January has been exceptionally lovely and has gifted me with a dose of writer’s block that I did not ask for. Consequently, I turned to all things cosy to stay sane. Reading the queen of cosy mysteries, Agatha Christie, crocheting beanies for my partner, and yes, playing cosy videogames.
I’m not an avid gamer by any means. Overly time-bound games stress me out (I’m looking at you, Overcooked), and intense open world action games trigger my motion sickness. Cosy games are where I’ve found the most fun, with their aesthetically pleasing visuals, unconventional concepts, and slow-paced gameplay. The following two are the best games I discovered in 2022.
Yes, the game literally revolves around unpacking boxes and boxes of things. You unpack the main character’s things for eight house moves throughout her life. From her childhood bedroom, her college dorm, her first flat share and finally, to her own house. Over the course of the entire game, you grow closer to the unnamed (and unseen) main character through the things she brings with herself to every new place and the things that get left behind or hidden away (if you know, you know).
The games describes itself as part block-fitting puzzle and part home decoration. There are certain rules to putting things away. However, there are tons of correct combinations to progress through the game. You can take five minutes or three hours per level, depending on how little or how much you want to organise everything. There are also hidden achievements to look forward to when you interact with items in a particular way, like if you turn on a music player or place a hat on a mannequin head.
This is a minimalist puzzle game wherein you arrange the given items on the screen in just the right way. You also have to keep watch for a cat that turns up out of nowhere to mess up your work. My house might not be extremely tidy or well-organised in the best of times, but you can bet I will spend an hour agonising over the right way to sort nine books.
Most of the gameplay is pretty intuitive, though some of the puzzles are thinkers. There is a hint option available as well as a helpful snap in some of the levels that give you an idea of where certain items are supposed to go. Despite these, I did have to resort to the internet and its infinite wisdom when I was stuck on a few levels.
A Little to the Left is similar to Unpacking in vibes. However, it is a bit more restrictive in that there are only one or two correct solutions per level. There is also no overarching story to experience or put together. But there is a new daily tidy puzzle every day, so it’s the perfect game to play for ten minutes along with your coffee every morning.