Cozy Grove, Spry Fox’s chilled-out island simulator, was released on console and PC on Thursday, but it’s been available to play on iOS devices — via Apple Arcade — for weeks now. And, as it turns out, I preferred playing Cozy Grove — with its daily, short sessions — on my phone’s screen instead of my computer’s monitor.
Like Animal Crossing: New Horizons before it, Cozy Grove is a slice-of-fantasy-life simulation game that has the player revitalizing an island. The big difference is that New Horizons’ island begins completely empty, while spirits lurk on the island in Cozy Grove, and need help bringing their home back to life. Logging in each day, the player — a Girl Scout-esque Spirit Scout — works to help the ghosts and bring color back to the muted, grey world. Tasks are simple, like collecting resources or finding lost items, and each of my daily play sessions lasts around 30 minutes.
Which is why I prefer to play the game on my phone, rather than on my computer. I can easily play for a few minutes while waiting for something — an alternative to scrolling through Twitter, for instance. I can enter a stylish, cozy world for a few minutes in the time I spend watching my leftovers heat up in the microwave or waiting in line to get inside a grocery store.
If you don’t have an iOS device or Apple Arcade, you’re not necessarily out of luck. The Nintendo Switch version offers a similar on-the-go experience.
Controls on iOS are all touch based. Though it can sometimes be annoying to tap precisely enough to pick up a small object, it otherwise feels like a natural action. Tap a dirt clod to use the shovel. Tap a tree to shake its fruit free. Tap, hold, and swing to cast your fishing line, and then tap again to reel in your fish. Tap to pick stuff up and then put it down. The simplicity of the movement lets the game’s gorgeous art and charming writing shine.
Once all of the day’s tasks have been completed, Cozy Grove and its characters even encourage the player to log the heck off, noting that more tasks will be available tomorrow. I can see why some people might be annoyed by this; the world is a place that you want to stay in longer, but the short bursts of play are perfect for the mobile Cozy Grove player. We always have something to jump into for a few minutes here and there as the day goes on — whenever we need brief moments of soothing music on a haunted island.