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Stardew Valley released in 2016 to critical acclaim, with an ever-growing number of players of all ages around the world excited to start up their farm in Pelican Town and get to know their new neighbors. With a self-perpetuating loop of new work to do it is easy to lose thousands of hours to Stardew Valley, but what should you do if you fancy a change of scenery? Or even a little bit more adventure?
Perhaps consider one of the games on this list of games like Stardew Valley.
Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town
This list would actually be called ‘games like Story of Seasons’ if there were any real justice in the world. Story of Seasons games (sometimes known as Bokujō Monogatari, and other times Harvest Moon —though not after 2014 —it’s a whole thing), laid down the framework for a lot of what made Stardew Valley popular all the way back in 1996.
At the start of Friends of Mineral Town there’s a touching prologue where the player character befriends an old man and helps him with his farm on a vacation. They become pen pals, until one day the letters suddenly stop. After going to investigate, he discovers that the old man had died about half a year prior and that the farm has been left in a state of disrepair. The mayor finds that the player has been given the farm according to the old man’s will.
With a new farm to get back in shape, new friends to make in Mineral Town and six different marriage options that can even lead to having a son, the town life sim elements are as strong in this one as the farming ones. Friends of Mineral Town was obviously one of the key influences on Stardew Valley, so if you’re a fan you owe it to yourself to check this one out.
Friends of Mineral Town was originally released as Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town on the GBA. It was fully remade in 3D for the Nintendo Switch under its new title in 2020. We still think the GBA version of Friends of Mineral Town is the best one, but it’s a great game wherever you play it.
Dragon Quest Builders 2
Set in an alternate timeline where Dragon Quest 2’s bad guy was defeated but the monsters just stuck around to annoy and subjugate people anyway, Dragon Quest Builders 2 is a voxel based sandbox adventure game with life sim, farming and town builder elements. New to the sequel are a first person view, fast travel, swimming and a paraglider. The game also has 4-player co-op and some cross-platform features like level sharing and a bulletin board for sharing photos.
As players adventure around the world of Dragon Quest’s Erdrick Trilogy, they will help towns rebuild and often deal with attacks from the Children of Hargon (a group who really like the defeated Dragon Quest 2 villain) while they remind everyone how to be creative again. After each chapter you’ll have the opportunity to recruit villagers to come with you to the Isle of Awakening, which is a fully customizable island where you live with a girl named Lulu and a troubled amnesiac named Malroth.
Dragon Quest Builders 2 has surprisingly in-depth farming systems with different types of soil and water to be used for different plants. It also has a good story and a very charming tone. Not one to be missed!
You can play it on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PC and Xbox. It’s even currently on Xbox Game Pass.
In this shop sim you’ll stock your shelves and talk to potential friends and customers around town during the day, but go out at night and the game becomes more of an action adventure game in the same vein as The Legend of Zelda. Do well enough and you can hire staff to sell the relics you recover that you don’t want, so you can go on adventures (almost) full time.
While balancing both the shopkeeper and adventurer types of gameplay admirably, Moonlighter also finds the time to tell a brilliant story that deals with strained family bonds and fates that are pre-determined. It is one of the most prestigious indie games in recent history —and for good reason.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
The latest entry in a series of town sims where you relocate to a new home with the help of benevolent raccoon entrepreneur Tom Nook and his helpful nephews Timmy and Tommy. You’ll get to know your animal villager neighbors, complete museum collections and try to make your island cool enough for musician sensation K.K. Slider to come and visit. I’m sure a lot of people have already played this one, as it was the hottest title of Summer 2020, but it was worth putting on this list of games like Stardew Valley anyway.
Nintendo’s latest entry in the Animal Crossing series definitely feels a little bit undercooked compared to older ones, but with steady content updates New Horizons is starting to get to a level of quality closer to that of previous entries like Wild World and New Leaf. We still recommend you play it, as it’s obviously delightful.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is exclusively available on the Nintendo Switch.
Mojang’s blocky game is not necessarily a farm sim, or a town sim. But it can be, if you play it like that. The Swedish video game sensation requires very little introduction, as it is one of the best selling pieces of software of all time. (238 million copies, as of April 2021.)
Just in case you’re unfamiliar with it, it’s a voxel based sandbox game with several weather biomes, items to craft and creatures to fight. It has farming, fishing and cooking and can be as relaxing or as action packed as you want it to be.
Multiplayer games of Minecraft can have as many as 30 people in them, so if you want to start a local server or even pay to host a Minecraft Realm, then this can be a good choice if you want to play something with a large group of friends.
