The weather is getting colder if you live in the northern hemisphere, so cozy games are perfect for warming up. Here’s a list of the 10 coziest sim games to warm your winter.
Find the 10 Coziest Sim Game to Play this Winter
The types of simulation included in this list range from resource management and cooking to life and social sims.
10. Disney Dreamlight Valley
Disney Dreamlight Valley is similar to Stardew Valley and Harvest Moon. The biggest difference is that it’s reskinned with Disney settings and characters. Also, it jumps right into the storyline, where there’s a great threat that only you can handle to return the valley to its former splendor.
The gameplay can feel repetitive in its current state, but that’s not where the cozy factor comes in. Instead, it stems from inhabiting a classic Disney-styled world. That means spending time with beloved characters and becoming a part of their lives through quests. While Disney Dreamlight Valley isn’t perfect, it’s still only in Early Access. This means there’s plenty of time to refine and improve the game before it’s fully released. Hopefully, the level of gameplay will rise to match the abundance of cozy vibes this game offers.
9. Good Pizza, Great Pizza
Own a pizzeria in this cozy cooking simulator. Deal with customers and their sometimes unique requests (like a pepperoni pizza without any pepperoni). Some customers drop lines of dialogue that show you a perhaps humorous glimpse into their lives, such as the customer with a bear in his car.
Good Pizza, Great Pizza is light-hearted. Its design is cute and has a lot of charm to it. It’s sometimes hard to earn enough cash to upgrade your restaurant. But it’s still a peaceful experience and a fun, cozy cooking simulator. It also balances the running of a business element with the cooking itself in a way that doesn’t leave either side of operations feeling like it’s lacking.
Do you find nature cozy? Maybe your ideal novel is a mystery that keeps you flipping its pages. If that’s the case for you, then you’ll enjoy Firewatch. As a walking simulator, it’s focused on atmosphere and story, minimizing other gameplay elements aside from interacting with your surroundings. You’re alone in the wilderness due to the nature of your job. And the only other person in contact with you is on the other side of a radio. While this means you get to fully enjoy the natural scenery around you, it also means that you get to wander and explore alone while trying to solve a mystery. Capture the coziness of reading a thriller novel or binge-watching a mystery film while curled up by the fireplace on a cold day.
7. Growing Up
Growing Up takes a different approach to what a life sim can be. Like Firewatch, this game has the coziness of sitting down with a good book. In it, you play as a character and make choices as you grow up, almost like a choose-your-own-adventure book crossed with a visual novel. However, there are little minigames that separate it from completely being a visual novel, giving it more gameplay elements. With the amount of different choices you can make, you’ll replay it again and again, living out different lives every time. It’s relaxed, the school portions don’t make you do work, and it has the cozy feeling of leading a character on a journey, seeing how your choices change their future.
6. Peckin’ Pixels
Peckin’ Pixels is actually a game you can play in your browser on itch.io (link here). It’s a resource management simulation with an endearing pixelated style. Also, it’s based on raising chickens and selling eggs. The goals are simple enough, but earning rewards keeps you invested in getting the next one completed. I didn’t think it would hold my attention, but I ended up playing it for longer than I had planned. I enjoyed the straightforward tasks and mechanics, and I liked working with chickens and hatching eggs into little chicks. It’s adorable, cozy, and free.
5. Powerwash Simulator
If you look at cozy as something that’s soothing or gives you a simple sense of accomplishment, then Powerwash Simulator fits the bill. You work as a power washer, visiting people’s houses and cleaning up their yards. Or the city hired you to clean a playground. If you like the satisfaction that comes when seeing a space go from dirty to clean, or you find peace in a task that doesn’t rush you or put you in stressful situations, then Powerwash Simulator is perfect for a night of unwinding — and making locations sparkly clean.
4. Stardew Valley
Stardew Valley is a farming simulation about a character inheriting their grandfather’s farm. Then they decide to give up their life working in an office for a life in the country. Naturally, the farm is overgrown and hasn’t been maintained over the years. However, this means you get to clean it up and rebuild it how you want, designing your fields and building barns and coops for your animals.
You also get the chance to marry one of the eligible villagers and help revitalize the town by restoring the Community Center. Or let the corporate takeover continue by selling the warehouse to Joja Mart. Either way, Stardew Valley gives you a cozy experience by living the simple life, watching the seasons change, participating in seasonal festivals, and building a family of your own on the farm handed down to you by your grandpa. Out of every farming simulator available, this is the one I always end up returning to.
3. The Sims Series
The Sims is probably the most iconic simulation game series. The fourth base game might be the most recent, but I put the series as a whole here instead. Each base game is unique and has its own features that make it distinct. And since they all have a different feel, The Sims 4 might not be as cozy as The Sims 3 to you.
I personally favor The Sims 2. It’s older now, and the graphics aren’t as nice. The gameplay might not always be as smooth. However, it feels more difficult than The Sims 4. You need to work to earn promotions and money for your household, and keeping your Sim’s needs high can be a challenge. But the effort you put into improving your Sim’s life feels rewarding in the older versions. A cozy sim doesn’t need to be easy. And The Sims as a series is cozy through its challenges and the countless lives you can explore in this virtual world.
2. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Animal Crossing as a series has a lot of coziness to be found. It’s a great way to turn off your mind and lose yourself in the tasks of an adorable world with animal neighbors. Between the items you can collect, ability to decorate your home, resources to gather, and chance to visit the islands of friends, Animal Crossing: New Horizons lets you customize your character’s space to fit what you consider cozy.
Since it was released near the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Animal Crossing: New Horizons became a cozy centerpiece that helped you relax in a virtual world and interact with other players, visiting their islands when visits in the real world may have been limited. As a result, ACNH is not only a cozy sim game, but it became a point of connection when connections with others felt limited, and that gives it a special place in the heart of many players.
Unpacking is a puzzle game that’s perhaps a bit melancholic. It’s set in different years, following the same girl as she moves to new locations and experiences changes in her life. The gameplay aspect has a zen feeling as you unpack her belongings, placing objects around the rooms of her new home. However, you also experience the story of this girl through the items she brings with her to each home and where she lives over the years. The art, music, and relaxing mechanics make it a cozy sim. But the story included in the background makes it into something that’s more special than that.
And that wraps up our list of 10 cozy sim games to warm your winter. Simulation games are accessible in that you can jump into one and then leave at any point you need to. So they’re perfect for a bit of relaxation when you don’t have the time to dive into a more intense game. Or for when you simply want to unwind after a busy day. From here, check out more lists like the 25 best games on PlayStation Plus or the most beautiful Minecraft 1.20.2 seeds.