If you’re ready to move out of the city, roll up your sleeves and dig into happy gaming soil, these are the 10 best games like Stardew Valley.
If you’re a regular visitor to Retro Dodo then you’ll undoubtedly know that I love Stardew Valley. And while I adore the work of ConcernedApe and enjoying nothing more than tending to ‘Windy Valley Farm’ (yes, I am that immature), I thought I’d share a list of the 10 best games like Stardew Valley for players itching to sample some alternative produce of the farming/lifestyle genre.
For this list I’m exploring titles that manage to encapsulate the magic of Stardew Valley in several ways. I’ll be bringing you titles that may focus on one or more aspects such as farming, relationship building, mysteries or even dungeon crawling.
Stardew Valley is one of those games that brings me the most joy. It’s a game that has improved my mental health considerably and perks me up whenever I’m feeling down.
The following games have similar vibes and values to the wonderful Stardew Valley and will provide players with hours upon hours of farming, crafting and town building gameplay.
Table of Contents
1. Disney Dreamlight Valley (2022)
The best game like Stardew Valley is Disney Dreamlight Valley.
Naming similarities aside, Disney Dreamlight Valley offers almost everything that players love from Stardew Valley with a shovel full of nostalgia thrown in for good measure.
The premise is an original one within the genre as players haven’t inherited a farm from their dear ol’ Grandpa and instead they are revisiting a magical world from their childhood.
The initial plot of the game surrounds a mystery involving devilish night thorns that must be overcome with the help of classic Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Merlin from The Sword in the Stone and Scrooge McDuck.
Before long, the overgrown valley springs into life, with players working with their favourite Disney pals to mine for gems and crafting materials, cook delicious meals and complete heartwarming quests.
My only quibble with Disney Dreamlight Valley is that one particular villager rubs me the wrong way like a disoriented masseuse.
I’m talking about Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid. His ‘royal smugness’ always seems to interrupt me when I’m fishing with Goofy or foraging for herbs with Remy. As if his constant chatter about Ariel isn’t bothersome enough, his incessant flute playing cuts right through me.
2. Animal Crossing: New Horizons (2020)
Animal Crossing: New Horizons launched just when the world needed it most. One of Stardew Valley’s crowning achievements is its’ ability to capture the attentions of gamers for hours on end, and Animal Crossing can do the same.
Originally launching in March 2020, the game arrived as the world entered the Covid-19 pandemic. For many, my partner included, Animal Crossing facilitated a joyous escapism from the literal and mental trappings of the pandemic.
Enforced lockdowns were spent mingling with loveable villagers, decorating our homes and exploring a tropical paradise. The community surrounding Animal Crossing: New Horizons was uplifting, with players sharing their findings online or being able to hang out with friends digitally where they couldn’t in real life.
Beyond the fortunate timing, Animal Crossing: New Horizons will appeal to Stardew Valley fans for a number of reasons.
Meeting and building relationships with characters is at the heart of this second-life sim. Much like the residents of Pelican Town in Stardew Valley, the guests that accompany players on their adventures in Animal Crossing will quickly fill your heart with joy.
Developing and nurturing your own tropical island alongside an array of caring companions is so much fun and even the money-hungry Tom Nook can’t convince us otherwise.
3. Harvest Moon: Back To Nature (1999)
Not to be confused with the Neil Young song of the same name, we’re stepping back in time with our next game, Harvest Moon.
The Harvest Moon series began life on the SNES and is cited as one of the biggest influences of Stardew Valley developer, Eric Barone. In fact, it’s widely known that Barone’s love for the series inspired him to create a game that overcame some of foibles of those earlier titles.
It’s no surprise then to see a Harvest Moon title on our list of the best games like Stardew Valley then. It’s also no surprise that Harvest Moon features plenty of the same gameplay mechanics that players become enamoured with in Barone’s game.
