Cozy Grove (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Nayu 15.08.2021

Review for Cozy Grove on Nintendo Switch

First announced in December 2020, developed by Spry Fox and published by The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild, Cozy Grove launched on Nintendo Switch in April 2021. It sees a happy-go-lucky protagonist set about on their first scout mission, which does not go to plan. Setting off to an island for the first assignment as a spirit scout, players must help friendly bear ghosts find peace with themselves, build up a pleasant campsite and survive on the island with only a postal system of advice from the main Scoutmaster. The intended destination may have been Cozy Cove, an island with a few ghosts, but landing on the wrong island simply means there is a greater adventure to be had!

Starting off with extremely little skills and no friends other than a friendly campfire, called Flamey, life in Cozy Grove is neither a tough or scary experience. Aside from a few timed quests, there are no time limits on the island. Resources respawn over time, and are collected in fun ways. Digging up suspicious spots can lead to great treasure and a broken spade that, like all tools, requires a few easy to come by items to repair. As the game progresses, more tools become available, and upgrades can be made, allowing deeper holes to be dug, higher level rocks to be mined, and thanks to a recent summer update, bugs can now be caught too. Flowers are collected from pot plants placed around the camp or the rest of the island, trees bear rich fruit and as for the sea, that has an abundance of both common and rare fish eager to say hello to a fishing rod. Gathering is the key to fulfilling quests from the island's unique spectral residents.

When first met the resident spirits resemble a small floating box. Once spoken to they then take their corporeal form, a rectangular shaped bear distinguished from the others, with accessories appropriate to their personality and skills. Each spirit bear has a distinct personality that usually matches their occupation. There's a mail bear, Patrice Furbac, who delivers mail from the Scout Master to the protagonist filled with, not always useful, but often interesting advice, mails items created by the baker bear, and like the other island residents, has requests that include finding parcels and letters around the island, stolen by the imps. The imps are not malicious - there is no fighting in Cozy Grove, they are shy and will run away when approached. Sometimes they want an item, and will give a reward of their essence or a useful object. Other times they indicate where an item is located, if a specific procedure is activated with Charlotte Pine, a bear with useful talents.

Screenshot for Cozy Grove on Nintendo Switch

Spirit essence is one of hundreds of materials needed to build items required for quest fulfilment, of which there are many. Each day every ghost has an objective that needs fulfilling. These can't always be completed in one gaming session: if relic dust is required, the quest will take several in-game days to collect - which do tally with the real-world day but time travel is possible, although not advised as it can then interfere with real-time events. A handful of requests are time limited to a decent amount of hours; there is no apparent punishment for failing to meet the quest, merely a loss of the prize. If specific fish are required, it can take a lot of time to find that fish.

The island's shop, run by the fox Mr Kit, with what looks like a mouse on his head, stocks a few items that change daily, and a few which are permanent. If a spirit log is not already in the inventory bag, it is possible to purchase one each day for Flamey. Additionally, Mr Kit has a clothing range from hats and scarfs, tops, outfits, and beards. The same item can be worn all the time, but what is the fun in that? Fashionistas can rest assured that clothing does not take up precious inventory space - Flamey has expandable storage for developing a large wardrobe. When there is no more space the clothes get put into the main inventory, in which case a clothes purge is needed; selling them back to Mr Kit garners a small number of coins for each item of clothes.

Screenshot for Cozy Grove on Nintendo Switch

Storage of items not needed in the limited inventory and clothes isn't all that Flamey is good for. Feeding it spirit logs is how further ghosts are revealed. Items can be bought, old coins that are given through quest rewards and selling items, quartz gemstones that again are received in quest rewards, and semi-precious gems can be crafted once the recipe is learnt. Recipes can be fished up, be shaken from trees, dug up from the ground, or be obtained as quest rewards. They are not just for food, but items needed for quests, merchandise to sell to Mr Kit, decorative items to be placed anywhere on the island. Once ingredients are collected, most recipes can be made instantly, apart from the baking items at the bakery, which can take an actual hour to be ready for collection from the post bear.

Almost any item can be burnt by Flamey. Burning is an essential part of island life: burning ore helps create usable metals, burning food provides ingredients needed to bake food, and are sometimes needed for tool repair. Multiple items can be burnt at a time - they are not limited to a specific category. It can be advisable to burn popular items and put them in Flamey's storage for later use, such as metals and food. Food is needed for the pet spirit birds that can be placed around camp and the island, as they need food in order to produce their relevant spirit essence used in recipes, and as another form of money. The food they want changes too; sometimes it is for a recipe that has not yet been learned, which leads to great guilt at making the sort of alive creatures wait for sustenance.

Screenshot for Cozy Grove on Nintendo Switch

Placement of decorative items isn't just to make the island look pretty, as these can increase the quality of harvested goods. It is possible to play and not care where items are placed, it will just take longer to gather harvestable materials. Most plants and trees as well as rocks can only be harvested from if they are in a lit-up area. Lighting is hugely important in the game: once a spirit bear has had some quests fulfilled, the area around them fills with colour, bringing the local flora to life. This does not necessarily last more than an in-game day, at least in the early stages of the game.

It does give daily quest completion a secondary purpose and encourages regular play. While it can be played for hours at a time, Cozy Grove is meant to be played slowly. Leaving the spirit bears in darkness feels rather mean - they deserve to be happy! Increasing their friendship leads to revelations about their past which is interesting to learn. The ghost population increases once Flamey has enough spirit logs, which leads to island expansion, further areas brought to life and new skills to learn and use.

Screenshot for Cozy Grove on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

The concept of interacting with and aiding spirits might sound on the creepy side, but with a watercolour palette, plentiful humour, and appropriate ratios of compassion and crankiness, Cozy Grove is certainly a fun addition to Nintendo Switch's game library. Regular updates add quality of life improvements, plus the new game mechanics add to its appeal. Hugging a digital ghost bear brings far greater joy than can be imagined, thanks to the latest update.

Developer

Spry Fox

Publisher

The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild

Genre

Simulation

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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