NSG - 5 indie farming sims with excellent gender representation

6 indie farming sims with excellent gender representation

It seems like every time you turn around there are new indie farming sims being released these days. But recently the conversation about farmings sims has turned to the topic of gender representation. ConcernedApe, the developer behind the iconic indie farming sim Stardew Valley, has been at the center of this discussion, due to his silence in response to Stardew fans calling for broader gender representation in his game.

In September of 2023, gaming content creator Atmos Fierce started an online petition appealing to the Stardew dev to have non-binary gender options added to character customization. With a big update underway (the Stardew Valley 1.6 version), according to the petition, it seemed like an opportune time to build in this feature and expand the gender representation in the game. As of the writing of the post, ConcernedApe has yet to respond to this request, even as many Stardew fans are facing online harassment for speaking up on the topic.

While we aren’t going to encourage anyone to stop playing Stardew Valley, we do hope to hear a response soon from its developer. We also wanted to highlight some farming sim games that are modeling excellent gender representation. We hope these games inspire more devs and studios to consider offering more diverse customization options and characters in their titles.

NSG - Moonstone Island

1. Moonstone Island

Moonstone Island is an indie farming sim and creature-collector hybrid that’s giving maximum Stardew-meets-Pokémon vibes. You get to grow crops, collect resources, craft items, and get to know the villagers in a procedurally-generated island world. But that’s not all because this world is populated by cute and powerful creatures for you to befriend and recruit to your team!

While Moonstone Island’s player character doesn’t have a specified gender or pronouns, the cast of NPCs does feature a diversity of genders. The game features several non-binary characters, and one of their bedrooms is even sporting a trans pride flag!

Developer: Studio Supersoft
Publisher: Raw Fury
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS

NSG - Grow Song of the Evertree - farming sims  gender representation

2. Grow: Song of the Evertree

There is so much to Grow: Song of the Evertree that it’s hard to just call it an indie farming sim. In addition to farming, crafting, and your typical life sim features, the game also includes world exploration, decorating and customization, resource management, and more. Did we also mention it’s downright gorgeous? Navigating the 3D world of Grow: Song of the Evertree and all its mysteries feels absolutely magical.

This game also offers some of the broadest gender diversity options in character customization, out of this list of games. Players can choose from a few different body shape options, offering varied gender representation for players, but also a body positive experience! Character creation also includes pronoun choices including a “they/them” option so players can be proudly non-binary in-game! There’s so much depth to this character customization in general, as well, which we absolutely adore.

Developer: Prideful Sloth
Publisher: 505 Games
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows

NSG - Witchy Life Story

3. Witchy Life Story

While not a traditional farming sim, Witchy Life Story incorporates farming elements along with its visual novel core gameplay. The dating sim elements are effortlessly intertwined with the management of your perfectly maintained witchy garden. Gather herbs and flowers to craft potions that help the townspeople, with a dash of shameless flirting as you get to know them and their various problems. 

Witchy Life Story offers an extremely diverse selection of body types and physical customization during character creation. The game also allows players to select any combination of she, he, and they pronouns. This game has some seriously sharp and stunning graphics, almost as if you’re looking at a sophisticated picture book.

Developer: Sundew Studios
Publisher: Sundew Studios
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, Xbox

NSG - Coral Island

4. Coral Island

Who doesn’t want to play a game where everyone is hot? Coral Island is our pick for the chaotic bisexuals, though we’re certain that anyone can find something (or someone) to enjoy while playing Coral Island. The game continues to stay super relevant with regular updates, with underwater farming to come soon! Getting started with your farm is super intuitive, and we know you’ll enjoy all of the characters you get to meet along the way! 

Character creation in Coral Island provides 3 different body types, allowing for broader gender presentation than the typical male/female options. And although you don’t select pronouns specifically for your character, you do get to select honorifics that range from “Ms.”, “Mr.” and “Mx.”, and even allow you to write your own custom option.

Developer: Stairway Games
Publisher: Humble Games
Platforms: PlayStation 5, Microsoft Windows, Xbox

NSG - Fae Farm

5. Fae Farm

Fae Farm is answering the question we’ve all asked ourselves at some point: what if I traveled to a new town and took over running a farm and started a new life… but I was also a fairy? This game is so utterly cute and adds fae folk flair to the traditional farming sim gameplay features. In addition to growing crops, crafting furniture and meeting villagers, you also work to level up as a fairy, eventually getting your own wings!

The character creation options in this 2023 game show that gender diversity is starting to become a standard for games like this (although there’s much ground to be gained still). You’re offered a few different body types, as well as the option to use “they/them” as your pronouns. Players can also pair character customization features like facial hair along with any of the gender options. This creates even broader gender expression possibilities in the game.

Developer: Phoenix Labs
Publisher: Phoenix Labs, Spike Chunsoft
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows

NSG - SunnySide
Emily was gifted a key to SunnySide by the developers, and had a delightful time streaming the game on Twitch.

6. SunnySide

SunnySide is a 3D, first-person farming sim grounded in small town life in rural Japan. The gorgeous environments (and equally gorgeous townsfolk) punctuate the engaging and updated farming, fishing and cooking mechanics. Gone are the days of tending to your first crops with a flimsy wooden watering can; in SunnySide, you get a water hose from the very start.

We were impressed with many aspects of this game, but especially with the gender diversity represented in the game. Many games let you choose between female, male and non-binary genders. SunnySide goes a step further and asks you to pick a point on a spectrum between extremely femme and extremely masc to represent your character. This allows players to opt for gender options like “non-binary, tending towards masculine” or “highly feminine”, and everything in between!

Developer: RainyGames
Publisher: Merge Games
Platforms: PlayStation, Microsoft Windows, Xbox

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