With grass cuttings being the new gold, this sim asks you to build up a lawncare empire.
"There really is a simulator for everything". That's a phrase that gets thrown around a lot these days, and rightly so, as there are quite frankly too many bizarre simulator games. But, just because the market is quite saturated, doesn't mean there aren't some pretty great simulators out there, Farming Simulator instantly comes to mind. Earlier this year, we were given a look at a new simulator, coming from Skyhook Games, the same team that has worked on both Train Sim World and even Destruction AllStars, helping the main developers bring the games to life. Well, that team has been working on its own title, a simulator that tasks you with making an empire out of grass cuttings. The game in question is Lawn Mowing Simulator.
I'd usually take a minute to update you on the narrative or what the game is about here, but I think this one is fairly self-explanatory. Your job is to mow grass, using a variety of licensed machines to make money and create a functioning grass cutting empire. So, right off the bat, if you don't really care for mowing the lawn - perhaps that's already a household chore of yours - then this game isn't going to be the one for you. But, if you're looking for an incredibly relaxing task to get lost in, and you don't have the chance to jump on a mower yourself, then what this game offers is a pretty realistic experience of having to mow the lawn.
Granted, the gear you're given isn't your typical petrol or electric mower that requires you to push and guide it along, in the game you use an armada of sit-on mowers that have a pathetically slow top speed but make short work of any overgrown lawn that is put in front of it. From here, your job is to simply mow the lawn, or rather a percentage of it to achieve a goal. If you have experience mowing the lawn, this will feel like second nature, in fact, I ended up getting quite into it, using the teachings of my father to my advantage. Never in my life did I think his systematic and perfectionist nature of caring for grass would trigger in me, but then again I never imagined I'd spend a bunch of time playing a simulator like this one.
As for the mowers themselves, there are plenty of options of various designs, each that excel in different ways. Some are designed for getting into tough to reach corners, others are better at tackling the bulk of mowing, and which machine you use determines how you get the job done. The one area that caught me off guard was the complexity of operating these machines. You'll have to keep an eye on the how the engine is running (too many revolutions and you'll overheat it), make sure you're cutting grass at the right length to ensure customer satisfaction, as well as handling the mower in an intelligent manner, because if you leave tire skid marks on the lawn, the customer will have some things to say about it. And you might think I'm kidding about this, but I don't think I've generated so many fines in a game before this one. The industry of lawn mowing is a truly cutthroat one.
Mowing lawns is pretty much the main body of this game, but it is by no means the entirety of what you get. The career mode tasks you with managing funds and spending the money you earn from contracts to build out your company. This part includes managing your mowers, upgrading and caring for them, as well as recruiting and instructing employees on what their job is as well. It's as much a management simulator as it is a lawn mowing sim, so you can count on depth in the gameplay there.
But, as much as this game does offer a pretty realistic mowing and managing experience, I can't help but shake the feeling as to why it exists. Skyhook has done a pretty solid job so far, and in fact they have plenty planned to further accentuate that (including wheel support so you can use your sim-racing rig for a different kind of virtual motorsport, if you will). Yet, and I can feel the old man in me creeping out here, why spend time playing a simulator like this one, when you could instead actually go and mow the lawn, or instead do something else. Admittedly, this can often be said about a lot of simulator games these days, but I find it particularly hard to shake it in this case.
Is the game well made? Yes. Does it offer an authentic experience? Yes. But, will this be one for the masses? Probably not. That being said, if you've been searching for a game that offers a realistic take on mowing the lawn, you won't do much better than this one.