Stardew Valley becomes Cookie Clicker in relaxing new farming sim

Stardew Valley goes idle in Rusty's Retirement, which takes the Cookie Clicker approach to farming sims, and it's extremely relaxing.

Rusty's Retirement

Growing a farm and living the quiet life is great, but it’s a lot of work. Even in Stardew Valley, where it’s all part of a gorgeous, pixel-art tapestry, agriculture can feel daunting. Enter: Rusty’s Retirement, an idle Stardew-like that automates a lot of the growing while you tap away elsewhere.

In Rusty’s Retirement, you help the protagonist plant crops and grow his farm. The farming game borrows heavily from Stardew Valley in aesthetic, using the bright, 16-bit pixels for the Rusty’s expanding plot of land. You can grow all sorts of vegetables, and gradually, an array of robots come along to lend a hand.

The focus here is a lot over a long span of time. Instead of cultivating everything like in a Farming Simulator game, Rusty’s Retirement sits at the bottom of your screen, just ticking along as you do whatever you need to do.

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I’m reminded of Cookie Clicker, at how at first, I thought it was pointless. Then I started playing, and had my first instance of forgetting about the game for an afternoon, only to return and see all the stats had skyrocketed. There’s something so rewarding about the numbers increasing even though you’re not actively participating.

The passivity is almost a relief, since there are just so many games. Rusty’s Retirement just asks that you boot it up, then handles the rest. Bliss. It’s the second project from Mister Morris Games, who previously made action-adventure game Haiku. This is a departure, but still deals with robots and AI, so I’m curios if that through-line goes much deeper.

Rusty’s Retirement has a demo on Steam Next Fest. Here’s a rundown of the best Steam Next Fest demos, if you want more to check out, and our list of the best games like Stardew Valley will give you more ways to live the quiet life.

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