Stardew Valley is something of a wonder. It was developed over several years by a single person using a nickname ConcernedApe and it gained a devoted following nearly overnight.
Contrary to games such as the Farming Simulator series, Stardew Valley is happy to abstract some of the more tedious aspects of running a farm in favor of energy/time management and using the space in the most efficient way. It also has a charming art style and offers plenty of activities besides just tending your farm.
However, one can play a single game for only so long, no matter how good it is. We have prepared a small list of games which may tick some of the boxes that Stardew Valley does.
|Sun Haven||2021-06-25||Indie||Pixel Sprout Studios|
|World's Dawn||2016-01-25||Indie||Wayward Prophet|
|STORY OF SEASONS: Friends of Mineral Town||2020-07-14||Simulation||Marvelous Inc.||8%|
|Farm Together||2018-02-22||Indie||Milkstone Studios||53%|
|Slime Rancher||2017-08-01||Adventure||Monomi Park||64%|
|Graveyard Keeper||2018-08-15||Adventure||Lazy Bear Games||72%|
|My Time At Portia||2018-01-23||Indie||Pathea Games||85%|
Moonlighter’s obvious similarity to Stardew Valley is the pixelated aesthetic, but there are more things to consider. Moonlighter is a game about being a shopkeeper in a fantasy world, stocking various hard-to-get resources and, potentially, magical artifacts looted from nearby dungeons. Your parents were merchants and you inherited their store, but your true calling is to be a Hero.
While you aren’t cultivating a farmland, there are some elements, Moonlighter can still hit the same vibe as SDV. A good half of the playtime you spend doing relaxingly mundane stuff, like putting your wares on display and handling customers. You also interact with the citizens of a nearby town, restoring their businesses with money you earn thanks to your hobby of delving dungeons for sweet loot.
|Developer||Pixel Sprout Studios|
Sun Haven is an answer to the question: what if Stardew Valley had more fantasy RPG elements. The result is a game that, in addition to enjoyable, relaxing farming also features several playable species, monsters to defeat, and a robust skill tree giving you access to both mundane and magical methods of defending yourself. There’s also home decoration, crafting, several towns…plenty to do indeed.
Sun Haven also comes with multiplayer for up to 8 people, because, as Stardew Valley proved, cooperative farming can be quite a bonding experience. To complete the picture, you can also romance a whole bunch of NPCs and marry them to have them join you in your humble (or not so humble) cottage. At the time of writing Sun Haven is in Early Access, but already shows great promise.
Admittedly Hokko life bears more resemblance to the Nintendo Switch hit Animal Crossing: New Horizons, but that only means that, by transitive property, it also has a lot in common with Stardew Valley. This game drops in a small town with lots on uninhabited space, and lets you go hog wild on customizing your property via a very robust and flexible design tool in your workshop.
True to theme, there’s also plenty of farming to do, with a bunch of different crops and fruits you’ll be able to sell for NPCs. There are even tunnels you can venture into to mine minerals for your uncontrollable crafting endeavors. Like Sun Haven above, Hokko Life is has recently (at the time of writing) entered in Early Access, and it might just be a good PC substitute for Animal Crossing.
Garden Story is charming game with big ideas. You’re playing as an enthusiastic and resourceful little berry whose task is to restore the village to glory. This quest involves a non-insignificant amount of fighting against the invasive, mysterious Rot, and a fair share of crafting, farming, and construction. There are several NPCs still in the village, and you’ll do them many favors throughout the game.
Garden Story has a lovely aesthetic, full of clean lines and pastel colors which work really well with the game’s relaxing atmosphere. Even the Rot looks almost friendly, and it’s your enemy! If you’re not particularly keen on combat, the game has no problem letting you minimize the risks in its options. If you’re looking for a relaxing, pleasant game with constructive gameplay, check Garden Story out.
World’s Dawn and Stardew Valley are very similar, but it’s not because one is a clone of the other. Both games take inspiration from an older title, Harvest Moon, and similarities they share are the result of this heritage. There’s everything: farming to your heart’s content, relationships (including marriage) with NPC living in a quiet, sleepy town you find yourself in, and various thematic minigames.
There’s also, of course, time management (including passing seasons) which is so crucial for a farming and community simulator. World’s Dawn looks very retro, including an unusual resolution and graphics, but that simply adds to the nostalgic, relaxing atmosphere of the game. If you want something JUST like Stardew Valley, World’s Dawn is as close as it gets.
Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town
Including this one is a bit like cheating, because the series we now know as Story of Season used to be known as… Harvest Moon, the very series that inspired Stardew Valley. Friends of Mineral Town originally launched in 2003 for Game Boy Advance as Harvest Moon: Back to Nature. In 2019 it received got a Switch remake/rename, which was ported to PC in 2020 and to PS4 and XO in late 2021.
