Ending aliens, demons, and all sorts of faceless baddies then saving the world can only get so interesting and at times even desensitizing. Sometimes you just want to take a break from all the digital mayhem you're causing and focus on creating life (which is pretty much the opposite of what you do in most video games) and search for a refreshing change of pace and scenery. That's why every once in a while, one tends to crave farming games.
Now we finally understand why Thanos went back to DIY gardening after his wanton episode. When it comes to games like those, Harvest Moon can be unparalleled. The problem is, they're not the most available games ever to different platforms and types of gamers. Thankfully, there are alternatives to the respite that Harvest Moon offers in the world of gaming. These are the 10 best games to play after you've wiped out half the universe-- er, we mean, if you love Harvest Moon.
In Plantera you don't exactly see your farm from a top-down isometric view, instead, you are confined to a 2D sidescroller perspective but that doesn't diminish the game's charm one bit. Plantera allows you to grow your own garden until it becomes a good enough habitat for other species too. Watching your meek plants turn into rigid tress and become populated with all sorts of fauna can give a feeling of achievement and company.
Of course, you also get to harvest the literal fruits of your labor by either plucking the produce yourself or letting your helpers do the manual work. The challenge comes in the form of nasty critters who don't share the same love for flora creation as you do and want to steal your crops. All in all, it's a game you play if you want to chill or de-stress.
9 DON'T STARVE
In stark contrast to peacefulness of Plantera or the relaxation you get from Harvest Moon, Don't Starve can be pretty stressful. At its core, Don't Starve and its noteworthy sequels are rogue-like survival games with base building, exploration, crafting, and farming mechanics. If you die, you lose everything you have but that doesn't mean the game will dissuade you from trying over and over again.
In Don't Starve's case, the opposite is quite true. Failure only gives you more incentives to start over and try your best to last as many days as possible in the weird and mysterious locale of the game. The art style definitely helps plenty in keeping you invested and diluting some of the more nerve-wracking aspects of the game.
Minecraft is already quite similar to Harvest Moon in that it gives you plenty of freedom to do stuff. However, if you want a game that balances both games well enough, then Staxel might be better for your preferences. It has the graphics and charm of Minecraft with the gameplay of Harvest Moon.
You can grow your farm, meet the villagers, and even invite some friends over online to help you around. All of this is done in first-person, making the game a little more immersive than the usual point-and-click farming games. Some fans even consider Staxel as a better version of Harvest Moon since that's one of the main apparent inspirations of the developers for creating this game.
7 ANIMAL CROSSING
Like Harvest Moon, the Animal Crossing franchise has a tendency to be Nintendo console exclusives, meaning its availability is often limited. However, it's also one of the closest games in atmosphere and gameplay to Harvest Moon. The two even go together in a Nintendo console like peanut butter and jelly.
At its core, Animal Crossing is a social simulation video game where the players take the role of a human who lives in a village inhabited by anthropomorphic animals. It's also a sandbox and gives you a ton of different activities-- some of which include socializing with the said animals. For those of you reluctant on getting a Nintendo console for this one, there are Android and iOS versions of Animal Crossing (Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp), thankfully.
6 FARMING SIMULATOR
Even with all the plethora of activities you can partake in Harvest Moon, the star of the game remains the farming simulation. Growing plants and looking after them in a digital environment is a game in itself and the Farming Simulator franchise has capitalized on that concept.
The Farming Simulator games are some of the most authentic, straightforward, and therapeutic farming games out there. Not to mention it has the best graphics out of all farming games. The premise is simple too; you get a plot of land, a bunch of farming machinery you can drive, and some seeds. You then tend to the land and the crops then harvest the latter eventually. It ain't much but it's honest work!
5 FARM FOR YOUR LIFE
Plants vs. Zombies might have been more of a tower-defense than a farming game but those zombies sure fit in well with farming. So, if you miss some flesh-eating brain-obsessing undead roaming around trying to eat you while you tend to your crops, then Farm For Your Life just might scratch that itch.
It's basically a farming game but the zombies attack you from time to time. They offer a nice break from the peaceful side of farming where you'll have to shore up your defenses and ward off the undead attackers. Farm For Your Life successfully combines two genres for the price of one game.
Moonlighter isn't exactly a game that hands you a farm and some crops, but it's highly similar to Harvest Moon since it also involves management and exploration. In Moonlighter, you get to play as a medieval fantasy shopkeeper-- you're responsible for arming fantasy adventurers to the teeth.
It's not as exciting as your customers' work, but it's a heck of a lot safer. Aside from managing the shop, you must also keep your supplies and items topped up. You can do that by exploring the game world and looking for curios and rarities you can sell to adventurers who need them... or simply hoard them and use them on your own adventures.
3 YONDER: THE CLOUD CATCHER CHRONICLES
When it comes to the magic of open-world games, not many can match The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The fun part is that a game world like that would do very well with Harvest Moon mechanics since it's also a sandbox. Hence, Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles exists. It's pretty much a lovechild between Breath of the Wild and Harvest Moon.
The game puts you in the shoes of a child left to his own resources in a paradise island. There you can explore, farm, craft, cook, tailor, and do other stuff to make the land feel like home. It's a slow, mesmerizing, and relaxing game thanks to the graphics and the art style.
2 MY TIME AT PORTIA
My Time at Portia looks highly similar to Yonder but it's a lot more focused and deeper. It's also more similar to Harvest Moon in terms of locale and activities. You are dropped in a small but fascinating town full of interesting people you can talk to or eventually marry. The difference is the charming 3D graphics and third-person perspective.
Oh, and there's also the fact that the main focus of the game is crafting instead of farming. Nevertheless, it's every bit a time-sink as Harvest Moon. you get to build things for the town, raise animals, and also do other social or recreational activities. Oddly enough, the game takes place in a post-apocalypse setting, fancy that!
1 STARDEW VALLEY
Don't be fooled by the 16-bit graphics, Stardew Valley is arguably the best game in this list. For many, it's even better than Harvest Moon. That's a monumental achievement considering the fact that it was made by a one-man development team! As such, Stardew Valley is a labor of love and passion project; you can see that in every dialogue, ambient sound, and pixel of this game.
It's got everything you can ever want in a farming game and then some (like dungeoneering, mining, or even marriage and courtship). If the music doesn't win you over, then the quirky and suspiciously single inhabitants of the town surely will. You might not even come back to Harvest Moon after trying out Stardew Valley.