The 9 Best Games Like Stardew Valley, for Farming Sim or Romance Fans

The 9 Best Games Like Stardew Valley, for Farming Sim or Romance Fans

Farming sims have exploded in popularity, and the best games like Stardew Valley can be hard to find since there’s so much to sift through. With over 20 million copies sold (and now selling faster than ever), it’s no wonder the genre has become a continuous stream of pixely lookalikes and resource management sims.

The formula developer Concerned Ape adheres to goes back to the SNES days, when games like Harvest Moon defined the genre and dominated the scene for decades. After a weird lull and the messy situation between the Story of Seasons series and its Harvest Moon namesake, the solo dev’s debut game exploded – delivering adorable pixel art, thoughtful romances, crafting, and tons of farming.

If you’re looking to rekindle the magic of smalltown romance, or if you’re just looking for another management sim to scratch that itch, we’ve got some suggestions for you. Here are our picks for the best games like Stardew Valley, across multiple platforms, available in 2022.

Kitaria Fables is another game like Stardew Valley, available on Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox Series, and PC.

Kitaria Fables – The Best Farming Sims Like Stardew Valley

Perhaps one of the hardest things to pin down about Stardew Valley is the piece that appeals to you. There’s plenty of genres mixed into the indie farm sim, and that’s where Kitaria Fables feels similar. The tale of Paw Village often feels a little more Zelda than anything else, and it reminds us of Rune Factory for that reason. In Kitaria, you’ll adventure as an adorable kitty protagonist and live amongst wildlife friends and foes in a colorful, charming 3D world.

Developer Twin Hearts’ delivers plenty of what you may already adore about the genre, with villager-driven questing, crop growing, exploration, and combat. Its biggest fans often draw comparisons to games like Fantasy Life, and it’s worth mentioning that some of its systems are a little more complex than what you’d find in the ConcernedApe sim. There’s far more combat in Kitaria’s world, demanding a little more than what you’d find in the mineshafts of Stardew.

Regardless, if that’s too intimidating, you can play Kitaria with a friend. There’s a ton to explore outside of your animal home, and the additional system complexities give you more freedoms to experiment and pick a niche. It’s a smorgasbord of genres to indulge in, with no real wrong answer no matter what you choose in the day-to-day.

Perfect for… anyone into Rune Factory and fans of co-op farming sims.
Avoid if you… dislike combat-heavy games, are looking for a game with romance.
Start with… the base game, deluxe options are all cosmetic. Go with the Steam version if you need an online co-op option.

Rune Factory 4 Special is a beloved farming sim, great for romance, and has a cute art style Stardew fans will love.

 

Rune Factory 4 Special – The Best Games Like Stardew Valley

It’s not the newest game in the series, but Rune Factory 4 Special is still the best pick on modern platforms. This release is a repackaged version of the 2012 3DS game sharing the same name, with a few quality of life tweaks that deliver an even better version of a beloved dungeon-crawling farming sim. In Rune Factory 4, you’ll adventure as an amnesia-stricken guy or gal searching for their origins, looking for love, handy with a hoe, and packing plenty of battle prowess.

Rune Factory is perhaps the best of the farming sims for anyone interesting in a little more combat action. However, it still boasts everything you enjoy about love in the mundane with farm life activities. You’ll do the usual flooding romance options with gifts, enjoying town festivals, tending to animals, and tilling the fields. It’s also far more story-focused than “here’s a farm, now save it.” It’s not a particularly deep tale, but it serves as the perfect vehicle for charming interactions between your character and its cast.

It’s a favorite among the list here but just be warned it was not made with same-gender romance in mind, like the more recent Rune Factory 5. The latter is still a great choice, but it’s quite buggy. The RF4 Special is a bummer for folks on console, but if you are on PC, there’s a mod for same-gender romance and dialogue choices.

Perfect for… a story-driven experience
Avoid if you… play on console and want same-gender romance.
Start with… the PC version via Steam, which gives you access to mods.

Travellers Rest is one of the best games like Harvest Moon, and scratches the farming sim itch for anyone needing a change.

Travellers Rest – The Best Games Like Stardew Valley

Look, a first glimpse may not indicate as much, but there’s still farming to enjoy in Travellers Rest. As an innkeeper, you’ll tackle a lot of the same sort of management-focused tasks and pay close attention to resources. It does those pieces better than most of its competition, pulling back from the focus on romance, story, and combat.

