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Animal Crossing: New Horizons

The Best Games Like Animal Crossing

Over the last two years, millions of us have been whiling away the hours on our island paradises in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. But what other games like Animal Crossing are out there?

Published by Nintendo, the Animal Crossing series is, mostly, unlike anything else you’ll have played. It throws you into a tranquil life of picking fruit, crafting tools and decorating your house and island. Where other games pressure you with objectives and quests, Animal Crossing has none of that; it’s all about doing what you want on your own timescale.

It’s part farming sim, part designer, part life sim; how you want to play Animal Crossing: New Horizons is up to you. You might spend your time decorating your house and your island how you want to. You might instead simply enjoy talking to your villagers, or catching fish or bugs.

While no other game out there is exactly like Animal Crossing, there are a few that scratch the same itch in one way or another. We’ve rounded up a handful of games that capture at least some part of the Animal Crossing magic. Click on through to see our choices.

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1. Grow: Song of the Evertree

Grow: Song of the Evertree

  • Available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch

The newest entry on this list of games like Animal Crossing is also one of our favourites. From Prideful Sloth, the developer of Yonder (which you’ll find further down this list), Grow: Song of the Evertree casts you as an alchemist with the power to, well, grow new worlds. You’ll plant seeds in the titular Evertree that grow into completely new worlds, along with develop new villages and settlements at the base of the tree.

Grow does provide you with missions and objectives to complete, but for the most part you’re completely free to take the game at your own pace. Up in your new tree worlds, you’ll spend your time weeding, watering seeds and singing to them to help them grow. You can also befriend animals, pick fruit and gather resources by chopping down trees. In your villages, you can attract new people to live there by building houses, cafes, libraries and more. There’s plenty of places to explore, too, such as mysterious caves with hidden treasures waiting to be found.

Read our review of Grow: Song of the Evertree

2. Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley

  • Available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch

Stardew Valley is probably the most obvious choice when it comes to games like Animal Crossing. You’re dropped in a new town, and given a huge, run-down farm to renovate. Just like Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley is a game that you can take at your own pace and tackle however you want. If you don’t feel like farming, fine; you can enjoy spending time around town, talking to the townspeople and befriending them. Though the crops you grow on your farm can be sold for profit, which will let you buy decorations and upgrades for it.

Unlike Animal Crossing though, Stardew Valley also throws in some adventuring elements: you can explore the mines, which makes it feel more like an action-platformer game. I suppose you could liken it to finding the tarantula island when you use a Nooks Miles Ticket…

Read our review of Stardew Valley

Check latest prices of Stardew Valley

3. Cozy Grove

Cozy Grove

  • Available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch

As far as games like Animal Crossing go, Cozy Grove seems to have tried hard to fit the bill. Stranded on an island, your role is to help the island residents by completing quests. You’ll have to find items, pluck fruit off trees, pick up shells off the beach, fish for exotic creatures – and you can even turn in one of each item you find to build some sort of collection. Sound familiar? Yes, Cozy Grove takes a lot of pages out of Animal Crossing’s book, but it’s still very much its own, unique experience.

There’s only so much you can do each day – with the islanders (ghosts who need your help) offering up one mission a day. Often fetch quests, you’ll spend your time trawling the island for hidden items. But doing so rewards you with a better relationship with that islander, gradually unlocking a cute narrative as you progress. If you like Animal Crossing, this is worth giving a go, even if it doesn’t have quite the same amount of depth.

Read our review of Cozy Grove

4. Farm Together

  • Available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One and Switch

Farm Together, as the name suggests, focuses mostly on farming – but it has an awful lot in common with Animal Crossing. First of all, it takes place in real time; so you’ll often have to wait until the next day (or sometimes longer) to see your hard work come to fruition. While the focus is on planting and growing crops, it’s up to you to design how your farmland looks. You can plant trees, place paths, build bridges and more. All of this makes it one of the best games like Animal Crossing.

There’s no real villager aspect to Farm Together, however. You’ll not be making friends with NPCs here, like you would in Animal Crossing. But it is designed to be played with friends, so you can have people visit your farm and help out. You can also visit other people’s farms, too – and you don’t need a Dodo to fly you there!

