Looking for a eco friendly game.
April 15, 2020 10:22 AM   Subscribe

It seems to me that all the games that involve open worlds are all about destroying the environment to build stuff. Minecraft is a perfect example, you cut down all the trees you can, dig nasty holes in the earth to get minerals, and kill everything. Is there are game where you restore a devastated environment? Or where you are fighting the creatures-human trying to destroy it? Imagine being a Minecraft creeper trying to stop the destruction of your home!
posted by KaizenSoze to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (15 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
You can play Stardew Valley like this! I sort of am with my latest farm -- I'm definitely doing forestry management (well, what passes for it in-game), and otherwise limiting agriculture while doing a lot of foraging and fishing which I guess is like wildlife management? Note that there are not remotely real-world timeframes for, like trees growing, but you can definitely get the feeling of restoring a neglected farm.
Caveat: I haven't played Minecraft, but I do get the feeling that the world-building is less detailed in SV, so you might find it limiting? You're certainly in a much smaller sandbox, but I found that meant I grasped gameplay really quickly. (I generally really do not play video games, but I love SV.)
posted by kalimac at 10:32 AM on April 15, 2020 [4 favorites]

Merge Magic for mobile! You have an army of cute creatures harvesting seeds and growing plants to restore color and life to a grey devastated world. It’s a match three game so not super sophisticated but I find it hugely satisfying.
posted by bananacabana at 10:45 AM on April 15, 2020

Sims 4 has an Environmentalist career, and it's pretty fun! You raise awareness, clean up trash, and reprimand litterbugs and poachers, and watch the tropical paradise of Sulani become more and more beautiful thanks to your efforts. You can also build Tiny Houses, and live Off The Grid, garden with the seasons, keep bees, plant native species, and all kinds of stuff. (You need a couple of expansion packs but they're having a big sale right now) There's no real violence, but it's very pretty; much better graphics than Stardew or Minecraft, and if you get bored with farming and want to, say, become a mad scientist or a sexy socialite as well as a tree hugger, you sure can!
posted by The otter lady at 10:54 AM on April 15, 2020 [4 favorites]

Subnautica might appeal to you.

You gather resources to craft tools and technology, but it's about science and discovery, not exploitation. The game has no weapons besides a utility knife-- you cannot kill any of the dangerous creatures.
posted by justkevin at 11:19 AM on April 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

Eco is a building / survival game with an explicitly environmentalist bent. Maybe that will fit the bill?

posted by Zudz at 11:25 AM on April 15, 2020

There's a lot of this in Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles. The major goal is to restore the environment by eliminating the "Murk" that's spread across the land, with a ton of sidequests (including lots of tree-planting) to boost the happiness of the residents. You do need to collect resources for crafting, but aside from trees, everything you harvest grows back quickly.
posted by littlegreen at 11:29 AM on April 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

Spirit Island is a board game, where you play as "nature spirits" fighting against colonists who are trying to build towns/cities.
posted by ellerhodes at 11:57 AM on April 15, 2020

Okami isn’t open world but the entire game is about ridding the land of darkness and evil. When you first enter a new zone it’s mostly dark but you unlock it and watch as blooms wash over the land like a wave (you can see it early in this trailer). You also spend time making trees bloom and feeding animals. Definitely one of my favorite games of all time.

posted by cali59 at 12:15 PM on April 15, 2020

Just for the record, you don't have to play Minecraft that way. You can replant trees, make a single 1x1 hole in the turf to go downward and mine, and live on cake, cookies, veggies and honey.
posted by bricoleur at 1:06 PM on April 15, 2020 [5 favorites]

Final Fantasy VII (which just had a highly-anticipated remake come out, although I might recommend the original for a first playthrough if you don't mind the clunky graphics) has you playing a crew of ecoterrorists fighting to stop an evil megacorporation from literally draining the planet's lifeblood to run power plants.
posted by waffleriot at 1:49 PM on April 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

Oh wait, Flower. You definitely want to play Flower.
posted by waffleriot at 1:50 PM on April 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

> Subnautica [...] you cannot kill any of the dangerous creatures.

The game design is actually much better and more interesting than that. You can kill them, even the really big scary ones. But the game does not reward you for doing so in any way. No materials, no achievements, no cutscenes or animations. Nothing.

(Ever played Shadow of [the] Colossus? Remember that "Am I a bastard? Because killing that seems like something a bastard would do." feeling? Subnautica brought that across even more forcefully, for me at least.)

You can research every creature with your handheld scanner, though. This is quite the challenge with things that are (in some cases) much bigger than you and/or implacably hostile. And you do get explicitly rewarded for doing that.
posted by sourcequench at 9:11 PM on April 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

Horizon: Zero Dawn has you mostly fighting robots that SPOILER:
are originally terraforming machines actually trying to fix the world after apocalypse - it's an open-world game and the eventual goals are very much related to fixing the environment.

posted by aspersioncast at 10:37 PM on April 15, 2020

No Man's Sky is similar to what you describe, however, your mining beam has a 'rebuild' setting and it's just so BIG, you can just do your mining parts... elsewhere. (The mining parts are also a lot more fun than minecraft...the metal-melting laser is beautiful) I have been building bases that integrate the natural surroundings as much as possible...hovering platforms above the plants, which are artfully lit, etc. It's like a fun design challenge. Also, there's ruins everywhere that (while you can't really alter them) you can plant a base around and build into. You can shoot the animals, but you can also feed them, make them special food, ride them, scan/learn about them, and farm them. (They just added living spaceships as well.) Also, outside of the tutorials at the beginning, you don't have to do any of that stuff at all if you don't want. The game isn't 'eco-friendly' per se, but a big part of its 'story' is about how BIG the universe is...when you have free warp drive and flying off a planet is as easy, you kinda gain access to more 'eco' than you could ever possibly destroy. There's also barren and lifeless worlds all over...you could do ALL your mining there and not harm the 'nature'...and once you get a little money together, you can just buy all the basic materials you need. A little further in and you can buy a freighter and build a base in space and not tear up any landscape if you like.
posted by sexyrobot at 3:05 AM on April 16, 2020

I agree with waffleriot, you definitely want Flower.

The 2008 version of Prince of Persia is about restoring a blighted land. The moments where you’ve beaten the level and your magical companion brings the whole map back to life are truly satisfying. (It’s also fun because it’s mostly puzzle-platforming and you can’t die. It’s on my list for a quarantine replay.)
posted by ejs at 2:56 PM on April 17, 2020

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