21 Best Games Like Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley is one of those games that it’s extremely difficult not to fall in love with. From clearing a completely rundown and overgrown property to slowly creating great fields, learning to craft, building a house, meeting interesting town people (with surprisingly deep and interesting stories), exploring caves, and even taking some time to fish – the movement of time and seasons is strangely as addictive as it is somehow relaxing.

Despite there always being too much to do (at least until you unlock iridium sprinklers), this game is easy to love. Even at its most chaotic, it’s still fun and relaxing. There’s a feeling of accomplishment, or just not caring as the stress floats away and is a cornerstone of the genre that is now known as cozy games.

That’s something pretty special.

It’s no surprise that so many gamers not only adore Stardew Valley, but also are looking for video games like Stardew Valley to add to the gaming library. So what are the best games like Stardew Valley?

Inspired by the original Harvest Moon games (of which I fell in love with all the way back in 2002) Stardew Valley has been a phenomenon that has been impossible to ignore. A labor of love, this amazing game has quickly become a favorite for so many of us.

Relaxing, entertaining, and a digital oasis of peace from the hustle and bustle of everyday life many of the game’s themes rail against, it’s hard not to fall in love with what that A+ game brings to the table.

If you’re looking for more, this article delivers (now much more) than the 21 best cozy games that are like Stardew Valley. Some with the same mechanics and farm-sim genre, some with a very different spin on it but that same great relaxing feeling.

Let’s dive in!

stardew valley screenshot farm in winter
In the winter as the booze is brewing, my mind begins to wander (also first farm I ever managed 1 million gold on hand in year one).

21 Great Games Like Stardew Valley

As amazing and re-playable as Stardew Valley is, even after (checks Steam real quick) 1248 hours and counting of gameplay, sometimes you want that type of game, or something similar, but also different.

So what are the options out there? What are the best Stardew Valley like games you can purchase?

Read on for our list of the 21best games like Stardew Valley, as well as a section of others to consider that aren’t the same thing, but share certain traits with SV that may make it another great option for you to consider.

#1: Graveyard Keeper

So here’s the deal: Graveyard Keeper will not be everyone’s cup of tea. In fact many really big Stardew Valley fans will be screaming about why this is ahead of My Time In Portia before hitting a long in-depth explanation of why Stardew is far superior. Fair enough.

Graveyard Keeper is still a very amazing game and it is going to be a huge favorite of many individuals who love the slow build up of games like Stardew Valley. Right off the bat: if you’re a Type A personality who wants to be able to get so efficient that you can mass produce things all the time with plenty of time left over while min-maxing to the nth degree…you’re not going to like this game.

There is a lot of grind (though this was alleviated with the DLC adding zombies into the mix). Earning green, red, and blue points. Mining, developing a tech tree, building your property from utter garbage to something impressive. Then doing the same with the graveyard, the church, the quarry, and if you have the DLCs a trading partner and new tavern. There’s always more to do than there is time.

But unlike Stardew Valley, there’s no hammer down on you for missing a deadline. In fact, since there aren’t distinct seasons, you can argue there’s less pressure. It’s very easy to kick yourself for missing a meeting on the one day a week an NPC shows up, but he or she will be back the next week so you just go about your day.

A major part of this game is the excitement of developing that knowledge, that tech tree, and those new tools. Giving you the ability to push harder, discover things the hard way, slowly build you way up, and to keep on going. Either you love the rewards of the work, or you find it a grind.

While I’m not generally a big grinder by any conventional measure – but this game works for me. And by works, I mean it is one of my absolute favorites.

Graveyard Keeper screenshot
Home sweet stuck in the Medieval past home, honey cakes on the oven!

If you’re in the first camp, you’ll fall head over heels in love with this game. If not, you will find the grind too much at times. There are even times where I’m a bit aggravated by it but I find the reward well worth the effort put in.

However, Graveyard Keeper has a lot of hilarious moments, quality dark humor, really good plot that keeps getting fleshed out even more with the DLCs, and is a unique and incredible game that really emphasizes many of the best parts of Stardew Valley while adding its own unique quirks, challenges, and characters.

And while the earnings definitely take time when you earn something in this game, you feel a rush of pride because you really, truly earned it.

This is definitely one of the best SV-like games out there. Whether you focus on making money through metalsmithing, selling coal, building crops, creating a trade empire, brewing like no one’s business, or creating the best graveyard ever (when you’re not burning the troublesome bodies) – there’s a ton of ways to play this game and to really thoroughly enjoy the experience doing so.

If you love dark humor, this is going to be the game for you.

Personally, I’m willing to even go “heretical” and say I actually like this game a little bit more than Stardew Valley personally. Both are incredible games that get a lot of playing time with me, but if you are looking for a similar game and haven’t tried keeping your own graveyard yet – you need to get on board with this one. There’s a reason it’s consistently ranked up there as one of the best games like Stardew Valley out there – and so much more to do than farming!

Watch out for the inquisition…and be jealous of my truly epic cemetery and church, beginning graveyard keepers!

Upgraded Cemetery Graveyard Keeper Screenshot
Now THAT’S the start of a BEAUTIFUL Graveyard (and a well-upgraded church)!

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#2: My Time At Portia

My Time at Portia is probably the best Stardew Valley-like game that really embraces every part of the style of SV, and it is a game that has gained an enormous following for good reason. While many of these other games share an aspect of SV or a similar pattern while doing their own thing,

My Time at Portia (often called My Time in Portia by players – same diff) does a great job of wholesale feeling like Stardew Valley, using all the same positive mechanics for a relaxing game despite there always being more to do, and it gives its own spin on local rivalries, on building your epic farm and workshop, and on being a really original game despite the obvious comparisons.

My Time in Portia screenshot
My new home…I have my blue boxing gloves, that caterpillar better stop looking at me funny!

If you’re looking for a Stardew Valley like game that is as close to Stardew Valley as possible while somehow still being original, then My Time in Portia is the game on this list you should go for. Truth be told, the biggest reason it isn’t #1 is because I didn’t want to rearrange the page after so much formatting and coding was put in.

I’m still a giant Graveyard Keeper fan, but My Time at Portia is truly amazing and creates a world that I want to explore every corner of while building up an increasingly large and impressive workshop.

The beginning is simple enough and is going to be familiar to anyone who plays these types of games. You come to a new place. You need to gather resources, rebuild your dilapidated farm that your Dad left you before taking off across the world, meet people in the town, advance a tech tree, and on and on.

Sarcastic screenshot My Time in Portia
Wow….thanks, Dad.

What is unique with My Time at Portia and something I LOVE is the setup of this being a town and civilization that exists after some type of post-apocalyptic calamity. The old world is dead, ruins are raided, and the stories you hear of other settlements indicate this is a world that was once science fiction in nature if you go back far enough.

Explore a VERY Big World!

But the crafting is great, the EXPLORATION is the best of probably any game on this list. If you’re the type who loves seeing a fully fleshed out world and being able to run around and keep on finding more, this game is as good as it gets.

My Time in Portia Screenshot
Wait, what? Collapsed Wasteland, Sewage Plant Ruins, Multiple Abandoned Rules on Day 1 with no exploration??? I think I’m gonna like it here!