Harvest Moon: Back To Nature is a notable entry in the series as being the first Harvest Moon game to release on a non-Nintendo console, debuting on the PlayStation in 1999.
The game sees players taking on the role of a young man who inherits a rundown farm from his deceased Grandfather. After clearing the overgrowth, players must restore the farm to the thriving heart of agriculture it once was within three in-game years.
If that premise sounds familiar, you may be a veteran of Stardew Valley. Gameplay involves planting crops and attending to the needs of livestock while also nurturing relationships with the townsfolk in the hope to attract a spouse. Definitely a little more romantic than swiping through Tinder, eh?
4. Story Of Seasons: Pioneers Of Olive Town (2021)
The Story of Seasons games evolved from the Harvest Moon series. The games all adopt the same catalyst of farm-based inheritance and restoration and give players the tools to make their dreams of a rural existence a reality.
The picturesque village is the stage for players to cultivate their dream farmstead. By using tools such as axes and shovels to clear and tend to the land, players will soon create crop-laden fields ready for harvesting.
Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town is chock full with whimsical characters for players to meet and interact with. My personal favourite is aristocratic food critic, Lovett. This cheery villager spends all of his time thinking about food (extremely relatable) and sampling the finest dishes players can conjure.
It’s not all fine dining and fancy restaurants though. There’s romancing to be done!
Olive Town is home to a bevy of thirsty suitors vying for your affections. Just like in Stardew Valley, affections with each eligible bachelor or bachelorette can be improved by bringing them gifts and, presumably, whispering sweet nothings about life down on the farm.
5. Farming Simulator 2022 (2021)
So far, so cutesy and idyllic. Most of the titles on our list of the best games like Stardew Valley feature adorable art styles and narratives full of fancy and adventure.
Ask any real-world farmer how often they explore the nearby caves for monster parts or romance the local school teacher and you may be surprised to learn that it’s fairly infrequent.
Instead, it’s all 4am starts and ploughing fields for hours on end. For gamers looking to explore more of the farming aspect of the farm/life sim genre, Farming Simulator is right up your cornfield.
Adopting a more grounded and realistic presentation with 3D rendered graphics, the Farming Simulator series gives players the opportunity to get behind the wheel of several industrial machines based on real-world vehicles from the likes of JCB, John Deere and McCormick.
Faming Simulator 22 takes place across three different farms based in Europe and the United States and includes seasonal cycles just like in Stardew Valley.
It’s not all weather watching and crop spraying though as Farming Simulator also includes animal husbandry and forestry tasks to keep things interesting. Just remember to have an early night as you have to be up before dawn to take care of the lambs.
6. Terraria (2011)
Stardew Valley is responsible for a sizeable chunk of hours played in my lifelong gaming journey. My current save is sitting around the five hundred hours marks and shows no sign of stopping.
Another game that can vacuum up your time like it’s going out of fashion is Terraria. Terraria is less concerned with farming but still features all of the pillars of gameplay that make Stardew Valley so compulsively moreish.
Gamers dipping into Terraria for the first time may be overwhelmed by the endless possibilities on offer. The game will generate a unique world for exploration, cultivation and development.
Just like Stardew Valley, Terraria features numerous activities to partake in that will help players grow their blossoming homes. The never-ending loop of harvesting materials, crafting and building will appeal to anyone that’s overhauled the farm in Stardew Valley over several years.
There’s a bigger emphasis on combat that some Stardew Valley players may find off-putting but if you’ve conquered the Skull Caverns outside of Pelican Town you’ll be fine.
7. My Time At Portia (2019)
Another 3D game in the same vein as Stardew Valley, My Time At Portia gives players a ramshackle settlement to renovate and a cast of friendly neighbours to enamour/bother.
In terms of vibes and atmosphere, My Time At Portia is one of the closest to Stardew. There’s a relaxing, stress-free environment to explore at your own leisure and activities can be undertaken at your own pace.
