At its core, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a lot like modern-day survival games. Collect resources, craft tools, build a huge base. Then craft slightly better tools to collect slightly better resources to build a slightly better base. The difference between Animal Crossing and every other survival game is that you’re not trying to survive. With that in mind, let’s look at 5 games on PS4 you can play that will provide a similar experience to Nintendo’s cute and cuddly “funvival” game.
Please note: Some links in this article may be affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Don’t Starve (Together)
Don’t Starve and Don’t Starve Together are two of the best survival experiences there are. Together is a little harder because it expects you to play with others. You play Wilson, a scientist who grows a swell beard; Willow, a girl who lights things on fire; Wendy, who summons the ghost of her dead twin sister to fight for her; or Wes, a mime who makes balloons. There are many other characters to choose from.
Should you want a peaceful experience, both Don’t Starve and Together offer World Customization. World Customization allows you to disable enemies, weather effects, seasons, and even the day/night cycle. You’ll never need to fear a late-autumn rainstorm. There is a drawback: many resources you need for crafting come from enemies and removing them will stop you from crafting everything. Also, you can’t turn off starvation. The game is called Don’t Starve, after all.
Dreams is brought to you by Media Molecule, the company that brought us LittleBigPlanet and LittleBigPlanet 2. It’s is a creation platform that allows users to create, or “dream,” anything they desire. Animal Crossing: New Horizons offers a taste of creative freedom when players unlock terraforming, but Dreams is built on a foundation of creative freedom.
It can be somewhat daunting to start. During my undergrad, we frequently talked about “Blank Page Syndrome” as a barrier to starting a piece of writing. Dreams starts as a blank canvas, but getting started is the hardest part. The game is part of Media Molecule’s “Play, Create, Share” idea of social creation games, which means you can view and play other people’s levels or games—called “Dreams”—and they can play yours.
When Stardew Valley launched, reviewers called it a spiritual successor to Harvest Moon. It’s another peaceful game where you build a farm with crops and animals, make friends with the local villagers, and eventually marry one of the villagers. What stood out about Stardew Valley was that it started with just one guy: Eric Barone. In addition to farming, relationship building, and crafting, Stardew Valley offers light combat in the way of a monster-infested cave. In a recent update, the game added online multiplayer for those families with more than one PS4.
Also, you can choose a pet: a dog or a cat. The dog is a very good boy; the cat is a cat.
Cities: Skylines is quickly approaching Sims 4 levels of DLC, but at least the base game feels like a complete experience. It’s also free this month on PlayStation Plus, so you may already have access to the game. I played the original Sim City on SNES for hundreds, if not thousands, of hours. I played a little Sim City 2000, though I got into PC gaming a little late for that one. And then, I never really got into Sim City again. I didn’t enjoy Sim City 4, and I only played Sim City (2013) for a few months before moving on.
Cities: Skylines feels like they took everything good about Sim City and improved it. They took everything terrible about Sim City and fixed it. The end result is a game that is fun to play. It’s even fun to watch on YouTube or Mixer, and that’s not easy to achieve with a sim game.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
At the end of the day, some games offer a similar experience, but Animal Crossing is an experience worth having. A Switch is one of the best partner consoles for a PS4—so maybe try out these other games, but definitely think about getting a Switch and just play Animal Crossing.