Gardening is important. It helps bees and birds and whatnot thrive. But it’s also pretty tiring. Just like flying a plane, or driving a fast car, things that are hard to do flourish in the virtual world. They give us a chance to do something we’d never be able to do in real life. How would any of us experience what it’s like to commit a war crime without Call of Duty?
But we’re not here for war crimes. We’re here for garden time. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best gardening games for all you green-fingered tree huggers out there, all waiting to give you a peaceful slice of paradise. Whether they’re set in far-flung fantasies or close to home, they’re all focused on one thing – gardening.
Once you’ve had your fill of gardening games, we’ve got even more guides to help you choose what to play. If you’re after something similar, check out our relaxing games guide. For something more high-brow, there’s our history games guide. Or, if you’re more creative, we’ve got a guide to art games. Alternatively, all you thrill-seekers out there can get the blood pumping with our monster games guide.
Anyway, let’s get gardening…
Gardening games on Switch and mobile
Sunrise Village – mobile
In this free-to-play game, you are somebody who has just moved to the titular Sunrise Village in order to help their grandfather after a strange stone circle appeared, seemingly from nowhere. Once you’re there, the whole place essentially becomes one giant garden to you.
You gather resources so that you can buy and build new things, you look after the cute animals who live there, and you help the villagers to rebuild their homes. It’s a cosy, peaceful, and most importantly, rewarding experience. If you love gardening and farming, and enjoy games that see you leading a simple life in the countryside, there’s a good chance you’ll love Sunrise Village.
Rune Factory 5 – Switch
Rune Factory 5 is the most recent entry in the well-established spin-off from Story of Seasons, a farm game originally known as Harvest Moon. It takes the farming aspects of the original game and launches it into a fantasy setting, adding RPG mechanics and big, world-ending enemies. It’s really great, cosy fun, which you can learn about in our Rune Factory 5 review.
Stardew Valley – Switch and mobile
Stardew Valley took the farming crown, even while competing against long-running series with much bigger teams. The key to this little indie game is the sheer scope. There is so much to do beyond tending to your farm. But no matter what, if that’s what you want to do, it’s always good fun. We’ve got all manner of guides too, whether you want to learn more about characters like Stardew Valley Sebastian and Stardew Valley Shane, or get to grips with Stardew Valley fish.
Farming Simulator – Switch
Farming Simulator is for the die-hard gardeners out there. It uses the word ‘simulator’ and really means it, giving you a bevy of real-life machinery to use in the game to build up your perfect farm. You also have to manage your farm’s finances, among many, many other things. It’s a lot, but it’s great fun once you get to grips with it.
Animal Crossing – Switch and mobile
Animal Crossing has everything. It can tickle your city-building itch, your fashion designer itch, and your gardening itch. While it isn’t exactly in-depth, you can create wonderful gardens of flowers whether you’re on your island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons on Switch or the campsite in Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp on mobile. Just wandering around and watering pretty flowers is the sort of peaceful life I strive to lead, at least. Check out our Animal Crossing: New Horizons villagers guide to get up to speed.
Garden Story – Switch
Garden Story isn’t really a gardening game, but rather a game all about the garden itself. It’s an action RPG where you take on the role of a grape. You need to traverse the world, take down the rot that’s diseasing the land, and help to rebuild the village where you’re from. It may not have you actually gardening, but as you support the many vegetables that need your help, you’re basically watering them, right?
Viridi – mobile
Viridi is true virtual gardening, offering you a safe space away from the stress of managing actual house plants. The game lets you look after all manner of succulents, which, as long as you water them properly, will grow in real-time. If that sounds long, then you’re missing the point – this game is designed to be peaceful, unstressful, an idle game to have by your side.
Story of Seasons – Switch and mobile
The aforementioned Story of Seasons started life as Harvest Moon. But nowadays, the games called Harvest Moon aren’t really the same titles. What was so good about the old games – straightforward farming with a great cast of characters – stays strong in the Story of Seasons games today. There’s Story of Seasons mobile if you’re always on the go, but check out Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town for the full-fat experience.
Flower – mobile
Thatgamecompany, developer of the game Flower, have always had a good idea of how to create flow in a game. You know that magic moment where you’re in the zone, barely thinking about what actions you’re actually doing, just enjoying the ride? That kinda thing. Their first game, Flow, is all about that (as I’m sure you guessed). Up next is Flower, where you’re the wind, directing petals in the air. Thatgamecompany is the developer behind the legendary Journey, so if you want to look back, Flower is a good place to go.