You know how I always wish for more good simulation games on the Switch? Slowly but surely I’m getting my wish. More and more sim games flock to the system, and I suspect that we haven’t seen the last of it yet. Not with the Switch Lite here not, which is reaching even more people.
Let’s see the list of great simulation games that are available right now on the Nintendo Switch! And if you like our lists, be sure to check out the Best Wholesome Games on Switch too!
These are simulation games that include farming and some kind of harvesting. Some make a combo with fighting or crafting. They aren’t in any kind of order, I don’t have a clear favourite yet. But all are good fun sim games!
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Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Let’s be clear: there is no game more entertaining, creative, social and just plain cute and sweet, then Animal Crossing (can you tell I’m a fan?). So New Horizons is a sure choice if you want to go for many, many hours of gameplay. Retreat to an undiscovered island and live with the animals that all have their quirky and special personality. Decorate your house, catch bugs and fishes. Dig for fossils and be creative when it comes to making patterns on the clothes your character wears.
There are no goals, play as you see fit and take you sweet time. Nintendo is sure to keep you entertained by introducing events and festivals, like having searching for eggs when Easter approaches and many, many more.
Our review for the game is here! But we do have guides up for the game, and I wanted to share my feelings about Animal Crossing with you too!
Proud to be an Animal Crossing Gamer
Summer in Mara
Summer in Mara: a Kickstarter project by Spanish studio Chibig is a simulation adventure of the kind that the Switch still needs more entries of in its library. The game is based on quests: Koa helps out people on the islands and gets things in return. That’s the way to progress the story, and it’s also the way to make your Home Island more efficient, combining farming, taking care of animals and crafting along with a colourful cast of characters.
When you debate whether or not Summer in Mara is for you, you have to keep this in mind: you don’t play the game to go from A to B. You don’t play it to just to do all the quests and live the adventure. No, you do the quests to make the Home Island of Koa more beautiful, more bountiful and a real home. And meanwhile, you discover new islands, learns the story of new people and live through new adventures.
My review on Summer in Mara is here. Plus, we have a set of guides to help you along too.
Since the first days this game appeared on Steam, it has been a firm fan favourite. It does feel like an old day Harvest Moon, with retro graphics included. So when you love Harvest Moon, check out Stardew Valley. On top of all the good gameplay we love in HM, they have thrown in everything and the kitchen sink! Not just the farming, but side questing too, finding stuff for people, making things, a wizard to make things interesting, mining..too much to mention really.
Stardew Valley is available on all platforms including mobile. My thoughts on the game are here:
Stardew Valley Farm is open for business
Little Dragons Cafe
The story begins with a twin brother and sister learning to cook and manage a small café under their mother’s tutelage. All was peaceful and routine until one morning when the twins discover that their mother has fallen into a deep sleep and won’t wake up. Suddenly, a strange old man appears to inform them that they must raise a dragon in order to save her life. Working together with three quirky café employees, the two siblings must figure out how to a wrangle a dragon and manage the family business while finding a way to save their mother.
Little Dragons Café can’t be compared to Harvest Moon, Animal Crossing, Yonder or any of the fan favourites. You can’t farm, you can’t design patterns or even decorate a house. There is no dating and no marriage either. But then that’s not what the developers were going for.There is a strong emphasis on exploration like in Yonder but there’s a clear goal too: to find out what each character’s personal story is and help him or her reach their goals.
Our review for the game is here: Little Dragons Cafe
A game that is very similar to Stardew Valley, but this time you are not managing a farm and lifestock. Instead, you are a managing the deceased, and all kinds of other dark aspects of life. The game does so with a a lot of humor, that makes you quite forget what you are dealing with.
It has an interesting storyline, tons of side quests, an intricate logistic system to craft things….If you can get your head around the cutting up and burying off the dead, make no bones about it. Graveyard Keeper is a great addition to the Nintendo Switch, and it seems the life of an undertaker can certainly keep a player busy for hours with a wide array of gameplay activities.
Our review is here: Graveyard Keeper Review Switch
In this simulation game you don’t portray a hero who has lost his memory and takes up a derelict farm. No, you are well aware of who you are, and you realize disaster has struck when you are shipwrecked. And to think it should have been so much fun, joining your father on his exploration vessel to discover new shores!
