Cute + Simple Mechanics + ♥️ = Games for My Wife. Help!

In my household, these are called “Stacey Games”, obviously after her name.

It is my duty as the husband to find and present these games, a task for which I am judged. I seek the knowledge of others to assist me on this quest.

The most recent games to achieve confirmed “Stacey Game” status have been Untitled Goose Game and Donut County. The latter she played through in one sitting last night, and told me at the end to go find her more games.

Animal Crossing is one of the all-time great Stacey Games, and this household is awaiting the franchise’s new entry in March. Other games in the AC/Harvest Moon vein have not been met with much interest, as they have been seen as “being like Animal Crossing but they aren’t Animal Crossing”, so Stardew, Portia, Ooblets, Mineko’s, etc. have mostly been non-starters, but maybe to be revisited after the new AC has been played to exhaustion.

Chibi-Robo is another one of the all-time great Stacey Games, and one we’ve never really found a legitimate follow-up for. Katamari Damacy is another, and Reroll is on our Switch already, with fingers crossed that We :heart: Katamari eventually gets the same remaster treatment.

Direct interaction game mechanics are strongly preferred over things like JRPG-style menu navigation combat, so things like Pokemon have been non-starters as well. (Though, surprisingly, Costume Quest did sneak in there, its style and the extreme simplification of the JRPG style combat being sufficient to push it through)

Mario games always go over well, but don’t scratch that same stylistic itch, and platforming with timers and life counters and the such are definitely less preferred compared to more forgiving options. Yoshi’s Crafted World is on my to-buy list. A Hat in Time definitely has the right style, but is a bit too heavy in terms of the platforming demands.

Co-op focused games like Overcooked are enjoyed and appreciated, but also a bit easier to find than the single-player focused experiences of the titles named above. I have a backlog of co-op games on Switch I think she’ll enjoy (Super Chariot, Manual Samuel, Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, Pode), but fewer ideas for single player games.

We have both Switch and PC in our living room setup.

Help me find something to satisfy these demands and avoid the looks of disapproval.

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I definitely recommend giving the LEGO games from Traveler’s Tales a shot. There’s some platforming and some combat, but the worst thing that happens is you lose a little bit of the game’s currency, but you respawn in the same spot you died.

Have y’all tried Baba is You? It is a very fun / very peculiar puzzle game that my wife and I have really enjoyed banging our heads against.

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Kirby games sound like they’d be a good fit, maybe? They involve direct interaction, they’re soft and cuddly, the platforming isn’t hard and the mechanics are pretty straightforward and simple. I haven’t played Star Allies (Switch) yet, but I heard it was very good, and Kirby Planet Robobot (3DS) is probably one of my all-time favorite games.

Slime Rancher might also be a good pick if she likes Animal Crossing. It’s a bit more hands on and exploratory in the initial stages, but it’s absolutely adorable and pretty good at establishing what you’re supposed to be doing from the jump, plus the way it delivers its story is pretty nice.

Child of Light and Gris are very gorgeous games, but CoL might be better if she’s looking for something cute and light. It’s basically a playable fairytale right down to the silly and kind of canned rhyming. Gris, while very pretty, is about grief, so even if the subject matter is abstract, it’s still heavy. They’re both nice and relaxing puzzle platformers, and I don’t remember any part of them being too mechanically intense. Along a similar vein might be Thomas Was Alone, a game about squares trying to escape, some heavy topics, but it’s got cheeky Brit humor to balance it out. That said, these are more out there picks than my first three suggestions, which probably fit the criteria for a Stacey game better.

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My first thought was LocoRoco 2, but since it seems you don’t have a PS4 or PSP that’s a non-starter.

Flower did recently get a PC port. Not sure how it controls since I played it on PS3, Vita and PS4 with motion controls.

If you want to try something else in the Animal Crossing vein then Rune Factory 4 is coming to Switch some time this year.

I think the recent Rayman games are a million times better than Mario games. I’d go with Origins because I think it is better, but also it’s cheaper, and all the best levels in Legends are from Origins. Co-op is an option here.

Fez, BoxBoy and Cave Story are my other recommendations.

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I played all of Super Lucky’s Tale via gamepass, that was a real fun time. Very cute, verbs are basically just jump, spin tail and occationally pick something up, lots of neat little puzzles and chalanges. Scaled down indie Mario Galaxy basically. Definitely worth alook in.

LEGO games definitely fit the gameplay requirements. I think the main miss there is the licenses used of late, which trend pretty strongly into the comic book superhero realm. If there was a LEGO game that touched on Disney properties the way Kingdom Hearts does, that would be an easy sell. (Incredibles is in the ballpark, but not the same level of appeal)

No. I have it on my wish list, and was basically told, “know as little as possible before playing it”, which I’ve followed, so I’m not really aware how well it fits. But either way, I’m likely to pick this up next time it’s on eShop sale and find out.

Yeah, the only thing that’s kept me from grabbing Star Allies is the price. It’s easier to take the gamble on cheaper indie titles. But eventually probably will give this one a try.

Just looking at videos, I might be able to sell Gris just because it hits the style bulls-eye pretty strongly.

Years ago I had a PSP, and she did play the first LocoRoco on it. So you’re right on target with that one. I suppose I could set up PPSSPP on the PC so she could play LR2.