There is a heavier focus on crafting, workshopping, and upgrading as opposed to farming (although farming and ranching is a part of that) and it is really fun.

There are some pretty incredible playthroughs on YouTube that give you a great idea of what this game is about and while some people may find Portia having a bit “too much” going on, for most of us the endless options while never been forced right into doing something RIGHT NOW is actually going to be a big plus.

This is a game it took me way too long to get into, as in I avoided buying it for far too long. While it took some time for me to get into the full swing of how things work and get through the immersive in-game tutorials, this has very quickly become one of my absolute favorite games.

Much like Stardew Valley and Graveyard Keeper, My Time in Portia is one of my favorite games. I also fully admit that although I have a deep love for GK, most Stardew Valley fans are going to find this game to be better and one of their absolute favorites along with Stardew Valley.

If you love crafting, that sense of accomplishment as you build, expand, increase your skills and go from newcomer to thriving member of the community, this is the game for you.

There’s also an arrogant prick of a competitor who becomes an unofficial rival. Not going to lie, putting that smug jerk in his place is also very, very satisfying.

The community aspect of this game is absolutely incredible, and I found myself really wanting to interact with the social side of things in this game perhaps more than any other SV-like game out there.

More workshop and mining oriented than farming and ranching, there’s still plenty of the latter, some solid fishing, and a really amazing sense of exploration.

picture with mei my time at portia
Social and upgraded look.

Honestly, this is one of my 10 favorite games of all-time and I’m ecstatic to spend another 50+ hours on it knowing I’ve barely scratched the surface. Update: 256 hours in from 2 game files and now just hitting the end game…going to be sad to see it end, but as one of the best cozy games like Stardew Valley, the journey has been amazing.

Fantastic game, and one that most gamers will easily fall in love with.

So do yourself a favor: purchase this game, get that workshop, and get crafting!

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#3: Littlewood

Home, sweet home.

I had never actually heard about Littlewood before until one of my fellow Meeples, Phil, offered to buy me a copy at a time I knew I was going to be down for several weeks due to surgery.

The game popped into my Steam Library and I’ve put in almost 40 hours and counting to date. I have to say, this is an outstanding game and it’s a shame it hasn’t received more attention than it has to this point.

Someone made the comparison to Animal Crossing, saying the latter sort of overshadowed the really good things that this game was doing. I am not quite as familiar with that one, but Littlewood captures the charm of Stardew Valley world while focusing more on the actual building of an entire town.

Pieces of plot come in from the storyline, but they come back to you a little bit here and a little bit there as you focus on building an entire town (Littlewood) starting with just your best friend’s house, then your own, and moving from there.

Get to know the interesting array of odd characters, visit fantastical locations, learn about your quest saving the world – resulting in the loss of all your memory, and build up an impressive town piece by piece – exactly as you want it to be.

The energy per day mechanic in the game is really cool and while in advanced parts of the game it feels like you never have enough energy to do anything, the fact the day cycle is dictated by how much energy you spend is really cool. This means you never feel rushed when making a decision as you sometimes do in SV or Graveyard Keeper. Until you take an action time doesn’t move!

This game embraces the laid back vibes of SV, lets you build a small farm, plant an orchard, mine for minerals, fish, catch bugs, and help new people on a variety of small quests that make them like you more while giving you resources to build a bigger and bigger town.

There’s a lot to really love about Littlewood and while it does feel unfinished, like more information still has yet to come from future releases, there is more than enough here to make it an outstanding fully functional game and one that SV fans will love instantly.

This is a very enjoyable, very relaxing game that gives you plenty to do and lets you explore it at your own pace. Fantastic little title and as the town grows, you go from hero of the realm who forgot everything to mayor.

And yes, I changed my title from the default of mayor to “Overlord.” Have to keep the branding consistent!

Littlewood video game screenshot autumn

50 hours into this game and I still enjoy shifting my town, redesigning things, and picking up on new little things I hadn’t quite discovered yet. This is a great pickup and an indie video game that any Stardew Valley fan will likely enjoy.

Look at that great pixel art!

Related Article: How to Unlock All Hot Air Balloon Locations in Littlewood

#4: Yonder Cloud Catching Chronicles

Yonder Cloud Catching Chronicles was one of the first SV-like games that I bought on Steam. I had heard good things about it, liked what I saw from a couple of YouTube playthroughs, and it was on my list from that point on.

The biggest comment by many players of this game? They wish it was twice as long. Now that’s a glowing recommendation!

Yonder Cloud Catching Chronicles adds a degree of mystery, has bordering lands that each have their own plants, animals, and appearance that feel related to the four seasons. There’s a lot of fun exploring what this world has to offer while also slowly upgrading your sprite, building your farm or ranch, and figuring out how to hire help to put things on autopilot as you continue to explore.

This is a very delightful little game with plenty of hidden secrets to find, a relaxing feel, and really puts its own spin on this genre of games. It does seem like the world is bigger than the amount of hours it takes to explore everything.

Don’t get me wrong – you get an amazing 40-50 hour experience but this is a game that feels like it should be 100 hours and you kind of wish it was just because it really captures the delightfulness of exploring a world in a way few games on this list does.

In fact, it’s one of the few games that may do that just as good as Stardew Valley.

The one place where Yonder Cloud Catching Chronicles will struggle against games like Stardew Valley or My Time in Portia is the fact that although it definitely opens up as a wide open world game, you will have completed absolutely everything fully well before you hit the 100 hour mark.

The main questline can be done in 20 if you beeline it and don’t get too confused along the way.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t 50 or 60 hours of incredible gameplay here. There is. And you will adore every moment of it.

But you kind of wish there was even more in between those moments where the graphics and design are beautiful and stunning in a manner that truly awes you, makes you appreciate what a talented team of developers can do, and really just blows you away with its beauty.

The screenshots here don’t do it justice because of the graphic styles, but that night sky – this is a game that hopefully gets future DLCs, a sequel, or the same team making something even bigger and better.

As opposed to being a farming or crafting game first with aspects of adventure or story second, the flipside is true here. Yonder feels a lot like a cute simpler Zelda-esque adventure game that just happens to pull together farming, ranching, and crafting aspects that you’re familiar with from games like My Time at Portia, or Stardew Valley.

This creates a very different feel, but not an unwelcome one. In fact, this game in many ways is simply quite delightful.

There is no combat, and you have a choice whether you want to develop multiple farms and ranches or just wander around or just beeline the main plot quests to move the story along.

It’s relaxing no matter which course you take, and creates a truly interesting experience as you explore what this new land has to offer.

This one was a rock solid game like Stardew Valley that you will really enjoy.

#5: Kynseed

Kynseed is a really interesting title to me. In some ways it is one of the most like Stardew Valley on this list, though the graphics and aesthetic definitely look very different to the point of making it really stick out from the others on this list.

This was a game I wasn’t completely sure about at the onset, but after picking it up on sale and giving it several hours of play, its charms really have rubbed off on me.

Oh who am I kidding – they got me with one of the best intro screens ever.

Maybe the best intro screen ever.

