Best Nintendo Switch Life Sims And Farming Games – Feature

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If you’re looking for a change of pace and some welcome distraction from your everyday life, few mediums offer such engrossing, ongoing escapism as video games. Even the best books have an ending, but some games can go on almost indefinitely and come to form a calming part of our daily routines.

If you’re looking for just such a game, the list below of the best life sims and farming games on Switch should get you on the right track. Whether you’ve always dreamed of moving to the countryside, retiring to a deserted island, or simply heading to the watering hole for a spot of fishing, the games below will set you up with a new (digital) life and keep you busy with pleasant little tasks to melt away the stress of real life… or at least replace it with the low-stakes stress of sowing turnips, tending to animals and managing your crops. Just remember when you’re stressing about squeezing these digital lives into your packed schedule, it’s all for fun!

So, grab your spade and a handful of seeds, and let’s take a look–in no particular order–at the cream of the crop; the best life and farming sims on Switch.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Switch)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo

Release Date: 20th Mar 2020 (USA) / 20th Mar 2020 (UK/EU)

Animal Crossing: New Horizons helped a lot of people get through troubling times around the game’s launch in March 2020, and it’s the perfect tonic if you’re looking to get away from hustle, bustle, trials, tribulations, and any other type of stress. It’s arguably best enjoyed little-and-often, although many a player has been known to fall into the a-lot-and-often habit. If Animal Crossing grabs you, it’ll never let you go.

Whether you’re collecting sea shells, harvesting fruit, growing money trees, fishing, bug-catching, crafting items, diving for sea creatures or simply creating your ideal paradise island, it’s one of the best games on Switch if you’re looking to escape for a few hours, days, months or, yes, even years!

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Rune Factory 4 Special (Switch)Rune Factory 4 Special (Switch)

Publisher: Marvelous AQL / Developer: Neverland

Release Date: 25th Feb 2020 (USA) / 28th Feb 2020 (UK/EU)

Adding some traditional RPG elements into its Harvest Moon-style farm sim gameplay, Rune Factory 4 Special adds dungeons into the mix of farming, fishing, cooking and romance and serves up a tasty concoction in the process. One of the game’s greatest triumphs is how it melds all those gameplay elements into a thoroughly satisfying whole. If you played it on 3DS, there’s not enough here to warrant double dipping, but if you’re after a modern classic with equally satisfying farming and combat that lets you decide your own pace, Rune Factory 4 delivers on all fronts. We can’t wait for Rune Factory 5.

Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town (Switch)Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town (Switch)

Publisher: Marvelous (XSEED) / Developer: Marvelous (XSEED)

Release Date: 14th Jul 2020 (USA) / 10th Jul 2020 (UK/EU)

A 3D remake of GBA’s Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town, Marvelous’ Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town offers up the celebrated original in sparkling form. The underlying game might be getting on a bit (it released back in 2003) but it’s still a fine take on the farm sim genre – simple, straightforward and satisfying. Keeping your farm running smoothly day-to-day and pursuing romance are all part of the game and if you’re after a classic Harvest Moon game without the complexities and complications of later entries, Friends of Mineral Town provides just that.

Forager (Switch eShop)Forager (Switch eShop)

Publisher: Humble Bundle / Developer: HopFrog

Release Date: 30th Jul 2019 (USA) / 30th Jul 2019 (UK/EU)

Throwing mining, monster-slaying and scavenging into the sim-style mix, Forager has you building an island community, expanding out and defending your land from nasties. This game is a life sim game for those who find Stardew Valley a bit too slow for their tastes. A few clumsy design choices are overcome with a sizeable dose of charm, so if you’re looking for a not-that-slow life, Forager might be just the ticket.

My Time at Portia (Switch)My Time at Portia (Switch)

Publisher: Team17 / Developer: Pathea Games

Release Date: 16th Apr 2019 (USA) / 16th Apr 2019 (UK/EU)

My Time At Portia has crafting at its heart, and its timers and missions can be tough to grasp at first. Give it time, though, and it may very well become one of your most-played Switch games. Set in the titular post-apocalyptic town, it’s your job to bring Portia back from the brink by completing missions and crafting your way back to prominence. Your relationships with the townspeople grow along with your crops and–provided you can get over that initial crafting hump–there’s a good chance you won’t be able to tear yourself away.

Farming Simulator 20 (Switch)Farming Simulator 20 (Switch)

Publisher: Focus Home Interactive / Developer: Giants Software

Release Date: 3rd Dec 2019 (USA) / 3rd Dec 2019 (UK/EU)

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.

Doraemon: Story of Seasons (Switch)Doraemon: Story of Seasons (Switch)

Publisher: Bandai Namco / Developer: Marvelous Inc.

Release Date: 11th Oct 2019 (USA) / 11th Oct 2019 (UK/EU)

If the visuals of Doraemon: Story of Seasons don’t grab you, your specs must be steamed up from that mask you’re wearing (quite right too) because its painterly visual style is one of the loveliest on Switch. This crossover is one of the slowest games on the list – perfect if you’re looking to chill those beans right down. The fact that it offers a solid, relaxing romp and fabulous farming featuring everyone’s favourite robotic blue cat from the future is almost incidental because… We. Can’t. Stop. Looking. At. It!

Plantera Deluxe (Switch eShop)Plantera Deluxe (Switch eShop)

Publisher: Ratalaika Games / Developer: Ratalaika Games

Release Date: 7th Dec 2017 (USA) / 12th Dec 2017 (UK/EU)

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.

Stardew Valley (Switch eShop)Stardew Valley (Switch eShop)

Publisher: ConcernedApe / Developer: ConcernedApe

Release Date: 5th Oct 2017 (USA) / 5th Oct 2017 (UK/EU)

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.

If the Harvest Moon-shaped hole in the selection above (in name only, of course – Marvelous’ Story of Seasons is Harvest Moon minus the Natsume-licensed title) is upsetting you, Harvest Moon: One World will soon be arriving on Switch. There’s also Harvest Moon: Light of Hope available now, although unfortunately it’s not a game we’ve reviewed here at Nintendo Life.

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.


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