Editorials

5 of the Coziest Games to Play This Winter

December 18, 2021

Cozy games make a dreary winter season warmer and brighter, so here’s our list of 5 of the coziest games to play this winter!

What could be better than curling up with a good game to relax with over the holiday season? With winter in full swing, games with cozy atmospheres and impactful stories have especially become a popular choice for players of all platforms.

Cozy games are games that specifically cultivate a warm atmosphere – games that, while you play, give you the same feeling that drinking a warm mug of hot cocoa gives you. While not every cozy game is entirely cheerful, they will leave you with an unforgettable story that plays with your heartstrings and leaves you feeling full.

Though most of the games on our list are winter-themed, some will take you back to the bright softness of summer, just in case you’re missing the heat. So, without much ado, here’s our list of 5 of the coziest games to play this winter.

New World | Winter Convergence Festival Trailer

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New World | Winter Convergence Festival Trailer
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RÖKI – POLYGON TREEHOUSE

Available on Switch, PS5, and Xbox Series X|S

Röki is an absolutely beautiful adventure game set within a snowy forested Northern landscape. What’s particularly special about this game is that it’s truly a game for players of all kinds. With a focus on non-violent gameplay and puzzles, Röki will have you exploring forgotten lands and befriending folklore-inspired monsters along the way.

The story follows a young Tove as she tries to uncover a mystery surrounding her family. It’s a tale of loss, of redemption, and of new connections, filled with equal parts charm, heart, and grief. If you’re looking for something impactful that doesn’t require a ton of crunchy mechanics, Röki is the game for you! (Not to mention, this game is a BAFTA and TGA nominee, and has won several awards for its narrative!)

CELESTE – EXTREMELY OK GAMES, LTD.

Available on Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and PC

Yet another winter-y game, Celeste is a true classic among cozy game fans. Perfectly snowy, this game will make you appreciate the warmth of your home and put your platforming skills to the test. In Celeste, you will tackle difficult platform levels as you scale Mount Celeste amidst swirling blizzards and biting winds.

This is a game for those of you who prefer to chill with challenging game experiences. It’s lovely to look at with an extremely fine-tuned design, on top of a wonderfully melancholic soundtrack. Honestly, in my opinion, it’s a must-play for any 2D platformer fans out there, but check out DualShockers’ full review to see if this game is right for you!

THE RED LANTERN – TIMBERLINE STUDIO

Available on Switch or through the Epic Games Store

This game released just 10 days ago on Steam on Dec, 8th, making it a newcomer to the cozy games category. As a narrative dog-sledding game, The Red Lantern focuses mainly on survival, challenging its players to improve each run with their dogs.

A little bit roguelite and a little bit Nintendogs, The Red Lantern really shines in its combination of survival and dog resource management. You play as a Musher taking care of a team of 5 sledding dogs as you make your way through the Alaskan wildscape back home. Each dog has their own unique personality, you won’t get tired of exploring their stories and the wilderness around you. If you prefer a relaxed sledding experience, The Red Lantern has a zen mode where you chill at your cabin while the dogs go run!

Oh, and yes, you CAN pet the dogs!

HOA – SKROLLKAT STUDIO

Available on PC, Switch, Xbox, and PS

Missing the warmth of summer? Want something with a lush atmosphere and sun-soaked visuals? Then Skrollkat Studio’s Hoa is exactly what you need! Yes, it’s another 2D platformer, but it is distinctly different from Celeste in nearly every way. You’ll play as Hoa, exploring a vast and magical world full of cute glowing creatures. You’ll have to exercise your exploration-puzzle skills in this one, but its charming story and atmosphere will still have you feeling calm and cozy.

With an aesthetic that can only be described as Ghibli-esque, Hoa‘s hand-painted art direction is the definition of gorgeous. This game is perfect for when you need a mental breath of fresh air, as the lilting orchestrated score will gently wash you to a place of imagination and joy.

COZY GROVE – SPRY FOX LLC

Available on Mobile, PC, Switch, PS, and Xbox

Where would a cozy game recommendation list be if it didn’t include Cozy Grove? As you can probably tell by its name, this game provides cute visuals, adorable characters, and a sweet atmosphere. You’ll play as a Spirit Scout setting up camp within a local forest. Only, instead of just villagers, you’ll also have ghosts as your neighbors!

This is mainly a life-sim game, so you’ll be able to do a bit of farming and crafting as you help out your ghostly friends. The more you help the ghosts, the more you help the forest, bringing color and life back to your surroundings. Cozy Grove does lean a bit more towards hidden-object-story-game than Animal Crossing or Stardew Valley, so you can be sure you’ll get an entirely new experience. Its story and art style are also really unique, making it perfect for a rainy or especially chilly day.

And that’s our list of 5 of the coziest games to play this winter! (Though we have enough platformers on this list, I’ll give a quick honorable mention to Gris, a lovely water-color aesthetic puzzle platforming game). Keep your eyes out for other recommendations from DualShockers in the coming weeks!

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Natalie Schmidt
@bynatalies

Natalie (She/Her) is a writer and game design enthusiast hailing from way-too-sunny Los Angeles. She loves to dissect game narrative and analyze mechanics, but she doesn’t even want to think about how many hours she’s spent playing D&D or The Witcher 3. Aside from triple-A adventures, she’s passionate about RPGs of all kinds and meaningful representation in games

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