I enjoyed Cozy Grove when it first came out and spent months with the game before I reviewed it. Cozy Grove asks you to play for 20 minutes a day, dropping minor story beats for various ghosts trapped on an island that you are helping out. They are working through their issues from their living lives and you support them by bringing them goods. The spiritual daily farm, cultivate, build and grind received a positive review from me. Flash forward and The New Neighbears DLC looks to expand some of Cozy Grove’s gameplay whilst keeping the same feel. Does it succeed?
In a word, yes.
The most overt part of the DLC brings 4 new bears (ghosts) to the island for you to help but interestingly, they aren’t additions, they replace some of the original bears whose stories come to an end. It was a shame to see some characters you’ve grown fond of move on but that’s part of life and the lessons Cozy Grove is trying to teach. The four new bears all come with personality and their own baggage for you to uncover and fit in nicely. The pacing is also much quicker too. Previously story beats would occur every few days whereas now they are virtually daily, removing filler quests on the days between. I think this is a great improvement so the game doesn’t feel as lethargic and drawn out if you were story first, collectathon second. The stories are nicely written too and seeing the bears colour in their part of the world is as wholesome and rewarding as ever.
The other new addition is butterflies. These are found during spring and summer and pop up near flowers. This helps you earn money and if you want to collect them all you can. It means that flowers, previously the least rewarding or useful thing to invest time and resources into, is a little more worthwhile exploring. Just make sure you are good with your net! Alongside the DLC release, Cozy Grove was also given rainbow cats. These pets stay indoors in your house and these require rooms of certain types of furniture to be happy and spawn gifts. You can also make offerings at your home altar for additional cats and gifts too. I had previously not done much with my house as it wasn’t part of the main economy of the game and whilst this did prove an additional distraction for a while, I didn’t invest as long with the cats as perhaps I should have.
Whilst the DLC will take many days to clear and complete, it’s not an essential purchase but a very welcome one for fans of the game. It offers more of the same so if you want to double down, The New Neighbears DLC will give you just that. I had hoped the initial loadtimes for the PS4 version would have improved a bit but alas, that is still a very long and painful process. I now boot the game and go to the loo whilst it loads. Its rare to measure a bootup in minutes but Cozy Grove is an exception. If you can stomach that (and to be fair, this DLC is mostly post game completion, so you will have), then is a warming extension of the original game. More of the same and this time, that’s no bad thing! Cozy Grove’s ghosts are cute, not deadly.
Cozy Grove: The New Neighbears DLC
A wholesome extension to the original game that respects the players time and investment and thus provides an improved gameplay loop.
Heartfelt writing, delivered daily.
Butterflies and Rainbow Cats help boost some less appreciated economies.
More things to collect and do.
Load times are still woeful.
I would have liked these bears to appear alongside other bears, not replacing some of them.
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