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18 Games Like Animal Crossing That Will Have You Hooked

There's nothing quite like cozying up with a warm mug of tea and your favorite blanket to settle in for a game of "Animal Crossing." The hit slice of life game allows players to construct a beautiful island to their own specifications, all while befriending adorable animal villagers. "New Horizons," which released in 2020 on the Nintendo Switch, even allows players to explore other islands and recruit new villagers to return to their island paradise. It's a comforting game for many, but everyone tires of the repetitive gameplay eventually, especially considering that Nintendo announced it has concluded its free updates to the game. While the latest update made the game look completely different, players still might find themselves longing for other virtual worlds.


Luckily, the cozy game genre has grown exponentially in the past few years, and there are many niche titles for fans to choose from. No matter what players desire — anything from slaying dragons to sailing the open seas to hiking up an adorable mountain – there's a game out there to hook fans of comforting games. Here are 18 games like "Animal Crossing" that are bound to hook fans of relaxing games.

Cozy Grove

"Animal Crossing" is quirky and fun, but it lacks the mystery some players look for in a video game. "Cozy Grove" provides a narrative experience while still allowing players to set up camp on a busy island full of cute animal creatures. Players take on the role of a Spirit Scout and travel to a faraway island populated by ghosts. Don't worry, though, the ghosts are all in the form of adorable animals, mostly bears, and only want the player to help them complete small tasks each day. Dutiful Spirig Scouts might find themselves collecting supplies to cook a tasty dish or finding lost items for a confused ghost. No matter what, their actions help the island grow stronger.


"Cozy Grove" is littered with small details to keep players engaged for months, but there are some differences between it and "Animal Crossing" that players should be aware of upfront. For example, while "Animal Crossing" doesn't really have an end per se, "Cozy Grove" does, and keeps players from reaching it too quickly by limiting the number of tasks available per day. If you're a gamer that adores "Animal Crossing" for its bite-sized slice of life gameplay, "Cozy Grove" might be right up your alley.

  • Release Date: March 19, 2021 (iOS), April 8, 2021 (all other platforms)
  • Available On: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, iOS, Nintendo Switch
  • Genre: Adventure
  • Game Modes: Single-player only
  • Metacritic Score: 72 (PC), 71 (PlayStation 4), 71 (Switch)

Stardew Valley

"Stardew Valley" has taken on a life of its own, even years after its release. The indie farming sim could take anywhere from a few hours to a few hundred hours to beat, depending on what players want to accomplish. In that way, it's a lot like "Animal Crossing," which similarly doesn't have a cohesive ending or plot to follow.


Unlike "Animal Crossing," "Stardew Valley" players have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders from the first moments of the game. After their grandfather passes away, players find themselves in possession of a large farm. The catch? It's woefully run down. Also, an evil corporation called Joja Mart is threatening to take over the small town and shut down local businesses left and right. Players ultimately get to decide how they want to handle the struggle for Pelican Town, and their choices affect the fate of the valley itself.

Similar to "Animal Crossing," "Stardew Valley" can be a multiplayer experience. While players can't visit other worlds online, they can team up to co-own a farm, each with their own house on the property. Unfortunately, "Stardew Valley" is not cross-platform, but friends playing on the same console can team up, with up to four farmers working on one save file.

  • Release Date: Feb. 26, 2016 (PC), Dec. 13, 2016 (PS4), Dec. 14, 2016 (Xbox One), May 22, 2018 (PS Vita), Oct. 24, 2018 (iOS), Oct. 5, 2017 (Switch)
  • Available On: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, iOS, Nintendo Switch, PS Vita
  • Genre: Farming simulation, Roleplaying
  • Game Modes: Single-player, online multiplayer
  • Metacritic Score: 87 (Switch), 88 (iOS), 89 (PC), 86 (PS4), 89 (Xbox One)

Rune Factory 4 Special

"Rune Factory" was initially a spinoff of the popular farming sim "Harvest Moon," but it has since morphed into its own beloved series. Fans of the series might not know that "Rune Factory 4 Special" is actually a rerelease of the most recent entry in the series, which debuted years ago. "Special" adds some plotlines that weren't included in the original game, allowing fans to get even more enjoyment out of the romances in the game.


Like "Animal Crossing," "Rune Factory 4 Special" hinges on managing relationships with a cast of weird characters. Unlike "Animal Crossing," players get to fight monsters and marry eligible bachelors and bachelorettes along the way as they venture through "Special." After a heist goes wrong, leaving the player character with a nasty bout of amnesia, they become engrossed in local politics. The leader of the region? A dragon, of course. In order to restore peace and recover their memories, players must fight monsters in the outskirts of town, grow vegetables on forgotten plots of land, and get to know the inhabitants of the world, all while customizing their home and building a life. Sound familiar? At least in "Rune Factory 4" Tom Nook won't make you take out any expensive loans.