Your father meanwhile is gravely injured, so it falls to you to search for the missing crew members and to set up camp. That’s the first order of business, you have to survive this ordeal after all. Only when you have found all the scattered crew members, and have them settled in shacks and eating well, you can take on the next task.
What mysteries does this exotic archipelago hold? A lot of it is covered by an impenetrable wilderness. Are you and your crew alone on the islands? And will you be able to build another sea worthy ship to escape? At least for now, you’ve got a little rowboat that you can steer across the sees to explore the cluster of islands!
Our review for the game is here: Stranded Sails Review for Switch
Pikodoodle wrote in her review: “I’m impressed with the ways Cattails is different from farming RPGs: a fun hunting mechanic, colony relationships, and meaningful interaction with children.
These 23 hours of gameplay have been relaxing and satisfying. A light survival element in the form of a hunger mechanic adds stakes without adding stress. While I don’t foresee myself continuing the game much longer or replaying it, I would recommend it to gamers who love cats and the farming RPG genre.
Cattails is a smaller, less diverse game than Stardew Valley but well-executed. While there’s no farming, it’s no loss. The substitute for farming — hunting — is actually more enjoyable and provides instant gratification once you’ve levelled up enough.”
Our review for the game is here: Cattails review for Switch
In Farm Together you get a plot of land, and plenty of seeds to make a beautiful farm out of it. Expand it to make a huge farm that extends further than the eye can see. Unlock new items to place on your farm, unlock animals and even more seeds. Go with the seasons, and pore all your creativity in the game.
Visiting and farming with friends is fun and works well in that it is pre-determined what you can do in your virtual friends farm. So no mishaps with accidentally pulling out crops or such.
When I reviewed the game it reminded me of HayDay, the mobile game that I sunk many, many hours into over the past years. Farm Together has the same addictive vibe as HayDay but better, without the need for micro transactions and a much, much more vast playing field.
Our review for the game is here: Review Farm Together
My Time at Portia
You inherit a workshop at the start of the game, and by collecting resources and completing commissions for the townspeople you try to grow your workshop. It’s your home too, and can be upgraded into a bigger house, adding more rooms to hold all the furniture you manage to collect.
You can farm in the game, but not the kind were you have to water your crops everyday. You’ll be able to use a semi-automatic irrigation system. You can mine in abandoned dungeons and forage for the other stuff you need in your workshop. There’s fishing too, in rivers, swamps and even on a tropical island. All this farming and fishing comes in handy because the game will have cooking too.
For fans of simulation games, My Time at Portia has all the elements: farming, questing, fighting and socialising. Not only that, they are all implemented equally well. My Time at Portia offers a very well rounded package with spades of content. A veritable time sink.
Our review for the game is here: Review My time at Portia
Yonder: the Cloud Catcher Chronicles
Gathering sprites isn’t all you have to do, this game simply is heaven for gamers who love side-questing. Every area you find on Gemea has several side quests to fulfill.
Yonder is the kind of casual game the Switch could use more of in its library. In this game, there are no enemies or monsters to fight. There is some farming and tending to animals, but not in the hands on way of Harvest Moon games. The game is about exploring, about farming for materials, about fishing and crafting and mostly about collecting. Just for the fun of it, and to help the fellow inhabitants of this beautiful land. Even though there are main quests to further the story of activating the Cloud Catcher and ridding Gemea of the murk, the storyline isn’t what it’s about.
Our review for the game is here: Yonder the Cloud Catcher Chronicle
Love simulation games (and the switch), these games are all on my wishlist!
But I’m currently busy playing a fantastic board game, The 7th Continent (it can be played multiplayer, but I’m playing it solo).
It gives me the same feeling as a good video game.
Constantly thinking about it, planning what you want to do, seeing in-game elements like certain plants in real life, making lots of notes and drawing out a map of my discoveries, counting down days/ hours till I can play again.
This is the first time a board game has me so engaged and addicted.
The only downside is that it takes a lot of room (the whole table).
