Tuesday, May 28, 2024

5 Games like Stardew Valley you can play on Earth Day

This Earth Day what better way to celebrate nature and the great outdoors than to hit up the wholesome farming sims like Stardew Valley!

Did you know the rapid degradation of global soils led the United Nations to warn us that the world’s remaining topsoil would be gone in sixty years if we don’t act?! That’s less than 60 harvests left before the earth can no longer feed the planet and support our ecosystems.

Regenerative farming is an important way of combatting this degradation and is built on the foundations of crop rotation, minimal soil disturbance, working with nature and livestock, and focuses on less intensive farming that’s focused solely on huge crop yield. All the types of farming we find in our favorite farming sim games!

OK, science lesson over, let’s get to the 5 best games like Stardew Valley…

Hokko Life

Hokko Life is not subtle about its influences. With your player avatar rolling into a town full of anthropomorphic inhabitants, and set to work improving the village to attract newcomers, it’s a fairly transparent blend of Animal Crossing and Story of Seasons.

What is likely to stand out most for LGBTQ+ players though will be Hokko Life’s openness when it comes to gender. Or rather, its near total rejection of gender – the character generator that you’ll encounter at the very start of the game has no gender locks. The base body doesn’t present as any particular gender, with hairstyle options doing the heavy lifting to present your avatar’s gender to your liking. It’s also going to be affirming for many players that Wonderscope dodge pronouns entirely in the game’s dialogue. 

My Time at Portia

Described by many as The Sims meets Stardew Valley with an overlay of Ghibli graphics, My Time at Portia is full of farming and crafting, but the game also encourages you to build your community which makes it extra charming. Everyone wants to be your friend and do cool things, but you need to select who makes it on to your favorites list.

Alongside the ongoing quests to build your friendships and searching for resources to build your farm, you can follow romances. You are free to date and marry whoever you choose with no restrictions based on your gender. Even more wholesomely, this won’t bar you from having kids either, and the relationships are treated the same regardless of who you choose to date!

Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life

The premise of Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life is simple: you start a new life in a tranquil village deep within Forgotten Valley. After meeting up with your father’s friend Takakura and, after a brief explanation of how your father and Takakura dreamed of running a farm together, you begin your new life as a farmer. You get the opportunity to raise animals, plant crops, and get closer to all of the quirky residents that live in Forgotten Valley.

Like many other farming sims, next comes the relationships and marriage routes. However, unlike other sims, Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life takes it to a new extreme: if you don’t get married and have kids, it’s game over!

Beautifully, however, this is relatively painless as one of the best features of this remake is that it adds same-sex romance and marriage and expands the character creator to become much more inclusive than the original. You can also pick your pronouns, and the outfits you wear are not restricted whatsoever, allowing you to wear dresses and/or overalls.

Coral Island

Coral Island once again offers that awesome combo of Stardew and Animal Crossing, with bold colorful visuals and a huge number of romanceable options!

There are 28 romanceable characters in Coral Island, and they don’t seem to be limited by your gender, body type, or anything else other than how many gifts you can farm, no pun intended. The options are diverse, if simplistic in gender non-conforming representation, but at least they’re all cute and unique. 

With 28 characters, though, you’re sure to find someone you like, whether it be the tattooed nurse or the hardworking blacksmith himbo. In that respect, this game will allow queer and the larger LGBTQIA+ community to live out a whole life in an accepting community. The choice to have children regardless of your partner also ensures that you can build a family and live out a life with them.


Palia is a free-to-play MMO that offers open-world exploration, the ability to fish, farm, explore and even build a home, as well as a general low-stress environment expected of games within the cosy genre.

Palia is a high-fantasy game but unlike texts like Lord of the Rings or Dragon Age, humans are considered to be the mystical beings in this world due to their disappearance a long time ago. All players play as a human that’s just woken up in this land, and as such, will have to uncover and find their place in a world full of whimsical, but enthralling mystery.

As with Stardew Valley, the diverse roster of NPCs are romanceable and this, inevitably, involves plenty of gifts. You gradually increase your friendship and this leads to romance. Of course, being an MMO, there’s the chance for you and others to romance the same NPCs… so polyamory is the norm in Palia!

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