Kynseed is a great game and you can see the passion in everything. The music is really outstanding (I love games that have amazing music), the art is beautiful and interesting, and the openness about their passion for the game, its current state, and the laid back fun language even in the opening really sets the stage.

The opening sequence was a delightful surprise, figuring out the early controls and mechanics was interesting, and while it sounds like there is years of content to come, Kynseed already plays like a full game that offers dozens of hours of outstanding play and has that pleasant relaxing feeling that the best SV-like games have.

The type that makes you willing to replay the same seasons, same sections, because it’s about the experience you have being part of this world.

Described by some as “an even more wholesome Stardew Valley” this is an outstanding game that is even better than I expected. I enjoy it immensely and would readily recommend it to any fans of Stardew Valley or the original Harvest Moon games.

The graphics are incredibly different but beautiful, there’s a lot of different things you can do, and this is a game where how people view you, your family, your community changes based on your in-game decisions.

This is also a generational game: your original characters can age, pass away, and then you take over as your children.

Kynseed is something very different, and it’s a delightful game whose updates continue to impress.

I look forward to the new content in the years to come and to see how this small team’s big dreams continue to play out in this outstanding game that already provides dozens of hours of wonderful gameplay.

Update: Kynseed has had it’s full release, and that means players who are looking for the most promising cozy games like Stardew Valley can play the full version of this game, including taking over the lives of your children in this fairy tale/medieval town who continue to build off the work you started.

#6: Animal Crossing: New Horizons

There is no denying the massive excitement that came with Animal Crossing, and it’s easy to see why so many people were excited over it. Seen by some as being firmly in this genre of games, and by others as being a bit different but tangentially related, this is a fun game with plenty to offer.

Splattercat, a big independent gamer on YouTube mourns this one a bit as he believes a lot of the momentum from Littlewood was stolen with Animal Crossing’s release, but you can’t blame one great game grabbing attention from another. More great games is always a good one.

Animal Crossing, like the original Harvest Moon series, is a long-running series that gained a lot of fans from games nearly 20 years ago. The original Animal Crossing was released on Nintendo Game Cube, and obviously as a much awaited and beloved sequel comes out nearly two decades later…it seems this story is a common one.

Especially if you’re a Harvest Moon fan who watched that become the Story of Seasons or the birth of Stardew Valley taking the genre to what many consider to be the next level.

animal crossing screenshot
Screenshot from Nintendo, via Twitter.

New Horizons really takes advantage of the new technology and tools to make a very interesting game. Whatever time of day it is – that’s the time of day when you log into Animal Crossing.

Is it winter in real life? Then it’s winter there. Spring? Same thing.

This creates almost a dual world type feel and keeps a lot of the pressure of having to rush through a game or a season on the back burner. That does allow Animal Crossing to do something pretty stunning: it can be a next level stress reducer because the seasons don’t move in the same way as games like My Time in Portia or Stardew Valley or have limited energy like Littlewood.

Multiplayer – Online Community

You have the ability to invite other Switch users to your island in Animal Crossing and they can extend invitations to you, as well. This adds an extra little community element that, like multi-player Stardew Valley, adds a nice extra little element to it.

This game does a really great job of embracing the social aspect and the stress killing results that fans of these games will enjoy. For big fans of Nintendo Switch…well you already probably have this game.

If not, it’s definitely worth the look.

One of the biggest thing you can say about Animal Crossing: New Horizons is that it really nails the stress reducer side of things.

A solid YouTube review that talks about New Horizons can be found here if you’re a big Nintendo console or Nintendo Switch player looking for a little bit more info from an actual player talking from an experience point of view, not a paid review via large publication.

You can tell by the way he talks that he loves this game and has experienced first hand what it has to offer players. For Nintendo Switch players this might be a must by.

#7: Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town

story of seasons friends of mineral town cover

Story of Seasons is what the Harvest Moon franchise became. The name changed, but the Story of Seasons games are a continuation of the originals, and there are some very good and well put together games in this franchise that bring back the feeling of the original games while learning from the improvements made over time.

If you had a Gameboy Advance in 2003 the news of this game probably hit the nostalgia radar especially hard.

Consistently considered one of the two best Harvest Moon games ever made among many gamers who fell in love with the original series of games, the Steam release is not only fully updated with graphics, a new look, and better system, but it introduces more characters, story lines, and a fair amount extra content above and beyond even the remade original material from the 2003 Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town.

That is nothing to sneeze at, and the type of thing many of us original Harvest Moon fans have been wanting to see for years now!

So why the different name? Because at some point the original teams/designers moved on while the Harvest Moon name stayed with another company.

So Story of Seasons is now the actual spiritual and developmental successor to the original Harvest Moon games – not the new Harvest Moon titles.

So now the obvious question:

Is Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town worth buying – especially if you played the original on the Gameboy Advance? Is it the exact same game?

The answer is yes, this game is definitely worth it if you feel any connection to the old Harvest Moon game. This isn’t different enough to be a completely new game, but calling it a barely updated remake would be doing a disservice to the changes and improvements that have been added to the original (which is 2 decades old at this point).

The gameplay brings back the simplicity of the top early Harvest Moon games, and you will recognize a modern take on classic Harvest Moon graphics. It removes some of the harsher aspects of the original, bringing in some quality of life improvements that players have come to expect with more modern famring sims.

The villagers feel more real, the town is even more real than the original, and a lot of the improvements that have been made by games that have come since (like Stardew Valley) can be found here.

The mini-games and events are a bit more interesting, the cartoons and character sprites are more modern, and for those of of us who remember the early 2-3 Harvest Moon games that were amazing will love this as well.

However, if you are a younger gamer, keep in mind that this game will not be fairly comparable to games like Stardew Valley or My Time at Portia, which were inspired by the original version of this game and had decades to build. Friends of Mineral Town qualifies as one of the best games like Stardew Valley because it was the game that

But if you want to see the types of games that started it all, there’s a lot to enjoy about this incredibly well done remake and improvement from the original which was a true Gameboy Advance Classic.

Review from Nintendo Life

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#8: Doraemon: Story of Seasons

Hey, Stardew Valley was inspired in large part because of a deep love for those early Harvest Moon games. So why would we not include back to back entries of a couple the Story of Seasons games – which are the (real) spiritual and programming successors to those original Harvest moon games that so many of us fell in love with.

So what is Doraemon: Story of Seasons?

Doraemon is a very popular story/series in Japan that has been an anime, a cartoon, an on-going story about a giant robotic cat from the future who can time travel to help out a boy and his friends. Look Japan has crazy awesome/weird plots just go with it.

This popular series ends up getting stranded in the Story of Seasons (aka the “real” Harvest Moon world) where getting back home means fixing up the farm, raising livestock, and taking the property from ruin to a thriving part of the local community. This time with the characters from the popular Doraemon series.

Doraemon story of seasons starting farm
We all have to begin somewhere…and those water color style of graphics (impressed whistle).

Cute cartoon animation combined with a water color paint design in graphics, this is a wonderful combination. Doraemon: Story of Seasons is a game that looks really, really good. They have the mechanics of a farming sim down to a tee making it enjoyable and fun. The writing and story….there are definitely mixed reviews on that and it’s not hard to see why.

