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Cozy Caravan (played on PC)

Cozy Caravan is not a game that I thought I would like but I do. I like it very much.

Here’s what Brisbane, Australia-based development studio 5 Lives Studios says about the game: “Cozy Caravan lets you embark on an expedition where the arts of crafting, trading, and exploration come together in an enchanting, adorable world. Create your own cuddly alter-ego and explore open roads with your trusty caravan alongside your best buddy Bubba, setting up mobile markets as you sojourn from town to town. Craft a variety of items through delightful mini-games, then set up your market and trade with the locals. 

“Experience the warmth of small-town charm with every friendly gesture along the way. Encounter a rich tapestry of characters with their own stories and quests, deepening the sense of connection and community on your travels.  Stop and say hello to the local townsfolk and join in on fun activities. And keep an eye out, you never know where you might find someone who could use a lift!”

Proof that any kind of dev can code a Cozy game

According to press material from 5 Lives Studios, it’s clear the five game makers behind Cozy Caravan have good pedigree behind them: The studio’s bio says between them the five have worked on games like Syndicate, Grand Theft Auto and Darksiders, but none of them are games that feature furry animals wandering a cartoon-like world growing lettuces, carrots and tomatoes – which is what you’ll find in Cosy Caravan.

The game will be in Early Access on Steam by the time you read this so it’s very much a work in progress, and the menu screen pop up before you start your character creation tells you that right from the start, advising that you might experience bugs (but not the kind you’ll find in the game world), stability issues, changes in gameplay and visuals and an incomplete story and a lot of the characters you can talk only have place holder dialogue (when you click on them to talk they just say “This is just a test for me giving you a helpful line about quests!).

I’ve experienced no game crashing bugs so far (apart from the placeholder text) but there was something peaceful about wandering the world collecting apples, carrots, lettuces and tomatoes.

The fact I enjoyed it so much surprised me, and will possibly come as a surprise to the developers as well, as I’d wager a 50s-something gamer who grew up with a Sinclair ZX Spectrum and is more likely to be seen playing God of War, Mass Effect, Yakuza, Dave the Diver and Ghost of Tsushima, isn’t their target demographic.

Sleeper hit written all over it.

I’m not joking when I say I found myself tapping a foot to the background music as I filled my character’s backpack with fresh produce and dropped it into the inventory crate attached to the side of the titular caravan.

I was pleasantly surprised with Cozy Caravan and I’m hoping it gets the support so the developers can turn it into the game they want. I mean, seriously, how can you not smile at a game that has a small frog that sounds exactly like Crazy Frog and the caravan you ride in is pulled by a huge bumble bee???

One to keep an eye on.