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.
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Plantera Deluxe (Switch eShop)
Plantera Deluxe is an incremental little game that puts you in charge of garden which you tend periodically. The game saw release on both 3DS and Wii U, and while the Switch 'Deluxe' version version doesn't add a whole lot, the base game is just as addictive as ever. Obviously, its mobile, casual clicker nature isn't as deep as the other winners above and below, but if you're after something to really unwind with and the others all seem like too much hard work, Plantera will keep your green finger(s) occupied.
Lonesome Village (Switch eShop)
Lonesome Village takes elements of life-sim legends and a large handful of Zelda references and wraps them together in very cute packaging. It may not have the richest narrative, but it will absorb and soothe you – even in its short playtime. Barring a few drawbacks with player experience, specifically around menu navigation, this game offers up some good wholesome fun without the sweaty button-mashing of combat. If you’re puzzling over a new cosy game to play, Lonesome Village just might be your solution.
Disney Dreamlight Valley (Switch eShop)
Disney Dreamlight Valley is a frictionless, relaxing spin on life sims that manages to remain heartwarming and charming. Dreamlight Valley’s unique identity relies heavily on fresh interactions with your in-game friends, and developer Gameloft will be adding to and supporting it with regular updates to keep the Night Thorns from creeping back in — which will be essential for the game's longevity.
However, what arrived at launch was surprisingly touching and thoughtful right off the bat, cleverly playing on the nostalgia of anyone who's ever counted themselves a Disney fan. Let's hope it keeps on growing.
Potion Permit (Switch)
Potion Permit makes an effort to implement engaging minigame mechanics through potion brewing and patient diagnosis, but outside of that, a lack of challenge and a feeling of repetition means it struggles to stand out in the vast field of life sims. Still, it presents a fun and enchanting experience which gets a massive shot in the arm from excellent presentation in both the audio and visual departments.
Potion Permit fits the bill for something to pick up now and then and pass a few hours, then, and there are certainly enough quests for you to sink your teeth into and keep you entertained for a while, even if it's not as catching as the very best in the genre.
Harvestella could be described as a high-end 'good' game, if that makes sense. Its performance issues and rather simplistic mechanics hold it back from being great, but its quest design, dungeon exploration, and successful fusion of very distinct gameplay mechanics make it quite compelling all the same. The $60 price tag feels a little high for what’s on offer here, but this is absolutely a title that we’d recommend farm sim fans buy when the inevitable sales start to crop up. Harvestella may not be a challenger to Stardew Valley’s crown, but it does enough to distinguish itself as a worthwhile experience anyway.
Stardew Valley (Switch eShop)
One of the breakout indie hits of the last decade, to call Stardew Valley a 'farm sim' doesn't quite capture the depth and complexity of its remarkable pixel world. Taking inspiration from nearly all of the other series in this list (and others besides), Stardew has grown over time with patches and updates only making it more impressive. It's a time sink, to be sure, but that's what you came here for, right? If you're looking to escape to a world you can fashion to your liking and feel proud of at the end of the day, Stardew Valley is up there with the very best of them on Switch, or any platform.
Played any other life and/or farming sims on Switch? Think we've missed something? We'll be keeping this list up-to-date with new candidates as they crop up, but let us know your favourites in the comments.
This article is one of our Switch Essentials guides which cover a wide variety of genres, including the Best Switch FPS Games, the Best Switch RPGs, the Best Switch Games For Kids, the Best Switch Couch Co-Op Games and the Best Switch Fitness and Exercise Games. We can also help out hunting down the Best Switch Horror Games, the Best Switch Racing Games, the Best Switch Action-RPGs, the Best Nintendo Switch Roguelikes, Roguelites and Run-Based Games, the Best Free Switch Games, the Best Remakes And Remasters, the Best Switch Music And Rhythm Games, Best Feel-Good Switch Games, Best Switch Open-World Games, Best Switch Soulslike Games, Best LGBTQ+ Switch Games, and even Games to Play After You've Finished Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Whatever your favourite genre, we've got you covered: Strategy Games, Metroidvanias, Puzzle Games, Party Games, Online Multiplayer Games, Local Wireless Multiplayer Games, Shmups, Twin-Stick Shooters, Visual Novels, Kart Racers, Fighting Games, Football Games, Funny Games, Golf Games, 'Walking Sims' And Narrative Games, Switch Games For Lovers And Lonely Hearts, Detective Games, Hidden Gems, 2D Platformers, 3D Platformers, Puzzle Platformers, Tabletop Mode Games, Run and Gun Games, LEGO Games, Sports Games, Survival Games, Beat 'Em Ups, Camera Games, Chill Games, Family Games, Retro-Inspired Games, Short Games, Card Games and Deck-Builders, and Life Sims And Farming Games.