The beginning is INCREDIBLY tedious. You go through a lot of long cut scenes where the dialogue is not what I’d call top tier. It’s not terrible, but for the length of the early cut scenes to set up the game, it needs to be better. Unlike most Harvest Moon/SV games, there are no dating relationships in this game.

For some that’s a pro, for some it’s a con, and some players are rather indifferent to it.

Rated poorly by IGN, very positively by players on Steam, and somewhere in the middle from Metacritic. Apparently this is a game that is not going to be for everyone (much like the next entry on this list) and that’s okay.

But is it a Stardew Valley like game that you should give a shot?

Basically if you love unbelievably beautiful graphics and heavy duty focus on the farming sim aspect of these games, then yes, you should absolutely look for this game on sale on either Steam or Nintendo Switch to increase your library of games like Stardew Valley.

Doraemon Autumn forest
Whatever else you think – sure is a freaking pretty game.

This is a game that will have fans and can be a great change of pace when you want that wonderful farm/life simulation game like Stardew Valley but with a change of pace or a different feel to it.

#9: World’s Dawn

An interesting little game that definitely takes strong influence from Harvest Moon. This is one that will win some fans with its cute graphics and clear throwback to Harvest Moon. Hello mines, hello farm, hello small village, and hello hot springs. Old school gamers definitely remember the hot springs.

There are a few things that World’s Dawn does very well. The strange enjoyment of a farming sim is captured well here. The villagers are different enough to be interesting, and actually have a lot of personality and dialogue. Even if certain mechanics take time to figure out (having to sit down on a bench or table to drink drinks that restore energy is rough, IMO) most are easy and intuitive.

You have freedom to just do your thing. There are limited things in the beginning to do, but if you spend a couple days exploring before farming, or farming before socializing, that’s just fine.

If you are really into the small village farming sim games because of the ability to destress for an hour this is a solid little game that does that well and if you see it marked off a high amount for a Steam sale it’s worth consideration.

Not a bad start for day 3!

However, there are plenty of legitimate faults with this game. You don’t have nearly the ability to customize your property or home as you do with other games like Stardew Valley or others in the genre. This is heavily focused on being a farming sim yet there are a very limited number of plots to actually plant seeds.

The mechanics are a bit clunky in that there are often extra steps that simply don’t need to be there. Loading the sales bin with multiple different items takes forever. It just doesn’t feel like this was the best way to do things, but in fairness this is an RPG Maker game (and a very good one at that) so some of the limitations are in the system.

Imagine my surprise when the bottom of the mine was five levels.

No one is going to mistake this game as a serious competitor to Stardew Valley or even Harvest Moon. It is a cute nice little game, but it’s not close to this level. Nor is it meant to be, and that’s an important thing to keep in mind.

Also the sports game is infuriating and annoying as opposed to fun (at least in the beginning). It doesn’t add a lot extra. In many ways this feels like it hits that odd space like a major flash project during the Newgrounds hey day that would have been top notch for those limitations with a bit more depth than mobile games but feels a bit short for a full production.

Now all that said and looking at the warts this game has, which it does, there are many things to like. Some of the villagers seem genuinely fascinating. Having a horse is great, and the clear changes in seasons and years from playing the game through is better than some other options.

At the end of the day for all legitimate complaints, those PALE in comparison to what this game does really well. It’s a game that you keep coming back to for one more day. You won’t sit down and lose yourself in hours of play, but it’s a fun game in consistent small amounts and that’s important.

Very simple, very basic, but with some nice moments that make it worth checking out at the right price – especially if you’re looking for a good little change of pace from Stardew that is simpler and gives you a good experience before making you excited to get back to it. The more you play it, the more you get the sense that the little town you’ve become a part of really and truly is something unique and special.

The plot story around it actually shows a bit of effort and originality, and it’s interesting enough to keep things going along. The Primer telling you the best gifts for each villager in game to start is just fantastic. I REALLY wish more games in this genre had something like that.

This is a game that you can get a lot of enjoyment on if you grew up from 8 bit to Super Nintendo to early Newgrounds, but it is a mixed bag. Some things to really like, some very big warts. But it is a nice change of pace.

UPDATE: I find the more you play it, the more charming and addictive the game gets. It’s all about judging the game on its own merits. If you compare this to Stardew Valley, it will fall flat badly. If you accept it for what it us and contently chip away another day here or there, you’ll really enjoy the experience and want to find all the mysteries, one day at a time, in Sugar Blossom, as the magic of the town truly grows on you.

For the average price point, it’s a game that is definitely worth picking up. Just give it 10 hours so you can really get into it. You’ll be glad you did.

#10: Verdant Skies

Verdant Skies is a really fascinating take on the farming sim/life sim or Stardew Valley type game where you start out by crash landing onto the planet you were supposed to regular land on, getting saved by a blind mechanic, and then being told by the one administrator on the colony that you will be charged for your destroyed vessel.

Verdant Skies Screenshot
Well this is…different.

All on an alien landscape that is incredibly unlike anything any other game on this list has delivered. Believe me, they sell the alien planet part of things very well.

From there you experience a lot of the chaos you expect from that opening while getting acclimated to the alien world around you. You can fish (spear fishing – strangely addictive), grow alien crops, craft useful materials, improve your house, create new machines, genetically splice seeds for super crops, explore new ecosystems, expand the settlement, and socialize with current and new settlers as you get missions done.

Along the way you can sell crops, forage, or even works of art and craftsmanship that get “zapped” or teleported back to some unseen station. You get paid instantly, which is a very nice mechanic so you never find yourself just a bit short of money on a Wednesday (Screw you, Pierre)!

Verdant Skies is a game I’ve actually enjoyed quite a bit in the first few hours. The days can go by extremely quickly, which makes the game a great option for when you want to get a bit of playing done in a short time.

Mechanics are fairly easy to figure out though there isn’t a lot of hand holding early game. You’ll be introduced to 2-3 crucial machines like the advanced 3-D printer, seed cloner, and workbench and then have to work through dozens of options. With some of those being work stations that open up even more.

watering alien fields verdant skies
Early on growing the first crop – surprisingly colorful and cool once they bloom!

Sometimes it takes a while to figure out what combination of things you need to get that one item for a task that sounds relatively simple. Like catching an alien bug.

That said, this game has a clear charm. It’s unique, it’s different, I fully buy into the being on the alien world. Verdant Skies does a great job of balancing being different and unique while keeping mechanics similar enough that you still can catch the hang of it.

The new characters who can joint the colony are very different, have some interesting back stories, and give a nice bit of spice. Even after a couple dozen hours playing it feels like I’m still exploring an alien world when I set out each morning…and that’s pretty cool.

That can be a hard tightrope to cross (doing something new while staying familiar and intuitive), to the point where many games in this genre just except a standard Story of Seasons or Stardew Valley control setup/framework and don’t do much else with it.

Verdant Skies, on the other hand, does a really great job of keeping systems at a place where you can learn them and enjoy the experience while also offering something that feels different. In a strange way Verdant Skies is one of the best games like Stardew Valley that doesn’t feel like it’s quite like any other game.

