Libra: Cozy Grove (Switch)
Release Date: April 8, 2021
File Size: 839 MB
Publisher: The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild
Developer: Spry Fox
Click here to view on the Nintendo eShop.
Libra is our “first impressions” series. These are generally spoiler free, but may reveal some base plot points and mechanic details.
Cozy Grove has been a game that’s captured my interest since the first time that I saw the artwork last year. Hearing that it was a simulation game related to helping ghosts with their many menial tasks to help them pass on, it had my credit card hostage in an instant. What can I say? A cute art style and structured gameplay loop hooks me in every time.
Finally being able to explore the island of Cozy Grove and interact with its ghostly inhabitants has left me pleased, but also a little bit disappointed.
You play as a lone Spirit Scout, who has found themselves on Cozy Grove in order to earn their merit badge for helping wandering souls not able to pass on. But you aren’t the first Spirit Scout to have wandered onto Cozy Grove, and its residents are ready to give you a run for your money, as they don’t waste any time in sending you off to handle tasks.
As you find out very quickly, these ghosts aren’t the types to have their problems solved in the first 30 minutes of the game. If you want to complete their stories, you’re going to have to work for it. For one, each task that you successfully complete will fill in a little bit of one of the hearts floating over their heads. Secondly, this game is based in real-time, like Animal Crossing. This means that you will reach a point where you can no longer progress until an in-game day has passed. So, you either have to let this game be a slow burn for you, or suspend the game and get those time-traveling fingers warmed up.
As you complete tasks, sometimes you will receive what is known as spirit wood. Giving this to your friend Flamey will allow them to sniff out new ghosts, giving you a new friend in Cozy Grove as well as expanding the island just a little bit more. So don’t let your initial glance around the island lead you to believe that’s all there is to it, because it’s definitely not. On top of that, the island will initially be void of color – it’s not until you start helping the residents around Cozy Grove that color starts to spread around their immediate area. That color will go away once the in-game day goes forward, but it will always be restored once you complete a task for a resident.
A lot of the gameplay involves finding specific items for characters, but there are other small bits of gameplay such as fishing, gathering, and crafting (although your character doesn’t do the crafting themselves, they just hand off the items). Your tools do have a limited amount of uses, but you do have the option of repairing them (and eventually, you will unlock better versions of those tools).
- Beautiful art style
- Nice variety of characters
- A good amount of customization with your character’s outfits and decorating the island
- A few issues with stuttering/lagging out (it’s recommended to save the game on the system instead of an SD card)
- Your tools take up inventory space (and space is very limited in the beginning)
- Based in real-time (may not be an issue for some people)
While I was sad to find that Cozy Grove uses real-time to slow progression, in a way, it’s also nice. Waking up in the morning and opening Cozy Grove has left me with a smile on my face. They say good things come to those who wait, and since I’ve never been one who likes time-traveling, I’m excited to see what the weeks ahead have in store. The excitement of finding a new resident is one that is bringing me back to the game day after day.
Keep an eye out for my full review in the coming weeks!