  • Release Date: Feb. 25, 2020
  • Available On: Nintendo Switch
  • Genre: Farming simulator, Role-playing game
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic Score: 81

Hokko Life

"Hokko Life" looked like the "Animal Crossing" clone that fans wanted most when it was first announced. After its release, its reception has been quieter, but the cozy farming sim hasn't gone without notice. Though the title is technically still in early access and only available for PC, "Hokko Life" has earned positive reviews from fans who have fallen in love with the strange, adorable animal inhabitants of the world.


Much like older versions of "Animal Crossing," "Hokko Life" sees players hop off a train an into an adorable rural village where it's their job to decorate, craft, fish, and farm for their village friends. One reviewer even called "Hokko Life" "'Animal Crossing' but better," noting that players can craft elaborate furniture and customize almost every aspect of the game.

As noted on the "Hokko Life" Steam page, the game is developed almost entirely by one person, which explains its slow progress towards a full release. Still, the developer keeps players updated with frequent devlogs. The game also has a thriving Discord community and hosts special events both in-game and on its server.

  • Release Date: April 23, 2021
  • Available On: PC (early access)
  • Genre: Life simulation, role-playing, indie
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic Score: N/A

My Time at Portia

"My Time at Portia" stands out amongst other hidden gems on Steam for its expansive world, intense crafting system, and unique setting. In "My Time at Portia," players enter a world where the apocalypse already happened and civilization is attempting to rebuild. That means that players can hunt for lost technology while crafting increasingly complex equipment to help them around their home. "My Time at Portia" puts players in the shoes of a young adult that just inherited their grandpa's workshop (a theme in cozy sim games, for sure). They have to take crafting commissions to both help the town in general and build their reputation, all while managing relationships with a wide cast of odd and endearing townsfolk.


In addition to helping the town, players can battle monsters in the countryside, decorate their home, do quests for townspeople, and generally help make the world a better place. What makes "My Time at Portia" stand out amongst other sim games is its vibrant world that seems to hold its own special lore. Uncovering the truth of what happened to the world is almost as exciting as building a device for the town, and players will be left wondering what sort of apocalyptic event sent the world into another age of development.

  • Release Date: Jan. 15, 2019 (PC), April 16, 2019 (PS4, Switch, Xbox One)
  • Available On: PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, iOS
  • Genre: Crafting, life simulation, farming sim
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic Score: 73 (PC), 75 (PS4), 71 (Switch), 73 (Xbox)

Sun Haven

"Sun Haven" is another early access gem and is only available on PC, although a Switch release is forthcoming. The game seeks to capture the hearts of gamers who fell in love with retro farming sims like "Harvest Moon," all while appealing to lovers of fantasy and adventure. "Sun Haven" asks players to do all the standard farming sim things, like develop hearty crops of vegetables and form friendships with the locals, but it also lets players customize their build in order to fight fantasy-themed monsters. Instead of just whacking at creatures with garden tools like some other games, "Sun Haven" provides players with a chance to earn better weapons and armor as they progress. The game is like an RPG with farming sim elements, which means that leveling up and progressing through the main storyline is just as important as tending the farm.


Additionally, relationships become even more important when players seek out romantic partnerships with townspeople. "Sun Haven" allows players to date NPCs and eventually marry them, if they so choose. One of the most fun aspects of "Sun Haven" is its wide cast of characters, many of whom represent fantasy races like Elves. The flavor of "Sun Haven" sticks out in comparison to many titles on this list, and its dedication to the fantasy genre makes it worth checking out.

  • Release Date: June 25, 2021 (early access)
  • Available On: PC (coming to Switch in the future)
  • Genre: Fantasy, farming sim, role-playing
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic Score: N/A


Some "Animal Crossing" gamers might not want to build a cozy village though. Instead, they may desire to become the capitalistic racoon Tom Nook himself. In "Moonlighter," players can fulfill that wish by organizing and setting price points for each item in their very own shop. Of course, every good shop has to get its stock from somewhere. That means that eager entrepreneurs will have to venture into nearby dungeons in order to retrieve goods worthy of sale. The job's dangerous, but it's a living.