Minecraft fully supports cross-platform play and content purchases and has done so since it’s ‘Better Together Update’ in 2017. You can get Minecraft on PC, Xbox, PlayStation 4, iOS, Android and Nintendo Switch.
My Time At Portia
The result of a successful Kickstarter campaign by Chinese developer Pathea Games, My Time at Portia is the story of a group of humans rebuilding society a few centuries after the apocalypse. Inspired by titles like Animal Crossing, Dark Cloud 2 and Stardew Valley, this fully 3D town-builder and dungeon crawler has both a lot of charm and a lot of depth to it’s gameplay systems overall.
Despite it’s post-apocalyptic setting and story, you shouldn’t expect the browns and greys of Fallout here, as the world of My Time At Portia is colourful and vibrant by design. It’s story is a family friendly one about people overcoming adversity by working together. With a focus on anti-bleak storytelling and providing warm little experiences for the player, My Time At Portia is best described as jolly.
It is currently available on PC, Xbox, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch and will come to iOS and Android on August 4 2021.
While not as cute as most of the other games like Stardew Valley, the Farming Simulator franchise from Giants Software and Focus Home is a juggernaut that has sold a combined 25 million copies and had over 90 million mobile downloads.
With real world locations and licensed farming equipment and vehicles, the player is tasked with turning around a struggling and outdated farming business and making it thrive. Strangely, it’s an open world game and the map can be explored freely whenever the player wishes. What you farm and how you farm it is similarly up to you — you can just grow crops, raise livestock, or do a mix of both.
Farming Simulator 22 includes the ability to grow grapes, olives and sorghum for the first time in the series. It also introduces seasonal weather, which should add another interesting layer to the series’ tried and tested gameplay. New entries in the series are available on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox and Stadia. There are also special versions for Nintendo Switch and iOS and Android.
It feels like at this point, Runescape has existed for as long as the internet. It’s hard to believe it was first released in January 2001. It’s ever-growing number of players share the online world of Gielinor and train themselves in various skills as they go on quests inspired by the greats of fantasy literature and storytelling.
While most of Runescape is very much swords and sorcery adventures, you can actually farm if you’d like to. Farming requires a Runescape Membership, which is a paid subscription that opens up new skills and exclusive quests and areas. Crops in Runescape grow in real time, so it’s not an activity where you’ll want to sit and watch it happen. Thankfully the game has lots of other things to do in it.
Runescape is on PC, iOS and Android. It can be grabbed on Steam if you want to get the launcher somewhere other than the official website.
Early Access / Coming Soon
We wouldn’t blame you for looking at Hokko Life and saying “Well, hold on just a minute … that’s clearly just Animal Crossing! You can’t trick me, Gaming Verdict!”
Much like Stardew Valley before it, developer Wonderscope has taken what worked well for a franchise owned by a beloved Japanese developer and basically done their own indie cover version. Set in the small forest town of Hokko, you’ll design and decorate and go on adventures for hours as you learn about your animal villager neighbors and complete your collections of fish and bugs.
If this is all sounding a bit too familiar, what really sets Hokko Life apart from Animal Crossing is a focus on creativity and customization, with the ability to create and texture not only outfits, but entire pieces of furniture. You’re limited to changing out textures on Animal Crossing, while Hokko Life has gone a lot more in depth in terms of customization systems in general.
Hokko Life is currently in Early Access and is available exclusively on Steam for PC.
Like Moonlighter, Garden Story isn’t really about farming, but shares a lot of the town sim and social sim elements with games like Stardew Valley. Playing as a grape with arms and legs called Concord (this isn’t that weird, he lives in a world full of sentient fruit, fungi and frogs) the player must rebuild The Grove and defend the island everyone lives on from a sinister foe named The Rot
With friends Elderberry, Rana, and Fuji you’ll be working together to rebuild not only the town but people’s social bonds within the community by helping them solve their interpersonal issues. With great music and brilliant Game Boy Advance-ish graphics, this is a charming game that seems to have flown under the radar a bit.
Garden Story is set to release on Steam and Nintendo Switch in Summer 2021.
The next game from Chucklefish, Witchbrook is a magical school simulator designed around learning spells in classes with other would-be witches and wizards and the after class social situations that will no doubt follow.
In your free time you can grow magical crops, pick mushrooms, go fishing and perhaps even solve some hidden mysteries and learn some secret spells.
This one seems to share a lot of DNA with Stardew Valley and we eagerly await it’s release.
We hope you enjoyed this list of games like Stardew Valley! Did we miss one you really like? Let us know in the comments section below. If you’re interested in Runescape, then why not check out our list of games like Runescape, too?
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