Lawn Mowing Simulator review: A Simulator In Need of a Trim

As a lover of all those weird simulation games like Power Wash Simulator, Mech Mechanic, Arcade Paradise, and more I was drawn into this particular game. But how much of this game is well manicured and how much of it needs to go directly into the compost? Let's get into it.

Lawn Mowing Simulator Title Screen. Courtesy Skyhook Games
Lawn Mowing Simulator Title Screen. Courtesy Skyhook Games /

Title: Lawn Mowing Simulator
Release Date: March 14, 2024
Developer: Skyhook Games
Publishers: Skyhook Games
Platforms: Nintendo Switch (reviewed on)

Simulation games are nothing new. In fact, they're a slowly growing genre that I've grown to love. Being able to just go into a project and complete, fictional or otherwise, is a good feeling and I'll fully admit I've spent all night in Powerwash Simulator cleaning off a virtual putt-putt course or spraying down someone's van.

I've put a bunch of time into Arcade Paradise making sure that everyone's laundry was on schedule. It's a fun subgenre of games that I've become obsessed with. So much so that when a new simulation hits, I'm normally "that guy" to review them. This is where I live. If a new simulation shows up, I normally will see it and scream "This is my hole! This was made for me!" like that dude from the Ito horror "The Enigma of Amigara Fault".

But, even through all that, I was stunned when offered Lawn Mowing Simulator. Am I a big enough sim fan for this one? Am I a big enough dad?! Only one way to be sure so I installed it.

Right off the gate, you are just...just HIT with the kind of generic dad rock to let you know exactly what world you're stepping into with your New Balance wides. You are absolutely in for some yard work. You start your company with just a new and a uniform. You customize your character, you pick one of three starting mowers like a starter Pokemon, snag a lawn trimmer, and you're ready to load up your bright white pickup truck and head out to the grassy fields of business.

Now, I will start this off by saying this, if you see the name of the game and it interests you to mow lawns, you're getting exactly that. But my god, you better be ready for it because I've had jobs take me 90 real world minutes to complete. You start getting jobs that have grass so long you either need to drive at about 2.3 MPH for the whole massive plot or do two drive overs, once at a tall setting and a second for the correct size. But you won't be getting mowers that can do tall sizes until way later in the game so strap in, we're gonna be driving at walking speed.

Lawn Mowing Simulator Dog Toy
Lawn Mowing Simulator - Picking up a Dog Toy out of the grass before mowing. Three other objects left to find before time runs out. /

Before you start though, the game throws a bizarre mini game at you where you have 4-8 minutes to run around on the property and pick up X amount of things in the yard that could damage a mower. Branches, dog toys, garden gnomes, arrant tools, you get it. From there you get on your mower and start the engine.

The game has a pretty heavy list of controls you need to familiarize yourself with depending on which mower you're using. Some require you to raise and lower the blades depending on where you're driving. You have to remember to engage your blades. Some require you to adjust the throttle before you can drive. It's weird to get a new model of mower as time goes on and find out everything is different.

You also have to pay attention to what your mower does with the clippings. Are you going to bag the clippings and dispose of them over time? Are you going to have them shoot out the side being careful not to fire the clippings into a garden? Or are you going to go the true man's lazy route and just mulch everything? Mulch is the fancy way of saying that you're just gonna let the clippings fall. There's more technical ways to describe what mulching is but you know why you're going that route, don't play.

As for the controls? I'm playing on the Switch so they're kinda rough. There's a lot of jobs in which you have to drive really slow or else you'll overwhelm your mower's engine and break your mower leading to you losing that particular job. But as the Switch doesn't have pressure sensitive triggers, tapping those means you're going full throttle ahead. To get past this they also have a feature where you drive using the left joystick. The farther you tilt forward, the quicker you drive. I've done entire jobs with just the left joystick in hand, the right one dropped off to the side for when I'm done with the job and I need to turn the blade off.

Lawn Mowing Simulator Payment Overview
Lawn Mowing Simulator - A run down of the payments and fines that you witness at the end of a mission. Ground damage is turning too hard and kicking up soil. /

Over time, you earn enough money to get a headquarters and slowly, SLOWLY, over time you can hire employees and buy additional mowers so that every time you go out to do a job, they go and do a separate one so when you're finished you get paid for multiple jobs.

I'll fully admit though, this game hits the stimmy bits of my brain as well as some simulators. It's not the greatest one I've ever played but it still gets the job done. I've even gotten it where I'm told the job is done because I hit the target requirements and I'm like "hold on, I need to trim the tall grass around the garden really quick because that doesn't look good.

For the next bit, I wanna talk about the graphics. I don't know if this is just because I'm playing on Switch or not but these graphics look dated. In a world where the grass is supposed to be the star it seems like it got the least amount of focus. Most of the time the grass just looks like grass out of Paper Mario loosely glued onto a dark green, flat, bitmap. It looked early PS3 before Flower came out and changed everyone's view on what grass in a game could/should look like.

Lawn Mowing Simulator Flowers Bench
Lawn Mowing Simulator - A bench surrounded by flowers after a completed job. Notice that the grass looks like teenager facial stubble. /

What happens is that even when you get a job well done, it doesn't look that great. It's like you just shaved some loose stubble of the Hulk's chin.

And depending on what mower you use, the controls can get CRAZY. I have one right now that I got because it can turn in place. But with the one joystick control going I have times where I want to turn to the right and my vehicle will shoot backwards and wiggle. It goes all over the place sometimes and that can be really frustrating when driving full speed into tall grass can forfeit your entire mission if it causes engine problems.

All in all though, what you end up with here is something that, real talk, is a fairly decent sim that I can see some people getting down with. Once you yeet the music forever it and it's ever present engine noise, is an awesome thing to chill out with while you're listening to a podcast (like Midnight Burger) or just zoning out to. know, watch some gameplay first and see if it's your jam.

Lawn Mowing Simulator (Nintendo Switch) Score: 7.5/10

Lawn Mowing Simulator lives up to its name of capturing every aspect of running a lawn mowing business, down to the mind-numbing nature of massive rectangular properties and complex backyards with gardens. If you can look past some of the game's faults and the abysmal graphics, you're in for a nice chill sim game.