Read our review of Farm Together

5. My Time at Portia

  • Available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch

My Time at Portia might be one of the strongest contenders when it comes to games like Animal Crossing – yet also the most different. In it, you find yourself arriving at a new town, suddenly in ownership of a run-down workshop. You’ll spend your time farming, crafting items, raising animals and making friends with the weird and wonderful villagers in Portia.

Crafting is definitely the key element of My Time at Portia, and residents of the town will give you commissions and task you with items to create. You’ll spend your days gathering materials, so you’ll carry out the familiar tasks of chopping down trees, picking plants and catching fish. Building your farm and designing your own house also plays a big part too, but unlike Animal Crossing, you’ll also find yourself faced with threats, so expect to do battle and defend yourself from foes that pose a greater threat than a pesky swarm of wasps.

And if you like this, you should also check out its predecessor, My Time at Sandrock. It’s currently available via Early Access on Steam.

Read our review of My Time at Portia

Check latest prices of My Time at Portia

6. Mutazione

Mutazione

  • Available on: PC and PS4

A delightfully quirky indie game, Mutazione is rather a different kettle of fish from Animal Crossing, but it does have a lot of similarities – not least in the game’s tone. In it, you play as Kai, who has travelled to the mysterious town of Mutazione to care for her sick grandfather. It’s only a short game – you’ll complete it in just a few hours – but during your time with the game, you’ll speak to the town’s bizarre yet delightful residents, explore the surrounding areas, and even grow some crops.

It’s more of a linear game than Animal Crossing, but Mutazione still lets you take things at your own pace. If you want to simply wander around, talking to villagers, you can do. Equally, if you want to hang out in your grandfather’s rooftop garden, planting seeds and tending to them, you can do that too. It doesn’t have the depth and longevity of Animal Crossing, but it does have the same amount of heart. It’s simply delightful.

Read our review of Mutazione

7. Doraemon: Story of Seasons

  • Available on: PS4, Switch, PC

Set in the delightful land of Natura, Doraemon: Story of Seasons combines typical Story of Seasons gameplay with Japan’s popular Doraemon manga series. The result is a quirky farming sim filled with character and a gorgeous anime art style. As one of the best games like Animal Crossing, you’ll spend your time here interacting with the residents of the town, forming friendships with them. When you’re not chatting to your neighbours, you’ll be building a farm, decorating it however you see fit.

Unlike Animal Crossing, however, you’ll also be raising animals like horses and cows in your farm. It’d be a bit weird if that was the case in Animal Crossing, since your fellow villagers are animals. If you like Animal Crossing though, Doraemon: Story of Seasons is definitely one to add to your list.

Check latest prices of Doraemon: Story of Seasons

8. Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles

A game free of combat, where your goal is to talk to villagers, do a bit of farming and generally spend your time however you’d like? Are you sure we’re not talking about Animal Crossing here? While Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles does have a lot in common with Animal Crossing, there are some key differences too: at its core, it is an easygoing RPG; you have quests to fulfil and a goal to work towards. But outside of that, it packs in some lovely sim features making it much more like Animal Crossing than you’d think.

When you’re not adventuring, you can be building a farm or tending to your animals, for instance. You’ll also be collecting materials that you can use to craft, and chatting with your friendly neighbours. You can even dress yourself up in a range of outfits. The game’s main campaign itself isn’t very long – you’ll be done in five or six hours. But the Animal Crossing-like features will keep you hanging around much longer.

Read our review of Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles

Check latest prices of Yonder

9. The Sims 4

The Sims 4 body 2

  • Available on: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Alright, The Sims 4 might seem like an odd choice to put on a list of games like Animal Crossing, but hear me out. While some elements are very different, the two series actually have more in common than you think. You might not be wandering around, cutting down trees in The Sims, but you will be making friends, earning money to buy new items and designing your house the best you can. Heck, there’s even an ‘Island Living’ expansion, allowing you to capture the magic of New Horizons even further.

Depending on how you approach The Sims 4, it can be very much like Animal Crossing indeed. Decide to take control of just one character rather than a full household, and it can feel like a more realistic version of Animal Crossing. Or if you enjoy the house-designing element of Animal Crossing the most, The Sims’ house building tool is like a souped-up version of that. You can even cheat in The Sims, giving yourself unlimited money to design the house of your dreams. But don’t tell anyone we told you.

Check latest prices of The Sims

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