The 5 best cozy game demos I tried from the Wholesome Games showcase

Ila: A Frosty Glide - a 3D voxel world witch rides a skateboard broom through the air in a snomy mountain
(Image credit: Magic Rain Studios)

We're undeniably in a boom era for cozy gaming which means we have so many games to choose from right now. Arguably too many to choose from. The Wholesome Direct returned this weekend to deliver another big slate of upcoming games to keep an eye on and the only thing not cozy about it was the choice paralysis it gave me.

Every game looks great and so many of them have demos (because we're in a boom era of pre-release game demos too) but who has time to try that many? Me, apparently. I've played 11 demos for games that appeared in the showcase (so far) and these are the top five I think you should actually give a try.

None of them are farm sims, by the way. I'm glad that cozy games are branching well out of Stardew-style games, but I will shed a tear for the tender pre-2020 years of cozy gaming.

Tiny Bookshop

(Image credit: neoludic games)

Tiny Bookshop is my top demo pick from the Wholesome showcase and I swear it's not only because I'm a big reader myself. In this super cute shop management sim you'll decorate your mobile book shack, organize your shelves (whether you're pro-rainbow shelf order or not), buy new stock from the classifieds in the paper, and choose new spots around the seaside town to set up shop each day.

It really seems to understand book people, with locals proudly running ads in the paper like "The complete Fire and Coal series," customers who go for entire book hauls of a single genre, and the ability to color customize bookshelves. That's the real dream. It's pretty, wryly funny, and just downright fun to decorate. This one's the demo I'm going to pull back up as soon as I clock out today.

Demo: on Steam

Ila: A Frosty Glide

(Image credit: Magic Rain Studios)

Is it just me or were there not nearly as many games inspired by A Short Hike as there should have been? Ila totally has that vibe, a little witch on a skateboard broom zipping around a lovely snowy mountain collecting coins, improving her broom, and doing a bit of good old platforming on her way to the summit.

Honestly, there's nothing cozier to me than an exploration-focused game where I don't have a map, and I'm not joking. It's just freeing to do my own thing. Oh, and I won't go without making fun of this adorkable little witch straight up Naruto-running everywhere.

Demo: on Steam and


(Image credit: Krillbite Studio)

I almost bounced right off Fruitbus because its (intentionally, I think) uncanny walk cycles and creepy character voices made me wonder if I was in for something like Bugsnax. But this slightly quirky job sim actually drew me in after I got past the tutorial.

You've inherited your grandma's fruit-peddling food truck and are on a little journey to reunite some of her old friends while her urn rides shotgun. And yeah, I suspect that goofily earnest dark humor will continue. You'll spend your time chopping up fruits for dishes as requested by customers and driving your truck all over the place, and the tactical chopping, dropping, and serving of it all was good fun even in the demo.

Demo: on Steam

Lost and Found Co. 

(Image credit: Bit Egg Inc.)

I'm not often one for hidden object games, I'll admit, but this is a pretty nice demo for one. Lost and Found Co. follows the partnership between a duck boy and an axolotl goddess through a bunch of neat little scenes representing their 'find stuff for hire' business.

It's really cute with a nice soundtrack and if me leaning over way too close to my screen to look for a tiny soda can was the goal, it has succeeded. There's lots to uncover even in the first level, entering buildings, clicking to dispense items from containers, and secondary objectives too.

Demo: on Steam

Into the Emberlands 

(Image credit: Tiny Roar)

The demo for Into the Emberlands didn't immediately sweep me off my feet but I am seriously curious about this lightly strategic exploration and city expansion game. Each step out into the dark miasma around your small village will drain the charge on your ember lantern, meaning you have to work out how to slowly start gathering initial resources to build new structures to upgrade your lantern and tools to stay out longer. 

It's a cute game, and a neat style, and I think it's worth trying the demo to see if this strategy lite sort of thing appeals to you.

Demo: on Steam

Even more demos

If you are not daunted by the abundance of choice, here are just a few more of the demos that were mentioned in the Wholesome Showcase that I tried as well:


Caravan SandWitch
A very close runner-up about exploring a sci-fi frontier of a post apocalypse that's full of hopeful, friendly characters. I enjoyed this one, but you don't necessarily need to try the demo to get the vibe.


Crab God
I also quite liked the demo for Crab God, an underwater cult management game that's about migrating your colony of crabs instead of putting down roots. It's launching on June 20 though, so maybe toss it on your wishlist until the full version lands very soon.


Fantastic Haven
I am very in favor of traditionally inscrutable genres getting cozy cousins, so this fantasy animal settlement manager is one I want to keep an eye on. I don't think the demo has quite achieved a cozy level of management transparency though. Put this on your wishlist but try Fabledom in the meantime.


Dungeons of Hinterberg
Dungeons of Hinterberg has a very stylish comic book inspired art style and its trailers have given me the impression that it's got some neat Breath of the Wild-like puzzles. Wes said it stole his heart when he tried it last summer, actually. But the demo just sort of chucks you in without much explanation and action-y combat which, while not totally antithetical to cozy gaming, doesn't make it one of my top recs.


On Your Tail
If Lola Bunny in Space Jam was your childhood crush, pay attention to this distressingly pretty anthropomorphic animal adventure about Diana's summer in the seaside village of Borgo Marina. The full version is a "sleuthy story-driven 3D life sim of relaxation and investigation" and some of the investigative bits of its trailer look pretty neat, actually. But the demo has a rather small explorable area. You can probably go ahead and toss it on your wishlist if it tickles your fancy.


Littlelands announced during the Wholesome showcase that it would have a demo available, but apparently made the last-minute decision to postpone it, actually. So no demo this time, sorry! 

Lauren Morton
Associate Editor

Lauren started writing for PC Gamer as a freelancer in 2017 while chasing the Dark Souls fashion police and accepted her role as Associate Editor in 2021, now serving as the self-appointed chief cozy games enjoyer. She originally started her career in game development and is still fascinated by how games tick in the modding and speedrunning scenes. She likes long books, longer RPGs, has strong feelings about farmlife sims, and can't stop playing co-op crafting games.