Really? Alright that one is definitely going into my pocket.

Journey might be a heavier game with an emotional journey, but going around chirping at people? Still cute. Still :heart:. Still simple mechanics. It never asks too much of you and never rushes you.

Undertale hits the cute and :heart: aspects, but can actually be very tough mechanically. It might be something better to play together?

Grow Home is adorable. It’s hard to control (purposely, you’re a pretty awkward robot), but there are no timers, fail states, or too precise of platforming/climbing.

Ni no Kuni has the adorable creatures and collecting action of Pokemon, but the battle system is a simplified action RPG. It’s pretty slow, but thankfully that does allow you to kind of wrap your head around the mechanics pretty easily before it gets anywhere near difficult.

Plus, god those Ghibli cutscenes are still beautiful.

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Abzu

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As someone who enjoys Baba is You, that game is NOT mechanically simple. Yes, the mechanics of how you move Baba are simple, but what you need to do is not at all. I love puzzle games and make a stubborn point of never looking up solutions. I got through all of The Witness and Fez without any help and I didn’t even realize the cipher for the language was in Fez so I brute forced that alphabet. I’m maybe 1/3 through Baba is You and doubt I’ll ever make it past half ever because it is breaking my brain.

If you have a Switch, Luigi’s Mansion 3 is right up there. The game is charming as all hell, has great co-op options, and is mechanically simple.

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The Spyro remakes are gorgeous and adorable. Game mechanics are more involved though and more on par with like a 3D mario game.

While I think Slime Rancher is probably a better a-one-o-these, give Dragon Quest Builders 2 a chance. It’s basically a more story focused Minecraft?

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is simple to play, but is not exactly easy. It is cute though and has a ton of charm.

I wonder if she’d like Yono and the Celestial Elephants, it’s on PC and Switch and it goes extremely hard on “cute” and it’s a lot of exploring and puzzle-solving

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My recommendation is for Tangle Tower. It’s a simple mystery game with light puzzle solving, cute animation, wonderful characters, and a great soundtrack.

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Love this thread. I’d like to recommend the Professor Layton games. My wife was able to play through a couple of those games and really enjoyed them.

Walking simulator style games might also be a good match.

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I gotta hop in here and recommend Neo Cab.
Having conversations with the passengers is so chill and comforting. I played the game multiple times over just to get cozy with them and learn all I could about their stories.
Plus the game is gorgeous.

If you want to play stuff together, I recommend Lovers In A Dangerous Spacetime. My wife and I had a blast with that.

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It might be worth suggesting Stardew Valley anyway, if you want a co-op game? It has some similarities in tone with Animal Crossing for sure, but it’s a pretty different game, and if you’ve got two Switches or two PCs (or even one PC and one okay laptop), you could play together.

Pyre might be worth a look, stylistically? The basics of the gameplay are simple, but it might get a bit too in-depth… but at the same time, the story plays out regardless of if you win or lose the Rites (fantasy basketball/rugby matches), so there’s no “fail state” so to speak? Look over some reviews. There’s some visual novel stuff to get the plot across, with occasional choices, but the bulk of the actual gameplay is the sports matches, which are real-time character control. (ETA: It also has a multiplayer VS mode! So you could play quick matches against each other, too.)

If you just want something kind of cute that the two of you could play together, and combat is okay, Castle Crashers is a fun couch co-op experience. And I think it’s on pretty much everything these days. But if “fight your way across a level” is a non-starter, skip it.

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So I am going to rattle off just what I can think of!

First off, I would recommend just checking the entire catalog of Sokpop Collective. They release 2 games every month, and you can get through a subscription to their Patreon, or just by buying them individually or in a bundle. They have these wonderful art styles and are usually pretty simple in their mechanics.

With Chibi-Robo, Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing, It sounds like she enjoys life-sim-y games, or games that feature that kind of daily work. She might find some interest in Rune Factory. But given that she seemed to not be interested in games that she can see that direct lineage in, I’m trying to think of games that are kind of kitty-corner to those games. She might be interested in Chulip, but I’m not sure if you can find a way to play it. She might find some joy in Reccetear or Moonlighter, which are part dungeon crawler and part shop-sim! If it’s your thing, you could even trade off on it. Wilmot’s Warehouse is also a pretty cool little game that’s just focused on organizing your own little warehouse. I’m curious if she would enjoy Little King’s Story, a little a which was released on the Wii, but is on the PC right now!

I’ve heard really good things about Mutazione, which has farming elements but is mainly a story about visiting your home town. (Night in the Woods might be worth checking out too!)

I’m pretty positive she would enjoy A Short Hike, which came out last year. I don’t feel like this needs much justification. It’s short and sweet!

Besides that, Pikuniku came out last year, which is kind of a fun platformer adventure game with some cute mechanics. It also has co-op!

Given her love of Katamari, it seems like Wattam is a no-brainer! The lead designer, Keita Takahashi, is the same!

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You know I love this game and it didn’t even dawn on me but I think it could be a really great pick. There’s a lot to love here and as grimview says, even if the gameplay doesn’t click it, losing is apart of the broader story and feels more like just seeing things play out and the other elements of the game are where it really shined for me.

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It’s also just a gorgeous game to look at.