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Tend and Befriend

Video games are usually thought to be about fighting, shooting and adrenaline. As regular readers will know, there are video games about everything. Recently I've been noticing games that combine the stewardship of the land and the nurturing of resources.

These games, like Animal Crossing, present an "ambience of bucolic" and a "reassuring mix of the pastoral and the industrial," wrote Simon Parkin recently. They offer an escape to simpler times, that provides meaningful work along with the possibility of also working at friendships.

The games collected in this list each offer the chance to escape and absorb yourself tending to a plot of land and nurturing often surprisingly moving relationships. Whether you are diligently cleaning someone's empty flat as in Sunset, setting up a farm after retiring from your adventures in Littlewood, reconnecting with grown-up children in The Stillness of The Wind, nurturing a musical garden in Mutazione, establishing a coffee shop in Coffee Talk or even eeking out provisions while you care for children in This War Of Mine all these games have something to tend to and people to get to know while you do it.

This list includes 81 games from the last 21 years, with 2,071 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to grow things and make friends.

DetailsList Details

PEGI Ratings: PEGI 3 to PEGI 18
ESRB Ratings: ESRB EVERYONE to ESRB MATURE 17+
Australian Ratings: G to R 18+
Genres: Action, Adventure, Creative, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Physically Active, Platform, Point-and-Click, Puzzle, Role-Playing, Shooting, Simulation, Sports, Strategy and Turn-Based
Total Likes: 2,071
 

 

The Last Guardian

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 28/10/2016

Price: 60% off

Platforms: PS4

Genres: Action, Narrative, Platform and Simulation

Developer: Sony Japan Studio (@SonyJapanStudio)

Players: This is a single player game

The Last Guardian is a running, jumping and exploring adventure about a boy who befriends a giant half-bird, half-mammal creature, Trico. You work together to navigate the world, solve puzzles and reach new heights. Unusually, you have to build trust...

Style Boutique / Savvy Style (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 6-11 year-olds

Release Date: 23/10/2008, updated in 2017

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS and DS

Genres: Puzzle, Role-Playing, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: Nintendo (@Nintendo)

Players: You can play this with 4 players online

Style Boutique (Style Savvy) is a role play game where you play a fashion shop owner. You work on the style of your fashion collection as well as your own clothes, makeup and so on.

Animal Crossing (Series)

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 9-16 year-olds

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

Price: 26% off

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

Genres: Open World, Role-Playing and Simulation

Accessibility: 28 features

Developer: Nintendo (@Nintendo)

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 8 players online

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...

Adopt Me! (Roblox)

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 6-10 year-olds

Release Date: 14/07/2017

Platforms: Android, PC, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Open World and Role-Playing

Accessibility: 3 features

Developer: Play Adopt Me (@PlayAdoptMe)

Players: You can play this with 100 players online

Adopt Me is one of the most popular Roblox games. In a rudimentary way it simulates daily life. You can build a home, look after pets and make friends. Like many Roblox games, it's the combination of an avid community of players...

MeepCity (Roblox)

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 23/02/2016

Platforms: Android, PC, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Creative, Open World and Role-Playing

Developer: Alexnewtron (@Alexnewtron)

Players: You can play this with 50 players online

MeepCity is a popular Roblox Game. It's a social game where you role-play a character to interact with other people and customise their look. Like Toontown Online or the now defunct Club Penguin, MeepCity is an evolving virtual space for players to...

Alba: A Wildlife Adventure

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 5-10 year-olds

Release Date: 11/12/2020

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iPhone, iPad

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Simulation

Accessibility: 30 features

Developer: Us Two (@UsTwo)

Players: This is a single player game

Alba: A Wildlife Adventure is an adventure game where you play as a young girl who starts a wildlife conservation club. When Alba visits her grandparents on a Mediterranean island, she is excited for a summer of exploring with her friend Ines. But when...

