It will be hard to find a game that is just like Animal Crossing, due to how unique the game is. Before going further, you need to ask yourself what makes Animal Crossing fun for you – depending on your answer, you may want to check entirely different games.
Is cute colorful graphics the most important thing? Or is it the social interactions? Or maybe the amount of given freedom and the sandbox nature of the game?
The List of the Best Games Similar to Animal Crossing
Let’s start with a game that is similar to Animal Crossing on multiple levels – from joyful visuals to open-ended casual gameplay.
Animal Crossing’s influence is clearly visible here, yet Castaway Paradise does things differently enough to be considered a worthy alternative and not simply a knockoff. The game gives players a huge amount of freedom – you are given an entire island you can shape and change to your liking as you see fit, so you can easily make your dream place to spend your free time later on.
Although the game is more of a sandbox experience, it does feature objectives you can complete in order to make progress and unlock more content.
My Time At Portia
Described by some as Harvest Moon in 3D, My Time at Portia can also be enjoyed by those who look for an addictive Animal Crossing alternative.
In My Time at Portia, you will have the opportunity to visit the titular city in order to help it grow and become the best builder around. You will start with only some basic equipment, and it will be your job to construct new buildings and get better tools to make your work faster and more efficient.
The game combines exploration and leisure gameplay focused on crafting and interacting with the 3D environment, with simple combat that takes place in special dungeons, where not only weaker enemies await you, but also some more powerful bosses. The game’s eye-catching visuals also make the title more enjoyable to play.
STORY OF SEASONS: Friends of Mineral Town
Since we’ve just mentioned the Harvest Moon series, why don’t we take a look at it as well? It also might be a perfect Animal Crossing substitute, so do check it out.
Harvest Moon has quite a long history and a somewhat convoluted one too. The original series started back in 1996 and is still going strong, but since 2014, due to certain decisions, now it’s known as Story of Seasons, while the new Harvest Moon is developed simultaneously as a separate series.
Both are good and worth giving a try but Story of Seasons feels more like the original we all once played and loved. The rules are simple – you have to take care of a farm and make money through foraging, mining, and planting crops, while also making friends with all the characters you meet in the Mineral Town.
Harvest Moon was so successful that it became an inspiration for numerous similar games to appear on the market. One of them is Stardew Valley which does manage not only to somewhat capture the spirit of the original but also brings certain improvements of its own.
Stardew Valley’s developer made it clear that he was largely inspired by the Harvest Moon series, but he wanted to implement some improvements in areas that were considered lackluster. As such, the game reinvents the classic formula, where you will be tasked with restoring an old farm to its former glory, while also making friends and building relationships with numerous non-playable characters.
The game features four unique seasons – each season makes new types of resources available to harvest, and also comes with its own special festivals, such as the Flower Dance which takes place during Spring.
Don’t Starve Together
If you prefer a game similar to Animal Crossing but focused more on survival in the wilderness, then you may want to give Don’t Starve Together a shot.
Don’t Starve is not an easy game and it requires patience to learn all the mechanics in order to successfully survive the horrors of the night and all the environmental dangers. While the original game was meant to be played alone, the Together version allows groups of up to 4 players to team up and face the challenges of the wild together.
The game puts a strong emphasis on survival – you will need to eat, take care of body temperature, and maintain sanity, which won’t be easy, considering the fact that food and other items spoil and lose durability over time, forcing you to constantly work, craft, and expand your settlement.
If Don’t Starve appears to be too difficult for your taste, then you may want to try a more casual alternative – Forager.
Forager is an open-world survival game and it’s quite unique. There is no clear objective other than unlocking new islands to make more room for your constructions, but this simple formula works exceptionally well and will surely keep you busy for hours to come.
There is some exploration, foraging, farming, crafting, and even combat and puzzle-solving, but what makes the title even more interesting is the presence of little RPG elements in form of unlockable perks. As you perform in-game activities, you gain experience which allows you to unlock new powers or crafting objects – unlocking them all is incredibly satisfying.
