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Pastoral Playtime Games for 9 Year-Olds and Over

Cottagecore is an online term celebrating an idealised rural life. Although games are usually considered to be hard, harsh and technological, many of them play to this aesthetic that is sentimental about traditional skills and crafts such as foraging, baking, and pottery.

Games sometimes use these rural pursuits as play mechanics, like Stardew Valley, Potion Craft, Terraria and Fantasy Life. Others use Cottagecore as a guide to how they look and feel, like Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, The Stillness of the Wind and Mutazione.

However it plays out in the game, Cottagecore aims to satisfy a desire for aspirational nostalgia and an escape from stress or trauma. The New York Times described it as a reaction to hustle culture and the advent of personal branding. The Guardian called it a "visual and lifestyle movement designed to fetishize the wholesome purity of the outdoors."

These games emphasize simplicity and the slow pace of pastoral life as an escape from the modern world in favour of the bucolic. Unsurprisingly this has become more popular on social media during the COVID-19 pandemic. In some ways the resurgence of retro games could be seen in a similar light, although here the sentimental nostalgia is for virtual entertainment rather than rural lifestyle.

This list includes 13 games from the last 21 years, with 576 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to escape into cottagecore .

DetailsList Details

PEGI Ratings: PEGI 3 to PEGI 16
ESRB Ratings: ESRB EVERYONE to ESRB MATURE 17+
Australian Ratings: G to R 18+
Genres: Action, Adventure, Creative, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Platform, Puzzle, Role-Play, Shooting, Simulation, Strategy and World Building
Total Likes: 576
 

 

Fable (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Release Date: 14/09/2004

Platforms: Mac, PC, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Genres: Action, Adventure, Open World and Role-Play

Developer: We Are Playground (@WeArePlayground)

Players: This is a single-player game

This is an adventure role-playing game set in a fantasy world where your interactions with the world and villagers, and decisions about your use of magical power, substantially alter the story and the environment.

Terraria

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 8-14 year-olds

Release Date: 25/11/2013, updated in 2019

Price: 50% off

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS, Amazon Fire, Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, Stadia, Switch, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Platform, Shooting, Simulation and Strategy

Accessibility: 23 features

Developer: Terraria Logic (@Terraria_Logic)

Players: You can play with 1 to 4 players in the same room or as a 8-player online game

Terraria looks like a 2D, lesser, version of Minecraft. However, this is a game every bit as complex and creative as the better-known block building game. To the world-crafting and survival it adds hundreds of items to collect, characters to defeat and...

Animal Crossing (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 9-16 year-olds

Release Date: 14/12/2001, updated in 2020

Price: 22% off

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS, DS, GameCube, Switch and Wii

Genres: Open World, Role-Play and Simulation

Accessibility: 28 features

Developer: Nintendo (@Nintendo)

Players: You can play with 1 to 4 players in the same room or as a 8-player online game

You live on a small island teeming with life. Insects, fish, trees, vegetation and fossils are represented with cute cartoon visuals. Rather than the scale or grandeur of other game worlds, it’s the interconnected drama of the world and characters...

Stardew Valley

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 26/02/2016, updated in 2018

Platforms: Amazon Fire, Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Action, Adventure, Narrative, Open World, Simulation and Strategy

Accessibility: 24 features

Developer: Concerned Ape (@ConcernedApe)

Players: You can play this by yourself or as a 4-player online game

Stardew Valley looks like a farming simulator. That’s partly what it is, but you must also develop relationships with the other townsfolk and delve deep into the mines. Its quirky labyrinthine attention to detail is as inviting for young players to...

PowerWash Simulator

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 19/05/2021

Platforms: PC

Genres: Puzzle, Shooting and Simulation

Accessibility: 21 features

Developer: Futur Lab (@FuturLab)

Players: This is a single-player game

PowerWash Simulator is a puzzle game where you clean different objects and locations using a pressure washer. It's designed to be soothing with sounds of high-pressure water and satisfyingly clean results as you blast away every speck of dirt and grime.

Yoshi's Crafted World

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 5-14 year-olds

Release Date: 29/05/2019

Price: 21% off

Platforms: Switch

Genres: Adventure and Platform

Accessibility: 20 features

Developer: Gbit Good Feel (@Gbit_GoodFeel)

Players: You can play with 1 to 2 players in the same room

Yoshi's Crafted World is a running and jumping game where you control a friendly dinosaur, Yoshi. You work through each level, eating or jumping on enemies while searching for hidden items and collectables.

The Garden Path

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Genres: Narrative, Open World and Simulation

Accessibility: 26 features

Developer: From Carrot Cake (@FromCarrotCake)

Players: This is a single-player game

The Garden Path is a slice-of-life simulation game about the small pleasures of gardening. You tend to a world and make it your own through fishing, growing, trading and making new friends. As you do an adventure emerges.

Pupperazzi

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 8-13 year-olds

Release Date: 20/01/2022

Platforms: PC and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Open World, Puzzle and Shooting

Developer: Sundae Month (@SundaeMonth)

Players: This is a single-player game

Pupperazzi is an adventure game where you explore an island to find and photograph all manner of canine friends. You interact with the world, climb, skate and explore to get the perfect angle on the perfect pup. It starts as a silly challenge but turns...

Lawn Mowing Simulator

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 10/08/2021

Platforms: PC, PS5 and Xbox Series X|S

Genres: Action, Creative, Platform and Simulation

Developer: Skyhook Games (@SkyhookGames)

Players: This is a single-player game

Lawn Mowing Simulator is an adventure game where you ride an authentic and expansive roster of lawnmowers. The novelty is a combination of absolute control over lawn care and weed eradication. This is extended beyond a brief distraction by the inclusion...

Leaving Lyndow

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 08/02/2017

Platforms: Mac, PC and PS4

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Open World

Accessibility: 20 features

Developer: Eastshade (@Eastshade)

Players: This is a single-player game

Leaving Lyndow is a narrative adventure set a couple of generations before Eastshade. Sharing the same anthropomorphized animal society, although here at an earlier stage, it's a game about the memories we make in the places we...

Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Release Date: 23/10/2012, updated in 2019

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch, Wii U, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Genres: Platform, Puzzle and Simulation

Developer: Black Forest Team (@BlackForestTeam)

Players: This is a single-player game

Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams is a running and jumping game where you can switch between two forms, and with that, two versions of the world. Each form has different platforming abilities so you need to juggle the two to complete levels and find every...

Little King's Story

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Release Date: 22/04/2009, updated in 2016

Platforms: PC, PS Vita and Wii

Genres: Adventure, Fighting, Role-Play and Strategy

Accessibility: 1 feature

Developer: Onion Games (@OnionGames)

Players: This is a single-player game

Little King's Story is a real-time strategy game that simulates life in a fictional kingdom. You play a timid boy who finds a crown that gives him power to make people follow orders. You slowly expand your village by gathering resources and gaining...

Wildmender

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC, PS5 and Xbox Series X|S

Genres: Adventure, Creative, Open World, Simulation, Strategy and World Building

Developer: Muse Games (@MuseGames)

Players: You can play this by yourself or as a 4-player online game

Wildmender is a world building game where you unearth the past in the desert. Play involves exploring to discover what has gone before, so you can restore the environment for your future. You work to revive withering plant life, cultivate a garden and...

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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