Ever dream about starting up your own lawn mowing business? Me either, but here we are. In Lawn Mowing Simulator, create your business and start small, working your way up the ladder of success. The grass is growing and it won’t cut itself! You will begin a career and eventually hire employees and get better equipment to take on harder jobs. This is a simulator, meaning it’s a learning experience that uses stuff you’d find in the real world. The concept is fairly basic. Take on contracts to mow lawns for rich individuals and businesses. It is exactly what it sounds like. You check the environment for objects on the ground, then you get on your lawnmower and cut the grass until it looks good. As you progress you will get more complicated jobs. As you grow your business you’ll also get some help from employees that you can train and send off to make you money. That’s really what it’s all about: money. More of it can allow you to buy better mowers, upgrade your headquarters, and hire a team to help you succeed. There are no push mowers here; you’re in the big leagues.
Here’s what I liked:
The Grass is Greener — I would like to start off by saying I don’t play many simulators. I played the demo and really enjoyed it. It’s extremely slow-paced, not something I tend to enjoy. But there’s a puzzle element involved that’s hard to explain. You choose where to start your mowing. There is an estimated timer to complete the job and your goal is to get below it for more money. I typically cut from the outside in and plenty of times would stray off and cut smaller sections because they were out of the way. There’s something calming about driving on a loud machine and changing the grass levels. Seeing your work happen before your eyes. Have you ever played that old game called Dig Dug? You would dig around the dirt and try to clear the area? That’s kind of how this is but without enemies. It’s not all that easy either, as there are some areas that can overwork your engine. Taller grass can be really hard to vanquish and could mess up your rig. You have to go slower or eventually buy a better mower for the harder areas. These jobs aren’t always quick either. You may find yourself mowing for 20 to 30 minutes! Yep, just driving around cutting grass for that long to make some money. It’s an extreme grind but eventually gets better as you upgrade your business to hire more employees. So at first, you’re going solo, doing all the work, and then you get to choose what jobs you do and what ones your employees do. It then becomes more like a business simulator. I really love that part, starting from the bottom and working hard to create a brand. Sure, it’s just mowing, but now when people ask what I did on the weekend I can tell them “just mowed” and they’ll assume I meant in real life and think it’s about time I got off those darned video games. Joke’s on them!
It’s in the Details — Some jobs demand a certain grass length, meaning you’ll need to adjust your mower’s blade distance to the ground. This is all done while you’re on it. When you start, you run around and clear obstacles like toys or lawn gnomes. Then comes the simulation part. You have to start the engine, use the throttle, get to the grass, lower the blades to the desired distance, then engage the blades to run. If you take too sharp of turns you can mess up the grass and you get money deducted from your overall job. The stats at the end show you why you made more or less money than the job’s description said you’d make. Kind of like in other games when you complete a mission and it tells you your ranking. It gives that much-needed inspiration to be careful while you mow and not ruin the flower bed! With mowing comes “wear and tear”. You need to spend your money to refill the tank or repair worn-out pieces of your mower. Also managing the finances is really fun. You can choose to train your employees, swap out mower parts, and even upgrade your headquarters to allow you to store more mowers and hire more people. To spend money you have to make money, so it’s a motivation to do the jobs in the first place. You even have a leveling system and as you complete jobs you earn credibility! It’s a lawn mowing RPG!
Here’s what I didn’t like:
Did it break? — There’s a minor hiccup when doing jobs. Sometimes you’ll take on one that has taller grass that’s harder to cut. This means you’ll be mowing then get warned you’re ruining your engine. So there’s a lot of stopping, waiting for the meter to cool down, then going again. One job specifically had it happening every few seconds. It was never explained that I should be waiting on the contract based on my mowers. In fact, there’s really not a lot of detail when it comes to what I should be doing for more complex jobs. I ended up getting frustrated and quit out. Yes, I rage quit a lawnmowing simulator. But then I decided to make my employee do it instead. So from then on, all the really hard jobs I gave to my employee while giving him the worst lawnmower. Then I would go do the easy jobs using the best mower. See, this game really is a simulator. It’s teaching me how to become a boss!
There’s honestly not a lot to talk about when it comes to a simulator, especially one where you’re just mowing grass. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how calming it was. I even fell asleep a handful of times during a job. It wasn’t that I was bored, but my mind was allowed to rest. So even if it’s technically a boring game, it’s entertaining. I still wanted to succeed and get my achievements. There’s an odd sense of accomplishment happening even when you’re not doing much. I can complete a job and look at my work and feel like I completed a long mission, then see the money roll in. Comparing it to other sims is tough because I haven’t played many of them. Maybe it pales in comparison to other larger games in the genre, like farm or flight sims, but I couldn’t find much I didn’t like about it. For what it is, it’s an extremely well-done game. You won’t be bragging about your perfect mows to anyone but it’s not about the adrenaline rush, it’s about the learning experience you can bring to you in your own life’s decisions. You’ll know more about mowing and a little more about running your own small business. Well, at least I think it helps. I could be wrong, but it will look good on my resume!
Score: Highly Recommended
Lawn Mowing Simulator was published by Curve Digital and developed by Skyhook Games on Xbox One. It was released on August 10, 2021, for $29.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.