Moonlighter is definitely not a game that could be called an Animal Crossing clone, yet you may find it surprisingly enjoyable if you loved the aforementioned game.
If you ever wondered how it would be to become a fantasy shopkeeper and serve non-player characters, instead of buying goods from them, this game has the answer. Moonlighter consists of two parts – one is an exploration of ancient dungeons and searching for items you could sell, and the other focuses on actually selling them and using earned money to upgrade the town.
The game’s most unique feature is undoubtedly its inventory management system. As you explore dungeons and pick up various items, you have to carefully think about where to put each item – certain items will be randomly cursed and may, for example, destroy an item placed above them. This combined with the fact, that inventory space is very limited, turns inventory management into a minigame of its own.
Games like Animal Crossing for PC are scarce, but there are some hidden gems you can play right now – Garden Paws is one of such games and it has a lot in common with the popular Nintendo game.
For some people, Garden Paws is a marriage between Animal Crossing and Minecraft or Stardew Valley, and it’s not without a reason. Garden Paws lets players run a shop in order to make some coins, which can be later spent on upgrading the town and even building a house.
However, to sell things to other characters, you first need to somehow acquire them – and there are several options, such as farming, mining, fishing, crafting, questing, or even running dungeons full of hostile creatures. You are free to play as you want, but don’t forget to bring your friends – it’s possible to play in groups of up to 4 players together, which makes things infinitely more fun.
Minecraft is not a game that needs an introduction anymore. Everyone knows what Minecraft is about, so it should be clear why it appeared on this list.
When Markus “Notch” Persson released the first version of Minecraft, he couldn’t possibly have known how popular and influential his game will become in the future. A simple voxel-based sandbox with a truly open and infinitely large world, where players are entirely free to play as they want from the very beginning, turned out to be a recipe for success.
Sure, its graphics are different from Animal Crossing’s, but it’s charming in its own way. And if you love the social aspect of Animal Crossing, then you will be pleased to know that you can play with other people on dedicated multiplayer servers, where players from around the world gather to role-play, laugh, and build their worlds together.
The Sims 4
It’s probably not a game you’d expect to appear on the list that focuses on games like Animal Crossing, but if you think about it, it fits perfectly.
The Sims 4 is the newest entry in the Maxis’ life simulation series. To start playing you will have to make your virtual family first – even if it’s just a single person – and then move it into their new house, which you can either buy or build and furniture yourself.
The Sims series was always known for the amount of freedom the players get – it’s a true sandbox experience, where you don’t have any objectives, except for those you set yourself. You can either create a successful and rich family or play as a homeless who showers at their friends’ house and sleeps in the park. It’s all up to you, so write your own story and don’t miss the opportunities.
The Best Animal Crossing Alternatives
Animal Crossing is an extremely popular and successful social simulation game known for its open-ended casual-friendly gameplay and colorful graphics. If you haven’t heard of it yet, that’s probably because you don’t pay much attention to the console market – Animal Crossing is exclusively available on Nintendo consoles, such as the old Nintendo 64, and the newer Nintendo 3DS, and Nintendo Switch. No need to feel bad or ashamed, though. Not everyone owns a Nintendo console, so it’s only natural to not be overly interested in Nintendo-exclusive titles.
It should be said, however, that Animal Crossing is super fun, especially if you have friends to play with. For this reason, you may want to learn about possible alternatives and similar games you could play right now, even if you don’t have and don’t plan to buy a console anytime soon.
There are numerous games like Animal Crossing for PC, but no game is an exact copy, which may be a good or a bad thing, depending on who you ask. It doesn’t mean that alternatives are bad – they are different and fun in their own way. If you want the genuine Animal Crossing experience, there’s really no other way than getting a Nintendo console or resorting to emulators like Citra. Keep in mind, however, that while Nintendo emulators are usually legal to use, you must own a copy of the game you’re about to emulate.
For those who already played Animal Crossing and now are looking for some fresh alternatives, as well for those who can’t play the original game but want to get a similar experience, we picked some interesting titles for you to try instead.