Can’t wait to scratch that Animal Crossing itch? Has it just been too long since New Leaf, and you’re dying for a new adorable adventure? Here are a few games I’ve either played or found that might satisfy that Isabelle-sized hole in your life.

1) Stardew Valley

This is a personal favourite of mine and one I play all of the time. Stardew Valley is a cute little 8-bit farming adventure where you start off by inheriting your Grandpa’s old, run-down farm. It’s up to you to build it up again and settle into rural life. You can fish, mine, farm go visit a tropical destination, collect things for the museum… Sound familiar?

…Well with Stardew Valley, the more you play, the more secrets you can unlock. Furthermore you can make friends with, date, marry and even divorce characters in-game. Every character has a unique and interesting backstory which you get to unlock the higher your friendship level is with them, and tackles some pretty challenging topics… Stardew Valley also runs off of in-game time, not real time, so whilst there are seasonal events, there’s no need to fiddle with your device clock settings or sweat it out in real time in order to play them.

What’s also nice is some of your actions have consequences, like divorcing or dating everyone in town at once; even the small things like what gift you give a person can have a positive or negative effect. Stardew Valley is available pretty much everywhere including mobile, so go try it out!

2) My Time at Portia

So I own this game but haven’t played much of it yet. It has a very cute cartoony style just like Animal Crossing, fit with crafting, building and mining (Perfect to get you into the new mechanics of New Horizons)… And lots of side quests and things to discover too! I haven’t gotten too far yet… But I’m under the impression that it’s a post-apocalyptic world and as you play there’s more and more secrets to dig up…

..So I’m really excited for that possibility. There’s also cute colourful llama creatures so get on it!! I’m looking forward to killing time in Portia whilst I wait for next year.

3) Fantasy Life

This is a great game if you own a 3DS – You get to choose a “life” at the beginning of the game and there’s lots to choose from like Alchemist of Fisher. Don’t make the mistake I did though in thinking that the life you choose is permanent – I learned after the game’s conclusion that you can swap at any point, and it actually makes the game much easier… This is a game full of sidequests and rich storytelling, and it’s really worth diving into – You can probably pick it up pretty cheap these days. You won’t regret diving into this endearing world… Plus it’s made by the same guys who made Dark Cloud… So you know it has Joe and Alexx’s seal of approval as well..!

4) Garden Paws

Now this is currently only available on the PC, but it is coming to Switch soon; I followed this game on Kickstarter and oh boy does it look adorable. You can play as a range of adorable little animals like a bunny or a dragon or a cat… ETC… And each and every one of them are very customizable. Again you inherit a farm and you work with the mayor to build up your house and town. There’s lots of sidequests (Always a plus) and you can set up your own shop and go exploring, foraging, fishing and raise animals. There is no threat in Garden Paws, just cute exploration. As your town expands, guess what, MORE VILLAGERS MOVE IN! Perfect for those who love Animal Crossing’s easy life.

5) Cattails

This is another one I haven’t played yet, but really want to! You get to become a cat and basically you can forage, fight invading cats, raise a little cat family and make friends with your neighbours. It looks super adorable and you can get it on Switch and on Steam!

Lastly you could just pick up New Leaf or Wild World and ride out the next few long months with old friends and familiar faces. Whatever you choose, happy gaming and it’s not too long to wait now!

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