It seems like a lifetime ago that the latest Animal Crossing entry dropped on the venerable Nintendo Switch, whisking us off to dreamy islands across the sea. Considering the state of the world at the time, the experience was downright cathartic, and it brought an entirely new batch of fans into the fold.
As it stands, this franchise only offers one entry per console (or fewer, if you’re the poor old Wii U), so there are no immediate sequels out there on the new horizon. If you can’t help but want to scratch that itch, here are 10 games like Animal Crossing for you to experiment with! Alternatively, maybe see a doctor about that itch, that can’t be good for you.
Games Similar to Animal Crossing
Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer
“How can this be a game similar to Animal Crossing?” you squawk feverishly. “This game IS Animal Crossing, isn’t it? It even says so in the title!”
True though that may be on the surface, it would be specious reasoning to discount the notion that Happy Home Designer is something of a unique beast (I am aware of how unwieldy that sentence is, but damned if I will reduce it in any manner). As its title suggests, rather than sticking to the usual tropes of building a community, your only goal is to appease the shallow whims of your clientele through snazzy feng shui. Throw some pink stuff in there to really wow ’em.
Alas, now that the 3DS eShop is a thing of the past, you can only get to be a happy home designer through the rapidly growing price of a physical copy. Alternatively, you could purchase New Horizons’ Happy Home Paradise DLC and bring the fun right to your Switch.
The Sims 4
Yeah baby, we’re coming in hot with the most Simsational experience in gaming. We will also accept Simteresting, Simtertaining, and Simply Quite Good.
The Sims 4 takes the same principle of chirpy life simulator and raises the stakes. In Animal Crossing, your worst fear is being stung by wasps or assaulted by creepy crawlies in the night, but in Simworld, you’re liable to starve, drown, catch fire or be judged for your shabby attire.
On the plus side though, you can raise a family, get a job in a variety of industries, or challenge yourself by having 100 babies. That’s right, 100 bawling infants all looking to you for guidance. Remember, despite this being similar to Animal Crossing, you have a lot more responsibility — so don’t go out bug catching instead!
Do you love the idea of hanging out in a community of animals, but abhor the fact that you have to be a lousy human? If so, you might just be a furry. You might just also like this totes endearing indie game, that casts you as a kawaii kitty, frisky fox, brisk bunny or a god-forsaken bear.
Move into your grandparents’ farm and live your life as you see fit; explore caves for treasure, open a store to sell your wares, craft new tools, even catch and tame animals to keep as pets. That last one is kinda sick, considering the circumstances, but it’s still pretty darn cute.
Garden Paws even offers a robust multiplayer experience, with three buddies able to join in on the fun. Access to a Creative Lobby allows up to 32 people hanging out at one time, to discuss your favorite build strategies, cool design ideas, or how to overthrow the monarchy.
Of course we were going to include Stardew Valley. It’s our go-to, and with good reason. Games like Animal Crossing? This game. Games like Harvest Moon? This game. Games like Barbie’s Sparkling Ice Show? This game. Just trust us on this.
Obviously, Stardew Valley isn’t quite as laidback as Animal Crossing, but its cheery atmosphere and bustling township will evoke familiar feelings deep within you. There just happens to be a bit more pressure, what with your farming duties and daily routine, as opposed to Tom Nook’s ‘pay me back when you feel like it’ demeanor.
You can even pretend to be the trendsetter of the newest health craze by dishing out leafy greens to everyone in town. I’m not even kidding; the easiest way to seduce people in this game is by offering them a salad you bought at the tavern every day. The Simpsons lied to us.
Story of Seasons
If it looks like a Harvest Moon, and it quacks like a Harvest Moon, then it’s probably a Story of Seasons. Despite the name change — the cause of which temporarily led to the two franchises being released simultaneously as different entities — this is still the same iconic farming sim you know and love.
Dating back to the twilight years of the SNES, there are a whole slew of options at your disposal, though it goes without saying that the newer editions come as highly recommended. They’re more accessible, with helpful quality-of-life improvements that come standard in modern gaming.
Plus, some of them have Doraemon. You heard it here, Doraemon. If that didn’t sell you, I don’t know what will. Nothing shifts units like a plump blue cat with no ears and no fears.
No, we aren’t just going to rely on farming sims.
In Seabeard, you are a swashbuckling captain following in your grandfather’s storied steps as you sail from place to place, trying to restore dilapidated islands. This free-to-play title has many parallels to Animal Crossing, with a major emphasis on completing quests assigned by the locals.
In exchange, you’ll receive rewards, and eventually add more members to your merry crew. Frankly, it makes us long for the opportunity to set off on a pirate adventure with Goldie, Erik and Alfonso, but if they can’t even pluck a few weeds in our absence, we shudder to think how they’d fair on the open seas…
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Is this a pigeon? Wait, I’m getting mixed up now.
Should you want your simulator to be a little bit more action-packed, Fantasy Life is a wonderful alternative that combines RPG-style combat and progression with the community aspects found in Animal Crossing. When you begin, you select from a variety of different jobs that operate similarly to classes. Herein lies the beauty: each job has very different tasks and playstyles that really set them apart.
Want to protect the town? Become a paladin and vanquish woodland creatures. After a more equable approach? Opt for an angler and take up the rod. It’s up to you, and if you grow tired of your current job, you can swap things up by changing professions whenever you please. If only it were that easy to escape the horrors of retail.
As the most Australian member of Twinfinite’s team, I am the leading authority on everything Aussie — from roo steaks to the WNBL. It’s like the WNBA, only the players swear on the court a lot more.
So I come from a place of authority when I tell you that Dinkum is the quintessential way to channel your inner ocker by setting up shop out in the bush. You’ll have to combat the wildlife while combining elements of both Animal Crossing and Minecraft all in the one package. Bloody oath, it’s a ripper.
Also, please don’t tell upper management I’m actually Canadian. God knows I don’t want to go back to Saskatchewan.
Alright, so you want a game that’s like Animal Crossing. That’s really, really, reeeeeeeally like Animal Crossing, to a shameless extent. If you’re that resolute on your desire to dig deeper, you have two options.
The first, is to just play Animal Crossing. Like, come on, it’s even on your phone now. The second is to play Castaway Paradise, an indie game from Stolen Couch Studios. Maybe the couch isn’t the only thing stolen, eh? Ehhhh?!
In it, you wash ashore on an idyllic paradise populated by animals. Make your town the best it can possibly be, while catching bugs, shaking trees, and casting your reel out to snag the big fish.
It’s kind of like playing Animal Crossing if you crossed your eyes; it all looks and feels the same, but it’s slightly different and you’re a little bit ashamed of yourself for bothering in the first place.
Castaway Home Designer
But wait, there’s more!
If you love customizing bedrooms and making imaginary critters happy, you will be thrilled to know that there’s even an imitation for Animal Crossing’s spinoff title, Happy Home Designer! It’s exactly the same, except without the Happy. I suppose Sad Home Designer wouldn’t have as much marketability, though.
In this free-to-play title, you focus on making the island’s cribs as swagtastic as possible. Listen to the residents’ likes and dislikes, earn gems for more items, and grow your monopoly until you lord over everyone with an iron fist. Ahh, the power of interior design.
Fingers crossed for Castaway amiibo Festival to be announced soon.
With that, we have regaled you with tales of courageous adventurers, fire-breathing dragons, and 10 games similar to Animal Crossing. In actuality, we didn’t cover that second one at all, but lists are so much more appealing when they’re done in threes. For more Animal Crossing content, check out the links below! Or for a surprise article, click this link here. I dare you.