Despite many goal-focused video games conquering the gaming world each year, garden simulators maintain a solid fan base of loyal players. Where exactly does the appeal of such quiet titles lie?

According to research, gardening video games reduce stress levels and beneficially distract the player from everyday problems. Similarly to real-life garden management, they allow players to slow down and enjoy a hobby that does not involve one specific goal. Moreover, farming games offer a cozy atmosphere, perfect for a relaxing gaming session after a challenging day.

These top gardening recommendations are sure to bring zen to your life if you’re an avid gardener longing for better weather or don’t have a green thumb but still want to enjoy being close to nature.

Stardew Valley

Release date:2016-02-26
Genre:Adventure
Developer:ConcernedApe

Inherit and renovate an old farm to discover the perfect peace ruling the beautiful Pelican Town. With adventures, friendships, and fishing included!

Although Stardew Valley is technically a farming game, you’ll have much more land to plant your vegetables than in any other title. The game offers over 40 different crops and fruit trees! It also involves many other activities set in a charming pixel world, so expect many fun and memorable moments.

Key features
  • Inherit and restore the old farm to its former glory
  • Explore the area and make new friends
  • Enjoy over 40 different plants
  • Play solo or in multiplayer

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Release date:2020-03-20
Genre:Simulation
Developer:Nintendo EPD Production Group No. 5

Play this game if shaping and designing your own island sounds like a dream come true. Plus, it includes in-game time flowing according to real-world seasons!

Animal Crossing: New Horizons emerged as one of the most beneficial games for mental health during the pandemic. The game allows you to create a character and embark on a creative adventure on an island inhabited by adorable anthropomorphic animals. Your job is to plant crops, trade, craft, and enjoy various relaxing activities, providing the perfect break from everyday responsibilities.

Key features
  • Create a character and design your dream island
  • Make friends and enjoy gardening chores
  • Lose yourself in the calming atmosphere of this lovely place
  • Play solo or in multiplayer for up to eight players

Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town

Release date:2003-04-18
Genre:Sim
Developer:Marvelous Interactive

It is one of the best installations in the series, allowing its players to lose themselves in outdoor activities for long hours of satisfying gameplay.

Image credit: Marvelous Interactive

Inherit an old farm to work hard and turn into a prosperous venture! Remove weeds, raise animals, and manage your new home to unlock many extra opportunities for further farm development. Like Stardew Valley, the title offers fun interactions with townspeople and an incredibly calming audiovisual atmosphere.

Key features
  • Work hard on your own farm
  • Raise animals and enjoy gardening activities
  • Meet the locals and fall in love
  • Have fun with many exciting mini-games

My Time at Portia

Release date:2018-01-23
Genre:Indie
Developer:Pathea Games

My Time at Portia will be perfect if you crave a more RPG take on the gardening theme, especially since engaging outdoor activities represent only a part of its entertaining gameplay.

Play as a young Builder, helping the people of Portia restore their town to its former glory. Run a farm, design a workshop, build a house, and become a valuable part of the local community. You can also embark on an adventure to fight and develop your skills – do whatever you want! This game is heavily inspired by the magnificent Studio Ghibli productions, so expect a similarly delightful experience enriched with a tiny dose of mystery.

Key features
  • Explore Portia and the surrounding areas to discover its secret
  • Run a prosperous farm and enjoy your time in the workshop
  • Meet new people with unique backstories
  • Go on an adventure and fight in dangerous dungeons

Viva Piñata

Release date:2006-11-09
Genre:Simulator
Developer:Rare

Imagine a gorgeous garden inhabited by all kinds of animals – paper animals. Sounds intriguing? In this unique game, you can design the garden of your dreams for Piñatas!

Image credit: Rare

Although Piñatas may look like paper decorations, they live and behave similarly to their real-world animal counterparts. Design the most beautiful garden to let them live at your place! Equip it with various types of attractions, learn the preferences of each species, and decide what to do with mischievous Piñata – a pest devastating your crops.