Still hungry for more? Elsewhere we look at Wholesome Games, TATE Mode Games, Flight Sim and Space Combat, Point and Click Adventure Games, and the Best Switch Exclusives, as well as Every Arcade Archives Game, Every ACA Neo Geo Game, Every SEGA AGES Game On Switch, plus the Best Switch Ports, Best Wii U-To-Switch Ports, Best Switch Collections And Compilations, Best Cheap Switch Games, Best Switch Demos, Games That Are Better On Switch OLED, Switch Games Under $10, $20, $50, and Switch games with the Best Soundtracks and the Best Graphics. Phew!
If you're looking for the best Switch games regardless of genre, our reader-voted selection of the Best Nintendo Switch Games should help you out, and you can also find the Best Nintendo Switch Games of 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. And finally, if you're interested in other Nintendo consoles and retro games, check out the Best Game Boy Games, Best GBC Games, Best GBA Games, Best Nintendo DS Games, Best Nintendo 3DS Games, Best NES Games, Best SNES Games, Best N64 Games, Best GameCube Games, and Best Wii Games, and Best Wii U Games, as well as Every Available Nintendo Switch Online Retro Game, and ranked lists of Every Nintendo Switch Online NES, SNES, N64 and Sega Genesis / Mega Drive Game.
Animal Crossing and Rune Factory 4 are definitely the picks of the bunch for me. Stardew Valley's pretty good but I don't love it quite as much as everyone else seems to.
Had Rune Factory 4 not been on this list I might have had to resort to extreme measures.
But hey, it was there, so it's all fine!
Graveyard Keeper is grossly ignored by this site. My only issue with it is SO MUCH ***** TO DO AT ANY MOMENT!
I enjoyed Forager but I don't feel it should be on this list as it's quite arcadey and not at all like a "life sim" once you're done...you're done. Fantastic game still.
Might give Doraemon a go after other sites rated it so highly, I cant say Friends of Mineral Town has aged well after the recent version, just seemed so limited compared to Stardew.
@hadrian as much as I like graveyard keeper I got to a point in it where I am just too busy and have to basically stop running my graveyard to get resources for like hours on end. When you have to start pulling slabs of ore at a time it gets a bit tedious.
Stuff in the game is also so freaking expensive, like the seller license and upgrades to your status. I'm 40 hours in and feel like I have another 100 to even have most of the stuff unlocked.
At this rate, Animal Crossing New Horizons is my Best Sim game so far but due to my very high hype with this game, i gave it score 99/100.
Btw, i want to ask about My Time at Portia. Which version should i consider by all seriousness ?(Switch or PS4). I heard the Switch version still have issues even with the latest update compared with PS4 version.
Considering I enjoyed New Horizons less than New Leaf, Doraemon: Story of Seasons might be the best sim game on Switch.
Peanutbuttergamer would like to know your location
Animal crossing has consumed my life.
I had an anxiety dream that I couldn't pull my slingshot out quick enough to pop a balloon.
I see an insect and my first response, in my head, is go for my net.
Plantera is such a nice little idle game, I really hope they bring the sequel to Switch too, once that comes out.
I have been thinking of getting Doraemon a while now. I think i'll give it a go. Sounds fun, also i never played any of rune factory games. It gets good reviews everywhere but part 5 is coming out soon so i'm thinking of maybe holding out for that.
@Anti-Matter definitely go with the PS4 version on this one. It runs like rubbish on the Switch unfortunately. With that being said, it's a good enough game where I dropped 100+ hours into it on the Switch, but once I got the PS4 version, I ended up never looking back at the Switch port. Please note though, it does lag a bit on the PS4 as well though; but that may just be how the game is optimized universally and may behave the same way on PC.
Everybody is always ignoring the Doraemon game. Even though it might be one of the polished ones out there.
Glad that it is featured here. But I guess people tend to put it aside because they are not familiar with the Doraemon license. Which is barely an issue if you want to enjoy the game anyway.
Graveyard Digger (with the Zombie DLC) feels left out like a spoiled cadaver.
Stardew Valley is a masterpiece. And the fact the Concerned Ape is always updating and tweaking the game makes it the gift that keeps on giving.
Gotta keep those Animal Crossing clicks coming, right?
Ever herd of minecraft?
@Apportal lol I was thinking the same
Dark Souls is ky favorite family game 😎
As @Freddyfred said, Minecraft deserves to be on this list - Forager does not. Stardew renewed the farming genre after Harvest Moon imploded.
