14 Games You Need To Play If You Love 'Animal Crossing: New Horizons'

Over 60 Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of 14 Games You Need To Play If You Love 'Animal Crossing: New Horizons'
Voting Rules
Vote up the best games for fans of Nintendo's uber-adorable 'Animal Crossing' franchise.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a game that’s taken the world by storm. In fact, people are rushing to snatch up Nintendo Switches just so they can zone out of the current state affairs and dive into their own little island paradise. While the style and gameplay have a unique sense of accomplishment, there are plenty of games like Animal Crossing that are equally as enjoyable (and probably a lot cheaper).

Throughout five console releases (and three spin-offs), the Animal Crossing franchise has garnered a dedicated fanbase. Players are tasked with building their farm, carrying out various tasks, making friends with the local villagers. Because the games are open-ended, you can literally play it for years without running out of things to do.

Whether you're looking for similar Switch games, PC games, or mobile games, check out the most popular games like Animal Crossing and vote up the ones you think share a striking similarity. If you're starting to feel a little too on your own private island, or if you're simply looking for a few similar simulation titles, give these games a go.

  • Stardew Valley
    Photo: Eric Barone

    Originally released and published by Chucklefish in 2016, Stardew Valley is one of the most popular farming simulation games currently available. The game has received overwhelmingly positive reviews from players and critics, as it lets players grow their own farms, fight off dangerous enemies in the mines, and make few friends along the way. Not only that, but the multiplayer mode is also top-notch.

    Aside from the fact that's a 2D game, one of the standout features is relationship building: There are dozens of people in the village that players can either befriend or marry. You do this by giving them gifts that are unique to each player. You need to be careful, though, because a gift loved by one person might be hated by another. It's the little nuances that really help make Stardew Valley so special, and the more you play the more you began to appreciate all of its various complexities.

    • Released: 2016
    • Developer: Concerned Ape
    • Genres (Video game): Simulation, role-playing
    • Platform: Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
    38 votes
  • 2
    30 VOTES
    Photo: Tamahikari Tammas / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0

    Not only is it the best-selling game of all timeMinecraft is the game that all modern farming games are based on. This pixilated simulation game gives you more freedom than you have in Animal Crossing in terms of building your home. However, it won't give you the same community feel that you can find in games like New Horizons and New Leaf.

    Minecraft is the ultimate sandbox game and gives the player the ability to build whatever they want. You can build several farms and you can automate them if you wish. You can even build an epic base to live in. Unlike Animal Crossing, there are plenty of bosses and foes to defeat. It's also one of the most rewarding games ever made. Players who have been playing for more than 10 years are still finding new things to do. 

    • Released: Mar 17 2009
    • Developer: Neverland
    • Genres (Video game): Console role-playing game, Simulation video game, Role-playing video game
    • Platform: Wii
    30 votes
  • 3
    31 VOTES

    The Sims 4

    The Sims 4
    Photo: Maxis, The Sims Studio

    Just like New Horizons and other Animal Crossing games, The Sims 4 is a life simulation game where players are basically in the driver's seat when it comes to navigating the game. Published by EA in 2014,  players assume control over the lives (and likelihoods) of several people or "Sims." While building the lives of the people, you can also build the city itself. With the ability to change basically everything, there's a lot of replayability in this game. 

    One of the most popular aspects of any Animal Crossing is the relationship building. You can try to build positive relationships with every character in the game. However, when it comes to The Sims, you have control over every person in the city. As a result, you can control the relationships between each character. This gives you the ability to make interesting dynamics in your town that you wouldn't be able to otherwise. 

    • Released: 2014
    • Developer: Maxis, The Sims Studio
    • Genres (Video game): Life simulation
    • Platform: Microsoft Windows, macOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
    31 votes
  • Pokémon Sword and Shield
    Photo: Game Freak

    Another Nintendo classic, Pokémon Sword and Shield may not share that many resemblances with Animal Crossing, yet some aspects that are extremely similar. First off, players do a whole lot of exploring and collecting like they do in Animal Crossing. They're also tasked with building relationships with NPCs in the various towns that you pass through.

    Aside from the whole collecting Pokémon part (which in its own way is similar to the bug museums and such), the main difference is the battle mechanics. It's certainly a change of pace for Animal Crossing lovers, but it might be a change that you enjoy.

    • Released: 2019
    • Developer: Game Freak
    • Genres (Video game): Role-playing
    • Platform: Nintendo Switch
    17 votes
  • 5
    18 VOTES
    Slime Rancher
    Photo: Monomi Park

    If you enjoy the exploration aspects of Animal Crossing, then Slime Rancher might be an excellent next play. Gamers explore different environments as they attempt to capture and breed slimes to fill their ranch. It's cooky, but it's also cute, much akin to every version of Animal Crossing.

    Unlike in Animal Crossing, there are no specific objectives for you to complete. What you do is up to you, which means the game is extremely open-ended. While out hunting slimes you can even enjoy some fun mini-games, though they aren't nearly as engaging as the real deal. 

    • Released: 2017
    • Developer: Monomi Park
    • Genres (Video game): Life simulation
    • Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Mac, Linux
    18 votes
  • 6
    14 VOTES

    Fantasy Life

    Fantasy Life
    Photo: Level-5

    Fantasy Life and Animal Crossing have a handful of differences, but this engaging title certainly shares some of same familiar gameplay mechanics. For starters, players produce materials to improve and upgrade their house throughout the game, which involves a level of constant grinding that's similar to Animal Crossing.

    A few things. For starters, Fantasy Life is more of an RPG game than a life simulation game. However, it does try to blend the two styles. Throughout the game, you'll level up and master life classes. This will give you the ability to get new materials and upgrade your home even further. 

    Release: 2012
    Developer: Level-5
    Genres (Video game): Role-playing video game, Life simulation game
    Platform: Nintendo 3DS

    14 votes