My Time At Portia doesn’t just borrow the hobbies and pastimes from Stardew though and there’s a greater emphasis on crafting objects than in Eric Barone’s masterpiece.
Other engagements include breeding fish and caring for various plants. The 3D graphics give players an excellent view of what’s going on in and around the town and the visuals are suitably soft and lovely.
A sequel called ‘My Time At Sandrock’ was released in November 2023 and took the compelling farming and life sim into a new desert location.
8. Moonlighter (2018)
Throughout your adventures in Stardew Valley you will have paid many visits to the various shopkeepers. Whether you’ve been to see Pierre to purchase seeds or a backpack upgrade, Robin to build a stable for your horse or Clint to sharpen your shovel, shopkeepers are an intrinsic part of the life sim experience.
So then, what if you can jump behind the tills and start selling your own wares for profit? That’s the premise behind Moonlighter.
This lovely 2D pixel art game sees players running their own item store just like Pierre. Players will need to crawl through some dungeons to restock though. We can’t see Pierre rooting through the mines for his supplies though!
The adventuring through dungeons aspect secured Moonlighter a spot on our games like The Binding of Isaac list, so that gives you an idea of what to expect when it comes to combat.
Thankfully, it’s not all monsters and mayhem as running the shop is supremely charming. Players must assess the delicate nature of supply and demand and ensure their prices are fair to the incoming customers.
Maybe the farmers of Stardew Valley could start their own successful shops if they didn’t all zonk out at 2am. Lightweights!
9. Slime Rancher (2017)
Slime Rancher narrowly breaches our list of the best games like Stardew Valley for one main reason; chilled out vibes.
Who knew a game about farming sentient balls of slime would be so soothing? Slime Rancher is cathartic, with minimal pressure applied to the player and plenty of cartoony zaniness to keep even the most grumpy gamer grinning.
Ranch hands will explore the open world in first person, discovering the many different types of fun and bouncy slimes.
Stardew Valley presents opportunities for players to gather resources and items from their livestock and strong bonds produce greater rewards. While there may be too many slimes on screen for us to keep track of all of them, it’s hard not to feel a sense of attachment to these cute little critters.
Slime Rancher is definitely one of the more unconventional farming sim games on our list but the charm of sucking up a little bundle of joy with a backpack mounted vacuum never becomes stale.
10. Sun Haven (2021)
PC exclusive Sun Haven takes the Stardew Valley recipe and adds a huge dollop of fantasy to the mixing pot.
All of the hallmarks of the genre are present and correct with relationship building, farming, resource gathering, fishing and cooking all featuring heavily in Sun Haven.
Unlike its Valley based contemporary though, Sun Haven’s setting is decidedly more high fantasy and includes an epic questline that wouldn’t feel out of place in a traditional RPG and plenty of dragons, elves and magic to make a hobbit feel right at home.
Developers Pixel Sprout Studios have crafted a world for multiple players to inhabit at once. The game supports up to eight people in online co-op.
Each player can choose their own starting species too, making it unique on our list of the best games like Stardew Valley.
Do you want to play as a human? That’s fine but maybe a little too safe. How about embracing your devilish side and playing as a demon? Or perhaps a humanoid cat thing?! If you’re looking for a farming and life sim like Stardew Valley but love all things fantastical, then Sun Haven is the game for you.
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Theo first fell in love with gaming when he sped through Green Hill Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog back in 1991. Theo has previously provided reviews, news coverage and articles for The Games Cabin and enjoyed producing comedic Let’s Plays on his own personal YouTube channels.
A huge Kingdom Hearts and Metal Gear fan, Theo enjoys deep gameplay mechanics and complex storylines. A completionist by nature, Theo has earned over 140 platinum trophies including top digital trinkets for Stardew Valley, The Witness, Bloodborne and a plethora of GTA games.
Outside of gaming, Theo can often be found riding his motorbike, headbanging at gigs or out in the countryside exploring nature and marvelling at the ‘realistic graphics’.