1. Stardew Valley
Truthfully, when I came up with this list, Stardew Valley was certainly on it, but nowhere near the top. It just seemed too obvious a choice. But sometimes the obvious choice is the right one. Stardew Valley certainly veers much closer to the farming sim genre than the more city/town builder spirit Animal Crossing embodies. After all, most of what you do is raise crops, take care of livestock and sell things to get more crops and livestock. That is most of the game.
And odds are you’ve played Stardew Valley by now. It’s super popular and has been out for years. But also have you played it lately? There have been a ton of completely free updates to make the game bigger and better than launch, so if it’s been a little while, you could check back in and find tons of new things.
There is also a memorable cast of characters, seasonal events, a daily routine to check in on that doesn’t take up your whole day and so on. While there is a combat element, there are ways to avoid it if you wish, which is nice.
There’s also just this sense of calm and zen in Stardew Valley when you are playing. Though time passes, nothing feels particularly rushed and there’s such a relaxed pace to approaching it how and when you want. The only other game that really comes to mind that has those two elements in common is also Animal Crossing.
So there you have it. Even if you don’t have a Nintendo Switch there are some great alternatives to play on other platforms that will fill a similar need. For those of you who do have a Switch and are anxiously awaiting your island getaway with Tom Nook, Animal Crossing: New Horizons sets sail March 20th.