Stardew Valley (Switch eShop)

Stardew Valley (Switch eShop)Stardew Valley (Switch eShop)
Publisher: ConcernedApe / Developer: ConcernedApe
Release Date: 5th Oct 2017 (USA) / 5th Oct 2017 (UK/EU)

Who among us hasn't dreamed of sacking it all in and going to work on a farm? Think about it: instead of emails, you get fresh strawberries. Instead of deadlines, it's all about crop rotation. And instead of having to go on some terrible dating app, you just give someone an egg every day until they love you.

Stardew Valley is all about taking life slow, but don't let that fool you into thinking it's easy — there's plenty of depth to be found, including the literal depth of the mines, which are stuffed with hazards, traps, monsters, and TREASURE.

Also, you can get really into making your farm as efficient as possible... or you can just turn it into a pig paradise, if you want. It's up to you!

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Rainbow Billy: The Curse of the Leviathan (Switch eShop)

Rainbow Billy: The Curse of the Leviathan (Switch eShop)Rainbow Billy: The Curse of the Leviathan (Switch eShop)
Publisher: Skybound Games / Developer: Manavoid Entertainment
Release Date: 5th Oct 2021 (USA) / 5th Oct 2021 (UK/EU)

Rainbow Billy: The Curse of the Leviathan may have a terrifying title, but the game shines a light on the universally relatable questions of identity, self-discovery, mental wellbeing and accepting ourselves for who we are. Rainbow Billy stars an “everyday hero,” Billy — who's just a regular kid looking to have a positive impact by bringing joy and colour back to the world and helping friends find the courage to be their true selves.

The game hopes to inspire players that we can all be everyday heroes and that positive changes begins with us being able to positively impact and influence the world around us. Games like Animal Crossing are rooted in a wholesome vibe, but Rainbow Billy’s values of empathy, compassion, inclusivity and friendship are in every part of the game, from the story and visuals, all the way down to the mechanics.

Littlewood (Switch eShop)

Littlewood (Switch eShop)Littlewood (Switch eShop)
Publisher: SmashGames / Developer: Sean Young
Release Date: 25th Feb 2021 (USA) / 25th Mar 2021 (UK/EU)

We imagine that actual farmers would probably dispute their livelihood being constantly touted as "wholesome", given how much poo, death, and screaming is involved, but Littlewood is yet another game that makes farming look very appealing. It's not just farming in this one, though — it's your standard combo of farm-fight-friendship.

What sets Littlewood apart is its story. Rather than being a dead guy's granddaughter in a cosy little town in the middle of nowhere, you are the hero who saved the world, but you don't remember any of it. Neither does the villain, in fact — but you'll have to revitalise the ruins of your last battle together. What a lovely way to start a tale!

Spiritfarer (Switch eShop)

Spiritfarer (Switch eShop)Spiritfarer (Switch eShop)
Publisher: Thunder Lotus Games / Developer: Thunder Lotus Games
Release Date: 18th Aug 2020 (USA) / 18th Aug 2020 (UK/EU)

How fitting, to finish off this list with a game about death. But wait! It's not about the horrifying reality of mortality — Spiritfarer is all about finding peace and comfort before going off to eternal rest.

As the person who ferries spirits to their final destination, you'll also have to let them live on your barge until they're ready to pass on — and that means helping them fulfil their unfinished business. We're talking "I want to tell this person what I really think about them," not "I want to get revenge on the person who murdered me", by the way.

All of the spirits are represented by animals, from snakes to hedgehogs, and best of all, you can hug them. With a gorgeously-animated look, and the ability to upgrade your barge however you please, Spiritfarer is definitely worth a play... if you can handle the weepy parts.

Kitaria Fables (Switch)

Kitaria Fables (Switch)Kitaria Fables (Switch)
Publisher: PQube / Developer: Twin Hearts Games
Release Date: 3rd Sep 2021 (USA) / 3rd Sep 2021 (UK/EU)

Kitaria Fables is another farming 'n' fighting game, with the added twist that A) everyone is an anthropomorphic animal and B) magic is illegal, and you're a magic user. A deep story is woven through the game, which will have you seeking the answers behind the banning of magic, defeating bosses, levelling up your equipment, and grinding. LOTS of grinding.

It's a pretty brilliant RPG, and it has more than a little in common with the cult favourite Level-5 RPG, Fantasy Life — fans of the latter should definitely check it out.

Now, over to you — which "wholesome" games do you think deserve to be on this list? And what does "wholesome" actually mean to you? Let us know in the comments below.

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, 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, Visual Novels, Fighting Games, Hidden Gems, 2D Platformers, 3D Platformers, Run and Gun Games, Sports Games, Beat 'Em Ups, Chill Games, Family Games, Retro-Inspired Games, Short Games, Card Games and Deck-builders, 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, and the Best Switch Collections And Compilations.

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, and 2020. And finally, if you're interested in other Nintendo consoles and retro games, check out the Best Game Boy Games, Best Nintendo DS Games, Best Nintendo 3DS Games, Best SNES Games, Best N64 Games, Best GameCube Games, and Best Wii Games, as well as Every Nintendo Switch Online NES Game and Every Nintendo Switch Online SNES Game.