Animal Crossing: New Horizons will finally release on March 20 after months of anticipation. A new Nintendo Direct on Thursday really delved into what we can expect from the upcoming social simulator, but plenty of Switch owners out there might be craving something low-key to play during that period. If you're looking for some chill games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons, look no further than these eight games.
8. Stardew Valley
Kicking off with a classic made (mostly) by just one person, Stardew Valley distills the best elements of games like Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon into a fantastic experience. It's easy to lose yourself during the hundreds of hours it takes to grow your farm, befriend all the villagers, and complete the community center.
One of the best indies of the 2010s, it's definitely worth your time if you haven't tried it yet. Stardew Valley even has multiplayer like New Horizons now!
7. My Time at Portia
My Time at Portia is another fun farming sim inspired by the likes of Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon. Unlike Stardew Valley, it's 3D and features more complex dungeons for players to explore, fight enemies, and scour for materials. If you're into the more relaxing simulation aspects of building your Animal Crossing town, My Time at Portia is an appealing alternative.
6. Little Dragons Cafe
Aksys Games' Little Dragons Cafe is a little rough around the edges, but it a very charming experience with a lot of heart. The game even had a retro, storybook aesthetic before Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX made it cool on Switch.
It centers around twins who run a cafe while also raising a small dragon. It features a quirky cast of memorable character and mixes rhythm, simulation, and adventure elements to craft an experience that can feel bloated at times, but soothing nonetheless.
5. Farm Together
Farming games tend to have a lot in common with Animal Crossing, with relaxing yet captivating gameplay. Farming Together succeeds in doing so. It has the most robust multiplayer of the farming games on this list, making it a great choice if you're looking for a relaxing game to play with friends on Switch before New Horizons arrives with its own multiplayer features.
4. Doraemon: Story of Seasons
Look at this, another farming game! If you've already played the other farming games or just really like anime, Story of Seasons is a fun time. As direct successors to the original Harvest Moon games, the Doraemon tie-in doesn't reinvent the genre, but it's absorbing and relaxing. If you want an anime-inspired take on Animal Crossing, you'll probably enjoy Doraemon: Story of Seasons.
3. Coffee Talk
A sleeper-hit indie that released back in January, Coffee Talk is a great option for those who enjoy the character connections of the Animal Crossing franchise. While its probably the most different game from New Horizons on this list – mostly taking its cues from VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action –Coffee Talk is still a really good indie you shouldn't pass up. It's the best option if you don't want to play a game that's too similar to Animal Crossing or just want to try something more recent.
A nice, kid-friendly game with a focus on crafting and exploration, Forager should scratch that crafting game itch before New Horizons. It even allows players to build out their home base, so it actually has more in common with Animal Crossing than one may expect at first glance. It can be as involved or relaxing as you want it to be.
Just like we started with an obvious option, we'll end with another obvious one. If you somehow haven't played Minecraft yet, it is available on Nintendo Switch. It trailblazed the sandbox simulation genre, and New Horizons now finds itself borrowing many of its crafting elements from games like Minecraft. It's also a great option if you're looking for something that supports several players.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons releases on March 20.