Cozy Grove Review (Switch)
Am I destined to be trapped here forever? Will I become another ghost tied to Cozy Grove?
Publisher: The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild
I’ve always planned on reviewing Cozy Grove and after procrastinating on starting it for 2 months (which I think I was just too intimidated by it for some reason?) I finally started playing it. And considering that nature of the game, I thought I’d review it after a month to get a good enough feel on it. As of posting, I’m on Day 38, so welcome to my a little bit over a month review of Cozy Grove!
In Cozy Grove, you are a Spirit Scout that recently docked your boat at a seemingly small island. Spirit Scouts are those that are able to see spirits and aim to help and soothe them. And the island (which coincidentally is named Cozy Grove) you arrived on is host to a whole town that disappeared, with the ghost bears lingering. Waiting for another scout to come along. Though, even if you wanted to leave, your boat mysteriously disappeared, or floated away, so either you forgot to tie it down or these ghost bears really need your help.
Anyway, you soon come across your first ghost bear, Charlotte, who is the Ranger here. She’s pretty helpful, other than introducing you to your duties as a Spirit Scout. Basically, every day, you’ll talk to the ghost bears that are around and they’ll give you a quest. This quest is either to find their missing item(s) hidden around the island (or chase down those imps that decided to be naughty), get a selection of resources, or to craft something. Some quests are timed and will expire the next day if you don’t, or can’t, complete them, but the ones that aren’t timed are important as they are ones that will make progress. As those quests will give you a bit more insight on the ghost bear that gave it to you, filling up their hearts bar just a little to show you progressed their story, and giving you a spirit wood. And you can then feed the spirit wood to your campfire, or Flamey, to work yourself up to revealing more ghost bears and expanding the island. Giving you even more quests to do and a more steady supply of spirit wood (I have 10 ghost bears currently and I seem to at least get 2 spirit wood each day).
Your campsite is placed by Cozy Grove’s sign, or by Charlotte, and here is where you can safely place items without the items from the ghost bears suddenly appearing there. You’ll wake up here every day, but this is where your fire, Flamey, is. Other than feeding Flamey spirit wood to expand the island and reveal more ghost bears, Flamey is also helpful as certain items can be burnt to transform them (like fruit to roasted fruit or ore to ingots), he’ll store items for you, store cosmetics, and give you an option to upgrade your tent (which upgrades your storage).
The quests don’t really get varied here, which can become tiring. I can’t lie, I got tired of them a week before I hit the 1 month mark before bouncing back to being fine. You’ll get the hidden object quests the most, as you’ll need to find the item(s) they lost. Luckily, you do get a hint and Charlotte can reveal their location by paying 100 old coins (which seems a lot early on, but you can find ways to make a lot of money). These can be hard to find, especially when it’s located at a colorless part of the island as you can’t use the color of it to help you spot it. Others will have you gathering resources, food items, or have you catch fish or bugs of a certain rarity. But either way, you’ll get a reward for completing them as well as them bringing the color back to their part of the island (and manifesting their furniture if they don’t have it out already).
You’ll get quests that will craft your tools soon enough, and quests to upgrade them, but they let you gather the various resources here. These will let you mine for ore, cut up vine bushes, and dig up holes. You’ll also get a dowsing rod which uses the hot-cold detecting method to detect relics. All of these have durability, which you can see how much it has left, before it breaks and you have to have them repaired. You can also fish, which is more forgiving than in Animal Crossing as they don’t run away when you run by the shore but will if hit with the bob, and catch bugs with a net. And, on semi unrelated note, you can also throw items, which you can skip stones to get the stone into a clam or to feed those imps that are hungry. Though it’s pretty weird with how they’re controlled as they don’t have a dedicated cancel button and the net roots you in place with you only able to aim where the net will be swung.
You start with Mr. Kit on your island, which he sells you items, resources, sometimes quest items, clothing and a way to upgrade his shop so he can sell more items; will give you a haircut; and let you sell your items. But, as more ghost bears are revealed, you’ll get more vendor bears or bears that will craft you items or cook food (assuming you have the recipe and resources for it). There is also one that you’ll donate new items to, like the museum in Animal Crossing but with anything and it doesn’t get it’s own building for displaying them. You also do get some special visitors on certain days. Pandam, the traveling salesman, arrives on Wednesdays with some helpful resources and cool furniture and Darla on Saturdays who sell wigs and give you a fashion quest. It also seems that we’ll be getting special seasonal visitors as well, as earlier in July we got Ms. Carouse visiting who gave the opportunity to craft fireworks, summer furniture, and sold summer clothing.
