Cozy Caravan is Animal Crossing meets Cooking Mama with the sweetest character creation options

Cozy Caravan
(Image credit: 5 Lives Studios)

Any game that lets me play as a red panda wearing a little yellow dungaree dress immediately gets my attention. Cozy Caravan, though, had me intrigued from the minute I heard the title – it was only later that I realized its character selection and customization options included otters, axolotls, and raccoons alongside the inevitable red panda pick. 

Pitched as a "single-player, top-down journey", Cozy Caravan doesn't exactly do well in selling itself on its Animal Crossing meets Cooking Mama vibes. As the game's name suggests, you travel around the idyllic pastoral locations in your caravan. A gigantic kind-hearted bumblebee pulls your home on wheels and you're also accompanied by your friend Bubba: a frog that can only say his name, but in true Pokemon style, can seemingly be understood by anyone they talk to. 

Most of the time you'll be driving around chatting to the folk that live in this peaceful little place. There are little clusters of homes, farms, and slightly larger villages to discover across the map, where you'll be able to pick up quests that might include things like returning overdue library books, looking for missing baby frogs, or a variety of other very wholesome tasks. 

The various farms dotted around will also need your help harvesting crops, which you'll always get a delicious cut of. There's something so charming about the way the four things you can hold in your backpack visibly stack on top of what's essentially a little picnic basket, swaying around as you run back to your caravan. The art style is also glorious, with a slight stop-motion hilt to its movement, which only adds to the characters' chubby charm. The low-fi beats powering the soundtrack also help make Cozy Caravan the perfect game to just chill out with, especially if you're playing it on Steam Deck. 


Cozy Caravan

(Image credit: 5 Lives Studios)

From carrots and cabbages to eggs and milk, you'll need everything you can find to start crafting the recipes you'll unlock on your travels. 

On the weekends, you can run your own market stall by pitching up your caravan and ringing the little market bell that swings from the back of it. All kinds of adorable critter villagers will rock up, with thought bubbles above their head to give you an indication of what they're looking to buy. You'll end up scrabbling around in your caravan's inventory to get what you need on the selling table fast enough.

Both selling at the market and helping people out will earn you hearts, which, if you gather enough to let you level up, will earn you a Guild Token that can be exchanged for caravan upgrades. That could well be a table to let you start chopping up fruit and vegetables for the more simple recipes, but upgrades also give you access to ovens, better knives and backpacks, and also some color swatches for your caravan's roof. I really want to turn my caravan into a portable bakery, but I know it'll take some literal love to get there – love that I'm more than willing to put in. 

Cozy Caravan

(Image credit: 5 Lives Studios)

The low-fi beats powering the soundtrack also help make Cozy Caravan the perfect game to just chill out with.

Cooking is incredibly satisfying if you've ever enjoyed games like Cooking Mama, with simple mini-games getting you involved with each stage of chopping and stirring. 

The more complicated your recipes, the more hearts you'll get at the market, so it's well worth investing time into. There are other mini-games to discover too, like stone skimming or hopscotch, which only serve to make Cozy Caravan even more adorable. 

It's still in Early Access, so there are some closed-off areas and incomplete quests that you'll spot in Cozy Caravan. Plus, there are certainly some quirks like repeated dialog and the lack of a logbook to jot down all your various quests in – although the game does make a joke out of it, which made me laugh. Still, there's plenty here to justify the low-entry price tag, even in these early weeks since launch. Plus, developer 5 Lives Studios is constantly updating the game and is super active in their Discord when it comes to working with players on improvements. 

Cozy Caravan has been a wonderful surprise so far, with just the kind of pick-up-and-play for a minute or an hour gameplay that made Animal Crossing: New Horizons so appealing. With such sweet, unique aesthetics and character designs, it's such a paradisiacal place to spend time in. 

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Sam Loveridge
Global Editor-in-Chief, GamesRadar+

Sam Loveridge is the Global Editor-in-Chief of GamesRadar, and joined the team in August 2017. Sam came to GamesRadar after working at TrustedReviews, Digital Spy, and Fandom, following the completion of an MA in Journalism. In her time, she's also had appearances on The Guardian, BBC, and more. Her experience has seen her cover console and PC games, along with gaming hardware, for a decade, and for GamesRadar, she's in charge of the site's overall direction, managing the team, and making sure it's the best it can be. Her gaming passions lie with weird simulation games, big open-world RPGs, and beautifully crafted indies. She plays across all platforms, and specializes in titles like Pokemon, Assassin's Creed, The Sims, and more. Basically, she loves all games that aren't sports or fighting titles! In her spare time, Sam likes to live like Stardew Valley by cooking and baking, growing vegetables, and enjoying life in the countryside.