Play Games, Save the Planet: Capybara Spa

Imagine living in a dystopian nightmare where freedom is dead, and humanity has a new eternal master. I speak, of course, of the mighty capybara. A beast so cute we fatally underestimated it now reigns supreme. They rule with an iron hoof, forcing the few survivors of the human race to endlessly toil away to keep them comfortable in the horrific prison of Capybara Spa. Move over, Frostpunk! There’s a new gameplay-experience-more-depressing-than-a-kitten-funeral in town!

But imagine my shocked-Pikachu-face levels of surprise when Capybara Spa turned out to be a relaxing, pleasant game. That whole enslaving humanity thing was just a load of nonsense I’d made up because I hadn’t had enough caffeine yet. Yes, Capybara Spa is actually absurdly cozy. This is a game for people who find playing Animal Crossing too stressful. 

You start by building a little tub, then clicking on a capybara, dragging them across the screen (GENTLY), and dropping them in. They immediately start having a nice time. That means you’re already experiencing capybara joy within seconds of playing this. Does God of War: Ragnarok do that? No. No, it does not. That’s why Sony should cancel it immediately and try to snap up the rights to this instead.

IMAGE CAPTION: A capybara enjoying my spa. I’d write something typically surreal and ‘funny’ here but my heart is too busy melting.

Gameplay consists of earning money by keeping your capybaras happy (NOT THAT WE’RE IN IT FOR THE MONEY) and using said funds to expand your spa, thus bringing joy to even more capybaras (SEE). You grow vegetable gardens so you can treat the capybaras to a tasty carrot, and flower gardens so you can put flowers on their heads. You unlock the option to put baby capybaras in your tubs and this frankly is so adorable that your cynical British bones literally burst into flames. Adorable flames.

Capybara Spa is a cozy game, a genre that’s getting more popular as the world gets increasingly less cozy. Sometimes games like this can get tripped up by not having enough compelling gameplay. Or being so overly sweet and sentimental that they feel like being hugged to death by a giggling bag of sugar. Happily, Capybara Spa has a fun gameplay loop and a delightful aesthetic that lands confidently on the right side of pleasant.

Capybara Spa comes from Cozy Bee Games. One of my countless weaknesses is my irrational phobia of bees, but even my bee-fearing heart is no match for their adorable logo. Look at those smiley eyes. The pose that’s seconds away from a big fuzzy hug. This bee could fix me.

Eventually, you unlock insects that can help you take care of the capybaras. Slow insects. It’s the first game that made me consider firing a butterfly. I wonder if it’ll be the last? 

I’m just joking, of course! I’d never fire an employee who I don’t have to pay. My little blue-winged butterfly buddy, who I’m generously compensating with exposure in this blog post (you’re welcome! Get back to work!), helps feed the capybaras while I focus on adding banners and fences to pretty up my spa. I’m now so relaxed I decided to look up whether actual capybaras are an endangered species, so I can bring my mood down:

Oh. Nice!

Good… news? For… once? Not to be melodramatic, but sometimes keeping these blog posts upbeat feels like pushing a boulder uphill endlessly while all my childhood bullies laugh and pelt me with bad reviews of my hair. 

Because the world has a lot of problems right now. Sometimes that can get overwhelming, and while fighting to make the world better is important, it’s also important to take a breather now and then and give yourself some Me Time. So this weekend, book yourself a stay in Capybara Spa! You won’t regret it.

Capybara Spa is out now on PC.