ISO wholesome vidya games
July 4, 2021 7:29 PM   Subscribe

I've just started Cozy Grove and it's time-gated, grr, so looking for similar games for PS4 or PC. Recommendations should have at least one of the following attributes: * Chill! In story/attitude/gameplay/graphics * Helping people, running errands, farm sim-y, item collection/gathering, crafting, building. A main plotline is fine if I can ignore it and still have fun dinking around in the world and helping NPCs * Not too complicated (quarantine brain) or reflex-heavy. Games I have enjoyed in this vein under the cut.

Already enjoying:
* Cozy Grove
* Stardew Valley
* Dark Cloud 2 / Dark Chronicle

Had some of the elements I listed but don't cut it:
* Genshin Impact (combat-y, also wayy too many ingredients / too complicated)
* Kingdom Hearts III (same issues as gensh PLUS the cooking minigame is a pain in the ass (reflexes))
* Zelda BOTW and Animal Crossing (I'm locked into PS4/PC)

.Things I am aware of that may fit the bill:
* Spiritfarer
* Minecraft (?? if so, no idea how to get started)
* Coral Island (already supporting it on kickstarter)

I know this is a nitpicky list, thanks in advance!
posted by snerson to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
I definitely enjoy this genre as well so know exactly what you mean. Littlewood on Steam is very relaxing and focuses on building a town from scratch. I liked it more than Stardew because there's no daily clock and you can do things at your own pace. I really liked that that there are no inventory limits, you have access to everything you need at all times. I did 95% of it in about 10 hours so it's a pretty fast farming/town building game.

My Time at Portia is more complicated and is in full 3d with fun art. There's a ton to do, and I like the personality of the villagers. It has a little bit of combat but it is much easier than the 3 games you mention having trouble with. It's a pretty substantial game, probably 60 hours or so of content and I think it's on both PC and PS4. I thought the time of day clock was a bit too fast by default, but you can actually set it to run at 50% speed which felt perfect to me.

Dragon Quest Builders 1 and 2 are sort of halfway between these kind of farm/town games and Minecraft. They are both very long, and a bit more combat heavy, but have a lot of things to do. These are about half exploration and half building
posted by JZig at 7:37 PM on July 4, 2021 [3 favorites]

Yonder the Cloud Catcher Chronicles might be perfect for you.

For a smaller experience check out A Short Hike.
posted by Mizu at 7:59 PM on July 4, 2021 [1 favorite]

I second A Short Hike. That has plenty of NPCs to help.

I've been chilling out in Slime Rancher, which is 100% a gathering/farming game without NPCs.
posted by Snijglau at 8:15 PM on July 4, 2021 [1 favorite]

I had a lot of fun with Slime Rancher on PS4 (and it is also available on PC). It appears to be on sale on Steam at the moment.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:17 PM on July 4, 2021

Calico is a day-in-the-life community sim game where you are given an important and adorable task: rebuild the town’s cat café and fill it with cute and cuddly creatures!

Stuff you asked for: Cozy, chill, running errands and doing tasks, nothing that needs quick reflexes. On Steam.
Other things to note: Kinda buggy. You can pet all the animals and more. (Watch the video on steam to see all the silly stuff you can do. ) The player character isn't given any gender but the whole game is very feminine. The cooking minigame is . . . silly - I think it's spectacular.
posted by meemzi at 11:34 PM on July 4, 2021

Summer in Mara is farming, and you have a boat.

Slime Rancher isn't quite NPC-less: you trade items with NPCs through the mail (and can visit their ranches, but they're never shown in-game), and there's also a story through letters going on. Also, the slimes you raise have quite a bit of personality.

Animal Crossing is a no-go, but Hokko Life is aiming for the same formula. If it's keeping the time gating, it'll be annoying for the same reason Cozy Grove is.

Stardew Valley builds on classic Harvest Moon (Story of Seasons) gameplay, but Rune Factory is another offshoot, coming to PS4/PC this fall. More RPG focused.