Pokémon Cafe Mix

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 3+ year-olds

Release Date: 15/12/2020

Price: Free

Platforms: Android, Switch and iOS

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Accessibility: 19 features

Developer: Nintendo (@Nintendo)

Players: This is a single player game

Pokemon Cafe Mix is a puzzle game. Similar to the icon-connection challenge of Disney Tsum Tsum, you play as Eevee and delivering orders in a cafe by linking Pokemon icons in a ring. It's a low pressure puzzle with a swirl-to-connect interaction that is...

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 with 4 players online

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...

Thousand Threads

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 30/07/2020

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Action, Adventure, Narrative, Open World, Role-Playing and Simulation

Developer: Threads Game (@ThreadsGame)

Players: This is a single player game

Thousand Threads is an open world game of consequences. You are free to interact with the world, animals and people however you like, give, take, save, kill, inform, hide, befriend, betray. But how you do this will have ongoing and unavoidable...

Littlewood

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 18/06/2019

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Genres: Open World, Simulation and Strategy

Accessibility: 2 features

Developer: Sean Young SG (@SeanYoungSG)

Players: This is a single player game

Littlewood (coming to Switch soon) is a town and farming simulator a little like Stardew Valley or Animal Crossing. Here though, the twist is that the game is set after a grand adventure. You...

Pikmin 3

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Release Date: 26/10/2013, updated in 2020

Price: 28% off

Platforms: Switch and Wii U

Genres: Action, Fighting, Simulation and Strategy

Accessibility: 3 features

Developer: Monolith Soft (@MonolithSoft)

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

Pikmin 3 Deluxe is the latest in a series of puzzle games where you direct hordes of titular plant-like creatures to navigate garden locations. Different colour Pikmins have different abilities so the challenge is to get enough of the right ones to...

Moonglow Bay

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Release Date: 07/10/2021

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

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Role-Playing and Strategy

Accessibility: 23 features

Developer: Coat Sink (@CoatSink)

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

Moonglow Bay is a role play game where you play a rookie angler. Unlike other slice-of-life games, fishing isn't tucked away as a side quest here, it's front and centre. Set along the Canadian coastline in the 1980's, you live in a fishing town that has...

Haven Park

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Release Date: 05/08/2021

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Genres: Creative, Narrative, Open World, Platform and Puzzle

Developer: Fabien Weibel (@FabienWeibel)

Players: This is a single player game

Haven Park is a strategy game where you build camping spots in a national park. You play Flint, who is repairing his grandma's park to attract new campers. It's an intricate open island that packs in plenty to discover. As a game made by one person,...

Island Saver

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 13/05/2020

Price: Free

Platforms: Android, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Open World and Simulation

Accessibility: 23 features

Developer: Nat West Help (@NatWest_Help)

Players: This is a single player game

Island Saver is action-adventure about cleaning up litter and goop to make money. It's created by Natwest with the aim of teaching children how to manage money. Unusually for a game with ideological ambitions, it's also a lot of fun.

Potion Craft

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 21/09/2021

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Adventure, Creative, Point-and-Click, Puzzle and Strategy

Developer: Tiny Build (@TinyBuild)

Players: This is a single player game

Potion Craft is a puzzle adventure game where you create potions in an ancient looking workshop. More than learning recipes, your potions need to strategically combine the qualities of each ingredient to explore the potion-map and create brews to help...

Farm Together

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Release Date: 25/02/2018, updated in 0019

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Open World, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: Milkstone (@Milkstone)

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 16 players online

Farm Together is a low-pressure farm simulator. You develop your farm by yourself or cooperate with your friends. Starting with an empty plot you can grow crops, plant trees, take care of the animals, add buildings and facilities, and unlock new items...

Good Pizza, Great Pizza

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 9-12 year-olds

Release Date: 05/06/2018, updated in 2020

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS

Genres: Creative and Simulation

Developer: Tap Blaze (@TapBlaze)

Players: This is a single player game

Good Pizza, Great Pizza is a simulation game where you run your own Pizza shop, fulfilling orders from customers while making enough money to keep your shop open. You can upgrade your shop with new toppings and equipment to compete against your...

