The life sims seeds have been sewn and now there are more games like Stardew Valley on PC than I can possibly play. Long gone are the days of 2016 when Stardew first revitalized the farm and town sim genre left largely fallow in the shadow of the console-bound Harvest Moon series Nowadays, official Harvest Moon games, their spiritual successors Story of Seasons, and dozens of indie game riffs on farming and befriending are all available on PC.
In the early years of this list, pickings were slim and we settled for Stardew-adjacent games that had crafting or seasons, but weren't always quite what I wanted. There's no shortage of Stardew style games on PC now, with even more in development. Some focus more on building relationships and revitalizing a town while others are all about crops and crafting. Whichever end of Stardew Valley you prefer, there's another game like it in our list to keep you playing for just one more in-game day.
Now that there are plenty of options to choose from, some are inevitably better and worse than others. We've collected a list of the best Stardew style games available so you can choose which homestead to put down roots in.
Roots of Pacha
PC Gamer's got your back
Released: 2023 | Developer: Soda Den | Steam
Other than its stone age setting, Roots of Pacha is definitely the closest life sim to Stardew Valley in quite a while. It's got a rather similar art style, romancable villagers, festivals, fishing, farming, caves to explore, and a lot more. This really is Stardew with the clock turned back thousands of years.
Pacha does find its own path though, with a slightly more complex animal care system, irrigation, and a very neat concept for unlocking new technology as ideas conceived by your clan. Combined with a few quality of life changes like a map that actually shows where NPCs are at, Pacha is now the best place to start if you just want to play a new Stardew flavor.
Release date: 2022 | Developer: stairway Games | Steam
There's lots to do on this island including farming, fishing, crafting, mining, and cleaning up trash to restore its natural splendor. And when you're not growing crops or raising livestock, romance is in the air: over two dozen of the island's residents are dateable and they're all shockingly hot, so you'll be sure to find a partner. There are all sorts of stories to uncover as you get to know the locals and grow your plot of land from a handful of vegetables into a farmer's paradise.
Release date: 2023 | Developer: Phoenix Labs | Steam
One of my favorite parts of Fae Farm is how easy it was to get into. I jogged right through the tutorial and into all the usual farm life sim activities of fishing, farming, and animal tending. Plus, I could not say no to the adorable magical livestock. On top of that, Fae Farm is co-op and really easy to binge with pals. The thing Fae Farm does less of is focus on its characters, which all feel pretty flat. Head here if you don't mind really shallow romances but love the super cute aesthetic and staying busy.
Disney Dreamlight Valley
Released: 2023 | Developer: Gameloft| Steam
If you've got a fondness for Disney animated films, Dreamlight Valley is the way to go. It trends a bit towards Animal Crossing initially, as you're put in charge of managing and upgrading the entire town, not just your own plot of land. But Dreamlight Valley has a proper main story, individual character relationships, and if you want, a lot of farming. The folks who enjoy painstakingly designing the perfect Stardew Valley farm will have no trouble getting sucked into designing the entire island, whether that means adorable courtyard path builds or giant fields of optimized crops.
Dreamlight Valley began in early access in 2022 and had its full launch in 2023. Unfortunately it wound up staying a paid game instead of going free-to-play as planned, and its microtransaction system has stuck around despite that. It's still a very chill experience full of quests with familiar characters if you can avert your eyes from the premium currency.
Released: (Open beta) 2023 | Developer: Singularity 6| Palia website
Palia is different from all the other farm life sims on this list because it's a whole MMO, meaning persistent servers, text chat, and other players wandering around the world beside you at all times. It's also free to play, which is great. It can feel a bit grind-y at times, as MMOs often do, but upgrading my tools and relationships and collecting enough wood for that new piece of furniture I want to craft always keeps me engaged. In particular, Palia has a great main story quest, character relationships, and cool lore about its world where humans were formerly extinct. Make sure to check my Palia tips if you're starting for the first time.
Released: 2022 | Developer: MassHive Media| Steam
Potion Permit may not be about farming, but it has all the local denizens, relationships, combat, and upgrading of a Stardew style game. As the new Chemist in Moonbury village, you've got your hands full overcoming the mistrust of the townsfolk, healing the mayor's daughter, and shoring up the dilapidated old medical clinic nearby. Instead of crops, you forage and fight for ingredients outside town and bring them back to create curative potions in your cauldron for everyone's many ailments. Also, you've got a pet dog that follows you around, which I find very important.
Slime Rancher 2
Released: (Early Access) 2022 | Developer: Monomi Park| Steam
The Slime Rancher sequel is another exceptionally cute game about the slime wrangling Beatrix LeBeau. This time she's headed off to a new plot of land: the Far, Far Range on Rainbow Island. Once again, Beatrix must build enclosures for her slimes and grow plenty of crops and chickadoos to keep them well-fed, and combine new types of slimes into special varieties. Slime Rancher doesn't have the same focus on relationships with NPCs that other Stardew-type games do, but it has plenty of exploration and base building.