Stardew Valley‘s popularity is well-deserved. It excels at being a highly customizable life sim RPG, with lots of content and in-game projects to work on. Some fans of Stardew Valley may want to venture into similar games, however, and there are plenty of projects that fit the bill.
The genres to explore would be town-building or life-simulation RPGs. There are some notable indie games that scratch the itch, as well as more established franchises in the genre that are readily available. The indie scene is also packed to the brim with pixel graphics projects that, while not identical to Stardew Valley, can fill a similar void.
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When looking to spice up the next Stardew Valley playthrough, these essential gameplay mods deserve a look!
Updated on January 7, 2024 by Mark Sammut: Stardew Valley’s popularity seems eternal. Although not very frequent, ConcernedApe’s game still receives the occasional update, adding even more content to a complete experience. However, sometimes a change of pace is required, and there are quite a few games like Stardew Valley that can fulfill that role.
Cut From The Same Cloth
- November 8, 2018
- PixelCount Studios
- Life Simulation , RPG
Those looking for something that feels similar to Stardew Valley in both design and structure should check out Kynseed. This charming Indie RPG and farming release sees players helping out around a farm and progressing through the years, all while dealing with mysterious story elements that pop up at various junctures.
Players will be able to see their farm through multiple generations, as their characters age during their storyline. With similar “relationship building” elements to Stardew Valley, Kynseed feels familiar with the genre while offering its own unique twists and turns along the way.
Slime Rancher 2
Relax While Farming Slimes
Slime Rancher 2
- September 22, 2022
- Monomi Park
Stardew Valley is a supremely relaxing game at its core. Although combat-seeking players can venture into the Mines for a little action, many of the gameplay mechanics found throughout Stardew Valley can be pretty cathartic. Players will spend a lot of time tending to their crops and cultivating relationships with townspeople through conversation and events. Because of this, Stardew Valley can be a fantastic game for those who are looking to relax and unwind after a long day.
Slime Rancher 2 is a similar “farming” experience, and although it doesn’t feature a lot of relationship-building, it is rather relaxing. Players will spend time finding and capturing various slimes to care for them in exchange for items they can sell for money. With a soft and enticing soundtrack, Slime Rancher 2 is a great way to chill out and recuperate.
Shape The Town
- July 14, 2022
- James Bendon
- Life Simulation
The Animal Crossing series has been captivating players for years thanks to its awesome town-building mechanics that allow players to design their own village to recruit an array of villagers each with their own personalities and designs. Stardew Valley features relationship-building mechanics but players don’t really have much say in how the town surrounding their farm looks. Those looking to have influence over both their farm and the town in which it resides, should check on Dinkum.
This Indie release is in Early Access at the time of writing but already features some impressive gameplay elements and an adorable art style. Players will spend time cultivating crops and growing foods before branching out and placing new buildings in the hopes of attracting villagers to join their town.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Less Farming, More Socializing
Players looking for something that focuses more on interpersonal relationships than actual farming should check out Animal Crossing: New Horizons. This Nintendo Switch exclusive has players taking over as lead management on an exotic island getaway. Although it’s possible to grow a garden of sorts, Animal Crossing fans will spend more time recruiting villagers to stay at their location, building relationships with them by engaging them in conversation, giving them gifts, and seeing them during specific events.
The community is just as important as the environment in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, but those who want to create their own space have the option to organize and decorate their island paradise as they see fit. It’s a very casual release, and quite a bit subdued compared to Stardew Valley, as it doesn’t require players to engage in combat or tend to specific crops.
Run A Shop, Hunt Monsters
- May 29, 2018
- Digital Sun
- Adventure , Action RPG
If someone loves the management aspects of Stardew Valley but wants a bit more combat to sink their teeth into, they should enjoy the top-down indie adventure, Moonlighter. Combat is one of the main focuses in this shop-building release, which has players diving into dungeons each night in order to collect materials and weapons from powerful monsters, which they can then sell at their inherited shop during the day.
Although players won’t spend much time building personal relationships with townsfolk, they’ll find a lot to enjoy about Moonlighter’s simple yet addictive gameplay loop. It can be a bit challenging at times, and players even have the option to upgrade and decorate their shop.
