Cozy Caravan mixes crafting, cute critters, and simple quests for the ultimate relaxing game

A cat and a frog sat around a campfire in Cozy Caravan
(Image credit: 5 Lives Studio)

Cozy Caravan is my definition of a wholesome game. Just from looking at a screenshot, it'll entice any player looking for a relaxing adventure to work their way through—which is exactly why I felt compelled to check it out. As an avid 'cozy' gamer, as soon as something includes cute critters, a soft colour palette, and the promise of crafting, cooking, and exploration, I'm interested. Plus, I get to be a little raccoon while doing so? It's not exactly a hard sell. 

Rather than restoring a derelict farmyard or abandoned town, your main job in Cozy Caravan is to run a market each weekend and stock goods supplied by other animals located around the map. You can gather everything from lettuce and potatoes to honey and sugarcane when you start out, but the more time you spend meeting new people and earning their trust and affection, the more you unlock. Before long, you'll be able to use these ingredients to create dishes to sell at your market, making more money and earning more love from your fellow creatures. 

This felt like a refreshing change of pace since a lot of cozy games will lean heavily on farming mechanics as their core selling point. Having exploration and your market stall as the main appeal of the game definitely helped me feel more invested and interested in what Cozy Caravan had to offer. Even though I didn't find Cozy Caravan to have a concrete story to follow, that lack of time pressure helped it feel more relaxing, and I was enjoying being able to run around at my own pace a lot more than feeling hurried to complete timed quests to really progress. 

I spent so much time exploring and talking with NPCs, and in turn completing numerous quests for them in return for affection rather than just focusing on the market stall mechanic. One of the main things I adored about my time with Cozy Caravan was how it doesn't limit you to this side of things even though it is the first thing you're introduced to. Between collecting sellable items like carrots and capsicums, I embarked on a number of small quests to keep my day-to-day exciting. For example, returning overdue books to the library, herding runaway bees, or tracking down a family of small frogs to reunite them with Mr. Jumpy at the pond. 

I tend to find that the routine of games like farming sims becomes slightly repetitive after a while. But Cozy Caravan constantly keeps you on your toes. Even though the whole experience is relaxing, there's never a dull moment, and you've always got quests to fulfil or things to run around and collect. It's not like a farming simulator where you're responsible for your own crops, but instead you're free to run in and out of fields to help other animals collect their harvest for a cut of the goods. This helps to take the pressure off making sure everything is watered or your crops will be ready for harvest before the end of a season, and you're more encouraged to pour this energy into creating something more exciting. 

The more affection you earn from completing these requests, the more guild tokens you receive which can be used to upgrade your caravan. I didn't want an ulterior motive when helping out everyone I came across, but I became pretty affection-hungry once I got to see how much I could customise. A pestle and mortar installed in your cooking station cost two guild tokens, whereas a whole paint job costs a single token. Although costs are low, I found it a great incentive to keep me motivated to help out whoever I could. The missions you are asked to complete do involve a lot of back and forth, but when you're determined to have enough guild tokens to unlock a pink paint job for your caravan the journey is fully worth it. 

Cozy Caravan is worth checking out if you're hunting for a relaxing game experience that requires no knowledge of profitable crops or preparation for a seasonal rotation. It's quick to draw you in with its adorable character design and almost Animal Crossing-esque appearance, and it'll have you sinking hours into its fetch quests and mini-games scattered around the map. I can't stop thinking about how I will earn the next load of affection from my animal companions or get through the next lunch rush on a market day, and for once I don't feel the slightest bit stressed about it. 

Kara Phillips
Evergreen Writer

Kara is an evergreen writer. Having spent three years as a games journalist guiding, reviewing, or generally waffling about the weird and wonderful, she’s more than happy to tell you all about which obscure indie games she’s managed to sink hours into this week. When she’s not raising a dodo army in Ark: Survival Evolved or taking huge losses in Tekken, you’ll find her helplessly trawling the internet for the next best birdwatching game because who wants to step outside and experience the real thing when you can so easily do it from the comfort of your living room. Right?