I have a certain understanding when it comes to games with “simulator” in the title. I tend to assume, well, it’s going to be German, and it’s possibly going to be janky. Astoundingly, Lawn Mowing Simulator is not one of those games. Sure, it has the same goal, but it’s actually very well made. It absolutely didn’t need to be, but the folks at Skyhook Games actually did their best to make a good game, and they succeeded. Well, if you like mowing lawns.
When I first turned the game on, my expectations were not high. I’d been burned too many times by this genre, and Lawnmower Game 2 still sticks out in my head as the exact opposite of what a lawn care game should be. But most of the components on offer in Lawn Mowing Simulator are what they should be. When the game starts, you select an avatar, pick their clothes, and then choose from one of two riding lawnmowers to start your business. Your initial choices are slow as molasses and don’t have much space for fuel, but there must be some sort of build up to the better stuff, after all.
Lawn Mowing Simulator has 31 maps and a dozen lawnmowers. The lawnmowers are all real, licensed vehicles and handle differently as well. There are rear-wheel drive, zero turn, and four-wheel drive mowers available, with various-sized decks and fuel tanks that vary between each. The basic premise is the only thing a game like this should focus on: you’ve started a lawn care business and you’ll take on contracts that pay out at the end. You can take that money and use it to buy a better mower, hire employees, or save up for a larger headquarters with more mower bays.
Big lawn now
You can personally take on a single contract a day, as well as delegate any others to your employees. However, you’ll need to have mowers available for them to use. You’re given a choice out of five contracts a day and can send your employees to any of them as well. Once you complete your daily contract, you’ll roll over into the next day. For each contract, you’ll specify the employee handling it, as well as the vehicle they’ll use to get their mow on.
Once you accept all of that day’s contracts, it’s time to get to the real action-packed nitty-gritty of what Lawn Mowing Simulator is all about: chasing Leprechauns. Wait. No. That’s not right. You begin on foot at the property you’re meant to mow. These properties vary from homes to a horse racing school, an orchard, and more. You’re initially tasked with surveying the grounds for any obstructions, which you can pick up while running around. You can skip this by interacting with your mower though. The extra money you get for bothering with surveying is so small that it’s typically not even worth the effort. Still, it’s a nice option that I still often indulged in.
Once that’s done, you get onboard your mower, turn on the engine, kick on the throttle, drive off the ramp, set your cut height, lower your cutting deck, then turn the blades on. That’s a lotta steps! Not every mower has a cutting deck to lower, though. Your goal in most contracts is to cut 99.9% of the grass. Each contract has a height the grass must be cut to, as well as a range of how tall said grass grows to be. Taller grass will either need multiple passes or require you to drive slowly while clipping it, lest you overload your engine.
You burned through all your gasoline
Look, you have to like cutting grass to enjoy the gameplay in Lawn Mowing Simulator. I do, so I did. Although the grass doesn’t offer much resistance and the amount of dust and particulates aren’t believable, I was more than satisfied by the cutting mechanics. Having to slow down to avoid overloading the engine is truly obnoxious, but this is a simulator, and that’s a thing you have to deal with when you mow tall grass. Seeing the realistic way that you leave patterns in the freshly cut grass is something I never got sick of, plus the grass itself also looks pretty great as it sways in the wind.
The only thing that I honestly dislike about the general gameplay in Lawn Mowing Simulator is that, well, there are no other vehicles or tools aside from riding lawnmowers. If you’ve mowed a lawn before, you know that, if you’re dealing with edges near fences, objects, or flower beds, it’s better to use an edger. Well, there isn’t one, so you have to very carefully cut the further blades of grass with your riding mower, which is far from ideal. It gets harder and harder the wider your mower’s deck is, which can be quite a pain. However, you can easily switch between multiple camera angles, and the top-down view makes this a hell of a lot easier.
Lawn Mowing Simulator is set in England, so the mowers and currency match. As you do need to make money to pay employees, maintain your vehicles, and grow your business, the wages are far from realistic. Instead, you often get paid ridiculous amounts of money to fulfill contracts. Oftentimes, someone will shell out thousands of Pounds for a single job, which is preposterous. Obviously, the other option was to make progress take forever, so I’m okay with this decision. You can also take out up to three loans at a time, but the interest is ridiculous. They’re all 10-week loans that need to be paid with full interest even if you repay them early. And the interest is 50%. Madness. Good luck paying off 21,000 Pounds a week.
Aside from the career mode, you’ll also find a couple dozen challenges that task you with clearing contracts using a limited amount of gas or within a strict time limit, including with specific mowers. As you play the career mode, you gain experience that ranks you up, which lets you hire more employees, take out bigger loans, and unlocks new challenges. There’s also a free mode if you just want to mow to your heart’s content. Lawn Mowing Simulator is a superb game that I really enjoy, even if I myself can hardly believe it. If you’ve wanted a game like this and don’t mind the crazy interest rates and the disappointing lack of edging, this is very much a worthwhile experience.