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Sunday, May 19, 2024

The 8 best cozy games to wishlist from the Wholesome Games Showcase

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As part of this week’s big summer showcase schedule, Wholesome Games hosted its yearly event to share tons of cute and cozy upcoming games. We saw a release date for the lovely family cooking game Venba and caught up with cat teahouse sim Pekoe coming this month too. Both of those are arriving in short order this summer.

Even though I’m trying so hard to stay true to my cozy game roots this year it can be so difficult to keep track of them all when Wholesome manages to stuff so many into a showcase. You can watch the full Wholesome Games Showcase for yourself to find more, but here are eight games and trailers we think you should really have your eye on.

Lakeburg Legacies 

Launches: July 20, demo now on Steam

Forget laying power lines and sewer systems, Lakeburg Legacy is a city management sim where you’re performing the ultimate civic duty of matchmaker. You need to pair up your citizens to optimize resource production and produce excellent progeny. Despite its pastel and pretty visuals, Lakeburg Legacies looks like a pretty deep strategic management game in which Ishtar Games says “everything” is simulated. This is screaming cozy Crusader Kings to me with all that character info to crunch for the perfect match.

Station to Station 

Launches: 2023, demo now on Steam

The beautiful voxel worlds and realistic lighting in Station to Station are cozy enough, but managing train routes is even more pastel and pastoral. You’ll connect areas of a small rural world to encourage them to grow and expand. You can just relax and poke at the world or go for optional challenges while building. Station to Station is expected sometime this year but you can give conducting a go in a free demo right now.

Kamaeru: A Frog Refuge 

Launches: TBA on Steam

This beautiful picture book-style farm sim is about taking care of a frog sanctuary and restoring the wetlands. And just look at all the frogs, hundreds of colors and combinations to create while you decorate their wetlands home and document it all with photographs. There’s no release window for Kamaeru yet but it’s so lovely I don’t want to lose sight of it.

Fields of Mistria 

Launches: 2024 on Steam

Fields of Mistria is channeling a lot of ’90s vibes with its bright pixel style and character designs that would look right at home in the sailor scouts. It’s a super cute farm sim with all the usual crops, animals, and romance in the village. Mistria showed up to Wholesome Games with another trailer and even though it isn’t coming until next year I’ve absolutely wishlisted it already.

Everdeep Aurora 

Launches: TBA on Steam

I love when a game just nails the vibe of a classic GameBoy game but at modern resolution, and Everdeep Aurora certainly does. It’s a puzzle platformer about Shell the cat diving into the depths of the Everdeep finding sidequests and secrets while looking for her missing mother. Truly I could ride on visuals and vibes alone with this one but the interface with a growing map on the right panel and quest items and tooltips on the left just has this cozy old game quality to it.

Moonstone Island 

Launches: 2023 on Steam

Life sims and creature collecting feel like they’re holding hands more often lately and I’m happy to see another contender. Moonstone Island has over 100 procedurally generated islands to explore, spirits to collect, and crops to farm, which are all pretty much catnip to me. There are dungeons and turn-based battles too, all while you undergo alchemy training. It really doesn’t get better than Pokemon/Stardew/Wind Waker/Witches for me. Oh, and it looks like your home has chicken legs. When did everyone get so into Baba Yaga references?

Mineko’s Night Market 

Launches: September 26 on Steam

Long in the works and finally arriving, you don’t want to miss Mineko’s Night Market when it debuts this fall, just in time to be mildly spooky. In this little life sim you’ll explore a Japanese-inspired island that’s got a lot of cat lore, all while collecting materials for your handcrafted goods to sell at the titular night market. Get ready for minigames too: There’s woodworking and flower snipping and ring tossing and so many more tiny activities on the island.

KarmaZoo 

Launches: TBA on Steam

There are lots of ways to help your friends in co-op platformer KarmaZoo. Spit on them to make them sticky so they can climb walls. Kill yourself so your tombstone gives them a place to stand on a row of deadly spikes. I know that sounds a bit grim and gross, but it’s not: KarmaZoo is an “altruistic cooperative platformer” you play with a crowd of complete strangers, using the unusual abilities of the game’s 50 different characters (including trees, whales, spiders, and singing dogs) to triumph. It looks like a hoot.

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