This is a really good game and though I wasn’t sure what to expect going into it, I’m a big fan at this point and think most fans of SV, MTAP, and GK will really appreciate and enjoy this as a change of pace game in the same vein, if nothing else. Many of us will just appreciate this game for what it is, period.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have two bass to hit with one spear throw.

Update: THREE fish with one spear throw. BOO-YA!

#11: Pumpkin Days

I won’t lie – this one took a little bit of time for me to warm up to. The graphics are simple in a way that isn’t necessarily complimentary, and there are a lot of early things that seem very, VERY Stardew Valley or Harvest Moon clones. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There are only so many ways to harvest crops or mine a stone, for example.

But there was something early on that put me off a bit, and the sheer size of the world didn’t help. You could run for a long, LONG time just to get from point A to point B. A non-coffee run in Stardew from your farm to quarry entrance on foot holds nothing compared to some of the distances you need to run here.

And not fast travel…just running.

But that being said, as I actually watched a couple playthroughs and decided there was enough potential to play. I’m really glad I gave it a fair chance.

Pumpkin Days does some things fantastically well and it feels like another SV or HM copy of some other things. However, it is an addictive game that is definitely a net positive. The more you play it, the more you appreciate what it has to offer if you give it a fair chance.

And when I started learning some of my neighbors were professional Mexican wrestlers….yup. Suddenly I saw the potential coming to life.

This is a game that has a bit of a learning curve. It’s easy to screw things up early on but because Pumpkin Days does follow that tradition of Stardew Valley or Harvest Moon you get the bonus of being able to wander around, mess up all you want, and come back around for a second shot.

One thing that will throw you off in the beginning is that the map for Pumpkin Days is BIG. Like seriously, the map is beyond huge.

The mechanics are different enough to take a bit of getting used to and while there’s a cute cool little world, the graphics and design aren’t anything that is going to wow you. They’re a weird combination of simple and cartoonish that don’t really strike a chord, IMO.

A great long-running playthrough of Pumpkin Days to help you decide if this is your type of game or not can actually be found via Lady Shelab, who is a fabulous YouTube streamer you should follow if you love these types of games.

Here’s the first video of that Pumpkin Days playthrough:

This is a game that has dozens if not hundreds of hours of gameplay in it if you can give it a fair shake and if you’re looking for a new farm sim-life sim in the Stardew Valley genre of game then you could certainly do worse!

#12: Moonlighter

Moonlighter sets up an interesting back story. The world hit it’s apocalyptic disaster. A cave behind a shop magically seemed to create a dungeon that changed nightly, allowing brave explorers to head in and loot to create things to sell in the shop by day.

But this was dangerous and after many casualties the elders of the town shut it down.

But you, you’re an entrepreneur! Back into the magically changing cave, it’s your time to load up on loot at night so you have items to sell from your store during the day.

Much more of a labyrinth/shooter element than any other game on this list and yet there is a strong shop element. It’s not just tacked on: your development of the shop and how that affects the town on the surface matters.

It’s an incredibly interesting and different combination that will work really well for some people, and not as much for others.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Do NOT try to keyboard control this game. While you can play keyboard or controller, it’s clear this is a game designed by programmers who are all about the controller. The keyboard controls just aren’t great while the controller is very solid once you get the basic controls down.

One CRUCIALLY IMPORTANT note is that to play Moonlighter you really, really need to use a controller. I am so used to playing on PC I can often do well even with games that recommend a controller. With Moonlighter you frankly can’t.

You can’t keyboard and arrow this, you need to have a controller to plug in, use and go to town on.

The detail in the pixelated art is really something to behold.

Explore the ever-changing caves, stock your shop, and explore what this interesting control-based game has to offer.

In many ways this is far more Legend of Zelda than Stardew Valley, but there are some elements of the latter and hey, if the worst you can say about a game is “Well that was like Legend of Zelda” then you’re not doing bad at all.

There’s a lot of fun to be had with this game but I can’t reiterate enough: you need to use a controller. The keyboard is not your friend in this game.

#13: Slime Rancher

Billed as “The Happiest Game Ever Made” this would definitely be too low at #13 if this was a purely chronological list, but hey, what better game to bring some happy smiling luck to that traditionally unlucky number?

I mean just look at those ridiculously happy faces!

happy red slimes slime ranchers
Important note: Do NOT feed ALL the chickens to the slimes early on because you think it’s funny. You do need some of those for later…

This game really is delightful. The happy slimes are great, the all purpose vacuum cleaner and futuristic gun allows you to launch chickens across ridiculous distances for fun, suck up slimes who seem happy with captivity, and shoot your loot into a market bin where it gets converted to cash.

The mechanics are easy to pick up on, the controls very easy, and movement is fluid which is always a big plus for me. I hate games where it’s easy to get stuck on a corner or in a space.

You don’t have these problems in Slime Rancher.

But don’t jump off the cliff to see if you can on Day 1. It…it doesn’t end well.

chicken uprising slime rancher
I am going to be so disappointed if there isn’t an actual chicken uprising. In fairness…one of those suckers did appear to charge me. So I vacuumed him up and fed him to the slimes. It was glorious!

There are multiple upgrades so what starts out as a single storage bin for pink slimes can rapidly expand and grow as your slime ranch becomes something special to behold!

The soundtrack fits in great, there are early options that let you dictate the type of game you want, and it’s just a delightfully happy and enjoyable game. This is a thoroughly enjoyable game that brings a smile to your face whether taking it seriously or launching chickens over the most insane distances ever.

Or both. No reason it can’t be both 🙂

pretty morning slime rancher
Look at that moon.

And it passes one of my favorite tests. The night sky, dang is it beautiful!

A great change of pace game that is likely to be greatly appreciated by any fan looking for other games like Stardew Valley, or at least that give that same relaxed happy effect. From the pure cozy game and relaxing perspective, it’s hard to beat what Slime Rancher brings to the table.

Related Slime Rancher Articles:

#14: Forager

Forager is an interesting one because on the surface it has some of the same development themes that you see in games like Stardew Valley and those it inspired…but the feel is very different.

Forager is a game that doesn’t revel in the relaxed pace of a simple life, but demands the constant movement towards increased production and more and more capitalism.

If you get angry at yourself for min-maxing supposedly relaxing games like SV then Forager is either perfect for you or it’s the extra addiction that you really didn’t need.

Because Forager is ALL about development, advancement, and industrialization. The point is to go from tiny insignificant bit of land surrounded by water and end up with an insanely automated empire of industry, tech, and a constantly moving upward gold number showing the unstoppable draw of capitalism. Maybe?

You start with one isolated island with limited resources and you’re aiming to own all the land, purchased one island at a time.

Starting small but with big dreams ahead!

If you want more resource gathering and more crafting and less socialization or game balancing then Forager is a game you’re probably going to like quite a bit.

If that sounds awful, then just skip this entry and look at the other offerings on this awesome list!

However if going super-saiyan mode on a ridiculously farm that requires 20 iridium sprinklers and still has you passing out each day was your way of playing Stardew Valley then you should give this one a shot. You’ll like it.

#15: Terraria

Look, Terraria isn’t the 16th best game on this list. There’s a reason this game is played by millions. But in this list we’re trying to stay with the games giving the most Stardew Valley-esque experience towards the top so while Terraria is a great game, it is very different than SV. The way Braden described this game fits really well: it’s like 2D Minecraft.

