There are two types of simulator games.
Ridiculous ones like Goat Simulator or Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015 simply aim to provide you with some chuckles. Then there are others, like those in the Bus Simulator or Train Sim World series, which actually try to provide a realistic and in-depth simulator experience. Lawn Mowing Simulator from Skyhook Games falls into the latter category. Needless to say, unless the idea of mowing lawns for hours on end interests you, you’re probably not going to enjoy it.
The meat of Lawn Mowing Simulator is its career mode, in which you create your very own lawn mowing business. After creating and naming your avatar, you then have to decide on a business name and logo. Next up is purchasing your very first sit-on lawn mower, then you’re truly in business.
Each day you’ll find yourself choosing from a range of contracts, each with their own complexity level. At the start of your career you’ll typically be given easier jobs, and as a result they won’t pay a great deal or give you too much of a reputation boost. Consistently doing a good job will raise the profile of your business, however, and soon you’ll be attracting more complex jobs that pay better. Eventually you’ll even be able to afford employees, though you’ll have to upgrade your premises or buy a new one to really grow.
The actual act of mowing a lawn is as laborious as you’d expect. Upon arriving at the garden or park that needs to be maintained, you’ll first be given some time to inspect the area for any objects that might cause damage to your lawn mower should you run over them. You don’t have to check if you don’t want, but it’s in your interest to do so; not only will it save you from having to do some extra maintenance later, but you’ll also get a small bonus for finding all of the troublesome objects.
With the grass check completed (or ignored), it’s then time to climb onto your lawn mower, start it up, and drive it off your trailer and onto the grass. There are 12 lawn mowers in the game overall, though you won’t be able to afford some of the bigger, fancier ones until you’ve made some serious money. You need to consider which lawn mower is right for the job, too. You’re better off opting for a small lawn mower with a tight turning circle if you’re cutting a busy garden, for example. Some gardens might have walls or trellis archways that prevent some of the biggest lawn mower from gaining access, too.
Then there are other things to consider, such as what your lawn mower does with grass once it’s cut. If your lawn mower is a collector type, you’ll need to make frequent trips back to your trailer empty the collector out. Some lawn mowers, on the other hand, discharge cut grass from the side or rear, requiring you to be careful when cutting near flower beds or other areas you don’t want to be covered by grass. In the end, you’ll be wanting a lawn mower that mulches the grass, or at least can be equipped with a mulching attachment. That way, you don’t have to worry about your crass cuttings at all unless you’re overworking your lawn mower’s engine.
Each garden you cut will have specific requirements – generally speaking, it’s simply a case of cutting the grass to a specific height while avoiding cutting down any flowers or causing any damage. You’ll need to cut in excess of 99.5% of the grass for a contract to be considered completed, and upon parking your lawn mower back on your trailer your results will be displayed. Finish under the recommended time and you’ll get a bonus. Crashing into objects, destroying flowers and other mistakes, however, will result in penalties being thrown your way. They never seem to be too expensive though.
Persist with Lawn Mowing Simulator long enough and you should eventually have enough money to be able to afford an employee or two and some more lawn mowers. Or you can take out a loan, it’s up to you. Of course, hiring staff means you’ll have more outgoings on a weekly basis, but it also means that each day you can tackle multiple contracts. You’ll always need to accept a contract yourself, however – you can’t just sit back and let others do all the work for you. In between contracts you’ll be able to train your employees if you wish, or you can simply let them learn by doing the job. As your reputation grows, through your work and marketing, more skilled gardeners might apply to work for you, too.
Progressing through career mode unlocks 24 challenges spread across three skill categories in a separate Challenge mode accessible from the main menu. You might be tasked with nicely striping a garden, for example, or cutting a park with limited fuel. There’s a Free Mow mode, too, allowing you to set up your own jobs using any of the locations and lawn mowers you’ve unlocked in your career. Overall, then, there’s plenty to go at; those who get engrossed in cutting lawns will spend tens of hours in career mode alone.
There are some less than stellar aspects, however. Although it’s optimised for Xbox Series X, for example, it’s not a technically impressive game, with passable character models and some noticeable pop-in. The framerate can drop at times, too. The gardens and parks you’re let loose in are all very scenic though. And then there’s the fact that you can only cut grass on sit-on lawn mowers. Where are the pushable ones and strimmers for more nuanced work? Making sure you don’t cut any flowers can be quite a task when you’re sat upon a behemoth.
Ultimately though, you probably already know whether you’ll like Lawn Mowing Simulator or not. It allows you to venture into some lovely environments and cut grass from the comfort of your armchair. If that sounds appealing to you then you’ll probably love it. It can be quite relaxing at times, and also rewarding when you devise an effective grass-cutting strategy. If you have a real life lawn though, you’ll probably feel like you should just go and cut that rather than spend time cutting virtual ones. My lawn isn’t big enough to be cut with a sit-on lawn mower, however, so that’s my excuse.
Lawn Mowing Simulator Review: GameSpew’s Score