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

Updated October 19, 2020 239 votes 47 voters 1.3k views14 items

List RulesVote 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 is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 14 Games You Need To Play If You Love 'Animal Crossing: New Horizons'
    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.

    • Release: 2016
    • Developer: Concerned Ape
    • Genres (Video game): Simulation, role-playing
    • Platform: Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
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  • 2

    The Sims 4

    The Sims 4 is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 14 Games You Need To Play If You Love 'Animal Crossing: New Horizons'
    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. 

    • Release: 2014
    • Developer: Maxis, The Sims Studio
    • Genres (Video game): Life simulation
    • Platform: Microsoft Windows, macOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
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  • Minecraft is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 14 Games You Need To Play If You Love 'Animal Crossing: New Horizons'
    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. 

    • Release: 2009
    • Developer: Neverland
    • Genres (Video game): Console role-playing game, Simulation video game, Role-playing video game
    • Platform: Wii
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  • Dragon Quest Builders is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 14 Games You Need To Play If You Love 'Animal Crossing: New Horizons'
    Photo: renedrivers / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Although at first glance the game looks a lot like Minecraft, it actually shares more similarities with Animal Crossing. Players are faced with the insurmountable task of attempting to rebuild the world after it's been destroyed. It's a little more large-scale than building a farm in Animal Crossing, but it's a similar premise. 

    Although the ideas are similar, Dragon Quest Builders is different enough from Animal Crossing to give players a wholly unique experience. You can take the game at your own pace and enjoy the scenery as you go. Feel free to build the world in any way you like, because it's your world and everyone else is living in it. 

    • Release: 2016
    • Developer: Square Enix
    • Genres (Video game): Action role-playing game, Glossary of video game terms, Open world
    • Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 3
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