It’s never a bad time to spend an evening in with a cozy video game. What I look for in a video game above most other qualities is how comforting it is. I love games that provide a little break from real-life stressors. This year, I even downloaded the mobile version of Stardew Valley on my phone for if I am having a rough time. The idea is that I can decompress with five or ten minutes of farming escapism and return to whatever is troubling me with a clearer mind. So far, it has worked wonderfully.
If you love books that are just as cozy as the games that you play, you’ve come to the right place for recommendations. Here, I’ve rounded up eight games and paired them with books that offer a similar feeling. Looking for cozy game recs, too? I have included a brief description of the games mentioned as well. You may just find your next favorite book and game all in one spot.
Once you’ve looked through the entries here and found plenty of recommendations, you can discover more feel-good recommendations at this round-up of uplifting book club reads. Each one is perfect for discussing with a group. Nothing’s better than a book that makes you happy except a group to share it with.
If you love Cozy Grove, read…
Welcome to the Pine Away Motel and Cabins by Katarina Bivald
Cozy Grove takes place on a haunted island, where it is the player’s job to care for the spirits that call the place home. In this warm and thoughtful novel, however, the heroine is a ghost who is trying to care for the living she left behind. After Pine Away Motel employee Henny passes away, she decides to stay around as a spirit a little longer in order to comfort her friends and community in any way she can.
If you love A Short Hike, read…
The Unlikely Thru-Hiker: An Appalachian Trail Journey by Derick Lugo
A Short Hike is a beautiful and comforting video game in which players can explore trails, connect with hikers, and simply enjoy their time in the virtual outdoors. In this warmhearted and humorous memoir, comedian Derick Lugo reflects on his experiences hiking the Appalachian Trail (including how he got the trail name “Mr. Fabulous”).
If you love Coffee Talk, read…
Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree
Like Coffee Talk, Legends & Lattes is a thoughtful slice-of-life story set around a fantasy cafe. Viv dreams of opening up her own coffee shop and saying goodbye to barbarian life. Unexpected setbacks and fremenies from her warrior past threaten to hold her back from her dream, but she’s determined to build the life she’s always wanted.
If you love Spiritfarer, read…
Archival Quality by Ivy Noelle Weir and Steenz
In Spiritfarer, players are ferrymen whose job it is to guide spirit to the afterlife and, in the meantime, take care of their needs. Although Archival Quality is set in the archives of a museum, the heroine similarly tries to understand and care for a ghost. When Celeste “Cel” Walden starts her new job as an archivist for Walden Library, she begins to have vivid dreams of a woman who, though they’ve never met, she feels compelled to help.
If you love Stardew Valley, read…
Farm to Trouble by Amanda Flower
Have you ever thought to yourself, “I love the farm setting and close-knit community of Stardew Valley, but what if it added in a little… murder?” Then this cozy mystery is all for you.
After Shiloh Bellamy returns home to run her family farm, she becomes the prime suspect in a murder case when her investor is found dead under suspicious circumstances. To clear her name, Shiloh must immerse herself in this small town community and find the real killer while also working hard to keep her farm afloat.
If you love Garden Story, read…
Garlic and the Vampire by Bree Paulsen
Both Garden Story and Garlic and the Vampire follow brave fruits and veggies who are on a mission to protect their garden community from danger. When a suspected vampire moves in to the abandoned castle in the woods, Garlic is chosen among her garden friends to chase him away. After all, vampires are afraid of garlic… right?
If you love Later, Alligator, read…
Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto
Later, Alligator is a comedic game in which the player is helping an alligator named Pat solve a mystery on the day of his birthday party. If you enjoy stories with plenty of mystery and humor, Dial A for Aunties is the perfect choice for your next read. It follows the misadventures of Meddelin “Meddy” Chan, her Ma, and her three aunties as they attempt to cover up the accidental death of Meddy’s blind date at a destination wedding.
If you love Abzû, try…
What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins by Jonathan Balcombe
In Abzû, players can venture into the depths of an open world virtual ocean. If the game leaves you fascinated by marine life and interested in knowing more, you’ll want to check out What a Fish Knows. In it, ethologist Jonathan Balcombe explores the inner worlds and complexities of fish around the globe.
Looking for more books like your favorite comforting games? Check out these book recommendations for fans of Animal Crossing.