Anybody who has ever crammed for a test or pulled an all-nighter is no doubt familiar with the infamous “lofi hip hop radio – beats to relax/study to” livestream on YouTube. DU&I takes those smooth sounds and turns them into a video game with their new title Virtual Cottage. Does it make the transition with ease, or is this genre strictly for audiophiles?

Virtual Cottage Review

Designed as a cozy, distraction-free environment, Virtual Cottage is simple at its core. Players list out what they want to focus on for the day, determine how long they want things to go, and choose whether or not they want a sound after the timer runs out. From there, players can let the program run its course as they attend to other things.

Once things are underway, there are a few variables at play. Players can start a rainstorm at a moment’s notice, mute or resume the music, or just watch the brunette girl bob her head to the music. The bright colors and mellow vibes provide a feeling of serenity, and it is easy to get lost in its world.

Its tracklist is par for the course as well. Most music aficionados aren’t clamoring for the release of saiko’s untitled or Blnkspc_’s Sticky, but the nine tracks that make up its soundtrack are still welcome nonetheless. It is just a shame that these tracks are played in order each and every time; those looking to rearrange things or listen to a specific track must go through the rest of the set list before getting to the song they want. This seems like a major oversight, but it is not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things.

So the question is: Does it help you relax, mellow out, and get to work?

We’d like to think so. To serve as a litmus test, we set it up for 60 minutes and did some work in the meantime. The music and rain effects did what they should, and the relaxing aesthetics worked well in a second window while we were crunching away with metrics and copy. It’s not the most in-depth or versatile style service out there, and the selection of music is somewhat lacking, but as a free program on Steam it achieves what it sets out to do.

Just don’t be surprised if one gets tired of Virtual Cottage sooner rather than later. Without much interactivity or achievements, this package can be experienced in its entirety in around an hour. This equates to a CD’s worth of content. This isn’t bad, but compared to the 24/7 station, it doesn’t really have the same impact.

Virtual Cottage has got the lo-fi beats and the atmosphere, but the song selection and number of options is somewhat lacking. Those that don’t mind tunes on repeat will dig its tracks, but it just doesn’t have the same impact as the infamous YouTube live stream.

This review of Virtual Cottage was done on the PC. The game was freely downloaded.
Virtual Cottage Review

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