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The Key Differences Between Cozy Grove And Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Cozy Grove is an adorable life sim from developer Spry Fox that has fans of Animal Crossing taking notice. The game introduces players to a "Spirit Scout" who is tasked with taking care of the ghostly inhabitants of the titular island of Cozy Grove. In addition their spiritual duties, the Spirit Scout will find themselves tending to everyday chores and plenty of other fun little side quests. Critics have been extremely complimentary to Cozy Grove, particularly commending the title for its ability to provide short bursts of activity and plenty of gentle humor to go with it.

While fans of the Animal Crossing series will find a lot to enjoy in Cozy Grove, there is one major element that sets it apart from Nintendo's popular life sim series. In fact, when setting out to make Cozy Grove, Spry Fox saw one element in Animal Crossing: New Horizons that could use some improvement, and the team focused heavily on that aspect.

Cozy Grove's is more character-focused

Over the course of Cozy Grove's 40+ hour campaign, players will meet plenty of interesting and offbeat characters. As Spry Fox explained in an interview with IGN, the team making Cozy Grove wanted to make sure that each of these characters had a life of their own. 

Spry Fox CEO David Edery pointed out that New Horizons didn't have the most robust storyline. Therefore, Spry Fox wanted Cozy Grove to stand apart for the ways in which it offered a more engrossing narrative. While the team at Spry Fox expressed a fondness and admiration for New Horizons, there was a desire for Cozy Grove to make up for that game's storytelling shortcomings.

"Most of the characters in Animal Crossing are largely throwaway, you don't really get that deep into their backgrounds," said Edery. "And the story itself is sort of this weird capitalist fantasy that never totally worked super well for me personally. So what if — instead of this odd, threadbare narrative — what if we had lots of characters, and each one of them had a deep issue that you were helping them dig into?"

Cozy Grove is less about buying stuff

Another place where Cozy Grove strayed from the Animal Crossing formula, as mentioned by Edery, is the Nintendo series' more "capitalist" approach to the world of the game. When discussing Animal Crossing's Tom Nook, Edery told IGN, "He's like, 'We're gonna build the economy, the island, and you're gonna keep getting more and more debt.' Eventually you have this massive debt that's gonna take a while to pay off. And that's not something I personally choose to put out into the world."

Instead, Cozy Grove is less about how much you can buy and more about how well you can care for others. By helping out the ghosts of Cozy Grove, players will build up the island around them. Edery has described the result as a "comforting experience," and critics seem to agree with this assessment.

Fans who enjoy Animal Crossing's vibe but are longing for more meaningful character interactions may find exactly what they're looking for in Cozy Grove.