There’s a lovely subsection of the games industry that just makes lovely stuff. Whether it’s the type that’ll feature in the Wholesome Direct 2022, or just some titles designed to be cute as heck, there’s a lot to choose from. So, whether it’s kawaii, wholesome, or somewhere in between, there are a lot of games that tick the box.
Cute games can involve all manner of things – loads of cats, little chibified characters, or weird fantasy monstrosities (see: Captain Toad). Because of this, it can be pretty hard to pin down exactly what the special sauce is that makes a good game. Either way, there are a bunch below that definitely have some magic.
Once you reach a cuteness overload, we can offer up all manner of alternatives. Check out our art games guide if you’re the creative type, our gardening games guide if you’re the outdoorsy type, or our flying games guide if you’re a bit of an adrenaline junky.
Cute games on Switch and mobile
Battle Chef Brigade – Switch
Battle Chef Brigade got sorely overlooked when developer Trinket Studios put the game out in 2017, at least as far as I can tell. It’s a clever mix of match-3 puzzles, brawling, and narrative, with a wild array of characters, blending gorgeous art, funny writing, and a generally charming vibe into the finest concoction.
Animal Crossing – Switch and mobile
I feel like Animal Crossing can fit into pretty much every genre list out there. It’s a life sim, it’s a building game, it’s a gardening game, but most of all, it’s cute as heck. From the many lovely villagers to the different animals (bar the hyper-realistic fish), and changes to the island through the day and seasons, the whole world is so engrossingly lovely, whether it’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons on the Switch or Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp on your mobile.
Katamari Damacy – Switch
Katamari Damacy is one of those games that some people swear is one of the best games ever, but a lot of people don’t notice. Its amazingly cute, charming, and wacky vibe and pretty simple gameplay – that involves rolling a small ball around, picking up other objects to add to it, thus making the ball bigger – can make people think “oh cool, a videogame!” But Katamari Damacy is perfect. Everyone should play it.
Stardew Valley – Switch and mobile
Another game that can fit on so many different genre lists, Stardew Valley has all the charm a farming sim needs. With various characters with unique personalities, cute pixel art, and so many things to do in a world that’s way too easy to get lost in, it’s the perfect cute game to sink hundreds of hours into. Check out our Stardew Valley Sebastian or Stardew Valley Shane to learn more about the inhabitants.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker – Switch
Toad is weird. I don’t know what sort of creature he is. I don’t know why he sounds like he does. But he’s also kinda cute, and no more so than in Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, where he runs around solving cute little puzzle boxes modelled after Japanese hakoniwa – which basically means ‘garden in a box’. Every pickle he gets into is a chance for a funny little slice of slapstick, and it never fails to be cute.
Game Dev Story – Switch and mobile
Kairosoft is a developer that knows how to make cute, retro pixel art. Game Dev Story is probably the pinnacle of their output, putting you in the shoes of a tiny little indie dev, through many failed projects, and onto success. As you build your game, choosing different genres and platforms, you move through the history of videogame consoles, while also getting reviews from the press. It’s a wonderful formula, and cute through and through.
Pikuniku – Switch
Pikuniku is a chill puzzle/exploration game where you play Piku, a pink blob on legs. As you explore the world, meet other similarly cute blobs, and solve simple but charming puzzles, the universe unfurls a tad, as the peace and tranquillity of the village become a little more sinister. No matter what, it’s still cute, and that’s what we like to see.
Gibbon: Beyond the Trees – Switch and mobile
While it may deal with a very serious subject matter, Gibbon: Beyond the Trees does so with gorgeous art and animation. As you swing through the trees as a gibbon, every noise and movement is so expertly done that the animals endear themselves to you almost instantly. They’re wonderful, making the story the game tells all the more heartbreaking. Check out our Gibbon: Beyond the Trees review to see why it’s such a brilliant experience.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening – Switch
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is probably the weirdest Zelda game, but that didn’t stop Nintendo from making the remake incredibly cute. It kinda chibifies Link et al, adds a soft-focus onto everything, and makes it all look like it’s made of plastic. This makes everything feel like a playset, and, while it may not run all that well, it sure does look good.
The Alto Collection – Switch and mobile
Alto’s Adventure: The Spirit of the Mountain is a snowboarding sidescroller. You play a character trying to retrieve their escaped llamas, by riding down a snowy hill and chasing after them. Everything is very stylish, with a day/night cycle changing the landscape, while the llamas themselves are cute little animals. Sure, it’s a bit more slick than cute, but there’s something charmingly playful about it.
Slime-san – Switch
Slime-san is a hard-as-nails platformer in the same vein as Celeste and Super Meat Boy. You play a cute little ball of slime, and have to traverse tricky levels formed within a worm that ate you up at the beginning of the game. With quirky five-colour pixel art, great tunes, and excellently platforming, this game is a real hidden gem on the Switch library.