Pleasant Valley Simday

What’s better than mowing lawns? Playing video games! But is playing a video game about mowing lawns a better alternative to the real thing? Let’s find out with Lawn Mowing Simulator, a basic yet realistic single-player simulator in which you, well, mow lawns.

There are a few ways you can play the game. The first is Career mode, which is almost a story mode where you start your own company and build your lawn-mowing empire. When you start off on a career, the game has you make a company. You choose a name and logo for your company, buy a mower and a string trimmer, and choose an employee. Once that’s done, you get to work taking contracts to mow lawns and build a reputation for your company, as well as earn money. As you progress through the game, you will be able to hire new employees and equipment, and unlock new and harder contracts…especially in the available DLC.

The second is the (currently) Switch-exclusive Quick Mow mode, where you can hop on to complete a contract just for some quick and relaxing gameplay. In this mode, you can choose between two different types of contracts: small and large. Small contracts usually take between 10-30 minutes to complete, while large contracts take around 30-60 minutes. After your selection, the game sends you to a random job where you can mow for a bit of a a break from whatever you’re doing in life.

The third is Challenge mode, which is just what it sounds like; you choose a challenge and complete the contract. These challenges include fuel limits, time limits, and stripe challenges. Fuel limits and time limits are pretty self-explanatory; you have to complete a contract with a certain amount of fuel or time without running out. In Stripe challenges you have to complete different contracts while keeping a certain stripe pattern on the lawn. There are three types of challenges: amateur, professional, and expert. You start off with one challenge in each category and then unlock more as you play.

The fourth and final mode is Free Mow, which is basically exactly what it sounds like. In this mode, you can play on any level you have unlocked with any vehicle you have unlocked. After you choose what level and vehicle you are going to use, you can then choose the exact cut height required, you can toggle things like ground checks, time limits, ground damage, vehicle damage, and motor damage, you can change the weather, and you can choose your starting fuel.

Control-wise, Lawn Mowing Simulator is a little congested. It seems the game was made for a computer, as every single Joy-Con button is used, some more than once. If it weren’t for the in-game pop-ups telling me what button to press, I wouldn’t have made it past the first contract. After a bit of playing, however, the controls grow on you and become a lot easier to manage.

As far as difficulty goes, it’s not really difficult at all, but rather annoying at points. You can rarely tell when you’re breaking your motor or vehicle unless you run into a tree or something (that’s self-explanatory). The camera is also really difficult to use at times, especially because there’s no dithering feature. Things like leaves and bushes just block the screen, which can be very annoying and cause you to damage your lawn mower more.

The game does look good, however. Each lawnmower is especially well-made, and an exact replica of real lawnmowers. The actual lawns and buildings and whatnot look OK, but they’re nothing special. The biggest issue is the rendering of character models. The people are, in the politest way possible, funny-looking. I don’t know if it was a development decision to make the humans of lower quality than the inanimate objects, but at least it doesn’t really impact the game.

There isn’t much of a soundtrack to the game. Before you’re actually in a contract, the game has a very upbeat instrumental song that runs for about three minutes and then loops, but that’s about the only actual song. When mowing, all you get is the ambience of a lawn mower doing its thing.

I only found a few glitches and bugs, which is always good. The first one is that the game didn’t ever let me quit Quick Mow mode. I could leave after I finished the contract, but I couldn’t quit the contract mid-way through or at the start. I ended up having to close my game and reopen it just to leave it. The second one is that I couldn’t make a second Career mode save slot. I could pick my company name, logo, and vehicle, but whenever I tried to buy a string trimmer, the game would crash. After I deleted the second save slot I was trying to create and then redo the process, I was able to do everything fine again.

All things considered, Lawn Mowing Simulator can be quite relaxing to play. Simulated yard work may not be for everyone, but once you get used to it, it’s pretty fun.