And already I was on board!

Like I said, that initial learning curve is a bit rough.

Although some other gamers I’ve been with disagree, others I’ve talked to agree with me that the learning curve can be a little steep at first, especially if you don’t have any experienced players working with you to help show you the ropes.

I died twice before figuring out how to craft a work bench, which is a pretty essential beginning piece of gear, for example.

But this is a in-depth game with a great soundtrack and is a lot of fun once you get into the full swing of things. It is much more along the Minecraft vein than Stardew but you can forage, build, collect, defend yourself, and create some truly special and amazing looking places.

#16: Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin

Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin is an incredibly unique and interesting game that caught my attention immediately because of the Far East themes, combination of Stardew Valley farm sim with cartoon characters combined in an Asian mythology. If that sounds like a really strange and unique combination, it is.

This is a game with a main plot line and story, which does set it apart form some of the more traditional entries on this list that are in the Stardew Valley/Harvest Moon genre of games. It has a style in graphics, story, and gameplay that is distinctly its own and makes it stick out comapred to any other title you may have played.

Sakuna video game screenshot
Not your conventional simplistic graphics.

The graphics are incredibly unique and you can see the Asian culture and influence found in this game. It’s impossible to ignore. This is an action heavy side scroller that is combined with beautifully cinematic cut scenes, an over-arching plot, and some serious farming simulation with the cultivation and growing of rice.

If that sounds like a strange blend…it is.

But it very much works, as well. This is a very unique game that will feel like a welcome match up of the mythology/feel of a classic RPG mixed in with some very satisfying pieces of planting, farming, and the simulation and peaceful repetitive work that when done right is a really cool relaxing game mechanic.

Not only does this game offer a lot of different mixes of styles and playing experience that creates something unique, original, and super interesting.

Five people planting rice video game
Planting rice equals power…for some reason…but you know what, if I was allowed spoilers this would make sense…

This is a truly unique game that brings something very different to the table, not to mention an estimated 40 hours of action packed gameplay just to get the main plot.

This is a game that is a bit pricier if you’re used to buying independent games, but if it goes on sale you should grab it if it looks interesting to you. It will deliver a very different gaming experience that many of you will enjoy.

Related Article: Is Sakuna of Rice and Ruin Worth the Money?

#17: Zelter

Stardew Valley-like graphics, base building, community creation, AND a zombie apocalypse? What more could you ask for? While obviously one of the more action-based games you’re going to find on this list and not exactly hitting the heavy genre of farm simulation, the base building here is in no way insignificant.

You will be scavenging for materials, building up a base’s defenses as well as home building, farms, and other important out buildings, and facing off against zombies galore as you go scavenging and looking for much needed supplies to boost up and survive an increasingly challenging zombie apocalypse.

This is a zombie survival game first, a scavenging survival game second, and a crafting game third. But it’s a nice blend that works for what it is. If you’re not into the action or zombie genre at all, go ahead and skip this one. But if this sounds like a game you could enjoy when you want a little more action then you may want to add it to your Steam Wishlist.

Zelter crafting menu
Better get crafting those base defenses!

Zelter is an interesting game that has some mixed reviews but is definitely going to find its fans. It has the feel of a rougelite game without quite being in that genre, as you are there to build your base and weather the storm.

This game brings back a few thoughts from my Deadly Days Review but I actually enjoy this combination more than Deadly Days. It’s definitely a change up in this genre, but worth a look if you like those games that give something different.

#18: Gleaner Heights

Okay, very important note right off the bat for Gleaner Heights: this is a very, VERY different game and should NOT be considered a Stardew Valley clone. So why is is on this list?

Because it will show up on a lot of these lists online as “Like Stardew Valley but darker.” While technically correct, I think that really does a disservice to people by giving the wrong impression.

Are there lots of similarities? Yes. Absolutely. And based on this screenshot you could be forgiven for thinking this was what you were getting into starting this game.

Always a sickle, never a lawnmower, sigh.

But I think that description puts a very unfair picture both for the game and potential buyer.

Because there are a lot of people who will really like Gleaner Heights, and there’s good reason to feel this way. But this is NOT in the vein of Harvest Moon, My Time at Portia, or Stardew Valley.

Let’s meet your first neighbor:

Kain…Kain…why does that name sound….oh…..

That name, heavy handed as it is, is a clue to what’s to follow. Unlike most games on this list (even Graveyard Keeper, though with a lot of dark humor, is dark with plenty of humor) Gleaner Heights is not a happy light-hearted game.

This game has a very dark intense storyline with plenty of secrets, scandals, and some really deep rabbit holes under what appears on the surface to just be another farm sim.

You are moving into a new town as you take over a farm from your grandfather, but a strange opening clip of you doing a theater performance about the potential meaningless of existence that is written to show it didn’t go well sets a very different tone from the beginning.

Yes this is a small town, but it’s more Sinclair Lewis’s Main Street than the Pelican Town of Stardew Valley.

This is a game that get mixed reviews, in part because of arguments over what exactly Gleaner Heights is.

  • Is it a surprisingly addictive dark adventure where you are expected to delve beneath the surface to find what’s really going on – and there’s a lot going on underneath the surface – with the farming sim as an interesting little cover?
  • Is this game a really unique and fantastic take on the traditional small town farm sim full of potential…but falling short of delivery?
  • Should this have been a dark adventure standing on its own with the farm sim mechanics just bringing tedium to the real story?

There are a lot of opinions on this game which has become something of a cult classic. Some people absolutely love it. Some people absolutely hate it. And there are many mixed feelings lamenting a game that feels like it went for something ambitious but for one reason or another just fell short.

You can play this with a keyboard and mouse or a controller, those the controls seem more designed for controller, and it can be a bit clunky to figure out.

What have I gotten myself into? Also nice job with waterfall graphics/sound effects.

Is this your normal switch out for Stardew Valley? Absolutely not.

But if you love a good dark story, if you’re not afraid of learning the hard way and failing your first time through, some view this as a strange cross between Stardew Valley and an almost Twin Peaks-like feel from the 1990’s, if you don’t mind going down a very different tone of game then this is a great option.

Is that a really strange combination? Yes. And in fairness there are some rough edges with the dialogue and scripting, and getting use to games like the top ones on this list mean missing elements from this game (like NPCs changing their reaction based on your actions in the game) are a bit jarring.

If that’s not interesting at all (can’t blame you based on the reason to check out this list) then go ahead and pass on this one.

I’ve found the game to be deeply intriguing. There are warts. Few people will see this as a 10/10, but I’m with the cult classic group who enjoyed what it has to offer – but I do wish the development team would take the lessons learn and consider a second shot at a new reiteration.

#19: Harvest Moon: Light of Hope

There’s no denying that Harvest Moon is basically the matriarch/patriarch of this entire genre. Harvest Moon was one of those incredibly addictive games on Play Station and Play Station 2 back in the late 1990s and early 2000s. There were many, many games in this serious with Harvest Moon: Back to Nature being the one that introduced me to the franchise and being one of the most popular of all the early games.

