an illustration of Tom Nook and Isabelle, two beloved characters on Animal Crossing
Illustration by Lauren Wood, The Ohio State University
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an illustration of Tom Nook and Isabelle, two beloved characters on Animal Crossing
Illustration by Lauren Wood, The Ohio State University

On the off-chance that you’re getting tired of the beloved game, what next?

There is nothing better than playing a relaxing video game on the Nintendo Switch. In 2020, Animal Crossing: New Horizons took the world by storm and remains a fan favorite today. But after spending hours playing the game, players may be looking for other relaxing titles they can buy for their Switch.

If you’re one of the lucky few that has already paid off all your loans to Tom Nook, perhaps it is time to check out these other seven Switch games that let you sit back and relax with a cozy virtual world.

1. Unpacking (2021)

Is the ability to design your home your favorite part of Animal Crossing: New Horizons? Do you find joy in upgrading your space with the random items you find around your island? If the answer is yes, then Unpacking might be the game for you. Released in late 2021 by developers Witch Beam, Unpacking is a puzzle game in which you play as an unnamed female character who unpacks her possessions as she moves from apartment to apartment at different points in her life. Each box contains references to significant life events, similar to experiences players may have had themselves. The game features calming music, an aesthetically pleasing design and cutesy high-res pixel art. The simple game can be bought on the Switch for $19.99.

2. Stardew Valley (2016)

While the origin story of your character might sound a little sad, the adorable and pixelated game known as Stardew Valley is far from depressing. Gamers play as a character who has taken over their recently deceased grandfather’s farmland located in the town of Stardew Valley. It is here that players farm, decorate and thrive as they begin a new chapter in their lives. While the game came out in 2016, it is still a popular game among users of all platforms and continues to hold a 10/10 rating on Steam.

3. Harvest Moon: One World (2021)

The Natsume-developed series Harvest Moon has been around for many years, and has always been known as a game that allows players to interact with people and animals, personalize their homes and explore the world around them. Players can fall in love, raise animals and mine for precious stones and gems. Additionally, the cartoon-esque game requires players to eat, sleep and brave the elements of the world around them. If you are looking for a game like Animal Crossing with a few more real-life challenges, Harvest Moon has everything you’re looking for.

4. My Time at Portia (2019)

My Time at Portia, developed by Pathea Games, is a single-player role-playing game. The game is set in a world where human civilization has been destroyed. Humans, including the players, emerge from underground to begin rebuilding life as it once was. Players must restore their old Pa’s workshop to its former glory by fulfilling commissions, growing crops, raising animals and befriending the other inhabitants in this post-apocalyptic land. The game provides a challenge, but still maintains some of the relaxing aspects of a simulation game. If you are looking for Animal Crossing with a mature twist, this is the game for you!

5. Cozy Grove (2021)

Cozy Grove is the textbook definition of cutesy, cozy, warm and inviting. Surprisingly, the adorable game is actually about camping on a haunted island that continuously changes. While the description might sound like the opposite of cozy, the gameplay quickly proves itself with its cute artistry and friendly characters. Players can befriend and help soothe local ghosts, wander around the forest and help discover the island’s hidden secrets. As players continue to play, they will find themselves adding color and joy to this once colorless island.

6. Doraemon: Story of the Seasons (2019)

Animal Crossing is a wonderful blend of role-playing and simulation, but for gamers who lean toward the latter, Doraemon: Story of Seasons is the perfect option. Developed by Marvelous and Brownies exclusively for the Nintendo Switch and Microsoft Windows, the farming simulation game tasks players with taking care of crops and animals, while also featuring fun mechanics for fishing, house decorating and catching insects. It is the perfect game for those who love to collect and also for those who love living a life other than their own.

7. Castaway Paradise (2021)

Very similar to Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Castaway Paradise follows a character as they help the animals of a deserted island fix it up. The game was originally released in 2014 exclusively for PC but has since expanded to include more platforms and — following the major success of Animal Crossing — has been redone for the Nintendo Switch. Players complete tasks such as fishing, catching bugs, gardening and collecting seashells or anything else that may wash ashore. Players can sell the collected items for in-game currency, which can be used to decorate their island home and personalize their character.

 

Bonus: Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Happy Home Paradise

While this is not an entirely new game for Animal Crossing lovers to play, Tom Nook fanatics should still be excited about the introduction of the first-ever Animal Crossing downloadable content (DLC). The DLC, titled Happy Home Paradise, introduces new home design features, items and player actions. Gamers can decorate islands and vacation homes. And with the introduction of the Paradise Planning Team, players have access to exclusive furniture items. The DLC retails at $24.99, which seems steep considering you can get a completely different game for that price, but if you really love Animal Crossing: New Horizons, then it might just be worth your bells!

Writer Profile

Janey Schmidt

Columbia College Chicago
Bachelor of Arts in English

I have always been an avid reader no matter the format. I am especially eager to read, write, and talk about all things fantasy!

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