The story involves coming to restore and manage an inherited farmland nearby a rural town, and if that sounds familiar, you’re not wrong. The main difference between SoS: Friends of Mineral Town and Stardew Valley is that SoS is in 3D, but otherwise you’re going to feel right at home caring for plants and livestock, visiting town and its many inhabitants, and living your best life.
Although Farm Together can absolutely be played solo, one of tis draws is your ability to work on your plot of land with other people. Whether it’s a carefully selected group of friends or a public farm, you can invite some helping hands to your farm. Farm Together is so committed to multiplayer that it features even local co-op for up to 4, provided you have the necessary controllers.
What might make Farm Together into an experience that’s less thoroughly chill than other games on this list is that time advances even when you’re not playing. If that doesn’t bother you, then you’re in for some solid farming and crafting gameplay, easily shared with others. There’s also a neat, but ultimately inconsequential addition in the form of a customizable pet that’s going to follow you around.
Slime Rancher is a delightful game. The titular slimes are blobby, friendly-looking creatures, which seem perfectly happy being vacuumed into a fancy backpack to be released into their enclosures later. A bulk of the game is spent collecting the slimes and feeding them their favorite food so that they produce “plorts” for you to sell on the market.
Newbucks earned this way can be spent on upgrades for your ranch. Despite two differences that can be spotted right away—the first-person camera and a friendly-looking 3-dimensional world—the idea of maintaining and managing your own ranch, complete with growing food for your slimes to eat, and selling produce on a market are obvious similarities to ConcernedApe’s game.
|Developer||Lazy Bear Games|
Graveyard Keeper is a curious game which possibly wouldn’t have come to be without the popularity of Stardew Valley. It is a humorous game about being a person who needs to run a cemetery of a Medieval town. You select the plots for the graves, conduct autopsies on corpses before preparing them for the coffin, you also can participate in events in the nearby town, such as burning of a heretic…
There’s a lot to do in this game, and we haven’t even covered crafting or tending to your own vegetable patch. The game is obviously comedic in nature, as opposed to serene sincerity of Stardew Valley or bubbly friendliness of Slime Rancher, but it’s still quite an interesting management game with an unusual premise. It’s effectively SDV but about running a cemetery.
My Time At Portia
Released in 2019, My Time at Portia has a premise very similar to Stardew Valley. While in SDV your character gets a farm from their grandmother, in MTAP it’s a workshop inherited from their father. Oh, and the world is recovering from apocalyptic destruction. Otherwise, in both games you need to turn a failing property into a thriving business through hard work and micromanaging.
Just like in SDV you also get to make many new friends, rebuild the town to improve the life of the community, and make your way through dungeons stretching deep and wide beneath the town. If you can brave the dangers it hides, the spoils will be yours for the taking. My Time At Portia is quite happy to let you do anything you find exciting: exploring, pursuing crafting projects, or maybe just fishing.
|Genre:||Simulation, Farming Sim|
While Stardew Valley has a definitely Western theme (it could easily take place in Europe or the United States), The Islander is more Polynesia-inspired. Your plot of land is an actual island somewhere on the ocean, and among the more mundane plants, like wheat or turnips you can also farm kiwifruit or pineapples. The livestock you can care for include pandas among the familiar cows and chickens.
Despite the change of scenery, many aspects stay the same. Your goal is still to establish your own farm in a limited area. Harvest crops, rear animals, build and decorate your house, you probably know how it works. If you fancy a setting different from SDV’s, check this one out. There’s also a second game, The Islander: Town Architect, which has a significantly less rural theme.
Staxel is a middle point between Minecraft’s blocky aesthetic and Stardew Valley’s core gameplay. Everything you’d expect after having played SDV is in here: growing crops, taking care of livestock, making friends, shaping the land to suit your needs. It’s just that instead of 2D, old school pixels you’re dealing with a fully 3D environment created out of small, 3D voxels.
Contrary to Stardew Valley, Staxel was also designed with multiplayer in mind, so it has a number of well-integrated functionalities if you want to share the fun with your friends. Staxel is also mod-friendly, including an integration with the Workshop if you’re playing on Steam, so you have a measure of flexibility when it comes to customizing your game world to suit your needs.
Kynseed looks every bit like Stardew Valley, but it is also quite different from it in several crucial aspects. While SDV exists in a timeless land where people don’t get old, Kynseed is all about the passage of years and adding building blocks to your family’s prosperity and legacy. It also includes forming long-time relationships and building a reputation, both positive and negative.
You get to run a farm, of course, but you can also occasionally play pranks on your neighbors, explore the lore of the fantasy land the game takes place in, or trade years of your life to a mysterious being for magic items. Whatever one generation manages to accomplish is passed on to the next, including wealth and powers gained from adventures.
Reap the spoils
This concludes our list of farming games with additional focus on community simulation and friendly aesthetics. Whether the similarity lies in the farming theme, the management-based gameplay, or something as elusive as a family legacy, there’s something here for everyone and there’s no shortage of games like Stardew Valley.