Depending on your tolerance for JRPG cliches, Atelier Ryza might also work as a light hearted JRPG with sim elements.
posted by Anonymous Function at 11:44 PM on July 4, 2021

Minecraft works if you put it to Peaceful mode (no monsters/enemies). You can then spend your time collecting resources and building things - alternatively if you put it in Creative mode you have unlimited access to all materials (and you're also invulnerable and can fly) and it becomes a sort of infinite virtual Lego. In either case there's no direction/quests, you're just left to build whatever you feel like.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:26 AM on July 5, 2021 [1 favorite]

Littlewood is a great little indie game and its currently on sale.
There's no combat but there are a few monsters to avoid in the mines and woods. You start off with just 2 NPCs I think, maybe 3 but as you build up the village, more people move in and they want you to build them homes and decorate them. There's a CCG mini-game. A little farming, cooking, fishing, bug catching etc. I've played it through twice and spent about 40 hours playing it. Its a really relaxed pace because basically time only passes when you spend energy. So there's no time pressure. They have seasonal events like SDV.

I do think you'll enjoy SpiritFarer too, they're continuing to update it and add more "companions". There is a platform-y aspect to it, which you may or may not enjoy. Your character gets special abilities that allow you to access different areas of the maps and some of the areas you need to get to can be difficult but I also played the game through twice. Jumping, ziplining, gliding, using bouncy surfaces and air vents.

Graveyard keeper with the DLC (wouldn't recommend playing without the DLC that gives you zombie workers), its more complicated because of the tech trees and the recipe exploration. Also some NPC visitors are time limited. If you don't mind bimbling about and having to wait another week to hand in your quest then that probably wont bother you. Its a darker and humorous take on the genre
posted by missmagenta at 6:33 AM on July 5, 2021 [1 favorite]

I find building things in Planet Coaster very relaxing. It's a management game but not a complicated one, and there's also a Sandbox mode where you are free of all constraints.
posted by Urtylug at 8:24 AM on July 5, 2021

Minecraft is such a wonderful game I wanted to answering specifically your "don't know how to get started" question. Start with the main vanilla game, single player. I think the Java Edition on a PC/Mac is still the best experience. Buy it and play it and you'll easily get 20-100 hours of fun out of it, more if you don't mind repetition. There's plenty of guides online but the Minecraft Wiki remains the one indispensable reference.

Someone suggested playing Peaceful mode up above which will remove almost all sources of danger, but I think the game plays better in Normal mode if you're willing to have to do a little gameplay to avoid / take out monsters.

A lot of the pleasure of Minecraft is solo gathering and crafting. For NPCs in particular you might want to focus on Villagers. You can spend hours building houses for them and training them and creating a perfect little town. The NPC AI is very dumb and there's literally no writing, but the systems underneath are still satisfying.

Minecraft is even more fun played with friends; for that the easiest way is get a private server on Realms. I don't think Minecraft works so well in public servers with strangers but there are literally millions of people who have found otherwise.

If you like the vanilla game there are a zillion mods for Minecraft Java that add large complex new gameplay systems. I don't know for sure but there's got to be some that focus on a Stardew Valley-like experience.
posted by Nelson at 8:46 AM on July 5, 2021 [1 favorite]

Ooblets - super cute life sim / collecting / farming. I think its currently only available on Epic gamees website but is coming to steam eventually. recently updated

Story of Seasons, mineral town - based off a popular farming game Harvest moon. Farming/ sim on Steam and Switch maybe on console?
posted by ljesse at 8:04 PM on July 5, 2021

I just started playing Grounded on PC and it is delightful. You'll likely want to play on Mild/Creative/Creative with Bugs settings as the others are harder and more stressful. But really beautiful, nice building and crafting options, overall charming.
posted by rachaelfaith at 11:20 PM on July 5, 2021

Hi, I’ve recently played two games that made me remember this question! Alba: A Wildlife Adventure, which is like real life open world Pokémon snap with a Spanish flavor and adorable characters and an actual storyline. And Sky: the Children of Light which is made by the same folks who did Journey and Flower, it’s technically a massive but you can play the whole thing single player and then you can just poke around exploring and being goofy with other players and going at your own pace, there isn’t any leveling or crafting but there is a pretty robust community for guides and running around holding hands. I play both on my Switch but I think they’re available on phones and PC too. Both are great gentle games that handle my pandemic brain fog nicely and transport me to other places.
posted by Mizu at 12:21 AM on August 12, 2021

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