Silly But Endearing Farming Sim
- September 1, 2022
Ooblets is a rather interesting game like Stardew Valley. Although it’s much different graphically, it features a lot of the same elements as the Indie release. Players find themselves taking over a farm, and they’ll spend a lot of time getting to know the different townsfolk that call Badgetown home.
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When they aren’t socializing, players will need to tend to their farm, which includes creating special creatures called Ooblets. These critters can help with farming tasks and other activities. They can even engage in dance competitions and other games, unlocking new items. Ooblets has a very silly aesthetic, and it’s a rather relaxing experience at its core.
Disney Dreamlight Valley
A Disney Life Sim
Stardew Valley has seen such massive success since its release that it’s even gained the attention of some pretty big-name studios and brands. Disney seems to have taken notice of Stardew Valley‘s addictive and charming gameplay elements as they released a casual-yet-in-depth adventure in Disney Dreamlight Valley.
This engaging journey has players meeting with all sorts of beloved and recognized Disney characters as they develop their own area, cleaning up the surrounding zones and embarking on a variety of quests while also flexing their creativity in decorating and growing their homes.
- PS4 , PS3 , PS Vita , Xbox One , Xbox 360 , Switch , 3DS , PC , Android , iOS , Wii U
- November 18, 2011
- Sandbox , Survival
It would be impossible to talk about games like Stardew Valley without mentioning Minecraft as well. This popular title is arguably the main reason why the survival and crafting genres have become so popular in the first place, with the title offering a litany of activities to accomplish where players can do everything from embarking on an adventure to flexing their creative muscles.
It’s the sheer diversity of gameplay present in Minecraft that makes it such a brilliant game. The amazing world is full of creatures that are quite alluring in their own right, with the vast majority of them becoming legendary facets of pop culture. Nights are harrowing yet exciting, while days let people roam around the game and explore the world to their heart’s content… mostly.
Perhaps the biggest reason why Minecraft is so popular is its online community, which is truly incredible. Massive worlds have been created on this server that are simply astounding and show just how dedicated players really are to this amazing game.
Dave The Diver
Running A Sushi Restaurant
Dave the Diver
- June 28, 2023
- Simulation , Adventure
Dave the Diver took the world by storm in 2023, cementing itself as one of the year’s best indie releases. While it is hard to predict if it will have the same staying power as Stardew Valley, Mintrocket’s project is, at the very least, fantastic enough to justify a playthrough right now. Although fans of ConcernedApe’s masterpiece are likely to enjoy this quirky adventure, they should be aware that the games are fundamentally quite different from each other. For one, Dave the Diver is not a farming sim, although it does take a couple of ideas from the simulation genre.
Dave the Diver: Branch Manager Guide
This guide contains full details on branch managers in Dave the Diver, and it will help players pick the best employee for the job.
After agreeing to start a sushi restaurant with a few friends, Dave is tasked with diving into the local waters to catch fish they can serve to clients. Consequently, he spends the day exploring an unpredictable ocean filled with beautiful and dangerous deep-sea creatures, all in service of running a restaurant during the night. The latter segments implement management mechanics that provide a degree of control over the restaurant’s business, even if they are not as complex as some of that genre’s heavy hitters.
Dave the Diver and Stardew Valley are both creative projects that represent the peak of indie development. While potentially relaxing, they are not free of tension or challenge.
A 3D Coat Of Paint
- November 14, 2023
- Stairway Games
- Farming , Simulation
Coral Island wears its Stardew Valley inspiration out in the open, and there is nothing wrong with using one of the most successful farming sims of all time as a base to create something new. Now, outside a 3D graphical style, an argument could be made that Coral Island does not differentiate itself enough to stand on its own two feet; however, this lack of originality can be somewhat forgiven as the game handles the basics well. Players find themselves on an island that needs some serious maintenance, which they plan to deliver through some good old farming.
