Garden Story (Switch eShop)

Games are often about escapism, and Garden Story offers yet another way to lose yourself in the virtual world: the hero protagonist is a grape, burdened with great purpose. Garden Story may lure you in with its Harvest Moon and Stardew Valley-like aesthetic, but this game about community and saving the world turns out to be an RPG in farm sim's clothing.

Rune Factory 3 Special (Switch)

The real draw of this game is simply the ability to play Rune Factory 3 on a console that doesn’t have ‘DS’ in its name. About 90% of the experience is exactly the same as the original, and that remaining 10% doesn’t exactly cover a whole lot. Luckily, Rune Factory 3 is and always was a great farm sim/RPG hybrid, and it’s something that we can still easily recommend to new and returning players alike. If you fall into the latter group, we’d encourage you to consider carefully how much you want to shell out to replay this on modern hardware. It’s a great game, but it’s effectively the same thing as your DS copy.

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Wytchwood (Switch eShop)

Wytchwood is a crafting game, through and through — and a good one. It smartly puts its focus purely on the act of gathering materials to create a wide range of objects, with little else to distract from the core crafting mechanic. Trying to locate specific items can at times feel exhausting and drags down the pacing of the game, and the gorgeous visuals are unfortunately hampered by a slight frame rate jitter. Ultimately though, Wytchwood is a relaxing and addictive jaunt into the world of crafting.

Slime Rancher: Plortable Edition (Switch eShop)

Upon hearing the title of Slime Rancher: Plortable Edition you might be forgiven for imagining a dozy, snoozy farm simulator that bears a striking resemblance to Stardew Valley with some Dragon Quest Slimes and a first-person perspective thrown in. If that’s you, well you’re only half right, or maybe a quarter right. Slime Rancher is a tricky game to pin in a single box; it’s part Stardew, part Subnautica, and when you come across what few enemies there are, part DOOM Eternal. All right, we might be slightly overdoing it with that last one as all shooting is done to either feed things or lightly douse them in water, but we’re standing by it.

Moonlighter (Switch)

Remember Recettear, the game that replaced Harvest Moon's farming guff with running a shop? That mantle has been taken up by Moonlighter, a recent RPG roguelite that combines dungeon crawling with the art of shopkeepery. It hits a sweet spot somewhere between satisfying swordplay and nitty-gritty economic sim, although some players may feel it gets ‘grindy’ after a while in its mechanics. Nonetheless, Digital Sun Games has produced a lush work it can be proud of; one that even touches on our humanity in an optimistic way.

Spiritfarer (Switch eShop)

It's not exactly rare for a game to be about delivering folks to their deaths – usually via high-calibre ammunition – but it's certainly something new to see a game about ensuring a peaceful, fulfilling end of life. That's what Spiritfarer is, and it's certainly a unique thing; an instantly striking, benignly haunting little gem that's more subtle than you'd expect for a title with such big ideas.

Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town (Switch)

While not by any means the best Story of Seasons game on the market, Pioneers of Olive Town is promising and disappointing in equal measure. A bevy of patches fixed up a lot of the issues we had in our review, so we're comfortable recommending this one to anyone who's already exhausted some of the higher-scoring offerings on this list, but don't expect a game that's up to the quality of Friends of Mineral Town!

Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin (Switch)

Lovers of Stardew Valley and Harvest Moon may not find this game to be exactly the kind of farming they enjoy – it's more like, you know, actual farming, with all the tiny changes in fertiliser recipes and water temperature that farming requires. But for anyone who needs to practise mindfulness, patience, and appreciation for the small things, Sakuna: Of Rice And Ruin may just be the therapy you need.

Farming Simulator 20 (Switch)

If all these airy-fairy fantastical worlds aren't serious enough for you, the Farming Simulator series enables you to put your nose to the grindstone and drive tractors, harvest crops and watch numbers go up without all that romance and relationship nonsense. Switch has a couple of series entries to choose from: the mobile-focused and streamlined Farming Simulator 20, and Farming Simulator: Nintendo Switch Edition, which converts the more in-depth Farming Simulator 2017 for Nintendo's console.

If you're not one to enjoy a long, languorous journey to success, you'd be better off sticking to the more abstract, friendly farming sims. However, once you get into Farming Simulator's low-key and repetitive groove, there's a wealth of wholesome, calming work to get lost in and a satisfying flow to cultivating a field, sowing seeds, harvesting, repeating and watching those numbers go up. Getting the key to a brand-new combine harvester never felt so good.