Coffee Talk

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 29/01/2020

Price: 40% off

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Creative, Narrative and Role-Playing

Accessibility: 29 features

Developer: Toge Productions (@TogeProductions)

Players: This is a single player game

Coffee Talk is an interactive story about a barista working in a coffee shop in Seattle. You listen to customer's concerns about life and love, in a retro pixilated world backed with lo-fi chilled hip-hop music.

Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 18/07/2017, updated in 2018

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Narrative, Open World, Role-Playing and Simulation

Developer: Prideful Sloth (@PridefulSloth)

Players: This is a single player game

Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles is an adventure where you explore a world seeking out and collecting magical creatures, known as sprites, to banish an ominous shroud known as the Murk. As you do this, you make your way in the world, farming,...

Ooblets

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 15/07/2020

Platforms: PC and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure and Simulation

Developer: Glumberland (@Glumberland)

Players: This is a single player game

Ooblets is a farming and creature collecting game where you tend your animals, explore the world and bring home new wild Ooblet animals from the wild. You can then battle in turn-based dance-offs.

Smalland

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure and Open World

Accessibility: 29 features

Developer: Play Smalland (@PlaySmalland)

Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 8 players online

Smalland is a survival adventure where you are a tiny character in an overgrown wilderness. The world is dynamically changing, not only with the weather, seasons, day and night but also in response to what you do. It's as beautiful as it is intimidating...

Cozy Grove

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 19/03/2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iPhone, iPad

Genres: Narrative, Open World, Puzzle, Role-Playing, Simulation and Strategy

Accessibility: 22 features

Developer: Spry Fox (@SpryFox)

Players: This is a single player game

Cozy Grove is a life-simulation where you camp on a hand-drawn island. You play a scout and explore the ever changing island's forest to find secrets and help the local ghosts. Like Animal Crossing, it has a children's story-book look, but is a...

My Time At Portia

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 15/01/2019, updated in 2019

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Open World and Strategy

Accessibility: 21 features

Developer: Pathea Games (@PatheaGames)

Players: This is a single player game

This game is set after civilization has been destroyed, and humans are emerging from underground to rebuilding society. By gathering resources, crafting and building you slowly gain the tools to collect food, store grain, chop trees and build dwellings....

Hokko Life

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 02/06/2021

Platforms: PC

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

Developer: Robbo Dev (@RobboDev)

Players: This is a single player game

Hokko Life is a community simulation game like Animal Crossing. You pick a town and set up your home, before spending time helping the place develop into a charming rural idyl everyone loves. Even though it's the creation of one person, it has most of...

My Time at Sandrock

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

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

Developer: Pathea Games (@PatheaGames)

Players: This is a single player game

My Time at Sandrock is a life-simulating role-play game where you restore a run down town. It's set in the same wholesome yet post-apocalyptic world as My Time at Portia. You start by working as a builder, but soon...

Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 23/02/2021

Platforms: PC and Switch

Genres: Action, Fighting and Role-Playing

Developer: Helio C Studios (@HelioCStudios)

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 4 players online

Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos is a fighting game where you battle Titans and explore the dungeons of an expansive over-world. It's unusual because it combines the homemaking of Stardew Valley with classic Zelda style adventures and lets you play with up...

Teacup

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 23/09/2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Point-and-Click and Puzzle

Developer: Smarto Club (@Smarto_Club)

Players: This is a single player game

Teacup is a narrative adventure about a shy young frog who loves drinking tea and reading. You explore the Wind In The Willows world and make choices that change the direction of the story. It's a gentle game about friendship, stepping out into the...

Ghostopia (Roblox)

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 13/08/2020

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Narrative, Open World and Strategy

Developer: Super Social Play (@SuperSocialPlay)

Players: You can play this with 50 players online

Ghostopia is a multiplayer role play game where you own a haunted mansion. The aim is to develop, build and decorate your grand residence to attract a collection of powerful ghosts. It's a more ambitious game than others on Roblox, because the company...