Gorgeous retro graphics bring "Moonlighter" to life, and they particularly shine in dungeons, where all sorts of enemies spring out to terrorize the protagonist. Fighting monsters is a key part of "Moonlighter," so it's not necessarily for those who admire the slow place of "Animal Crossing." That being said, the game does have some meditative aspects, especially where running the shop is concerned. "Moonlighter" has a multitude of different systems to help players take control of their business, including crafting and weapon customization. However, none of that helps when it comes to fairly pricing items in one's shop, and the village residents are awfully picky about how much they want to pay for rare treasures. Maybe Tom Nook didn't have it so easy after all.

  • Release Date: June 25, 2018 (PC), May 29, 2018 (PS4 and Xbox One), Nov. 5, 2018 (Switch), Nov. 18, 2020 (iOS)
  • Available On: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, iOS
  • Genre: Action adventure, Store management sim
  • Game Modes: Single-Player
  • Metacritic Score: 74 (PC), 88 (iOS), 81 (PS4), 83 (Switch), 84 (Xbox One)

Garden Paws

The indie sim "Garden Paws" crept its way into the Switch's top ten charts after being released on PC years prior. It's a hit with the Switch crowd for good reason, and many "Animal Crossing" fans jumped on the "Garden Paws" bandwagon after running out of things to do on their cute islands. Like so many other farming sims, the protagonist of "Garden Paws" inherits their grandparents' farm. However, this time the grandparents have simply decided to travel the world, leaving the fate of the farm up to their grandkid. Soon enough, it may seem that the fate of the town is also in the player's hands.


Working in conjunction with the owner of a construction company and the mayor, players must earn money in order to revitalize the farm and expand the local town. "Garden Paws" combines aspects from several different cozy sims, allowing players to sell items in a shop (as in "Moonlighter"), explore a dungeon (like "Stardew Valley"), and mine for gems (like "My Time at Portia" and "Story of Seasons"). However, "Garden Paws" has one adorable addition some fans won't be able to resist: the player is an animal. That's right, this isn't some sort of "Animal Crossing" scenario where the player is the lone human. Gamers can customize their animal avatar to their heart's content, choosing a character from 10 different types of creatures — including one adorable penguin.

  • Release Date: Dec. 18, 2018 (PC), Aug. 26, 2021 (Switch)
  • Available On: PC, Nintendo Switch
  • Genre: Role-playing, farming sim, adventure
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic Score: NA

A Short Hike

Sometimes, players want to take a break from city life and responsibility and just vibe. "A Short Hike" asks players to take on the role of Claire, a young bird who is visiting her aunt at Hawk Peak Provincial Park, where she's a park ranger. Claire is waiting on some news from her mother and eagerly awaiting a phone call, but she soon realizes that the only place with cell reception is the mountain's summit, which she's never faced before. Soon, Claire is hiking up the mountain, meeting interesting characters, discovering secrets, and doing what it takes to hear from her mom.


While the story of "A Short Hike" may seem simple, the brilliant retro scenery and smooth gameplay mechanics make the journey to the top of the mountain really special. Claire can fly for increasingly long distances as she acquires golden feathers throughout her travels, giving players more and more access to the park's secrets. Plenty of other campers have business on the mountain, too, and Claire can choose to take on a variety of interesting sidequests to help them, too. "A Short Hike" doesn't ask for much from players, and mostly just wants to provide a simple narrative, a fun chance to explore, and an immaculate soundtrack. For players that love exploring islands in "Animal Crossing," "A Short Hike" offers a chance to roam freely.

  • Release Date: Jul. 30, 2019 (PC), Aug. 18, 2020 (Switch), Nov. 16, 2021 (Xbox One and PS4)
  • Available On: PC, Switch, Xbox One, PS4
  • Genre: Adventure
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic Score: 84 (PS4), 82 (PC), 88 (Switch)

Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town

"Harvest Moon" is the famous farming sim that inspired a generation of gamers, but eventually Natsume – the developer behind the series – went through some legal troubles, ripping the "Harvest Moon" brand out of the hands of its creators. Now, the original team behind the classic farming games has created a new series, "Story of Seasons," which recently released "Pioneers of Olive Town" on the Switch and PC. "Pioneers of Olive Town" doesn't do much to deviate from the classic formula, but it doesn't need to. Players inherit a plot of land from a grandparent and must then work hard to restore the farm and help the nearby town. What's interesting about "Pioneers of Olive Town" is that players start with little to their name. They don't even initially have a house, and must sleep in a small tent on the rugged, overgrown property. Soon enough, players can upgrade the tent into a small house, then begin building out from there, eventually constructing barns and getting farm animals to help grow their fortune.


