The indie devs behind this Animal Crossing-like are shocked they got to make a sequel after so many mistakes with Cozy Grove, but Camp Spirit aims to make good

Cozy Grove: Camp Spirit
(Image credit: Netflix/Spry Fox)

As I played the demo for Cozy Grove: Camp Spirit during Summer Game Fest, the devs told me how thrilled they were to get to make a sequel. After getting the original game into the hands of players, they said they quickly realized just how many balance issues there were, with inventory limits and overly pricey upgrades adding far too much friction to what was meant to be a chill Animal Crossing-like life sim. But however bad the devs themselves thought those problems were at launch, they didn't stop a devoted fanbase from growing, and Cozy Grove more than earned the right to a follow-up.

Camp Spirit, then, is a game that makes the most of the lessons the studio learned to get things right from the start. Of course, a 30 minute demo isn't enough time to truly get a feel for something like this. As with Animal Crossing, this is a game that slowly unfolds itself to you over the course of days, weeks, and months, giving you a gentle drip of new things to do as things change and new content unlocks in real time.

But that time was just enough for me to start enjoying delightful little new gameplay additions, like a power washing puffer fish that cleans up grimy bits Mario Sunshine-style, and a hint system that'll keep you from searching endlessly for the hidden items you need to progress. The devs say they've focused in on fewer of the game's central ghost bears in order to give each of the characters more time to grow in the story, and that's a terrific hook for the long haul.

The big question mark hanging over the game now is the fact that it's a Netflix exclusive, meaning that you'll need to maintain a subscription to the streaming giant in order to play, and you'll only be able to get the game on mobile. The game's simple actions work great on a touch screen, and it's a wonderful freebie if you're already a Netflix subscriber - but if you prefer single purchase games on a more traditional gaming device, you're currently out of luck.

With that said, Camp Spirit looks to keep all the endearing charm that made the first Cozy Grove a hit, and the devs are clearly working to put the lessons they learned on the previous game to work here. If you want to try it out for yourself, you don't have long to wait - Cozy Grove: Camp Spirit hits iOS and Android via Netflix on June 25.

If you're looking for more wholesome games like Animal Crossing, you know where to click.

Dustin Bailey
Staff Writer

Dustin Bailey joined the GamesRadar team as a Staff Writer in May 2022, and is currently based in Missouri. He's been covering games (with occasional dalliances in the worlds of anime and pro wrestling) since 2015, first as a freelancer, then as a news writer at PCGamesN for nearly five years. His love for games was sparked somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Knights of the Old Republic, and these days you can usually find him splitting his entertainment time between retro gaming, the latest big action-adventure title, or a long haul in American Truck Simulator.