was a comfort blanket for many at the onset of the pandemic. Players took solace in simple tasks like fishing, catching bugs and visiting each other's islands. While I didn't jump on the bandwagon and invest in a , I did check the "lite" version of Animal Crossing, the . While it was fun and relaxing, I eventually quit checking in.
If you didn't find your fit with Animal Crossing, there's a quirky new simulation game for you to try: Cozy Grove from Spry Fox, available on Apple's gaming service,. In the game, you're a Spirit Scout tasked with bringing peace to the adorably haunted island of Cozy Grove. Explore the island, collect resources and craft items to survive, tend your fire -- Flamey -- and try to help the sad forest ghosts. The more you help, the more the island heals -- the environment becomes colorized and flowers grow.
"Cozy Grove gives you something delightful to look forward to every day," David Edery, co-founder of Spry Fox told CNET. "It becomes a happy ritual that you constantly look forward to --which is helpful when so many of our other daily rituals have been disrupted by the pandemic."
While Animal Crossing is the essential "cozy game," according to Edery, the team wanted to make something players didn't have to binge and can take a way a full experience from with just half an hour logged.
When you arrive at Cozy Grove, you'll customize your Spirit Scout avatar. Make your way to your campsite and have a quick chat with your campfire -- yes, you read that right. Flamey, your campfire, will direct you to meet Ranger Charlotte Pine -- a bear spirit -- who'll give you more information about the island and how you can help. Mr. Kit's Cateen will never be far away either so you can buy and sell items with the coins you collect around the island. And, no, you won't fall into a chasm of debt (I see you Tom Nook).
You'll gather Spirit Wood for your fire, to help Flamey cast its light farther to find more spirits in need. As you complete tasks and meet more spirits, you'll earn badges like a real-life scout. There are dozens of badges and levels to achieve for endurance, animal care, crafting and more.
"Cozy Grove is intended to bring you joy by telling a fun story about helping lost souls over a period of many months," Edery said. "We hope you like it!"
Cozy Grove hits a sweet spot for gamers -- there's a bit more direction and story than Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, but it's less demanding than New Horizons. There's a lot to do in the game as well, including relationship-based quests, decorating your campsite, and stories of the island's ghostly inhabitants to unravel. It's an easy game to pick up, but hard to put down.
Almost every week, Apple Arcade releases and announces new games and updates older titles for the $5-a-month service. Gamers can play the iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV.across
Plus, you can get a three-month free trial of Apple Arcade with the purchase of a new iOS device. Even if you don't buy a new phone, if you're signing up for Apple Arcade for the first time, you get a one-month free trial. To try the service out, open the App Store and tap the little joystick icon at the bottom of the screen.