I leave the game boxes on the table, because they are quite heavy. (boyfriend is not thrilled about it)
And the setting up and saving process does take a while.
Ow, and I have to be very careful that my cats don’t jump on or walk on my game. (because if I give the game so much attention they want to check it out themselves)
Playing a video game requires much less space, physical items, time and planning (and in this case money), and I can appreciate that fact even more now.
But I’m very much enjoying myself!
That sounds very good! I wouldn’t have thought a board game could give the same feeling, how cool. I can imagine it’s a bit of a bother that it takes up so much room. Plus you must both make sure the game doesn’t get mixed up!
At the same time, it’s the best kind of feeling to be so engrossed in a game right? Have fun!
Hey Ronja! I am also a big board game nerd! I used to consider myself an above-average board game nerd, but I just attended a board game convention this past weekend and absolutely loved it! I was directed here to perhaps have a chat with you about board games. The 7th Continent sounds pretty rad, and I will definitely be looking it up! Cheers!
Cool you had such a good time at your Convention!
I’m going to Essen Spiel (in Germany) end of October. Apparently it’s the biggest Board Game Convention in the world!
I’m looking foreword to it, but it’s also a bit scary. It will be my first convention abroad, and it’s gonna be big.
I used to have a board game friend group (alas I let the friendship ‘die out’, one of my biggest regrets..)
Now I play board/ card games with my boyfriend once a week and I’m discovering the world of solo board gaming.
Do you have a group/ partner to play with, or are you into solo gaming as well?
The 7th Continent is definitely worth checking out!
In 2020 Serious Pulp is coming with a new game ‘The 7th Citadel’ to Kickstarter. It’s gonna have the same kind of gameplay, but they improved on it and it has a ‘Dark Fantasy’ theme.
I did notice that having this hobby requires more effort/ initiative than my other hobby, playing videogames.
Like I said above it takes more physical space, more time to set up, more time to put away, more input from yourself.
And I have noticed that when I’m feeling a bit down (like now.. like often alas), it’s to much of an effort.
I rediscovered an all time favorite videogame (Stardew Valley) and I’m more in my element with it.
I put my amazing board game away for now, but I’m definitely not done playing with it. It’s a huge game and game world, with so much to discover.. I’ll just wait for the time it feels good to pick it up again.
Oh that is so awesome! You’re going to have a blast! The one I went to in Vancouver was pretty small, it’s only the 3rd year of it as well, but it gets bigger every year I hear (2200 people this year apparently). And even at my little tiny one there were so many people by themselves just jumping in on games and being welcomed with open arms. Board game people are super kind and accepting and lovely – at least in Canada – so I bet you are going to find so many fun new games to play!
I do have a group that I play with, and we try to get together every Sunday to play (though summer was pretty busy, and we didn’t get together as often. I usually host, so it’s usually up to me to plan it and invite everyone. Even if you did let an old friendship die out, it’s never too late to try and re-kindle it! Maybe your old board game friend group is just waiting for an invite? 🙂
I haven’t played any solo board games, though I did see a few at the convention. I didn’t even know that they existed, and I think it’s a really cool idea to make games that can be played solo. Yeah, being a board game nerd definitely does require more effort than other hobbies like video games or reading, but when I look at my shelf full of board games and just see them sitting sadly there, unopened for weeks, it makes me feel sad for them, and I sometimes I try to set up board game days just so that I can open up some of my boxes.
Stardew Valley is so amazing, I can’t wait to try out the next update with fish farming, and probably other stuff. As far as board games go, I could recommend you some that I had a really good time with: Mysterium, Dixit, Pantone, Burgle Bros., Tokaido (these are out now); Chicken Heist (just got funded on Kickstarter), Honey Buzz (going to Kickstarter in November). AND there was one more game that I forget the name of, but they’re supposed to email me when it does go up on Kickstarter to be funded, when that happens I will send you the name of it.
If I could hug you in real life I would ask you if you were okay with being hugged, and then, with your consent, I would hug you. For now, I am sending you a virtual hug that you can accept (or not accept). Cheers to being nerdy, amirite?! If you want to add me on Switch and play Stardew sometime, I’m also up for exchanging friend codes somehow (but Canada has pretty bad internet, so I can’t guarantee my connection would always be good…).
