The upcoming release of a new Story of Seasons has us thinking about farming games! Which are the best ones? The Siliconera staff is here to help with some handy recommendations.
Hi. My name is Annette and I was a Stardew Valley addict. Peer pressure wrangled me into checking it out, and when I finally bit that bullet? I became addicted. Stardew Valley consumed every moment of my day. There are long lost pages around here somewhere on which I attempted to optimize my garden and greenhouse for maximum returns. I’m pretty sure that I even had a spreadsheet for tracking gifts and relationships. Seriously, what is it about farming games that makes them more addictive than sugar? (Can we grow sugarcane in Stardew yet? No, don’t answer that.) Ever since the addition of co-op, I have debated diving back in. But I’ve been clean since May 16, 2018, and that save file is long gone. — Annette
While it isn’t necessarily a traditional farming game by any means, Valheim offers a true farming sim experience packed away within the confines of a satisfying gameplay loop. You can plant different types of crops and even engage in animal husbandry, which requires some finesse on the player’s end. Luring boars, and even wolves, into enclosures to domesticate can be trying, and take time. But it’s completely worth it and adds a new flavor to animal caretaking that you can’t find otherwise. Nothing was more satisfying than building my farm from the ground up (literally), and seeing the fruits of my labor manifest in food and healing items. — Kazuma
Rune Factory 4 has the distinction of being one of the few games to lure me in not once, but twice. I invested dozens of hours in the game on the 3DS. I loved growing crops, taming monsters, interacting with characters and exploring dungeons. Then, when Rune Factory 4 Special showed up for the Switch, I ended up sucked into the virtual life again and made different sorts of choices.
I also very much appreciated that it is the sort of game that could end. (If you want it to.) While it is endless, going ahead and stopping after you complete the campaign is definitely an option. And sometimes it is nice to feel like you’re done. — Jenni
I love farming games in principle, but I’ve more or less lost the patience needed to faff about in town on a schedule. That said, I still do have an abiding love for the concept of a faming game, and in my mind’s eye that always comes down to the PS1 classic Harvest Moon: Back To Nature. This is the one that was later remade for the GBA and then for the Switch as Friends of Mineral Town. I still have fond memories of puttering around town and trying my best to woo Karen (best girl!) on the meager earnings of a lazy turnip farmer.
Beyond that, when it comes to farming I prefer to do it in games that aren’t explicitly about tending to a farm, Give me a farm that I can put up as part of a Fallout 4 settlement, a No Man’s Sky base, or even the farming minigame planned for Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker. These days I love farming gameplay best when it’s part of something bigger. — Josh
Like Josh, I like my farming when it’s part of a larger whole. But I also need it to be essential and rewarding to the other elements of the game! The best one I’ve found? Yep, I’m going to talk about Ooblets again. The farming here feeds into the creature collection and combat. It facilitates friendships and story progression. Most importantly, it doesn’t have that constantly-ticking clock sort of pressure like a lot of traditional farming games! You can do things efficiently, sure. But the penalty’s not that bad if you don’t. — Graham
What do you think are the best farming games? Let us know in the comments!