Along with planting, managing, and selling crops, players can spend their time engaging in mini-games, hunting monsters, or romancing the local populace. As the protagonist hits their stride, the town will start to flourish once again, opening things like stores. Coral Island is a prototypical farming sim that hits the mark in most areas, even if it does not bring too many fresh ideas to the genre. It also has a wide range of inclusivity options.
More Than Just A 2D Minecraft
- PC , PS3 , PS4 , PS5 , Xbox 360 , Xbox One , Xbox Series S , Xbox Series X , Switch , Vita , iOS , Android , macOS , Linux , 3DS , Stadia
- May 16, 2011
- Action , Adventure , Sandbox
It’s a huge disservice to call Terraria nothing more than a 2D version of Minecraft, although it does highlight the strengths of this title. After all, Minecraft is a revolutionary game, and it’s not the worst thing in the world for a game to take its concepts and integrate them into a completely different and unique experience.
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Not every boss in Terraria is a straightforward fight. Some battles require serious planning.
As is the case with most great survival games, Terraria can keep players busy for hours on end as they craft their own journey in a world that is full to the brim with things to do. Exploration, combat, survival, and crafting are just some of the many ways players can enjoy Terraria to its fullest.
Progressing little by little in this game and populating the world is a highly engaging experience that makes Terraria a must-play for any fan of Stardew Valley.
Help Littlewood Grow & Prosper
- June 17, 2019
- Sean Young
- RPG , Adventure , Life Simulation
Littlewood is a town-building RPG created by the developer Sean Young. The story of the game is set after the plot of a typical fantasy RPG, in which the player character has defeated the Dark Wizard and comes back to rebuild the town they left behind. The story is lighthearted and contains many references to other franchises like Final Fantasy and Chrono Trigger. Players build skills, explore hobbies, and bring in new characters to their town. There’s fishing, bug catching, mining, farming, and more.
The town is completely customizable, with terraforming and building placement decided by the player. It’s similar to Animal Crossing: New Horizons in how each town is unique to the player. Another feature Littlewood has is that the day’s timer is connected to the player’s energy level, rather than a continuous clock. Players can take their tasks at their own pace. People who love farming sims and fantasy RPGs will find a lot to enjoy in Littlewood.
My Time At Portia
Help Portia Grow & Prosper
My Time at Portia
- January 15, 2019
- Pathea Games
- Action RPG , Life Simulation
My Time at Portia is a life sim RPG developed by Pathea Games. The focus of the gameplay is on building and crafting, rather than farming. However, players can eventually buy livestock, raise plants, and even breed fish. The game has quite a lot of content, and players can always pursue new skills at their own pace. Even after in-game years have passed, there is still plenty to do and there is never any pressure to complete every skill path.
Like many other town-building life sim games, My Time at Portia focuses on the player revitalizing a small town and becoming part of the community. The player character inherits a workshop and works on developing it throughout the game. The player takes on commissions from the townspeople and competes with other workshops. Each of the town’s residents has fully-fleshed personalities and backstories, and there are many marriage candidates who can be courted regardless of gender. It’s an easygoing game with a charming art style and a lot of heart.
My Time at Sandrock is also out, and the sequel builds on most of its predecessor’s ideas.
Harvest Moon/Story Of Seasons
A Genre Staple
Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town
- July 14, 2020
- RPG , Life Simulation
This suggestion may seem like a no-brainer considering Stardew Valley itself was influenced by this series, but those who haven’t played any Harvest Moon (now known as Story of Seasons) should give the franchise a try. Each game has adorable animals to raise, villagers to befriend and romance, and plenty of unique oddities.
Before diving into the franchise, there’s a bit of confusion to clear up; in 2014, the original Harvest Moon developers switched publishers, but Natsume kept the rights to the title. So the developers continued the series under the title Story of Seasons, while Natsume took the opportunity to release other games with the original branding. Long-time fans recommend against the post-2014 Natsume Harvest Moon games, as the difference in quality is clear.
The series has been ongoing since the SNES days, but the most recent entry is Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town. It’s a remake of the Game Boy Advance Mineral Town games, with added features and finally including same-sex marriage. It’s available now on the Switch and on PC.
- February 26, 2016
- RPG , Simulation