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Cottagecore is an online term celebrating an idealised rural life. Although games are usually considered to be hard, harsh and technological, many of them play to this aesthetic that is sentimental about traditional skills and crafts such as foraging, baking, and pottery.Games sometimes use these rural pursuits as play mechanics, like Stardew Valley, Potion Craft, Terraria and Fantasy Life. Others use Cottagecore as a guide to how they look and feel, like Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, The Stillness of the Wind and Mutazione.However it plays out in the game, Cottagecore aims to satisfy a desire for aspirational nostalgia and an escape from stress or trauma. The New York Times described it as a reaction to hustle culture and the advent of personal branding. The Guardian called it a "visual and lifestyle movement designed to fetishize the wholesome purity of the outdoors."These games emphasize simplicity and the slow pace of pastoral life as an escape from the modern world in favour of the bucolic. Unsurprisingly this has become more popular on social media during the COVID-19 pandemic. In some ways, the resurgence of retro games could be seen in a similar light, although here the sentimental nostalgia is for virtual entertainment rather than rural lifestyle. This list includes 60 games from the last 20 years, with 1,737 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to escape into cottagecore .
Release Date: 25/04/2020
Out Now: Switch
Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon, Day and Night, Open World, Persistant World and Weather
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a role-play collecting game where you live on a small island teeming with life. Insects, fish, trees, vegetation and fossils are represented with cute cartoon visuals. Rather than the scale or grandeur of other game...
Release Date: 26/02/2016, updated in 2018
Out Now: Amazon Fire, Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS
Components: 2D Overhead, Day and Night, Grid, Open World and Pixels
Stardew Valley looks like a farming simulator. That’s partly what it is, but you also develop relationships with the other townsfolk and delve deep into the mines. Its quirky labyrinthine attention to detail is inviting for young players to try their...
Release Date: 25/11/2013, updated in 2019
Out Now: 3DS and 2DS, Amazon Fire, Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, Stadia, Switch, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS
Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds
Components: 2D Side-On, Blocks, Day and Night, Persistant World, Pixels and Weather
Terraria looks like a 2D, lesser version of Minecraft. However, this is a game every bit as complex and creative as the better-known block-building game. To the world-crafting and survival, it adds hundreds of items to collect, characters to defeat and...
Release Date: 14/09/2004
Out Now: Mac, PC, Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox One
Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night and Open World
Fable is an adventure role-playing game set in a fantasy world where your interactions with the world and villagers, and decisions about your use of magical power, substantially alter the story and the environment.
Release Date: Coming soon
Coming Soon: PC
Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night, Hand-Made, Open World and Weather
Wood and Weather is a simulation game where you play god in a wooden toy city. You interact with the world using your floating blue hand to change switches and control the weather. It's an intriguing game that offers all manner of ways to play but...
Release Date: 17/03/2023
Out Now: PC, PS4 and PS5
Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon, Open World and Weather
Tchia is an adventure where you play a young girl (Tchia) who can climb, glide, swim, and sail around a beautiful archipelago. Along with the usual sandbox quests and play, the game offers an unusual ability to take control (and become) any animal or...
Release Date: 12/08/2015, updated in 2016
Out Now: Mac, PC and PS4
Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds
Components: 3D First-Person and Open World
Everybody's Gone to the Rapture lands you in a fictional deserted English village in 1984. As you walk the streets of another era you discover bright human forms who re-enact events like a radio play. Through their eyes, you see a web of fear,...
Coming Soon: Mac, PC and Switch
Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds
Components: 2D Overhead, Cartoon, Open World and Persistant World
The Garden Path is a slice-of-life simulation game about the small pleasures of gardening. You tend to a world and make it your own through fishing, growing, trading and making new friends. As you do an adventure emerges.
Release Date: 22/11/2013
Out Now: 3DS and 2DS
Components: 2D Overhead, Hand-Made and Open World
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is an action-adventure game in the Zelda series. It's the seventeenth game and spiritual successor to the 1991 game The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. A more open adventure with a novel world-jumping...
Release Date: 21/07/2023
Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person and Day and Night
Pikmin 4 is an action strategy game where you direct tiny, plant-like creatures to clean up the world and collect treasure. Different coloured Pikmins have different abilities, with several new types in this fourth game. The challenge is using the right...