The nearby town isn't doing so great, either, and players are suddenly put in charge of making some decisions about tourism opportunities to bring visitors to the city. It's hard going, but speed isn't always the name of the game in "Pioneers of Olive Town." There are so many things to do that players might initially feel overwhelmed. Aside from taking care of the farm, there are mines to explore, an art museum to fill, and a motorcycle to repair, all while maintaining relationships with a wide cast of townspeople.

  • Release Date: March 23, 2021 (Switch) Sep. 15, 2021 (PC)
  • Available On: PC, Nintendo Switch
  • Genre: Farming sim, role-playing
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic Score: 71 (Switch), 76 (PC)

Little Dragons Cafe

One of the standout features of the Happy Home Paradise DLC for "Animal Crossing" is the ability to decorate community facilities and assign different villagers to work there. There's something rewarding about seeing those animals hard at work. "Little Dragons Cafe" scratches the restaurant-sim itch while also indulging in a bit of fantasy.


"Little Dragons Cafe" focuses on twins – one boy and one girl – who help their mother run a small cafe. They're learning the family business, practicing their cooking skills, when their mother suddenly falls into a deep, magical sleep. The only way to save her? Raise a dragon, obviously. The twins then find and raise a dragon, teaching it the ways of the cafe as they work to revive their mother. While the story may sound intense, the game is ultimately lighthearted, more focused on the ins and outs of running the cafe instead of the sleeping mother upstairs. Of course, running a cafe takes work, and the only way to grow a menu is to find new ingredients customers have never seen before. Players can take their dragon out into the wilderness and hunt down new creatures and plants for their growing cafe offerings, building their reputation and training their dragon simultaneously. The cute aesthetics and charming premise of "Little Dragons Cafe" make it a must-play for fans of Happy Home Paradise.

  • Release Date: Aug. 24, 2018 (Switch and PS4), Nov. 15, 2018 (PC),
  • Available On: Nintendo Switch, PS4, PC
  • Genre: Management sim
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic Score: 70 (Switch), 56 (PS4)


"Ooblets" is what happens when developers combine "Animal Crossing," "Harvest Moon," and "Pokemon" — and the effect is amazing. Players begin the game on a forgotten farm, which they gradually begin restoring. Soon, it becomes clear that players won't be growing normal crops on the farm. Instead, they grow Ooblets, small, adorable creatures that people can then raise and train. Gamers grow Ooblets, then form lasting bonds with them, dancing, doing chores, and battling them against others. Oh, they don't actually fight like Pokemon. Ooblets exclusively dance battle their way to greatness.


Through exploring and competing in dance battles, players gradually earn more Ooblet seeds and make friends along the way. A big piece of "Ooblets" is community. The developers encourage players to join Ooblet Clubs in-game and make use of a Discord server in order to stay connected. While "Ooblets" is still in early access, it's set to fully launch (and hopefully come to other platforms) in mid-2022. Still, even in early access the game is very playable, and gamers can already have fun vibing with their cute pals the Ooblets.

  • Release Date: July 15, 2020 (early access)
  • Available On: PC, Xbox One
  • Genre: Indie, action-adventure
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic Score: N/A


"Spiritfarer" isn't all about being cozy. Sometimes it can make players uncomfortable, too. However, the title delivers a heartwrenching story in an awfully cute package, making it a solid choice for fans of "Animal Crossing" who like to focus on relationships with villagers. Gamers play as Stella, who has recently taken over as the spiritfarer to the underworld. Stella meets different people who have recently died and taken shape as an animal that represents their soul best. However, not everyone is ready to move on just yet, and it's Stella's job to make their ship comfortable in the meantime. Stella must construct special lodging, craft various items, and form meaningful bonds with their passengers in order to help them move on to the afterlife. As one might guess, it's not always easy.


However, "Spiritfarer" is rewarding in its own way, too, and the journey is vastly enjoyable. Stella can fish, explore, and create her own materials to craft with via an expansive collection of specialized equipment. In order to keep her friends happy, Stella must cook their favorite dishes and decorate their living spaces in the perfect way. Once they feel comfortable enough, they choose to move on.

In a lot of ways, "Spiritfarer" is about grief and death, but it doesn't set out to make those life truths scary for players. Instead, it works to show that one's impact on others is the most important thing one can manage, and that we all are in charge of the way we treat those around us.

