Lawn Mowing Simulator Review: Business is blooming
It used to be a joke that simulators would simulate mundane or repetitive things like chores, people shirking their real-life duties for virtual ones. But it’s 2021, and truth is stranger — and sometimes far more satisfying — than fiction, and this year has brought us simulator after simulator after simulator that… y’know, simulate. Just when I think I’ve played them all, like Airplane Mode, PowerWash Simulator, Alchemist Simulator, and Gas Station Simulator to name a few, another one springs up like a weed. So, like weeds, I have to… cut them… down? Through… playing them? Okay look, what I’m trying to get at is: Lawn Mowing Simulator.
Developed by Skyhook Games and published by Curve Digital, Lawn Mowing Simulator combines both lawn mowing and business management into one relaxing experience. Touting itself as “the only simulator that allows you to ride an authentic and expansive roster of real-world licensed lawn mowers from prestigious manufacturers; Toro, SCAG and STIGA as you manage your business,” Lawn Mowing Simulator offers more lawn mowing action than most players would anticipate. And for half the price of a standard AAA game at release, Lawn Mowing Simulator will provide fans of the simulation genre plenty of blade for their buck.
Lawn Mowing Simulator is a graphically impressive landscaping business sim that is more or less what you’d expect from such a title. Career mode starts off with a brief customization section that allows players to choose from a handful of body type/skin color combinations, logos, and branding colors. If choosing to start off with the tutorial (highly recommend if this is your first stab at virtual yardwork), three seated mowers will become available for a test run, after which they’ll be purchasable for future missions. Once players are comfortable in the saddle, they’ll be able to take on contracts, mowing to their hearts’ content and raking in the pounds. Soon, they’ll be able to use that cash to invest back into the company, buying and upgrading an office, new mowers, equipment, and even hiring on more employees, building up a veritable landscaping empire in the process.
Controls in Lawn Mowing Simulator are… interesting. I’ll be honest, playing with a keyboard and mouse does not make for the best experience; this game was made with controller support and, more specifically, wheel support in mind. Quite a few Logitech wheels are supported at the moment, but those without can made do with a regular gaming controller of choice. Although I did get the swing of things on keyboard and mouse by the end of the tutorial, it was just really clear that controller and wheel would be far more enjoyable.
Gameplay in Lawn Mowing Simulator could be basically broken up into two sections — mowing and not mowing (highly technical, I know). Mowing is about what you’d expect — you get a contract for a yard and you get right to it. First, you’ll need to conduct a quick ground check — a timed mode of a few minutes to pick up all items on the ground that could hurt mower blades, such as rocks, sticks, tennis balls, trash, and even gnomes. After that, you jump on your grass-trimming steed and get right to it! Unlike PowerWash Simulator that breaks up specific elements of a job into segments, the progress bar in Lawn Mowing Simulator goes from 0% – 100%, with a wild lawn on one end and a freshly cut one on the other. Players are able to break up the job in the way that makes most sense to them with both third person and first person views available depending on player preference.
As for the not-mowing segments, there’s plenty to do between jobs that aim to support players in their landscaping endeavors. Buying new motors and new attachments for the mowers will allow for the extremely satisfying striping ability, adding those beautiful striation patterns that we’ve all come to love and appreciate in a freshly mowed lawn. Of course, that’s only if players have upgraded their headquarters to provide a bay to house said new mowers, which can cost a pretty penny. Luckily, there are loans available for those looking to expand quicker than they earn, but note that the interest is pretty steep. Don’t forget care for the beautiful mowing beasts — they’ll need to be filled with gas and have their blades repaired from time to time, especially if you accidentally forget to retract them while on concrete. Yikes.
So while I definitely knew what I was getting into when I picked up Lawn Mowing Simulator and absolutely enjoyed my time with it, I feel compelled to remind players that this is exactly what it says on the label. This is a simulator game about mowing a lawn, followed by another lawn, followed by yet another lawn… you get the idea. For those who ironically like the idea of tedious gameplay as a joke but don’t actually have the patience painstakingly make increasingly tighter virtual laps around a yard for 30 – 60 minutes at a time, carefully trimming grass to a very specific height while minding the flowers, I can’t recommend this game to you (especially since you have to unlock that satisfying striping attachment through gameplay).
However, for those who unironically enjoyed PowerWash Simulator, you’ll likely get a kick out of Lawn Mowing Simulator as well. On the plus side, there’s more to the business side of things here, such as balancing books and watching employees… do their best; unfortunately, the tools of this trade are a little more frustrating than its squeaky clean compatriot. It’s easy to hurt lawns and mowers in the beginning, and penalties in the form of fines for an accidental flower clip take away from that in-the-moment satisfaction. Still, if you like simulation games and are looking for the next logical leap in the ridiculous yet expected video game experiences, Lawn Mowing Simulator is bound to be your bag of yard trimmings (pretend that made sense).
Although Lawn Mowing Simulator might get a laugh or two in its concept alone, it’s a genuinely good simulation game that allows players to manage the landscaping business of their dreams. While it’s not as satisfying as PowerWash Simulator, it’s just as relaxing — if you enjoyed one, you’ll likely enjoy the other. If you want the satisfaction of a lawn well mowed but don’t actually want to get outside and mow a lawn (and that irony isn’t lost on you whatsoever), Lawn Mowing Simulator is begging you to take the wheel.
Final Verdict: 3.5/5
Available on: XBox One, XBox Series X, PC (reviewed); Publisher: Curve Games; Developer: Skyhook Games; Players: 1; Released: August 10, 2021; MSRP: $29.99
Editor’s note: This review is based on a retail copy of Lawn Mowing Simulator provided by the publisher.