8 Free games to play on Xbox if you love Stardew Valley
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Featured Image Credit: Chucklefish
If you’re a massive fan of Stardew Valley (and who isn’t) then you might want to find some similar games to explore. Something cosy, with plenty of farming, collecting, or chatting with residents. You can find several games that are similar to the farming title over on Xbox Game Pass. These will keep you playing until the next Stardew Valley update or until Concerned Ape’s next game, Haunted Chocolatier.
Stardew Valley has taken over so many players' lives with its cosy farm life
Moonlighter is a wonderful shop sim that sees you stock up your shop by heading out on expeditions to dungeons, killing monsters, and looting any treasures. In gorgeous pixel graphics, our shopkeeper protagonist Will dreams of becoming a hero. Through defeating shady monsters, Will slowly works his way toward his dreams, befriending companions and selling only the very best gear.
There is no farming in this one, but there’s plenty of crafting to be had. Plus a lot of combat as there are lots of enemies and bosses to tackle. It’s your job to be the best adventurer you can be and to make some money along the way.
Garden Story is a super cute adventure featuring anthropomorphic vegetables with some light RPG mechanics. It’s time to forage resources and prevent ‘the rot’ from taking over the village. With four lush regions to explore, there are some great characters to meet and help, all while managing your garden plots and solving puzzles. All of this comes together for you to rebuild areas of the world, restoring and improving as you go.
There’s a lovely little feature here that allows you to turn off deaths, which makes for a very chill experience. Also perfect for those coming to this game without a wealth of playing experience.
Slime Rancher 2
There’s a lot of creature collecting in Slime Rancher 2 that crosses over with the farming aspects. The player is kitted out with a vacuum that sucks up slime creatures and splurts them back out into corrals, and these delightful slimes can be fed with crops you tend. Once fed, the slimes poop out materials that can be traded for cash.
The mix of venturing out into the world to collect slimes and seeds, meeting the occasional NPC, and hunting out little secrets, is a joy. There’s a small amount of customisation for your farmstead and after a time you’ll own plenty of land for slime corrals, mixing the different species and getting the right balance for them to flourish.
Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town
This one starts with such a sweet story; you’ve ventured to Mineral Town to help restore your grandfather’s farm to its former glory. If farming was your favourite aspect of Stardew Valley, then this would scratch the same itch. There are lots of plots to plant a variety of crops; crops that you can sell or cook for yourself. Plus there are animals to tend to, fishing spots for a post of relaxing, and lots of villagers to meet, chat with, or date.
There’s a lot of scope in every aspect of the game; dating leads to marriage and a family, growing crops can lead to plenty of money, or you might want to live alone and spend all your time chilling in the local hot springs. With some really lovely 3D models, the style is a bit different but no less adorable.
Disney Dreamlight Valley
Adding a Disney flair to your farming and social simulator is pure joy. After many months and plenty of updates, there’s now quite a chunky roster of supporting characters in Disney Dreamlight Valley. The gameplay of Dreamlight Valley is deliciously addictive because pretty much all of your actions go some way to developing a friendship with Disney favourites such as Mickey, Donald, Moana, or even Mother Gothel.
Everything you could want is in here, except for romance - there’s no smooching the Disney princesses. You’ll find that your daily play is filled with farming, harvesting materials, crafting items, chatting with residents, and decorating the village.
Forager is directly inspired by “exploration, farming, and crafting games such as Stardew Valley and Terraria. There’s a pleasant sensation that comes with Forager - it’s a very laid-back experience that doesn’t push you to play in any type of way, you can take everything as it comes; farming, gathering, building. You can even venture into some dungeons, go raiding against bosses, and solve puzzles for iconic loot.
There’s a lovely gameplay loop here where everything feels rewarded, whether that’s by building something cool or discovering an awesome item. There are animals to tend to and NPCs for some light chatting, but Forager focuses more on exploring, harvesting, and building.
Little Witch in the Woods
Ellie is an apprentice witch who lives in a twee and gorgeous pixellated world. The animations here are sublime and the world feels like one you’d want to escape into and snuggle up with a cat and a book. Of course, you can’t just spend time doing nothing, there are spells to cast and potions to brew. And in between general witchy things, you have to help the local villagers to pass your apprenticeship.
Little Witch in the Woods is still in development but can be played here as a Game Preview, so there’s still plenty more to come. However, even now, there’s so much to do in this fantasy world. Every character has a story to tell, more so when you get close to them and earn their trust. This is a lovely mix of harvesting and producing products while living a chill village lifestyle.
Farming Simulator '22
For players who want to lean into the farming side of things, you can dive into this simulator which is much less ‘gamey’ and casual but still offers a wonderful sense of satisfaction. There’s a lot to learn here because everything is based on real-world scenarios or real-world equipment. Tractors, trailers, and machinery all have lots of stats to learn and understand, as do the conditions for the crops.
It’s a big jump from Stardew Valley to this. Farming Simulator ‘22 is so true to life that farmers actually use the game to test out the tractors and machines. You can live a very relaxed life planting wheat, harvesting it, tying it into bales, and selling it. Or producing silage to feed animals. As with all simulators like this, you can do as much or as little as you like, but don’t expect light conversation with others, this is a more isolated experience.