In fact, Stardew Valley‘s developer has talked extensively about how the game was his improved version of Harvest Moon, a game he fell in love with as a young gamer. So how could this list be complete without a (relatively) recent Harvest Moon addition to the list?

Well good news, bad news on that front 🙂

Harvest Moon: Light of Hope is a game that borrows a lot that was loved from earlier games like Back to Nature or Friends of MineralTown. However, there’s a lot of well-deserved criticism to this game. Overall it has positive reviews from critics and players alike, and you can farm, mine, meet villagers, and explore to your heart’s content, but not everyone is on board with Light of Hope.

There will be those who love this Harvest Moon title, and those of us who don’t. There’s a LOT here that relies heavily on whether or not you have fond memories from the early Harvest Moon games that took off, but it’s worth noting that Story of Seasons is where the previous writers/designers of those early Harvest Moon games have gone.

This does feel different to me. Like a game that is partly left behind to an older era and relying on nostalgia, to trying to borrow bits and pieces in a collage that for me at least, just misses the mark as they don’t quite work together. From graphics to mechanics it feels like this game didn’t know what it wanted to be, ran up against deadline, and it shows.

That said, there are thousands of players who disagree with me who love this game – so to each their own!

A good video review on this game to see the critical side of things from the hilarious YouTuber (and huge Stardew Valley/Harvest Moon fan) DF: (UPDATE: For some reason that video was removed. So here’s his playthrough of the early part of the game that gets the point across just fine)

#20: Farm Together

Farm Together is a game that definitely focuses on the farm simulator part of games like Stardew Valley or Harvest Moon. There are thousands upon thousands of positive reviews on Steam, and this is a game that does focus on being both multi-player and a relaxing casual farm sim. While this is going to appeal to many people, there are some drawbacks.

One is that Farm Together doesn’t seem to have the plot or characters of other games on this list that make them something special. This isn’t a game about NPCs, story, plot, or variations thereof. This is a game that is just about farming.

It’s the most barebones version of a farming sim with cute graphics.

Many fans of this game talk about it as a lot of casual fun as a multi-player farm sim but one Steam reviewer compared it to a bigger version of the old mobile Farmville games and it is kind of hard to argue with that assessment.

It plays and feels like a mobile game and where the farm improvement can be undeniably satisfying, it’s very much a different feel than many of the other games on this list.

It’s not for everyone. But it is another option if the potential cons in this list don’t bother you that much.

#21: No Place Like Home

Look I know, this isn’t your conventional Stardew Valley type game as the farming connection is tenuous at best when comparing them, but stick with me here.

This is a really interesting title for me. The post apocalyptic (I’m counting environmentally devastating the planet into a giant junkyard) landscape is a very different take on the “clean up and mold your environment into something different” part of these games. It’s an intriguing take as you vacuum, hammer compacted bundles of trash, collect rubbish, tame animals, create buildings and more.

The end result is the same – cleaning up a dilapidated area and turning it into something more useful. How you go about it is amazingly unique, different and stands out from any other game I’ve played to this point.

There are some intricacies of the controls, the handling, and the system that I like immensely and then there are some that don’t. These could get ironed out with some patches.

It is a fun little game that passes the most important test: it’s addictive enough to have you coming back for an hour here or there and there are plenty of games that fail that basic but all important test.

Work still needs to be done to work out some glitches and make the controls work smoothly, but the potential is there to keep working with it.

Some people like it a lot more than I do at this point, as I do feel there’s so much that can be done with decorations while certain useful buildings prove limited or infuriating, but these can change with time and it is a very different take on many of the other games in the genre.

So many potatoes. So so many potatoes.

There are some things that are quite charming, and though admittedly the vacuum suction sound actually put me off in the beginning, once I could get past this there was a nice progression and a fairly deep satisfaction in seeing the world clean up and get organized day by day.

Many of the early features are a bit simplistic, and after about there 4-5 hour mark I did find myself getting restless. There was a lot of repetition, but not a lot of guidance. I had so much scrap yet everything I could pick up was decorative versus functional.

And a lack of guidance means that figuring out things like “I have the building and the batteries, why can’t I tame a skittish AI?” can be impossible to figure out without the wiki.

There are large areas I haven’t unlocked yet so there’s certainly potential to grow.

It’s a VERY stark alternative to others in the genre and holds a ton of promise, especially depending on how things develop in future patches and updates.

Update: The full release of No Place Like Home has taken place and this is a delightful game nd world that built on all that early promise and is one of the most enjoyable games like Stardew Valley on this list – deeply satisfying in a way that is hard to describe.

6 Other SV-Adjacent Games Worth Keeping an Eye On

There are some games that I definitely wouldn’t call Stardew Valley-like, however they have certain aspects that might appeal to players who enjoy Stardew Valley and the many other games on this list that share some similarities.

So while I think it’s rather misleading to call these games that are like SV, they are SV-related or adjacent in at least one trait that makes them worth checking out.

Chances are you will enjoy one or more of these titles, as well.

So while these games might not be like Stardew Valley, they have aspects that are more likely to make you enjoy what they have to offer.

Medieval Dynasty

Truth be told I’m actually quite excited to get my hours in on this game! This is not what you would call a Stardew Valley based game. The graphics, world interaction, and storyline are quite different. But you are starting with nothing, harvesting the materials of the natural world, and building a house, then a business, then multiple buildings that help you create a family dynasty of wealth in Medieval times.

So you can see this has a lot of themes that are going to hit home with fans of Stardew Valley, Harvest Moon, or others in the genre. However, it’s also worth noting that this tackles a more open 3-D or RPG type world. This is a far cry from the pixelated or simpler graphics that many games in the genre tries.

Think Skyrim open world where the main focus is survival, building, scrounging, and surviving. Although there is hunting and fighting, as well. This is a really cool twist off of the general games in this genre and though it might not perfectly fit in that mold of games you think of when you’re looking at SV and others, it’s a really cool game that is going to earn a high level of fans.

And rightfully so.

Definitely worth a look, and signs that the styles of games that have become so popular are going to expand to open world systems and the results, when done right, can be spectacular.

Update: More a realistic village builder in the Skyrim World as opposed to a traditional farm sim, but a lot of fun. Remarkable graphics, very interactive and wild world, and building a medieval village from scratch and improving it is incredibly satisfying.

End of game screen Medieval Dynasty
Just try to have a kid before you get shot while investigating a broken wagon with six arrows in it. Bandits. They’re a thing.

Rune Factory 4 & Rune Factory 5

Another great game in the Stardew Valley genre for those who don’t have an active Steam account, a great option that is available on the Nintendo Switch and other platforms.

But not Steam for some reason (sorry Steam players).

Rune Factory 4 is an amazing game that is pretty much universally loved by about anyone who likes Stardew Valley, My Time at Portia, or many other games that are on this list. It is an older game, but one that has received a port into Steam.

Rune Factory 5 was announced as coming soon and is a highly anticipated game that you should definitely keep an eye out for.

Update: While originally rolled out on Nintendo Switch, it was rolled out to the PC and other systems now as well. Rune Factory 4 is a great introduction into the series while Rune Factory 5 has taken things to the next level for the series and make it one of the absolute best games like Stardew Valley currently on the markets.

