It’s RPG Season, Baby

Fall has finally, officially arrived in my neck of the woods, and you know what that means: It’s time to throw on your thickest socks, your fuzziest sweater, your coziest blanket, grab a cup of something hot, and play some video games. But not just any video games. Only the biggest, longest, meatiest (oh my) games will do. I’m talking about my new best friend, Role-Playing Games.

RPGs are inherently cozy. Their slow pace, long stories, numerous characters that you will come to love with all of your heart, and (most often) classically heroic morals and story beats gradually envelope the player like a warm hug. They naturally lend themselves to longer play sessions, and some of their more repetitive aspects lull the player’s brain switch into the much more cozy “off” position. They’re the video game equivalent of sinking into a good book.

I used to feel very differently about RPGs, and particularly JRPGs. I looked at all of their most common aspects and, without ever playing more than 10 minutes of one, wrote them all off as boring. It never occurred to me that maybe I just hadn’t found the right one for me, or that the RPG genre is vast and crosses over with many other genres to create games that I have definitely played and loved over the years (Megaman Battle Network, Pokémon, KOTOR, Luminous Arc)!

This perception cracked in 2020, when I played Earthbound for the first time, and was finally shattered in 2021, when I played Final Fantasy VII and fell madly in love. With it firmly in my rearview mirror, I played through all of Chrono Trigger this year. I am unstoppable.

Now that I’ve shed my ignorance, I’m free to enjoy this wonderful, many-faceted genre in all its glory. To this end, I have a list of potential new loves (we’re still talking about RPGs, here) for the cozy season and beyond, most of which I intend to pick up at some point in time on the Nintendo Switch (the coziest console):

Final Fantasy VIII

This has seemed the most appropriate next step since finishing FF7 last year. It hails from the same PSX era as its predecessor, it has similar vibes, and word on the street is that it’s pretty weird. Despite all of this, and a pretty small price tag on Switch, I have yet to actually buy the game. I’ll feel that pull again one day!

Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition

Another natural follow-up to another classic RPG I’ve recently finished playing? That was also originally released on the PSX? And is also supposed to be very weird? AND was just remastered and released on Switch THIS YEAR? All of this and more makes Chrono Cross an easy candidate, but I think my Chrono vibes have passed for now. I’ll have to catch this one later.


Just released on Switch in a gorgeous HD-2D remaster, LIVE A LIVE wasn’t even on my radar prior to its announcement in a Nintendo Direct earlier this year, as it was previously only released in Japan on the SNES. It looks gorgeous. As a precursor project to Chrono Trigger, it’s got the whole multiple storylines across time and space thing going on. But it was released at sort of a busy time for me, so I kind of missed the moment. I’ll have to go back and chase that spark again another time.

Final Fantasy X/X-2 Remaster

I know this is a very Square/Enix-heavy list so far, but I just recently heard on a podcast that Final Fantasy X and/or X-2 are about a pop-idol who decides to form a mercenary company? And it’s on Switch. So. On the list it goes.

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim

This game was released a while back, on other platforms, and garnered some pretty solid praise from a small handful of people in my social media circle. I overlooked it at the time, but now that it’s out on Switch, and some of those people have posted renewed adoration for it, I think I’ve gotta add it to the list.

Star Ocean: First Departure R

I have no idea what’s going on in this game, or if it will be any good at all. I saw it on the Switch eShop while mindlessly scrolling the sale section, and it sounds wild. Medieval knights get beamed into space and have space adventures or something. That sounds cool! But the older graphics and lesser familiarity have prevented me from jumping in thus far.


Moon is another one I hadn’t heard of until its release on Switch. It’s marketed as an “anti-RPG,” which seems to mean it doesn’t focus on combat or conquest, but instead on conversation and helping people. Seems neat! Also the art style is weird and different! I think I’ll need to be in a particular frame of mind to finally give this a go. Eventually!


I remember being really excited about CrossCode at one point, but now I don’t remember why, and that excitement has waned to such a degree that it almost doesn’t exist anymore. I don’t know if it’s any good. I don’t know if I’ll like it. But here it remains. Because it looks kinda cool.

Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition

DQ XI S was almost the game I shattered my RPG dislike with, back in 2020. Austin Walker had just talked on Waypoint Radio about how it was his then-current cozy bedtime game, and Tim Rogers’ video review for Kotaku really talked it up just as I was getting into his new Action Button Reviews series on YouTube. I played the demo on Switch (remember when games had demos? Demos rule, there should be more demos), and decided that yes, this game has extreme Cozy Potential. Then I waited for the game to go on sale because it’s usually like $50 or something. It never did, so I played FF7 instead, and the rest is history.
UNTIL. This past summer. When it finally went slightly on sale. I jumped on it, and now it is mine. But I still haven’t played it. DQ is a big, classic JRPG series, which I’ve decided makes it a prime candidate to sink into while staying with my parents for Christmas later this year.
So. Not yet.

Citizen Sleeper DLC

Just as I had finished playing Citizen Sleeper this year, developer Jump Over the Age announced a fresh pack of story DLC releasing within the month. I told myself I’d jump right back in as soon as it was out, but I never did. I’d gotten hooked on other things in the meantime, and maybe I wasn’t ready to re-open a story that seemed like it had ended so well the first time.
There’s no excuse for me to leave it on the sidelines forever, as it’s FREE, but I don’t know. It hasn’t been time yet. Maybe soon.

Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade

FF7R is a big part of why I played the original FF7 in the first place. So many reviewers were talking about how it was doing such interesting things with the story and format, that I just got too curious. I had to play. But I knew I’d never get as much out of playing it as I would if I had played the original. Also I didn’t have a PlayStation. So I played the original, and shortly after I finished, it came out on PC. A year later, most of the bugs were fixed and it went on sale. I bought it. Then in July, my girlfriend went out of town and I had a break from work in the same week, and I dove in headfirst.
This is the first game on this list that I have played! I fell off for a month or two after work picked back up, but I absolutely love it, and I’m still keen to see it through to the end. But it’s not the game I’m feeling the strongest pull from this cozy season, so it may remain on the sidelines for a while longer still.

Digimon Survive

The next Digimon game has been a long time coming. And hopes for the next game in a series are always high, when the series has been…well…fine. After several delays, and a from-the-ground-up rework, it was finally released this year on all major platforms. I grabbed it on day one. I’ve played a fair bit of it, and I’m pretty sure I love it. That may be mostly nostalgia for my Digimon-heavy childhood talking, though it already far outshines the previous entry in the Digimon video game series, Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth, which was, to me…very…okay.
I really have loved my time with the game’s slow story and horror vibes, but I fell off when my work picked up and other games caught my fancy. It’s still on my main rotation of Switch games, and I plan to get back to it in earnest this year, but not quite yet.
I do think that if the game had come out a bit later in the year, taken a few more months in development, it would’ve hit just right. Not because of any issues I’ve run into, but purely because the game’s horror vibes and cozy slowness would’ve dovetailed perfectly into Fall and the Halloween season.
Soon, Digimon! Soon.


I picked up Eastward last year, after patiently watching its development over seven years. I pretty well loved it! So much so, that it made #3 on my Top Ten Games of 2021. Despite some weird writing, and character design and characterization that leans a little too heavily on caricature and stereotype at times, I am endlessly enchanted by the game’s art and music, and endeared toward its main characters, especially Sam. THEREFORE…
I’ve decided to use the start of this cozy season to finally finish this game that I love very much…

Disco Elysium

I first bought Disco Elysium around the time it was first getting rave reviews, probably the first time it went on sale on Steam. I have not touched it since, and ever since it came out on Switch, I’ve been convinced that if I had it on Switch, I would actually play it, but I already owned it on PC, so I wouldn’t let myself buy it again.
But that’s dumb, so last week I finally let myself buy it on sale on Switch and I’m fucking stoked to finally play it.

So congrats Disco Elysium, you’re my chosen cozy game this year. Possibly the first of several, depending on how quickly I finish you and how many other games are released this year that catch my fancy (looking at you, Pokémon Scarlet)!

I look forward to finally seeing how Eastward comes to a close, though it’ll be sad to say goodbye to that game and its world. I think that’s probably part of why I haven’t finished it for so long! And I look even more forward to my upcoming revolutionary detective adventures in the city of Revachol that may or may not end with me buying a $500 jacket.

Do you have your own cozy RPG picks for Fall? Something old, something new, something you’ve replayed a thousand times? Share away!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s