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Pastoral Playtime

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 26 games from the last 20 years, with 453 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+
Genres: Action, Adventure, Creative, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Platform, Point-and-Click, Puzzle, Rhythm, Role-Playing, Shooting, Simulation and Strategy
Total Likes: 453
 

 

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-Playing

Developer: @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

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

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

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: 10+ 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 and Simulation

Accessibility: 28 features

Developer: @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...

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: @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

Content Rating: Not rated by PEGI

Release Date: 30/07/2020

Platforms: Mac and PC

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

Developer: @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...

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: @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...

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: @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...

Teacup

Expected 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

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...

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_GoodFeel

Players: You can play with 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.

One Hour One Life

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 27/02/2018

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

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

Developer: @JasonRohrer

Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 100 players online

This is a civilisation survival game where each player lives a whole life in an hour of play and then passes away. Born as a baby into the care of anonymous other online players, you initially depend on them for food. Quickly growing, you can soon fend...

Haven Park

Expected 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: @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,...

Hokko Life

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 02/06/2021

Platforms: PC

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

Developer: @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...

The Good Life

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 12

Release Date: 15/10/2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Puzzle and Simulation

Developer: @Swery65

Players: This is a single player game

The Good Life is a narrative adventure, where you experience a slower pace of life in an English town. Although, before long you are drawn into an intriguing web of murder, bodily transformations into cats and dogs and photographic tasks. It's an...

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Release Date: 12/08/2015, updated in 2016

Platforms: Mac, PC and PS4

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Open World

Accessibility: 15 features

Developer: @ChineseRoom

Players: This is a single player game

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture lands you in a fictional deserted English village in 1984. As you walk the streets of another era you discover bright human forms who re-enact events like a radio play. Through their eyes, you see a web of fear,...

Mutazione

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 23/09/2019

Platforms: Mac, PS4 and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Creative and Narrative

Developer: @GuteFabrik

Players: This is a single player game

In Mutazione you play as a 15-year-old girl visiting her grandfather on a faraway island inhabited by friendly but mutated villagers. By finding seeds, tending to gardens and talking to people, you uncover a tightly knit web of characters with...

Tchia

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC, PS4 and PS5

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

Accessibility: 36 features

Developer: @Awaceb

Players: This is a single player game

Tchia is an adventure where you play a young girl (Tchia) who can climb, glide, swim, and sail around a beautiful archipelago. Along with the usual sandbox missions and play the game offers an unusual ability to take control (and become) any animal or...

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: @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.

Deiland Pocket Planet

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 09/08/2018

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Switch

Genres: Adventure, Open World, Simulation and Strategy

Developer: @ChibigStudio

Players: This is a single player game

Deiland is an adventure set on a small spherical planet. You farm, craft, and build your own world. Improve your skills, craft tools, cook food, brew potions, and create tools. As you make your home, you will attract merchants to trade materials and...

Pupperazzi

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 8-13 year-olds

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC

Genres: Adventure, Open World, Puzzle and Shooting

Developer: @KitFoxGames

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...

Everdale

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Release Date: 18/08/2021

Price: Free

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Adventure, Role-Playing and Strategy

Developer: @Supercell

Players: You can play this with 10 players online

Everdale is an online strategy game where you build a village. With the help of friends you develop a society that survives on the basis of savvy cooperation. Unlike other civilisation games though, there is no fighting or combat. The focus is on...

Lawn Mowing Simulator

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 10/08/2021

Platforms: PC

Genres: Action, Creative, Platform and Simulation

Developer: @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...

Baldo: The Guardian Owls

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 27/08/2021

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

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

Developer: @BaldosTale

Players: This is a single player game

Baldo: The Guardian Owls is an adventure into a magical world. As you explore the overworld and solve the intricately puzzling dungeons you discover new towns, fight ferocious foes, locate hidden temples, and collect magical objects and weapons.

Staxel

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Release Date: 23/09/2021

Platforms: PC and Switch

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

Accessibility: 34 features

Developer: @StaxelGame

Players: You can play this with 4 players online

Staxel is a strategy farming game. It looks like Minecraft and has block building tools that are similar. However, this is a farming game more like Stardew Valley rather than open-world adventure. There are no monsters or dangers you find in other...

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: @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.

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: @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-Playing and Strategy

Accessibility: 1 feature

Developer: @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...


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