Something I always find satisfying in games is making stuff disappear. It could be weeds in Stardew Valley, lines in Tetris, guts in Viscera Cleanup Detail, or chunks of scrap in Shipbreaker. If I can clean up a mess, or turn a pile of something into a pile of nothing, I'm happy. So when I heard about Lawn Mowing Simulator, a game about making grass disappear, I was intrigued.
In the words of developer Skyhook, the game "explores the Great British countryside and invites players to ride an authentic and expansive roster of licensed lawn mowers as they manage their mowing business." Sounds like a pretty standard sim, mixing a simulated job with business management. But as far as I know, mowing lawns is a first for the genre.
A playable demo is available right now as part of Steam Next Fest, but it might be gone by the time you read this. I spent some time with it today, and like many sims, I found the experience oddly soothing. There's something deeply satisfying about buzzing around these idyllic English gardens, giving unkempt lawns a trim. You can almost smell the freshly cut grass as you play.
Being a sim, there's more to the game than just cutting grass. If your turning is too severe, you'll damage the ground and the cost will be docked from your pay. Same deal for running over flowers and plants. You can adjust your cutting height, which lets you create those alternating lines you see on rich people's lawns. And you have to refuel and dump collected grass too.
But honestly, I don't really care about any of that stuff. I'm just here to cut grass, and cut grass I did. At first I found it kinda boring. I had that feeling you get sometimes while playing simulators where you think, is this really the best way to spend the only life I'll ever have? I could be learning an instrument. Writing a book. Touching actual grass. Not doing an imaginary job for free.
But then, without realising it, I was totally hypnotised. The roar of the engine. The chirp of the birds. The grass disappearing, blade by blade, leaving a pleasing freshly cut wake behind me. There's something just very chill about driving around these idyllic gardens making them all lovely and tidy. If you like the sound of that, Lawn Mowing Simulator is out this summer.