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Studio Ghibli Inspired Video Games

Studio Ghibli Inspired Video Games

Who doesn’t love Studio Ghibli films? Full of interesting stories and memorable characters, these animated films have left a long lasting impression amongst fans and movie goers alike. 

Although Studio Ghibli has single handedly dominated the animated market for over the past 20+ years, they still haven’t broken out into other forms of entertainment media- such as video games. I mean, there are plenty of us who would love to play a video game version of Howl’s Moving Castle or Spirited Away! 

However, don’t worry! I’ve put together a list of cozy games inspired by Studio Ghibli, so you can experience the magic of the films. I have listed these particular games based on their many different things, such as art style, gameplay, story and whether or not they remind me of a certain film.  

Cozy Games Inspired by Studio Ghibli


Forgotton Anne

ghibli inspired cozy games

Forgotton Anne is a cinematic adventure game that just oozes Studio Ghibli-like charm through its beautiful hand-animated visuals and enchanting storyline.Set in a magical world where forgotten objects, like a lost sock, come to life, you control Anne, the enforcer working to keep this world in order. 

The game is full of detailed, whimsical environments and heartfelt narratives that evoke the spirit of Ghibli classics like ‘Spirited Away’ and ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’. Its emotional depth, focuses on the many characters whilst blending fantasy with everyday elements that are reminiscent of the storytelling techniques that defined the Studio Ghibli films.  

Ni No Kuni Games

video games based on studio ghibli

Developed by Level-5 in collaboration with Studio Ghibli, the Ni No Kuni games are literally playable versions of the games that we loved. As the games feature art and animation from the renowned studio itself, it captures the essence of our favourite films perfectly. 

The games follow a young boy named Oliver, as he is on a journey to save his mother by travelling to a parallel world filled with magical creatures and locations. The stunning, hand drawn animation, captivating stories, and whimsical heartfelt characters are an ode to Studio Ghibli’s filmography.

Animal Crossing

ghibli-esque video games

Although it’s not strictly inspired by Studio Ghibli, I personally feel that the Animal Crossing games share a similar sense of tranquillity and charm that is present in films like ‘Whisper of the Heart’ and ‘Only Yesterday’. 

The game’s soothing atmosphere, emphasis on nature, and gentle character driven stories echo the serene and heartwarming qualities found in our beloved Ghibli films. Its focus on simple, everyday joys such as fishing and gardening, as well as carving out close- knit friendships is why I recommend any Animal Crossing title to fans of Studio Ghibli films.

Baldo: The Guardian Owls

ghibli video games

Baldo: The Guardian Owls is an action adventure game that draws clear inspiration from Studio Ghibli’s art style and storytelling. The game features beautiful hand drawn graphics that resemble the vibrant and whimsical worlds of Ghibli films. 

Players embark on a journey through a magical land filled with quirky characters and mysterious dungeons. The game’s narrative is very rich in folklore and adventure, coupled with beautiful animated landscapes which lends to the distinct Ghibli-esque feel. Think Princess Mononoke and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. 

The Friends of Ringo Ishikawa

video games like whisper of the heart

Although the art style is very removed from traditional Studio Ghibli films, it’s the atmosphere and heartfelt storytelling that reminds me of films like Whisper of the Heart. The Friends of Ringo Ishikawa is an indie game that combines beat ‘em up mechanics with life simulation. 

The game follows a high school delinquent who is navigating everyday challenges and personal growth, as the game focuses on character development and exploration of the mundane that somehow still managed to capture meaningful moments. 

Behind the Frame: The Finest Scenery

ghibli inspired video games

A narrative driven puzzle game, Behind the Frame: The Finest Scenery features stunning hand-painted visuals and a soothing, reflective story. Players must assist an artist in completing her masterpiece, whilst uncovering her past. 

The game’s art style is very reminiscent of Studio Ghibli’s attention to detail and vibrant colours, creating a visually captivating experience. Its focus on the beauty of everyday life and the emotional journey of the protagonist parallels the heartfelt, introspective nature of films like ‘Only Yesterday’. A personal favourite film of mine! 

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

cozy ghibli video games

If you’re looking for games that are like ‘Princess Mononoke’ and ‘The Wind Rises’, then I recommend The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It’s an expansive adventure game with an open world filled with breathtaking landscapes and a heightened sense of wonder. 

Players must explore the kingdom of Hyrule at their own pace, solving puzzles, battling enemies, and uncovering secrets to save the kingdom from calamity Ganon. The game’s art style, with its lush painterly environments and fantastical creatives clearly draws inspiration from Ghibli’s infamous visual aesthetics. 

Stardew Valley

studio ghibli references in stardew valley

Stardew Valley is a farming simulation game that captures a gentle, heartwarming essence. Players inherit a rundown farm and have to restore it by planting crops, raising animals, and building relationships with the local townsfolk. 

With such a focus on community, and celebration of nature, this cozy game is very similar to Ghibli films like ‘My Neighbour Totoro’. It has an emphasis on everyday life, personal growth, and the beauty of rural living that creates a comforting and nostalgic atmosphere. The developer has even included items in the game that are a clear nod to Ghibli films, such as the Turnip Head Scarecrow and even the Soot Sprites that you find down in the mines! 


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