🙂 Your message was so sweet it made me cry.
(ok, I do admit I’m overly sensitive and super emotional, but it is really very sweet of you!)
Hug accepted and reciprocated!
About my old friend/ board game group, it’s been 10 years. And the reason it happened (‘died out’) was because of my anxiety issues and alas those have only gotten worse.
I don’t have any (offline) friends, but luckily I have a very very sweet boyfriend who is kind of a loner too, like me.
And I try to be social online. It’s stressful for me too, most of the time (‘is there something expected of me?’, ‘am I saying something stupid?’, ‘what do people think of me?’.. and that sort of insecurities) but it’s also fun and I don’t want to be a total hermit.
Sorry if I’m oversharing.
Yes, In my experience Board Game people are nice and welcoming. Just like the Comic Con crowd.
I would die for a Video Game Convention with the same feeling, enthusiasm, happiness and stalls as a Comic Con!
I’m so enthusiastic about Video Games and so many other people are too, but somehow it doesn’t translate into fun and exciting Conventions. (for me in any case and Yvonne mentioned it too)
Cool you have (and host) a gaming group. (cherish them!) It’s such a fun way to spent an evening with friends.
And there are so many more games you can play then just 2 player or solo games.
When I look at all my unplayed games I can feel sad too, but my boyfriend is very practical and says to just do what I like to do now, and not feel bad about all the things I don’t come around to.
When I play with my boyfriend our favorite game right now is a Roll & Write ‘Fleet, The Dice Game’.
It was funded on Kickstarter. A little game but with surprisingly much to choose and a real feel good vibe.
And we like ‘Imperial Settlers’. I recently saw there was a new variant of it ‘Empires of the North’. Maybe I’ll see it in Essen!
I bought ‘Gloomhaven’ a while back, but we haven’t managed to really get into it.
The ‘problem’ is that my boyfriend does like to play once in a while, but he does not take the initiative and doesn’t like if things take to long, like set up and learning the rules and such.
So nearly all initiative and preparation must come from me, and if I’m not my best self than nothing really gets of the ground.
For solo (board game) play I like (or at least I think I like, the whole solo board gaming is fairly new for me) games with a campaign/ story/ continued gameplay.
I backed ‘Sleeping Gods’, ‘Etherfields’ and ‘Tainted Grail’ on Kickstarter. All games I plan to play solo.
Although, I hope I get around to all of them.
I do tent to like a lot of things, but do not always have the perseverance to begin/ keep playing.
Same with Video Games. I read so many wonderful things here, but I have trouble trying out new things.
But when I finally do try something new and I like it, I usually like it a LOT and play it for weeks and weeks. Like Stardew Valley. 🙂
Looking foreword to the update too!
I’m waiting to marry Shane, first have to play nice nice with other NPC’s so they’ll like me, haha.
I would like another Switch friend! My friend code is : SW-7255-2211-3149
(all new friend are welcome, if other people are reading this)
From the games you mentioned I only recognize Dixit. It’s with the beautiful art right?
I’ll check out the rest, thanks for the tips and your sweet comment!
I’m very much interested in simulation games where you fall in love and make a family and make friends while also being able to interact with them but also with things to do like having a cafe or hunting or farming. Do you know do any on the switch? I just got one! Thanks
Hi Madi, what you describe is pretty much a Sims game, and they aren’t available on the Switch. There are games that include romancing and making a family though. I’m thinking of Rune Factory 4S, Story of Seasons Friends of Mineral Town and Stardew Valley In all three you can romance and choose a partner. Rune Factory has farming, crafting, foraging and fighting, as does Stardew Valley (but the graphics are totally different). Story of Seasons has farming and foraging.
The thing is, that I don’t know of any game on the Switch that you can really interact with your offspring. Mostly they are born and pretty soon start helping on the farm. No real interaction there.
Thank you! This was exactly the type of review I was looking for!
Am new to the Nintendo Switch and only had it since the lock down. Got 2 point hospital and am very engrossed in it, only keen on simulation games, will move on to the others when this one has done it’s thing.