If your favorite cozy game is like a cup of hot chocolate, then in 2023, the genre reached its whipped-cream peak. Google searches for the term have , an in-development pink pixel role-playing game in which the protagonist Alo spends a month working from home while uncovering new details about the grandmother she’s still grieving. While Fishbowl is full of your typical brain-soothing chores and minigames, there’s depth hiding just beneath its adorable surface.

“Cuteness is often made out to be insignificant and unimportant, but in reality, it is a great medium to bring people in, tell complex stories, and talk about difficult issues,” Rhea Gupte and Prateek Saxena, the co-founders of Fishbowl studio imissmyfriends tell Inverse via email.

Another upcoming cozy game that looks to break the mold is , expected in early 2024, is a lovingly illustrated “storybook-come-to-life” that champions nature and twinkly music (featuring Sigur Ros), which green hat-wearing nonconformist Snufkin plays on his plaintive harmonica.

“Our hunch is that it especially appeals to young adults and a higher-than-average female and non-binary representation,” Hyper Games CEO Are Sundnes tells Inverse. The best cozy games, he adds, “make you feel good and allow you to take a break or deeply immerse yourself in something different — even if you’re being quite mischievous, like parts of our game.”

As the genre grows, it can also reach even more players who aren’t being served by current mainstream video games. In 2017, women made up 69 percent of farming sim players and only 7 percent of shooters’ audiences. Since then, the expanding cozy game genre has welcomed an even greater number of nontraditional gamers.

“I’ve noticed that many underrepresented communities of players, such as women, members of the LGBTQ community, and players with disabilities, are drawn to Magical Delicacy,” Kaule says. “I think that’s because the cozy game genre tends to have more diverse characters, tackle unique and relatable storylines, and are approachable in gameplay.”

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