@tofarawaytimes No, i don't think so. I played the game all the way to the end. I ended up actually liking the game. However, the farming mechanics were too simple (although the animals were great) the frame rate drops were distracting. I am glad I played it, but i would not recommend it.
I love Animal Crossing.
I liked Stardew Valley as well.
Forager is on my backlog.
RF4 and Story of Seasons FoMT is on my wishlist
@PickledKong64 MY TURNIPS REACHED THE THIRD LEVEL OF THEIR GROWTH CYCLE!
@Anti-Matter I would go for PS4 unless you really want it portable. The graphics and performance would be improved on the PS4. I do have the switch version though, it is very playable just not as polished as the PC or PS4/Xbox version. Overall, I've logged quite a few hours into both, so I don't think you'll go wrong with either.
Forager was a fun little addiction for a few days but after I saw most of what it had to offer I haven’t looked back.
Stardew Valley for Life. Lost count of my playthroughs.
Graveyard keeper has so much promise and is definitely for the more hardcore sim players. You have to really work for success and it only comes in small bits but they are pretty satisfying. If it had the balance and polish of Stardew Valley it would be a real contender.
AC: New Horizons gets a thumbs up but couldn’t hold me for more than a month.
Forager is really fun.
Animal Crossing and Stardew own hundreds of hours of my life.
Stardew Valley is excellent! Been playing it way too much
No love for Fallout Shelter? Heh.
A lot of people knock SOS:FOMT either for its visuals or for not having enough to do, but I love it just as much as I loved the original. I bought it thinking it might have aged badly and would suffer by comparison with Stardew, but I haven't found that to be the case at all. I would recommend it to anyone who's into this genre.
Not to take anything away from Stardew, it's still one of the best games you can buy on the Switch IMO.
You're missing Farm Together, which is more polished than half the games on this list.
This is just my take, but it's weird that the list of farming games of all things has the most controversial picks.
Thanks for the quick review of My Time at Portia. 😀
I think i will choose the PS4 version.
I have surpassed your ACNH gameplay hours. 😉
Mine was more than 350 hours.
@Anti-Matter Forgive me, I had the small matter of moving overseas taking up my time. :/
Farming simulator i think is often the Marmite option. It's one of those games two thirds of people would drop never to pick up again, and the rest delve hours and hours into it trying to get the logistics right
I just adore Stardew Valley, it has a charm to it that immerses me so much in the game. Came to Animal Crossing late and not getting the same vibe - I am putting time into it but it feels like 'busy work' rather than creating a place for myself in a new community like Stardew did for me.
Stardew valley is at its rightful place at 1
Modded SV simply blows everything else out the water.
So many…. So, so many. Games and hours. 😊
I'm surprised to see Plantera mentioned at all, never mind on a "best of" list. Not to say I didn't enjoy it, but it is one of those games where you quickly run out of things to do besides grind for diminishing returns. I'd like Stardew Valley a lot more if it didn't force you to stop what you're doing every few minutes, though that probably goes for half this list. Moonlighter and of course Animal Crossing are awesome, though.
Sakuna is my perfect farm sim game because as much as I love sim games I wanna save the world/punch something in the face. I was hoping harvestella would have come in second but for my personal taste Sakunahime is truly a goddess.
Doraemon Story of Seasons is a delightful game.
Moonlighter and Spiritfarer are wonderful. They absolutely get my vote. Love those games.
Animal Crossing and Stardew are unequivocally wonderful games. This list makes me want to revisit Sakuna and Spiritfarer too which I never finished. Kitaria Fables is on my wishlist but I haven't had time for it yet.
@Yanina The Doraemon SoS is beautiful but waaaay too grindy, even for a farming game. The new one is said to have improved a lot on that front, so I might still get that.
Not typically my genre of games, but Moonlighter is an absolute gem of a game. I no longer collect games as I used to, and barely ever get a physical release after I got a digital one for super cheap already, but Moonlighter was an exception. Recently bought a used copy, quite cheap, knowing it has all the inner-boxart and even a manual, the stuff that makes physical games nice to have. Got Blue Fire, Death's Door, and Darq as well then, all decently priced, and all with those "extra's" (small colour booklets inside the box), I guess they are extra's now. Those are the games I still enjoy simply "having", in some way. I guess "the collector inside me" didn't ever really die, I just got him under control.
My family has delved into Stardew Valley quite recently. It's a masterpiece! Totally immersive, oozing with character and charm. Time flies and you just don't feel it. Haven't had the slightest sensation of grinding so far because it flows so fine
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