While we love spending our time losing ourselves in epic games like The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Star Wars: Jedi Survivor, sometimes we just want to chill out and play something a little less intense and a little more cozy. Luckily there have been a spate of brilliant cozy games for us to enjoy. From grim reaper adventures surrounded by queer love to witchy life sims that allow you to date whoever you want, there is a game for everyone here. Heck, you can even run an 8-Bit coffee shop or explore an alien planet over a decade of your life. What a joy!
The below games are enjoyable for anyone who digs cozy vibes and indie games, and have been narrowed down even further based on having wholesome, LGBTQIA+ inclusivity to boot. We like to see representation growing in games and also rounded up our favorite LGBTQIA+ game characters. Check ’em out!
This melancholy yet beautiful game takes you on a journey through the beyond. As a ferrymaster to those who have recently passed away, you build homes for them on your boat and help them come to accept their new lot in life. Visually stunning, the textured aesthetic of the game feels almost like you’re playing through a beautifully animated film. Helping the spirits pass on brings you into contact with all kinds of wonderful people, some of whom may have an unexpected connection to your previous life. On top of that, you can garden, go on quests, find resources, and even cook delicious meals for your passengers. We gave Spiritfarer 9/10 for good reason – it’s one of the best indie games in years, so make sure to play it!
If you’re looking for a cozy life-sim game to fill that Animal Crossing shaped-hole in your life then Wylde Flowers could be just the thing. While you’re a human this isn’t your average farming sim. You’re Tara, a young woman from the city who heads back to her hometown to help her ailing grandma. While granny has a cute farm, she also has a big secret: She’s a witch. Those two elements intertwine to make this a joyful twist on what we’ve come to expect from games like this. There’s plenty of farming, harvesting, and errands to keep you busy but as night falls you can head into the forest and find your coven. And like any good life-sim there are people of all genders to romance, including some very delightful monsters. What more could you want?
One of the best spaces for cozy indie games is in the world of visual novels and The Archipelago is a perfect example of that. This is a gorgeously slow-paced 8-bit game that centers on the art of tea steeping. As you brew teas on the titular archipelago you learn more about those who come to visit you and, depending on the drinks that you brew, you’ll end up with different customers. There are mysteries to solve as well as deep interpersonal stories to piece together, and this is the kind of game you can luxuriate in when you need an escape from the everyday. There’s comfort to be found in the slice of life pace of running a small cafe, and the writing and visuals are so charming you’ll be hooked even if you’re usually more of an action gamer.
Doubling up on our drink-themed cozy games, Coffee Talk sees you behind the counter at a futuristic coffee shop where you have to learn your regular’s favorite drinks as you listen to their woes. There’s a quiet sadness to many of them, but if you make them beverages they love you can become a bright spark in their day. One of the best things about this 8-bit gem is the variety of customers you get to meet and the ways their lives unexpectedly intersect. Depending on how invested you become or how much time you want to spend in the world, this can be a quick breeze through or an atmospheric slowburn to become the best fantasy barista that you can be. And if you’re a fan of lofi-beats you’ll adore the gorgeous soundtrack by Andrew Jeremy.
An all-timer farm simulation game — and one of the most impressive feats of solo programming of all time — Stardew Valley is also easily the most addictive entry on our list. In 2018 we gave the game 9.5/10 after an impressive update and in 2023 it’s better than ever. In case you’ve yet to discover the joys of Stardew Valley, the game begins as so many Harvest Moons have before it: You arrive in a new town and must start a life there. From raising your farm to making friends, running errands to mining, there are plenty of delightfully repetitive tasks and quests to keep you busy. There are also many townsfolk to romance and monsters to kill — though sadly you can’t romance any of them… yet — as you while away hours playing this joyful game.
Night In The Woods
While some of the games here feature the option to pursue queer romance — or not — Night in the Woods is an unabashedly queer game and is all the better for it. After dropping out of college, Mae heads back to her hometown of Possum Springs While staying at the home of her parents, Mae gets embroiled in a shocking mystery connected to the history of the town and her missing friend. This is an atmospheric and moving narrative game that will lure you in with its charming animation before breaking your heart with complex queer representation, gorgeous storytelling, and relatable explorations of depression and struggles with mental health.
I Was a Teenage Exocolonist
This immersive narrative deckbuilding RPG sends you into the depths of space as you join a group of teenagers on an alien planet. Over 10 years you’ll learn skills and perform tasks that’ll shape the new world you’re on as well as the lives of those around you. With options for romance and even universe-changing decision making, this is an all-encompassing experience that’ll keep you playing again and again thanks to the time loop device that restarts the game once you hit 20 years old. Visually splendid, character driven, and surprisingly expansive this is a great sci-fi addition to your growing roster of cozy games to play this June and beyond.
Upcoming Indie Games in 2024
From Hades 2 to Neva, here are some of the most anticipated indie games to look forward to in 2024.
For more, see the biggest Video Game Release Dates, take a look back on everything announced at Nintendo Indie World Showcase in November 2023, and see all the Indie Game Winners from the 2023 Game Awards.
Rosie Knight is a contributing freelancer for IGN covering everything from anime to comic books to kaiju to kids movies to horror flicks. She has over half a decade of experience in entertainment journalism with bylines at Nerdist, Den of Geek, Polygon, and more.