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8 best cosy Asian indie games to kick back and relax

By Ashley Siu 1 December 2023

Header image courtesy of @catsnsoup.official (via Instagram)

Real life can be stressful, and maybe you’re looking to escape it for a little while, or maybe you’d simply like an extra slice of comfort in your daily routine, and who can say no to that? Well, we think there’s no better way to relax than by snuggling with your favourite blanket and clicking or tapping away on a cosy video game. Aside from the ever-popular Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley, there are plenty of indie titles that are worth checking out. Curl up with our picks of top cosy indie game, developed right here in Asia for all your soul-soothing needs!

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Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly (2023)

Considering how caffeine messes with our sleep cycles, you’d imagine that a coffee shop wouldn’t operate late at night. But in the game version of Seattle, in which Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly is set, you’re a barista running a café that opens after hours. In this Indonesian game, your coffee shop serves imported tea brews and the usual coffee line-up. Your customers sit at a bar table, and you’re tasked to converse with them as you prepare warm drinks. Learn about each of your customers as you listen to the soothing lo-fi soundtrack. Despite the sun’s absence, these conversations sometimes move beyond small talk, and will perhaps light up your day.

Where: Nintendo Switch, PC (Steam), PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S

Cats & Soup (2021)

We’ll bet that you’ve never seen a cat cook itself soup before, but you’ll find a clowder doing just that in the magical forest of Cats & Soup. This Korean idle game has you watch over the felines as they prepare ingredients at their respective food stations, before pouring carrots, cabbage, and the like into a cooking pot that’s always simmering away. As the cats earn gold by selling soup, you’ll get to upgrade their workstations and build spaces for them to rest. You might even unlock new ingredients and other cooking facilities as you expand the forest!

What makes Cats & Soup stand out even more are the whimsical cartoon illustrations. The simple line art and minimal shading, coupled with the colourful variety of cat breeds you might encounter, are a pleasing sight to look at while you busy yourself caring for this group of hardworking kittens.

Where: Android, iOS

Mineko’s Night Market (2022)

There are plenty of life-simulation games out there that trick you into doing work (work you’ll somehow gladly take on, unlike your real-life chores) and Mineko’s Night Market runs in a similar way—with a twist. As Mineko, a girl who just moved to a faraway island, you collect materials, craft items, sell your wares at the village’s night market, and more, all the while learning about the mystery of the cat spirit. Soon, you’ll find yourself trying to uncover the reason why your village is slowly deteriorating, sneaking around secret agents, and freeing caged cats along the way. And get this—you can interact with all the cats on the island, and they even purr back!

Where: Nintendo Switch, PC (Steam), PS4, PS5, Xbox One

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Aka (2022)

If you’re looking for a farming simulator and exploration crossover, you’re in luck. Aka is an open-world exploration-based game where you impersonate a red panda living in the aftermath of war. With minimal handholding and guidance, you’re allowed to journey at your own pace. Craft items, forage and farm your own food, and build your shelter as you recover from the trauma of your past. We hope you enjoy side quests—this game has quite a few of them. Help the locals along the way, encounter other beings (ghosts, dragons, you name it), and don’t forget to relax at a hot spring or on top of a giant capybara in-between quests.

Where: Nintendo Switch, PC (Steam)

Behind the Frame: The Finest Scenery (2021)

Considering the amazing graphics and animation style of Studio Ghibli movies, maybe you’ve wished that they would be turned into a cosy video game. While there’s no official Studio Ghibli video game (yet), there are several titles out there that adopt similar styles, with Behind the Frame: The Finest Scenery being one of them. In this art-centric point-and-click adventure game, you play a female artist putting the finishing touches on the last piece of her gallery submission, set to be displayed at an exhibition in New York. Yet, as you drag your brush along the canvas, you recall meeting a young man named J. The more you paint, the more clues are revealed in regard to this mystery encounter.

Where: Android, iOS, PC (Steam)

Rainswept (2019)

Besides farming and life simulations, detective games can be cosy too, and Rainswept is a fine example. Unlike most video games, you play two characters in Rainswept: a city detective sent to solve a murder-suicide, and, during flashbacks, one of the victims. The cosiness of the game comes not from the topics of discussion, but from its bittersweet dialogue, which you will soon partake in as you talk to characters and process their trauma and grief. We won’t spoil too much of the game’s plot, but we suggest you put on a pair of earphones while you play, as the melancholic soundtrack further sets the mood of this touching story.

Where: Nintendo Switch, PC (Steam), PS4, Xbox One

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Death Trick: Double Blind (2024)

Another detective game makes its way onto our list, and for a good reason. Developed in China, Death Trick: Double Blind is a mystery visual novel—emphasis on the “visual” aspect for its stunning illustrations. For those that prefer a little danger in their cosy gaming sessions, you’ll be glad to know that this game requires strategy and a bit of brainpower. With perspectives alternating between two characters, you try to solve the mystery of a circus’s missing magician. What’s more, you can influence the story’s outcome, which means you might want to replay the game a few times to discover the various endings! At the time of writing, it has been announced that Death Trick: Double Blind will be released in early 2024.

Where: Nintendo Switch, PC (Steam)

The Star Named Eos (2024)

For those that have played Life is Strange and liked its camera-centred intrigue, you might be interested in The Star Named Eos. In this game, you step into the shoes of the protagonist Dei and receive a camera first thing when you start playing. The game has you solving puzzle while diving into memories associated with photos. Point and shoot away at your own pace and take as many photos as you like by, all while unfolding Dei’s relationship with his mother who was often travelling and away from home for a reason we have yet to understand. Dei sets out on a journey of his own to find the truth behind those seemingly unexplainable events. The Star Named Eos is scheduled to be released in spring 2024 at the time of writing.

Where: Nintendo Switch, PC (Steam)

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Ashley Siu

Writer

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Ashley has always been captivated by the city and how its bustling heart coexists with flora and fauna. While writing is her passion, you might also find her relaxing with a cosy video game, feeding horses at a local riding school, or checking out climbing gyms in the city.

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