4 Fun & Relaxing Sim Games

I don't think I can be called a gamer. My boyfriend is a gamer, a lot of my friends are gamers, and honestly the only similarity between what we do is that we do it on a computer. While my boyfriend is at one end of the room, headset on, shouting at his friends, I'm sat at the other end of the room, quietly watering my crops.

So maybe I'm not a proper gamer. Maybe I'm not the person you'd typically picture when you think of someone who has over 200 hours logged in one game alone. I have a very specific type of game that I play, and although I might know very little about more mainstream, RPG, FPS, MMO games - I know my specific gaming niche VERY well. And that niche is fun, relaxing sim games - added bonus for cuteness!

I have played most of these kinds of games on Steam, and whenever a new ones comes out, I give it a go. If there's a sim game you've seen on Steam, changes are I've played it. So here's a list of my top 4 relaxing sim games, to play when you want to escape into another world and not give yourself a headache over game mechanics after a long day at work.

#1: Stardew Valley (203 hours played)

I can't make this clear enough: If you haven't tried Stardew Valley, TRY IT NOW. The game is a game changer. (Ha, sorry). Everyone I know loves this game, from people who hardly ever play games, to my boyfriend's serious gaming friends. When they want to take a break from shouting at each other to GET ON POINT, Stardew Valley is where they go.

Stardew Valley is quite similar to games you might have played when you were younger, like Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing, but it's been hugely expanded into a full, rich game with so much content. The game starts with you working for The Man, in some corporate office, generally hating life. Then your grandfather passes away, and you inherit his farm in a little country town called Stardew Valley.

When you head over to your new farm to start your new life, you find it in total disrepair. Trees and rocks all over the place, some kind of broken building, and a teeny tiny home. So you'll need to work to transform the place into a thriving farm, with crops that change every season, fruit trees, loads of different animals, and loads more!

But it doesn't just stop at the farm, which is what makes this game so fantastic. There are lots of other people living in the town, and you can work on friendships with them, and eventually get married. There are so many places to explore around town - you can go foraging, mining, fishing, complete tasks for the villagers, find hidden areas, and unlock the magical secrets of Stardew Valley. For a game that only costs £10.99, the value is shocking, because you get SO MUCH content.

What makes Stardew Valley the ultimate relaxing sim game is that you can really go at your own pace. If you are the kind of person who likes to be super efficient and make as much money as possible as fast as possible, you can do that in this game. But if you want to take things slowly, there's absolutely no reason why you can't do that. The pacing is totally flexible, and there aren't any negative consequences for not completing things within a certain time.

You have the freedom to really focus on what you like. I love the foraging aspects of the game, but I don't particularly like the fishing, so I don't really fish much in game and that's totally fine - you don't need to do anything you don't like doing. (That's not to say the fishing is bad - I know multiple people who love fishing in game!) There is some combat when you get into the mines, but it's very simple and not too intense, and the social side of a game is a really fun element.

There's so much flexibility in this game to play it however you want, with so much to discover and so many potential hours, all within a fun, relaxing world to get lost in!

#2: Banished (82 hours played)

Banished is one of my favourite city building games, but the reason Banished is in this list rather than any other city building games is because it's the most chilled out. It's pretty unique in that it's a historical city builder, set in some kind of medieval period where you have farmers, gatherers, hunters and herbalists, as well as a few slightly more modern things like a small simple hospital and mines. I really love the feel of this game and the era I think is one of the reasons it fulfils the escapism I look for in games, because it's not a city builder set in modern day, it's set in a completely different time and place that lets me get away from modern life and technology and politics.

There aren't any skill trees, tech trees, or anything to unlock here - all the available buildings are available right from the start, and while there are enough types of buildings to provide lots of content and lots of gameplay, there aren't so many building options that it becomes overwhelming.

So the game doesn't progress in time - you don't start out in the medieval period and slowly move into modern day, you just stay in that period, and I love that, because it means rather that constantly unlocking new buildings, new technology, and new systems, trying to learn them all and implement them all, instead I can focus on growing and expanding my little community. When you play this game for a long time, you end up with a big, sprawling area made up of lots of little neighbourhoods, and I love that the city building aspect expands this way, rather than with technology.