Travellers Rest

Why work on a farm when you can build an inn and serve booze to travelers? Building an inn from a barely making two coppers to rub together hovel into the favorite party site of locals and travelers alike, Travellers Rest is an inn management game that offers a really sleek set of mechanics that makes the game enjoyable.

This doesn’t have the interesting characters or a solid plot – it throws it hand in as an upgrade to the ultimate inn management game and that’s where the focus is.

They do that very well and have expanded the game drastically from the original 9-12 hours of content as of this writing. There is a possibility of more content being added in the future. Even as it stands, the experience it delivers for the 9-12 hours is really excellent and there’s a reason that the ratings have been so good for this interesting take on a fairly traditional style of game.

Don’t Starve Together

Don’t Starve is a classic game that was fun, different, and a wild success story for the early Steam Early Access program. Incredibly odd graphics, an interesting although very beginner unfriendly planet with many mysteries, and with the ability to set the entire world on fire, there’s a lot here to digest.

The fact this game has a co-op mode makes it even better. Even before that this game did a nice blend of Stardew Valley like Sim games, survival games, and included a bit of its own independent zest and weirdness to boot. That is a great combo when you can make it work and that is something that Don’t Starve did very well.

Now that Don’t Starve Together lets you do crazy things while trying to survive, clearly not knowing what you’re doing, and accidentally and repeatedly setting the whole pine forest on fire to keep the monsters in the shadows from closing in.

Let the fun begin!


Going to age myself on this one, but I remember when the original Tropico came out with demo in the wild wild west days of the Internet circa day 2004 to 2005 ish. The series has done very well since then and although it’s much more of a town builder, these games are often enjoyed by those of us who also like the individual games like Portia or SV or Graveyard Keeper.

Among the town builders and small nation builders, the Tropico series is famous and for good reason. Not a farm or simulation builder, but you take the role of El Presidente as you are guiding your poor Caribbean island through major periods of history from Colonial times to independence to rushing ahead towards attempting to become a regional power.

The type of island paradise, or iron fisted dictatorship, that you’re proud to be supreme ruler of.

Among town builders it’s a great one, and worth a look.

Castles & Kingdoms

An incredibly popular game on Steam, the title says it all. You start small but you’re not here to build one hut or one small hovel, you want to build a thriving castled city that can defend against bandits, Viking raids, and even the occasional pesky dragon. This is a city and territory builder but between the simple but cute graphics and intuitive gameplay, there is a LOT of fun to be hand with this very interesting and fun title.

Keep an Eye Out for…(Future Stardew Valley Like Games Worth Looking At)

Some of these games could almost certainly bump others off the top list, and may get heavily reviewed and moved up to the list over time. We’re all about the up to date farm/life/relaxation sim goodness.

While this whole genre of games has really taken off, here are some in particular that deserve some extra attention.

My Time at Sand Rock

Oh man am I excited for this one! The second game in the “My Time” series, after the wild success of the truly awesome game that is known as “My Time at Portia,” we’ll get a chance to see what the development team at Pathea Games can do with full funding, the feedback of a large and passionate fanbase from the first game, and the experiences (both pros and cons) of shoe-stringing their first large game project.

Now they have more funds, more experience, and can learn from the many amazing stories of Portia. Those systems are being added to, improved, and brought to the Free City of Sandrock, a place that has certainly seen better days but is now connected to the largely evolved Portia from the first game.

You’re not playing the same character, but get to explore more of the world.

The Devs have published a couple of pre-Alpha release live streams. The new world takes a desert/Old West theme and is in a very unforgiving part of the post apocalyptic world. As opposed to a really obvious foil (Screw You Higgins!) in Sand Rock it looks like you start out with another beginning builder in a town desperate for some serious crafting.

If Sand Rock is even comparable to My Time at Portia it will rocket up this list as one of the best games in the Stardew Valley-like game genre. If the end up improving on the original…well then even better!

My Time at Sandrock screenshot
Oh man I can’t wait for this one to come out!

Coral Island

Currently in Kickstarter, Coral Island is an interesting Stardew Valley like game that caught my interest. When I first started watching the early gameplay demos/previews to get attention it looked good but wasn’t fully convincing me yet. Mostly because there are so many good games I have to be careful with what I fund.

Then I saw the swimming among coral underwater to collect resources and…meet a mermaid? Follow that up with other peeks of really new or interesting folds to this genre of game that made it stick out as something quite different. The soundtrack sounded fantastic, the common “clean up, gather resources, build farm” setup looked better than many other SV like games.

And I was sold.

The attention to detail, the awesome soundtrack, the cool graphics and animations that go hand in hand, it made me want to take a dive into the world and give it a go.

So I was happy to fund this game and I’m looking forward to seeing their new take on the best of the farming sim games.

The Kickstarter page is here: Coral Island Kickstarter

The version one release is expected to be in fall of 2021 and I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on this and giving it a go to see not only how it compares to Stardew Valley but also how it stands on its own.

Stardew Valley but on a tropical island with volcanos and coral reefs…sweet. I’m in!

Be prepared later this year for an upcoming Let’s Play series!

Update: This awesome game is out and although it’s still early access, it has a ton of content in it after 50+ hours I’m loving it. You can see my first impressions with my Coral Island Beginner’s Guide.

Roots of Pacha

Roots of Pacha is another game that I saw on Kickstarter and decided to back because I love what it could bring to this genre of games. Broadly described by many beta testers and pre-Alpha streamers as a “Stone Age Stardew Valley” this is a game that offers a really interesting take on the genre and a welcome one, as well.

I love Stardew Valley and the other top games on this list, but I always want variety and so adding another great game is always on my list. Roots of Pacha has a wonderful Stone Age aesthetic and mixes exploration with idea/tech tree development from the need to learn about animals to tame them to even have animals to raise or groom.

Gathering is the start then developing into farming, animal husbandry, and exploring the secrets of the world you’re in to help your tribe advance and thrive.

There is a really cool graphics look to this game and the limited number of very early streamers who were allowed to be pre-Alpha testers all seemed to love it. The playthroughs look great promising a world where you get to explore, develop, and start building in a very Stardew Valley like setting, except while progressing from the Stone Age.

But you know, with cavemen.

Plus I wanna ride an Ostrich.

This is a game whose Kickstarter I funded and am really looking forward to this take on an SV style game. Definitely worth keeping an eye on!

The Kickstarter Page is here: Roots of Pacha Kickstarter

In Conclusion

There are an amazing number of great video games out there. The fact that SV-like is basically its own genre at this point really shows how powerful a game this was. It wasn’t the first. It’ll be far from the last.

But that special combination of life simulator, farming/crafting/socializing, and designing an entire genre around a game that is meant to be relaxing and create the “wind down after a long day” experience that, let’s face it, many of us absolutely need that sets them apart from a repetitive chore game.

This list gives you a full look at the best options already out there, the most promising ones coming down the pipe, and those games that aren’t quite like Portia, Harvest Moon, or Stardew Valley but have some of the same traits, mechanics, and gameplay that the main games on this list have.

If you can’t find a lifetime of amazing games to play from this one long guide, I don’t know what to tell you 🙂

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