Release Date: 03/10/2023
Out Now: PC
Components: 2D Overhead, Blocks and Pixels
Station to Station is a railway-building puzzle game about connecting commerce and community to create a beautiful rail network. Play is about making connections between buildings to move materials and people around the world efficiently. It stands out...
Coming Soon: Android, Mac, PC and iOS
Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels
Rootown is a traversal strategy game where you guide tree roots down through the soil. You play by planting a tree and then steering its roots to find good soil and avoid stones. The better you do the bigger the tree and the more resources you have to...
Coming Soon: Mac and PC
Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon and Day and Night
Summerhill is a narrative traversal game where you are a young shepherd and their dog. Play involves exploring a mysterious land to find your lost flock to guide them back home. It draws on the unusual subject matter of sheep herding to create an...
Release Date: 08/11/2012, updated in 2016
Components: 2D Overhead, Cartoon, Day and Night, Open World, Persistant World and Weather
Animal Crossing: New Leaf is a life simulation game where you design your dream village in a world filled with anthropomorphic animals. Like other Animal Crossing games, you design and decorate your home, collect and sell items, chat and play with...
Release Date: 23/09/2019
Out Now: Mac, PS4 and iOS
Components: 2D Side-On and Day and Night
Mutazione is a narrative adventure game where you play as a 15-year-old girl visiting her grandfather on a faraway island inhabited by friendly but mutated villagers. By finding seeds, tending to gardens and talking to people, you uncover a tightly knit...
Release Date: 19/03/2021, updated in 2023
Out Now: Apple TV, Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and iOS
Cozy Grove is a life simulation where you camp on a hand-drawn island. You play a scout and explore the ever-changing island's forest to find secrets and help the local ghosts. Like Animal Crossing, it has a children's storybook look but is a...
Release Date: 27/02/2018
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC and iOS
Components: 2D Overhead, Hand-Made, Open World and Persistant World
One Hour One Life is a civilisation survival game where each player lives a whole life in an hour of play and then passes away. Born as a baby into the care of anonymous other online players, you initially depend on them for food. Quickly growing, you...
Release Date: 30/07/2020
Out Now: Mac and PC
Components: 3D First-Person, Hand-Made and Open World
Thousand Threads is an open-world game of consequences. You are free to interact with the world, animals and people however you like, give, take, save, kill, inform, hide, befriend, and betray. But how you do this will have ongoing and unavoidable...
Release Date: 21/09/2021
Out Now: PC and Xbox One
Components: 2D Side-On and Hand-Made
Potion Craft is a puzzle adventure game where you create potions in an ancient looking workshop to send you bottle around the map. You combine ingredients, fire and water to move your bottle along the map to the target location and brew a potion to help...
Release Date: 05/08/2021
Out Now: Mac, PC and Switch
Haven Park is a strategy game where you build camping spots in a national park. You play Flint, who is repairing his grandma's park to attract new campers. It's an intricate open island that packs in plenty to discover. As a game made by one person,...
Release Date: 02/06/2021, updated in 2022
Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One
Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon, Day and Night and Open World
Hokko Life is a community simulation game like Animal Crossing. You pick a town and set up your home, before spending time helping the place develop into a charming rural idyl everyone loves. Even though it's the creation of one person, it has most of...
Release Date: 29/05/2019
Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds
Yoshi's Crafted World is a running and jumping game where you control a friendly dinosaur, Yoshi in a hand-made world of paper-craft. You work through each level, eating or jumping on enemies while searching for hidden items and collectables. It stands...
Release Date: 19/05/2021, updated in 2023
Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Components: 3D First-Person
PowerWash Simulator is a puzzle game where you clean different objects and locations using a pressure washer. It's designed to be soothing with sounds of high-pressure water and satisfyingly clean results as you blast away every speck of dirt and grime.
Release Date: 01/01/2011, updated in 2022
Out Now: Mac, PC and iOS
Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds
Star Stable Online is a hugely popular adventure game where you care for horses, take on daily challenges, solve mysteries and explore a fantasy online world. Originally only available for PC and Mac, it's recently come to mobile devices. Star Stable...
Release Date: 23/09/2021
Teacup is a narrative adventure about a shy young frog who loves drinking tea and reading. You explore the Wind In The Willows world and make choices that change the direction of the story. It's a gentle game about friendship, stepping out into the...