Key features
  • Design the most beautiful garden for 60 different Piñata species
  • Buy equipment and learn the preferences of each paper animal
  • Personalize your Piñatas and send them to friends as gifts
  • Fight or try to befriend the mischievous Piñata

Garden Paws

Release date:2018-12-18
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Bitten Toast Games

It is the cutest game, filled to the brim with available activities. Pick one of ten animal characters and embark on an exciting adventure involving gardening, exploration, and more!

Enter this colorful world to restore your inherited house and run a shop. To earn money, go on adventures to discover treasures and ordinary items your customers might like. There are quests, monsters in dungeons, animals to raise, fishing, cooking, and your favorite gardening!

Key features
  • Play as one of ten cute characters
  • Explore a colorful world packed with adventures and quests
  • Collect items for your garden or sale
  • Play solo or in multiplayer

Flower

Release date:2019-02-14
Genre:Adventure
Developer:thatgamecompany

To soar with the wind amidst the most beautiful views on this planet. That’s possible in the Flower game!

Play as a little breeze exploring flowery meadows and snatching flower petals on a grand journey through diverse landscapes. Flower is an indie title offering simple controls and unforgettable sensations of unrestricted exploration. There’s also a change of mood, little secrets, and a satisfying ambiance, making this game more of an experience than just a wind simulator.

Key features
  • Play as the wind and discover your new skills
  • Explore different landscapes and complete challenges
  • Change the world with the power of nature
  • Enjoy incredibly soothing audiovisuals

Plantera

Release date:2016-01-28
Genre:Indie
Developer:VaragtP

This game focuses entirely on garden design and does not hold the player’s hand. Your job is to figure out how everything works and what to do to earn gold!

Plant vegetables and trees to unlock more plants and sell your crops for even better gardening equipment. After some time, you will notice the presence of the cutest colorful animals – these are your helpers. Let them take care of the garden when you’re not there or work together to create the most beautiful place on digital earth!

Key features
  • Plant vegetables to sell your first crops and earn gold
  • Enjoy your cute helpers’ company
  • Unlock new plants for varied content
  • Figure out all mechanics

Botanicula

Release date:2012-05-07
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Amanita Design

It is not another garden simulator, but it may interest anyone who likes plants and nature. In Botanicula, you will play as five little creatures searching for an important seed.

The tree is dying, and five tiny heroes embark on a grand adventure to find its last seed. Botanicula is a classic point-and-click experience, offering plenty of puzzles and over 150 extraordinary locations to explore. It captivates with a beautiful soundtrack, unique graphics, and a memorable story – perfect for adults and kids aged seven or more.

Key features
  • Play as five little creatures searching for the last seed of their home tree
  • Explore over 150 breathtaking locations
  • Solve puzzles and discover secrets
  • Experience an unforgettable adventure in a minimalistic audiovisual setting

Viridi

Release date:2015-08-19
Genre:Simulation
Developer:Zoe Vartanian

This succulent growing simulator is not exactly a video game but an activity you can introduce to your life. It’s an excellent recommendation for all plant lovers!

Image credit: Zoe Vartanian

If you are not an avid gamer but would love to have your own garden, Viridi may be your best choice. Care for virtual succulents in their virtual pot, water them, remove weeds, and enjoy the tiny snail’s company. You can also purchase other succulents for real money to make the entire experience more personal. It’s like tending a bonsai tree – incredibly relaxing!

Key features
  • Design your own succulent pot
  • Take care of your plants and make it part of your daily routine
  • Achieve ultimate zen by singing to a wet snail
  • Name your succulents and buy more in the in-game nursery

Games about plants come in various themes, from RPGs to simple plant-management titles. So, what do they have in common? Mostly, it’s a soothing atmosphere enveloping these titles, enriched with relatively simple mechanics for everyone to play. And since farming titles already proved their therapeutic effect on the human mind, we highly recommend using this knowledge to enjoy a moment of ultimate peace during your daily routine.