I remember the first time I turned on Animal Crossing for the GameCube.
I was greeted by a guitar-strumming dog who indulged my desire to move out and see the world. Fast forward, and I was on a train seated across from a talking blue cat in an argyle sweater vest. He asked my name. Things only got gloriously weirder from there.
Animal Crossing was one of my favorite games growing up, and I’ve since graduated to the most recent iteration in the series, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, released for the 3DS in 2012. I still play it almost daily (my museum is looking pretty sweet). But I’m also an avid PC gamer. Maybe you loved AC back in the good old days and don’t even have a 3DS. Or perhaps you just want a similar game you can kick back and relax with on your days off…or during those boring hours in the office.
Whatever the case, check out these 5 PC games like Animal Crossing that you can try. Here’s to your awesome new virtual life.
It’s a safe bet that if you own a computer or know someone who does, you’ve heard about The Sims. The best-selling PC franchise of all time has gone through four versions, though the most recent is still lacking in terms of expansion packs and features like toddlers and seasons.
If you want to jump right into a fully fleshed game, you can ask EA via Customer Support chat for a copy of The Sims 2 Ultimate Collection that contains every expansion and stuff pack released between 2004 and 2008. It was given away for free to anyone who owned even one Sims 2 game in the summer of 2015, and was also featured on Steam for some time. A little poking around on the Internet has revealed that those who didn’t own a copy of the original game have been able to score their own Ultimate Collection just by asking.
If you’re interested in the updated graphics and don’t mind waiting for the series to grow, there’s a Sims 4 Animal Crossing Challenge that includes a player-created world that features all the iconic New Leaf haunts.
Castaway Paradise is a sweet and tropical PC substitute for Animal Crossing. It places all players on the same lone island with a handful of villagers. From here, they’re able to customize it just about any way they want. There is a seasonal system like Animal Crossing, and you’ll be able to do all your favorite activities like catching insects, fishing, planting flowers, harvesting fruit, decorating your house and so on. You’re even faced with the same AC task of filling up a museum.
The graphics are highly similar to the ones we’ve come to know and love in Animal Crossing, and the familiar interface makes the island of Castaway Paradise feel like home right from the start.
You can play Castaway Paradise for free on mobile devices, or purchase the Complete Edition for PC from Steam and gain access to tons of free DLC and connect with other players in the community.
Although it lacks the 3D graphics we all love in Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley (LINK http://store.steampowered.com/app/413150/) has a classic retro style that’s all about farming and community. As a player, you start off with a few hand-me-down tools and coins and are tasked with building up the farm you inherited from your grandfather. You’ll toil, grow, craft and explore a charming village along to the sound of an idyllic soundtrack sure to become as memorable as K.K. Slider’s jams. The dungeon-crawler gameplay also poses unique challenges and fun maps to explore, taking the immersion up a notch. The reviews on Steam have been rated “overwhelmingly positive”, and just a quick glance at the reviews will find no shortage of players whose longtime love for AC and Harvest Moon drew them to Stardew Valley.
The trailer for Scrap Mechanic on Steam starts off with an empowering melody that accompanies beautiful shots of a sweeping, vibrant landscape. What caught my attention most was the unique combination of Animal Crossing’s sandbox style and building-oriented gameplay that immediately conjures up my best days in Minecraft. Scrap Mechanic is all about creating unique machines with powerful tools alongside other players. While playing Scrap Mechanic, it’s almost as if you’re building the Animal Crossing villages of the future. High-end tech mixed with detailed but modestly charming graphics make Scrap Mechanic a must-try, especially for those who have always loved crafting in games and wanted a little bit more of it in Animal Crossing.
AC meets the Wild West with this game that takes you into the new frontier and in control of three pioneers looking to grow their settlement. Fans of city-management games will love the format of Westward, and the complete collection features all three versions of the hit series. It’s perfect for kids and adults alike with goofy bandits trying to steal your loot and plenty of tongue-in-cheek humor. There are plenty of hidden items to discover, various maps to explore and dozens of customization options from a range of 50 plus buildings to weapons and environmental upgrades.
Westward strikes me as a Back to the Future III meets Virtual Villagers hybrid that has a theme and management style gameplay that is familiar enough to be comfortable, but a storyline and pace that makes it compelling. The Wild West may not be for everyone, but if you’re ready to slip on your cowboy hat and craft your settlement from the ground up, this is for you.
If you want a more modern introduction to the series, the real-time strategy Westward IV: All Aboard is also available on Steam.