Developer Isolated Games shifts the focus to the grind, and that’s good news for those of us who quickly grow bored of the more relaxed farming sims like Story of Seasons. You’ll take a beat-up old tavern and make it your own, and its pixelated world boasts plenty of ways to decorate and customize the establishment into something that’s your own. And all of that relies upon your ability to progress through farming on the side, crafting, and brewing. It’s a fantasy tavern, so of course, there’s plenty of meat and meed.

There’s a whole progression tree to unlock, and while it boasts relationship building as a feature, it’s not really the same thing you’ll find in romantic Stardew Valley encounters. Instead, Travellers Rest is all about satisfying your magical customers and turning a crumbling ole joint into a poppin’ weekend hot spot.

Perfect for… folks really into the management grind.
Avoid if you… want unique dialogue and intimate relationships.
Start with… the Steam or GOG release. It’s in early access on those platforms only.

Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town is one of the best farming simulator games out there, and one that originally predates the ConcernedApe game.

 

Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town – The Best Stardew Valley Games

Yes, this is quite like Harvest Moon games you may remember from childhood, but no, it doesn’t share the same name. Story of Seasons is still that series, and separate from Harvest Moon in the west. This installment is actually a remake of the Game Boy Advance title Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town, and combines the follow-up version where you could play as a lady farmer.

In Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town, you’ll focus on the farm life, eschewing combat grinds in favor of tending more animals and crops. It’s a far more relaxed experience than the grinds you’ll find in games like Rune Factory or Stardew Valley, with a cast that’s become rather iconic to players experienced in the genre. It’s the original “save your grandpa’s farm” story, and the villagers aren’t particularly complex, but they’re all endearing in their own ways and a joy to shower in gifts.

Friends of Mineral Town is also great for us who wanted to play as the femme avatar and romance Karen since the original never afforded us the same opportunity. The remake is an improved take on a classic with same-gender romance, more to explore, and new villagers to meet.

Perfect for… players who liked N64, PS1, and GBA-era Harvest Moon.
Avoid if you… prefer farming sims with combat and crafting.
Start with… the base game on PC or console. The DLC is all animal-themed costumes for your avatar.

Littlewood is among the best Stardew Valley games if you find yourself into the wholesome side of farming sims.

Littlewood – The Best Farming Sims Like Stardew Valley

This one is for those of you really into the customizing parts of farming sims. Littlewood drops players into a darling, colorful town tasking its savior with rebuilding their home after saving the world. Personality-wise, Littlewood seems more akin to quirky icon Earthbound, while customization elements fuse the best parts of Stardew and sim games like Theme Park. There’s a lot going on here.

Littlewood places emphasis on collecting and design, while also managing your relationships in the town. It’s like Friends of Mineral Town, but with a few added layers of depth to its systems and ideal for those of us who love getting creative. Instead of keeping things to your farm, picture Stardew Valley‘s entire town but with the ability to tweak almost everything about it. While the relationships with your neighbors aren’t as interesting, there’s still plenty to adore about Littlewood’s cutesy cast.

The art style may be among its biggest turn-ons or offs, but it serves customization options well. If you’ve ever enjoyed laying out your own fairgrounds in Theme Park or setting up attractions in Zoo Tycoon, Littlewood is a great option for marrying those ideas to games like Stardew.

Perfect for… players with a creative side.
Avoid if you… desire complex management systems.
Start with… the Switch or PC version. It has no DLC, and both platforms are a fine choice.

Hokko Life is a lot like Animal Crossing, but is good for those who also like Stardew Valley or other farming sims.

Hokko Life – The Best Farming Sims Like Stardew Valley

In the Venn diagram of games like Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley, Hokko Life sits somewhere in the overlap. With a focus on making the village of Hokko feel like it’s yours, developer Wonderscope tasks players with dressing the town up through farming, crafting, and designing. The farming parts feel about as straightforward as traditional games like Harvest Moon, while its creative side really takes the leash off.

Hokko Life drops some of what life sim players value in romance without hurting the experience. However, your villager pals are still warm, cozy, and worth getting to know. It’s another area where Hokko Life removes Animal Crossing‘s more frustrating restrictions, letting you welcome as many villagers as you want into the town. With all of those new neighbors to meet, and a robust system to design and tweak Hokko, the Team17-developed experiences feels a little more personal than Nintendo’s offering.