It's another game where you can go whatever pace you like. Once you reach a certain point in the game, you can choose to accept large groups of nomads. This comes with extra challenges - having to find places for them all to live, making sure there is enough food for everyone - but it also means you have more workers so can build more things and expand faster. But if you want to take the game at a slow, chilled pace, you can always just refuse the nomads and they'll trot along and find another community to join...probably.

I find Banished so relaxing and I've played multiple games of it, I always love starting up a new town on a new landscape, since the area changes every time. I love establishing little communities and watching it grow! If you love town building type games but can get a bit overwhelmed with the compexities of bus routes and traffic and population density that a lot of modern-era city building games have, give Banished a go.

#3: Slime Rancher (39 hours played)

If you're looking for escapism, look no further - Slime Rancher is set literally on another planet.

Slimes are the new craze! When a slime eats, they produce a plort (it sounds gross but they're colourful and shiny and diamondy so it's okay), and plorts can be used for lots of useful things...apparently. Everyone on Earth wants all the different kinds of plorts, and it's your job to farm them!

So in Slime Rancher, you've gone to this new planet to start a new life, on an isolated, quiet little ranch. You explore the planet and all the different, colourful areas, and search for all the different kinds of slimes. Suck them up with your vacuum gun thingy, take them home with you, give them food and toys and farm their plorts! You can also combime slimes, because...well..they eat each other's plorts. But when a slime eats a plorts from a different type of slime, it become a Largo slime which is a combination of both types!

As well as keeping slimes to farm their plorts, you also need to farm the food they'll need to eat. When you sell the plorts, you can use the money to expand your ranch, as well as buy upgrades for you own kit that'll make it easier to explore the world!

The planet is so much fun to explore, there are so many areas to discover, and it's so exciting when you come across a new kind of slime. Plus, everything is so cute! The slimes are these colourful little smiley blobs, the world is bright and colourful, and it just has a kind of cutesy feel to it.

The game is super relaxing because, like the others, you can really go at your own pace, and there is very little combat. A combo of 2 slimes equals a Largo slime - and we love them! But a combo of 3 slimes...and that creates some kind of scary mud monster that likes to eat other slimes. They're pretty easy to destroy, since all you have to do is spray them with water. You can take your time exploring, and you can leave your ranch for multiple days at a time if you just want to spend ages exploring new areas. At the same time, if you want to just stay on your farm for a while and leave the exploring till later, that's fine too.

This is such a fun, cutesy game that is super quick and easy to get started with! The game develops at a great pace, and later in the game new things get introduced that allow you to step it up a bit (you get your own science lab!) but then if you're not quite ready to move on from what you've been doing so far, you can just leave them for a while.

The developers are still actively working on it, though it's a fully launched game, and new areas have been added since I first bought the it, and they're always working on little upgrades to make the game better, so who knows how much the game will grow in the future!

#4: Staxel (18 hours played)

Staxel is a game that's pretty new to me, but I'm putting it on this list because I have really high hopes for it, and because I think you might want to try it out if you're looking for relaxing sim games. Staxel is like a combination of Stardew Valley and Minecraft. You get the farming and village aspects from Stardew Valley, with the creativity and customisation of Minecraft.

So in Staxel, you move to a new little village where you'll be taking over a run down farm. You can plant crops, build a barn, get animals, as well as start building up the local village. You can really customise whatever you like - you can build anywhere on the map, not just on your own land, and the villagers ask you to build things about town for them.

Even though there's so much to do, there's no rush to do it in, so you can take your time learning how to craft and build and perfecting the designs you like. You also get the satisfaction of farming games; watching your crops grow and keeping your animals happy.

I haven't been playing it for too long yet, and it's still in Beta so the game isn't finished yet, but there's already so much to do and lots of little quests for the townspeople, as well as growing your own farm and working on your own house. I have high hopes for this game!

I'd love to know of any other relaxing sim games you like, and if you have any questions about these, just leave a comment or tweet me @harriet_rosie_


  1. I really REALLY love Stardew Valley but I've not come across Staxel yet! I think I might have to load up my team and check it out :)

    1. Another one you might want to try that I've been playing a lot recently is My Time At Portia! It's a little less farming focused and mroe focused on building, like making things to help the town or doing tasks for villagers, but there is also farming involved and it's a super cute relaxing game :)

    2. Oooh thanks :) Adding to Steam Wishlist. Are you of the Theme Hospital generation? You can pre-order the new one which is out at the very end of August. YAY!

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