Release Date: 23/11/2005, updated in 2016
Out Now: DS and Wii U
Animal Crossing: Wild World is a quirky life simulation game where you live in a small village and build your dream home. You develop relationships with the animal townsfolk, collect fossils, fish and insects and build a home to help the village grow...
Release Date: 10/10/2018
Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World
Ollie & Bollie: Outdoor Estate is an adventure game in a simulated world. You help Ollie and Bollie, who are two bird-like people, look after their farm in the countryside by completing simple tasks. It may sound familiar but stands out because it gives...
Release Date: 16/12/2021
Out Now: PC, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Components: 3D Third-Person
The Gunk is a narrative adventure where you play one sister of a pair of space explorers struggling for resources, who find a new planet with new alien wildlife. You play by traversing the environment sucking up toxic waste, harvesting materials,...
Release Date: 28/09/2023
Out Now: PC, PS5 and Xbox X|S
Components: 3D First-Person, Cartoon, Day and Night, Open World and Weather
Wildmender is a world-building game where you unearth the past in the desert. Play involves exploring to discover what has gone before, so you can restore the environment for your future. You work to revive withering plant life, cultivate a garden and...
Release Date: 18/02/2022
Out Now: Apple TV, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS
Components: 2D Overhead, Day and Night, Grid and Weather
Wylde Flowers is a cozy life and farming strategy game with a witchy twist. It's a charming world of diverse characters, magical spells and player choices. You play Tara, who has moved in to help her grandma and the family farm. By day you work the farm...
Release Date: 18/08/2021
Out Now: Android and iOS
Components: 2D Overhead and Grid
Everdale is an online strategy game where you build a village. With the help of friends you develop a society that survives on the basis of savvy cooperation. Unlike other civilisation games though, there is no fighting or combat. The focus is on...
Release Date: 15/10/2021
Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
The Good Life is a narrative adventure, where you experience a slower pace of life in an English town. However, before long you are drawn into an intriguing web of murder, bodily transformations into cats and dogs and photographic tasks. It's an...
Release Date: 20/01/2022, updated in 2023
Out Now: PC, Switch and Xbox One
Components: 3D First-Person, Cartoon and Open World
Pupperazzi is an adventure game where you explore an island to find and photograph all manner of canine friends. You interact with the world, climb, skate and explore to get the perfect angle on the perfect pup. It starts as a silly challenge but turns...
Release Date: 10/08/2021
Out Now: PC, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Lawn Mowing Simulator is an adventure game where you ride an authentic and expansive roster of lawnmowers. The novelty is a combination of absolute control over lawn care and weed eradication. This is extended beyond a brief distraction by the inclusion...
Release Date: 09/08/2018
Out Now: PC, PS4 and Switch
Deiland Pocket Planet is an adventure set on a small spherical planet. You farm, craft, and build your own world. Improve your skills, craft tools, cook food, brew potions, and create tools. As you make your home, you will attract merchants to trade...
Release Date: 01/08/2018
Components: 2D Overhead, Grid and Open World
Llama Villa is a simulation game about managing a llama farm. You buy a llama, sell the wool and build him a mansion to live in with lots of llama friends. It's a super simple point-and-place building game where you can make the villa of your Dreams but...
Out Now: PC and Switch
Components: 3D Third-Person, Blocks and Open World
Staxel is a strategy farming game. It looks like Minecraft and has block building tools that are similar. However, this is a farming game more like Stardew Valley rather than open-world adventure. There are no monsters or dangers you find in other...
Release Date: 27/08/2021, updated in 2022
Out Now: Apple TV, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS
Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon
Baldo: The Guardian Owls is an adventure into a magical world. You explore intricately puzzling dungeons, discover new towns, fight ferocious foes and locate hidden temples. It's a game that wants you to discover things for yourself rather than hold...
Release Date: 13/02/2024, updated in 2024
Components: 2D Side-On, Cartoon and Hand-Made
Ultros is a trippy running, jumping and exploring game set inside a giant ancient Sarcophagus that holds demonic beings and fertile land. You adventure into the Sarcophagus by battling enemies and triggering plant life to bloom.
Release Date: 08/02/2017
Leaving Lyndow is a narrative adventure set a couple of generations before Eastshade. Sharing the same anthropomorphized animal society, although here at an earlier stage, it's a game about the memories we make in the places we...