The only big letdown seems to be a strict single-player focus, you can’t visit your friends’ designs. It sounds like there are no plans to change that now, but the developer FAQ does mention a desire to add options for sharing user-created furniture and clothing.

Perfect for… fans of Animal Crossing chasing more creative freedom.
Avoid if you… value romance over customizing.
Start with… the PC version available for Steam. It’s in early access for now.

My Time At Portia and My Time At Sandrock are both great farming sims for fans of the genre.

My Time at Portia – The Best Games Like Stardew Valley

Pathea Games has started its own life simulation series, the first of which begins with My Time at Portia. It’s a bit of a modernized take on the production side of farm life, as Portia puts the focus on rebuilding your workshop, crafting, and finding ways to make new gizmos and gadgets. With intricate takes on classic farming sim concepts, a stylish art style, and creative elements, Portia is the right mixture of familiar and different.

In the Ghibli-inspired RPG, you’ll go through the same daily chores around farming, mining, combat, and socializing. Its 3D environment and tool kit makes exploring the old mines far more engaging than your traditional Stardew Valley experience, bringing a new survival-style element into the fold with a resource scanner. Portia also leans heavily into the social chores and creativity. The romance lovers will have a blast, and even though the system can be a little finicky, decorating your home feels satisfying with so many options.

If you’ve played this one, there’s another option with My Time at Sandrock. It’s quite similar, but it’s still in early access, so keep those expectations in line with what you may expect to see in an unfinished game.

Perfect for… Stardew Valley mining fiends, players that enjoy decorating.
Avoid if you… don’t like crafting, those systems drive Portia.
Start with… console or PC versions. The App Store and Android releases suffer from frequent crashes.

Sun Haven is like a darker Stardew Valley, full of charming romance and one of the best games like Harvest Moon out there.

Sun Haven – The Best Stardew Valley Games

At a glance, the most striking thing about Sun Haven is its medieval art style full of magic, mythical creatures, and an enchanting cast. So much of its world conjures up memories retro worlds like Secret of Mana, with fantasy-fueled environments celebrating all things Elven, urban, and supernatural. And while its captivating art direction is a major draw, Sun Haven keeps you hooked with traditional farming sim elements.

Sun Haven is another indie project delivered with stunning depth. There are the usual farming, fighting, mining, crafting, and fishing chores, but the scope of it all is a delight. In addition to a cast of romanceable fantasy guys and gals interested in players of any gender, you’ll indulge in a system that feels a little more expressive with avatar customization options leagues beyond others on the list. There’s also the usual design options at home, but the clothing and character features are far more interesting.

The mythical take on Stardew Valley also adds more in terms of RPG layers, with skill trees, pets, and mounts to collect. It’s another game still in early access, but it doesn’t disappoint with excessive limitations. Plus, you can play Sun Haven with up to eight friends; a feature plenty of life sims seem to forget.

Perfect for… people that want to kiss demons, Halloween enjoyers.
Avoid if you… don’t want more RPG elements in your farming sims.
Start with… the Steam release. It’s your only option for now.

Terrarria is a great alternative if you're just looking for a resource management game available on PC, Steam, Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox Series, or Game Pass.

Terraria – The Best Games Like Stardew Valley

Before you recoil at the suggestion, hear us out here. Terraria is a great alternative to the usual farming sim grind. It’s not truly similar to Stardew Valley in the ways you may expect games on this list to be, but it delivers a lot of the same satisfying feelings. Terraria is for those of you who have exhausted your usual options, and need to start venturing out of the genre a little more.

Above all else, Terraria is more survival game, pitting you against hordes of foes and scavaging for supplies. There are also NPCs you’ll want to familiarize yourself with, but they aren’t there for socializing, gift-giving, and events. This one is all about digging into the earth and finding rare resources to build up your base with; that’s where it holds its biggest appeal in being just tangentially related. When you want something that’s more Travellers Rest in terms of management, but gives you that creative outlet like Littlewood, try Terraria.

You won’t find appeal in exploring a village here, but there’s still some barebones farming mechanics to fuel your adventures. It’s certainly a departure from what traditional farming sim enthusiasts may be searching for, but it’s a good next step for anyone looking to broaden their tastes a bit.

Perfect for… players looking to shake up their usual farming sim time.
Avoid if you… want a traditional take on Stardew Valley.
Start with… the PC version. Terraria is available on most platforms, but the modding scene is incredible and worth exploring.

Author: Deann Hawkins