Talking about furniture, you’ll get a lot of furniture either from rewards, from the mail, or from you buying or crafting the ones you like. You can put these anywhere, but I really wouldn’t. Unlike Animal Crossing, this isn’t an island that you take control of decorating. As I mentioned before, the ghost bears here will manifest their own furniture to fill up their own space on the island (which can feel cluttered). And there’s no telling where they’ll be or what they’ll manifest until it happens, and even then it has a chance to change the next day. Not to mention that the island does expand and trees have a chance of spawning there as they change each day. You do get designated zones though, which are zones that nothing will spawn on (with the first one being your campsite). These you can safely put furniture here. Or you can use them to plant trees, bushes, and flowers (which you can buy or be rewarded with) so you can gather even more resources every couple days. You’ll also have these spirit birds and deer which can be feed food, which will let it age up and drop its own set of resources. Now this is where furniture is important. Most items have little descriptors, like common or spooky, at the bottom of their info box. Spirit bird/deer and trees/bushes/flowers have an added like and dislike area as well as 3 hearts above them. Putting furniture that they like around them, and keeping them away from those that they dislike, will give them more hearts and thus drop more resources.
Though, you’ll often come against a problem with selecting something as it’ll often detect what’s beside it instead (and while there’s a select next button, it probably won’t be on that select list). I also do wish the hearts on the spirit birds/deer and harvestable plants was colored on their description as sometimes it could be covered up (like if that spirit wants something to eat). Furniture also can only be rotated into two different directions, which is weird especially for items that would greatly benefit from it. I made my own little plaza where I put these stalls and stands for food and items at, but I can’t orient my hotdog cart so the part that should be towards the customers lines up with my other stalls. And chairs are the same way so if you want a table with chairs around it and not just at the top and the right of it, you’re out of luck.
Oh, and before I forget, there is a system that keeps track of what you’re doing and acts like an achievement system. At certain milestones, you’ll get a badge (falling in line with the whole spirit scout aspect). You’ll have to claim them, or sew them onto your sash, to get some currency.
As many know already, Cozy Grove operate on real time, like Animal Crossing, but it has a limit where you can only get and complete one quest from each bear ghost. Cozy Grove’s per day limitations on what you can do every day is a blessing and a curse at the same time. At points I really do want to play more, to be given more quests rather than just being able to fish or catch bugs, so I can continue the stories of the ghost bears here. But sometimes I just don’t want to play more, as I sigh as I’m given another quest to find a bunch of lost mail or catching hot pink bugs, and I’m glad that there is a limit so I can put it down while knowing that I did make progress in that time.
Technically you can time travel here, but considering this is more campaign oriented, rather than more like a sandbox-kinda deal like Animal Crossing, the developers have mentioned a possibility that it’ll mess up the save if you decide to turn it back to the current time and date. Like duplicate story items or corrupting the save itself and I’m not about to take that risk to find out. I’m in too deep. Though, I did manage to have a duplicate story item Day 1 (or around Day 1) as I managed to spawn 2 story envelopes you have to get at the beginning by feeding imps, and I feed 2 as I couldn’t find the first envelope after dumping my full inventory on Flamey.
Performance on the Switch can get rocky and it’s pretty strange. Even on Day 1, with the island at the smallest, had issues where the game stuttered for split seconds either when walking around, when talking (mostly to Flamey when he tells you about a new ghost appearing), and when a ghost bear stretches to materialize their body fully and bring light to their area. It’s nothing that makes the game unbearable, but it can get annoying at times. I also got a crash in the middle of Flamey revealing another ghost, which had me redoing the last couple minutes which luckily was just turning in quests (though it caused me to get different rewards).
I will give Cozy Grove a hesitant recommendation. I do find this game cozy and relaxing, and I do appreciate each day just being half an hour as it’s really easy to fit in the day, but I do wish I knew this was a hidden object game and progress will be halted until either what you need appears in Mr. Kit’s shop, or you manage to get enough resources to craft what you need or fulfill a quest. I don’t think these would have deterred me from purchasing Cozy Grove much, but it would have let me set my expectations accordingly and to know what I was going to get into. Also, while I’m okay with the real-time aspect of the game (I am someone that has loved Animal Crossing for as long as I could remember), I do get that little part of me that wished I could continue sometimes, despite some days having me glad about this restriction. Mixed feelings I know.
Anyway, if you’re in the market for a game where you help ghosts, don’t mind quests either requiring you to find hidden objects or taking multiple days to complete to even get the resources needed, like the thought of days being in sync with real time, and really like the art style cross of Animal Crossing and Don’t Starve, try out Cozy Grove. Despite some of my grievances, I did enjoy Cozy Grove enough to go back to it everyday, even getting panicked if I didn’t play that day, and feel that the asking price is right.