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
Genre: Survival
Number of players: Single-player
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+ for alcohol references and comic mischief
Price: $14.99
(Humble Store Link)

Thank you The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild for sending us this game to review!

As a Spirit Scout, you’re dropped off on the island of Cozy Grove to test your self-sufficiency skills. You get off to a rocky start after watching your boat float away from not securing it tight enough to the dock. Now your skills will truly be put to the test!

Your first friend will be your campfire named Flamey. You’ll need to feed him spirit logs to unlock more spirits on the island to assist. Flamey can also burn things to cook like various fruits, vegetables, and other items to convert to the more useful forms. Live fish will have to be burned in order to turn them into usable bones. Flamey is also the one to speak to if you want to upgrade your tent/inventory size or change your outfit/appearance.

The first lost spirit you’ll meet is that of a ranger who knows a thing or two about Spirit Scouts. Her name is Charlotte Pine and she can get you directions (for a fee) if you’re ever having trouble finding hidden objects on the island. At first, Cozy Grove is rather small, but as you meet new spirits, it will grow and you’ll have more places to explore and forage.

Highlights:

Strong Points: Cute visuals and charming background music; interesting characters and backstories; lots of hidden object mini-games
Weak Points: There’s a daily limit on how much you can do to progress the story
Moral Warnings: You have to interact with spirits; one of the spirits talks about drinking and drunkenness, another one is greedy; you can burn fish and bugs

Each lost soul has five hearts that will gradually fill as you complete various quests for them. As you get to know them better, they’ll share their memories with you. Some of their life stories are a bit tragic as they deal with poverty, drunkenness and memory loss. Your goal as a Spirit Scout is to assist them and help them come to terms with their past lives so they can find peace.

The second spirit you’ll meet is Jeremy Gruffle who is a handyman. After collecting some twigs for him you’ll have your first tool, a shovel that can be used to dig up mounds marked with an “X” (how convenient!). Other tools you’ll get in this game will be a fishing rod, a mining pick, a machete, and a dowsing rod. The dowsing rod is used to locate and unearth buried artifacts. Like many things in life, these tools will break over time. Jeremy is happy to repair them if you have the required materials to make it happen. Upgraded and more durable versions of the tools will be required for completing the main story.

There are two kinds of quests that the spirits will give you, timed and untimed with the majority of both types to be hidden object mini-games. Untimed quests will progress the character’s story and often times will take several days to complete, as you’ll be waiting to forage enough items or be given a key item from another island spirit. The timed quests have to be completed within 24 hours, and there’s no penalty for not doing so other than missing out on a reward. Untimed quests will often include a spirit log, though I did receive one from a timed quest so your mileage may vary.

Cozy Grove
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 86%
Gameplay: 17/20
Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 8/10
Controls: 5/5
Stability: 5/5

Morality Score - 84%
Violence: 9/10
Language: 10/10
Sexual Content: 10/10
Occult/Supernatural: 5/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical: 8/10

Cozy Grove is designed to be played daily and you can only collect a limited number of spirit logs a day. You can keep yourself busy by foraging, fishing, skipping rocks, and various other activities, but if you’re looking to play this game for the story, it will take a long time. Before writing this review, I played the game daily for sixty days and have yet to fully fill up a character’s hearts to help them rest in peace.

Since this game revolves around interacting with spirits not at rest, there’s a fair amount of occult/supernatural content to take into consideration. Some of the spirits have troubling memories that you’ll hear about including poverty, drunkenness and memory loss. One of the spirits has greed issues.

If you don’t mind the spiritual content and daily story limits, there’s a lot to like in this charming game. The visuals are cute though with all of the island clutter it’s hard to find some of the objects at times. To minimize frustration, I often paid Charlotte for hidden item assistance. It’s well worth the small fee! The guitar background music is pleasant to listen to while exploring Cozy Grove. Like many popular collection games, you’ll find different creatures and items at different times during the day and you’ll find holiday themed festivities to partake in as well.


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