Skyblock

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 10-14 year-olds

Release Date: 01/01/2011, updated in 2020

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Wii U, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and iOS

Genres: Creative, Fighting, Platform and Strategy

Accessibility: 32 features

Developer: Sky Block Server (@SkyBlockServer)

Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 5 players online

Skyblock is a game played on Minecraft servers where you start on a bare island floating in the sky and must gather resources to thrive and reach other players. It's the Minecraft equivalent to being washed up on a desert island and is hugely popular....

Summer in Mara

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 15/06/2020, updated in 2021

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Open World, Role-Playing and Simulation

Developer: Chibig Studio (@ChibigStudio)

Players: This is a single player game

Summer in Mara is a farming game with a strong narrative about an adventurous girl called Koa. With a full day-night and season cycle, you can take the challenge on at your own pace as you build your farm and explore the world around you.

Castaway Paradise

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 08/01/2018

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Open World and Simulation

Developer: Stolen Couch (@StolenCouch)

Players: This is a single player game

This game places you on your own tropical island. Make the place your own with decorations and furniture, dress up, collect bugs, fish, grow crops and help your new neighbours. It's an open-world game that offers an Animal Crossing style experience on...

Garden Story

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 10-12 year-olds

Release Date: 11/08/2021

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Open World and Role-Playing

Accessibility: 27 features

Developer: Picogram Art (@Picogram_Art)

Players: This is a single player game

Garden Story is a role-playing adventure, crafting and farming game similar to Stardew Valley. It also features combat, dungeons and puzzles similar to the Zelda games. You defend your garden-home from an invasion on...

Bear and Breakfast

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC and Switch

Genres: Creative and Strategy

Developer: Armor Game Studio (@ArmorGameStudio)

Players: This is a single player game

Bear and Breakfast is a strategy game where you build a bed and breakfast in the woods. You play as an aspiring bear host, renovating a dilapidated area in town into one fit for tourists. However there is an underlying darkness in the woods and you are...

Dwarf Fortress

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 08/08/2006

Price: Free

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Adventure, Open World, Role-Playing and Strategy

Developer: Bay 12 Games (@Bay12Games)

Players: This is a single player game

Dwarf Fortress is a longstanding strategy game set in a fantasy world where you control a group of dwarves wanting to construct a wealthy fortress. It's unusual not only for it's text-based appearance but for it's expansive scope, and intricately...

Terra Nil

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Open World, Puzzle, Simulation and Strategy

Accessibility: 6 features

Developer: Free Lives (@Free_Lives)

Players: This is a single player game

Terra Nil is a strategy game where you are using clean technology to bring back life to a barren world. It's a city building game where you aren't building a city at all, but a clean thriving ecology. It raises interesting themes of how humanity plays...

Autonauts

Release Date: 17/10/2019

Platforms: Mac and PC

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

Developer: Denki Games (@DenkiGames)

Players: This is a single player game

This is an adventure game where you tame new worlds. You start with a blank slate similar to Sim City, but her you must build each dwelling, tool, vehicle yourself. It’s a task that’s too complex for any one person to handle. You are soon forced 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.

Evergarden

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 31/07/2018

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: Flippfly (@Flippfly)

Players: This is a single player game

Evergarden is a puzzle game where you grow gardens by combining plants into strange new forms. You use the tile-based layout to populate each area in flora in connect-four style.

Graveyard Keeper

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Release Date: 15/08/2018

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Narrative, Puzzle and Strategy

Accessibility: 21 features

Developer: Lazy Bear Games (@LazyBearGames)

Players: This is a single player game

Graveyard Keeper is a funeral-themed role-playing game where you are the caretaker of a local cemetery. You make choices about how to lay out the plot, what services to offer and generally how to make money from your unusual enterprise. The pixilated...

Hey! Pikmin

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 28/07/2017

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS

Genres: Action, Adventure, Platform and Puzzle

Accessibility: 6 features

Developer: Nintendo (@Nintendo)

Players: This is a single player game

Hey! Pikmin is a spinoff game from the Pikmin series. In this game Captain Olimar crash lands on a planet and needs to find fuel to escape, leading a group of Pikmin through 2D side scrolling levels collecting the Sparklium. Players enter a level 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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