In the world of videogames where guns, spaceships and mass murder rule, why are games like Stardew Valley so popular? It almost comes as a surprise that in 2020 it had sold over 10 million copies, despite having come out more than 4 years ago. It’s a game where the ultimate end goal isn’t world domination but to harvest the best crops and make friends with your horse.
So why do we love it? I think there are many reasons but one of them is that it provides a peaceful escape. There’s a whole bunch of farming sim games out there and whether you’re in it for the addictive loop of growing your farm, making money or just developing relationships. We’ve got some games for you to keep an eye on.
Sun Haven by Pixel Sprout Studios
Release Date: 28th May 2021
Wouldn’t farming be easier with magic? Why yes, yes it would. Sun Haven is a fantasy farming sim and RPG. Where magic, dragons, elves and demons are all free to roam around your potato crop. Choose to play as an elemental with a head of fire, or an angel with golden wings. Sun Haven puts all the wonderful elements of Stardew Valley farming, fishing and mining and sprinkles it with magic.
There are different spells for you to learn – call a rain cloud down to water your crops, explode rocks around you. Even raise a baby dragon of your own or grow a tree of gems. Sun Haven is giving me everything I love in the realm of fantasy and putting it in a farming game. I can’t wait.
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
My Time At Sandrock by Pathea Games
Release Date: Spring 2021
Developed by Pathea Games who created the wildly successful life, RPG sim My Time at Portiacomes their new follow up game.
In My Time at Sandrock, you’re not so much a farmer as a builder. Tossed into the wild and rugged city-state of Sandrock it’s up to you and your workshop to save the town from economic ruin.
I had a lot of fun playing My Time at Portia and it looks like My Time at Sandrock is going to be even better. The beautiful open world allows you to explore and gather materials. If you’re a little tired of the farming aspect, watering all those plant squares can be a little repetitive. Then the My Time series may be another one for you to follow!
Platforms: PlayStation 4/5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC
Coral Island by Stairway Games
Release Date: October 2021
Coral Island is the Stardew Valley of Southeast Asia. It takes the traditional farming elements that we know and love and puts a spin on it. You’ll still have to grow crops, nurture animals and befriend the townspeople but at the same time, you’ll be fighting to save the coral reef and protect the environment.
Coral Island has a variety of different plant, animal and even human species not readily available in most farming sim games. Want to grow some starfruit? Marry a mermaid? Go diving on the ocean floor? Coral Island can make it all happen. The game just hit all its stretch goals on Kickstarter and is hoping to release this October.
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC
One Lonely Outpost by Aurorian Studios
Release Date: Late 2021
Stardew Valley but make it space.
One Lonely Outpost captures all the hallmarks that we know and love from Stardew Valley and puts it in space. If you’ve ever watched The Martian you’ve got to know how important crops growing in space are. But unlike Mark Watney, we’re not limited to a couple of potatoes we have a whole smorgasbord to play with.
You can even decide to genetically modify your crops. Make them more drought-resistant? Make them grow more quickly? And of course, don’t forget to explore the planet! Mine, fish, explore and of course date your fellow colony members and find life and love in space.
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, Mac
Little Witch In The Woods by Sunny Side Up
Release Date: 2021
Not a farmer in this one but a witch. Little Witch in the Woods is a cutesy sim-life game where you play as Ellie, a new witch in town. Your goal is to master your skills, learn how to brew potions and harvest the rare ingredients for it. Explore a world of magic and cute fluffy animals in this charming little adventure.
A relaxing fantasy world for you to immerse yourself in, like My Time at Sandrock this is another game that doesn’t put a heavy emphasis on farming. But it does highlight all the other elements of Stardew Valley that we love – namely gathering ingredients and befriending animals. We haven’t seen much about the game since December but it is expected to come out this year.
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, Mac