  • Release Date: Aug. 18, 2020
  • Available On: PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PS4
  • Genre: Action-adventure
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic Score: 83 (Switch), 84 (PC), 83 (PS4)


"Wytchwood" allows players to dive into a world of fairy tales and mystery by taking on the role of an old witch in the woods. As the old village witch, players must find ingredients for potions, tend their garden, and interact with townspeople to help them with their troubles. Figuring out what each townsperson needs is sometimes difficult, and players must engage their puzzle-solving abilities in order to help out around town.


What makes "Wytchwood" a good fit for fans of "Animal Crossing" is its dedication to a slower pace of life. Growing special herbs and brewing spells simply takes time, and players must be patient. Unlike "Animal Crossing," "Wytchwood" has a dedicated narrative that players can uncover through play. One reviewer said that the story was particularly engaging, and they found themselves wrapped up in the affairs of the town and the witch. Additionally, the soundtrack and visuals of the game lend a fairy-tale-like tone to the gameplay, letting players fully lose themselves in another world. 

  • Release Date: Dec. 9, 2021
  • Available On: Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One
  • Genre: Adventure
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic Score: 78 (PC)

Slime Rancher

"Slime Rancher" lets players take over a different kind of farm as Beatrix LeBeau, a smart cookie that jets away from her home in order to create the best slime farm this side of the milky way. However, creating a lovely slime ranch isn't easy, and Beatrix has to work hard to grow crops, take care of her slimes via produce from the farm, and help other ranchers in need. "Slime Rancher" keeps things interesting by implementing a quest system. Beatrix must help other ranchers gather supplies and acquire their own unique hybrid slimes. In trade, she can earn their respect and guidance. "Slime Rancher" additionally allows players to choose what kind of game they'd like to play. Looking for something relaxed and slow-paced? Casual mode might be for you. Want something more action-packed? Try out rush mode.


One gamer felt so happy about "Slime Rancher" that they gushed about the game in a review, writing, "I downloaded the game today and 331 minutes have passed by since I opened it. Time has stopped, my stress has evaporated into thin air since playing Slime Rancher. I'm literally having to pull myself of off the game because its ease and constant enjoyment has me hooked." The easy, addictive gameplay has won over many fans over the years, and will likely engage many more.

  • Release Date: Aug. 1, 2017 (PC and Xbox One), Aug. 21, 2019 (PS4), Aug. 11, 2021 (Switch)
  • Available On: PC, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch
  • Genre: Action, first-person shooter
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic Score: 81 (PC), 69 (PS4), 80 (Xbox One)


"Unpacking" seems simple on the outside. Players help a character unpack after several moves throughout her life, from her childhood bedroom, to her college dorm, to her forever home with her partner. There are no real words in "Unpacking," and players never see the protagonist for themselves. Instead, the story is told entirely through the objects the protagonist brings with her to each home, and how players choose to store her things in shared spaces. Will her new boyfriend make room for her in his sleek apartment? Will she be able to find a spot for everything in her parents' home? Will young fans be able to understand what a Gamecube is?


In "Animal Crossing," many players enjoy decorating their homes and finding the perfect place for each item. "Unpacking" offers the same boost of serotonin that cleaning with the Marie Kondo method does; everything has its place and helping it get there is absolutely delightful. On top of the aesthetically pleasing retro graphics and intuitive gameplay, the title features a great soundtrack that captures the mood of each home perfectly. Plus, the sound design of "Unpacking" really shines as players click, thwump, and swish items into their proper places.

  • Release Date: Nov. 2, 2021
  • Available On: PC, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
  • Genre: Puzzle
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic Score: 84 (PC), 87 (Switch), 81 (Xbox One)


Calling all architects and collectors! The protagonist of "Littlewood" defeated the evil Dark Wizard, and it must've been a magnificent battle, but the details are hard to remember. Struck with a sudden case of amnesia, the protagonist must rebuild the kingdom of Solemn from the ground up, deciding where each house, road, and market will go. As players meet more townsfolk and build more structures, they gradually uncover their lost memories and realize the truth of what happened in that battle with the Dark Wizard.


All of that takes time, though, and to fill the gaps between meeting new people players can fish, craft, collect, farm, and even play a card battle game. Now that's something that "Animal Crossing" doesn't have. One fan called "Littlewood" "a collector's dream," and that assessment makes sense. Players can acquire a wild number of items, from bugs to cards, and make use of almost everything they encounter in Solemn. For those that love exploring and finding new items to enjoy, "Littlewood" is a surefire winner.

  • Release Date: Aug. 4, 2020 (PC), Feb. 25, 2021 (Switch)
  • Available On: PC, Nintendo Switch
  • Genre: Resource management, role-playing
  • Game Modes: Single-player
  • Metacritic Score: 81 (Switch)