A lawn mowing simulator sounds like it would be so dull that it must be a parody simulator – similar to the likes of Surgeon Simulator or Goat Simulator. However, Lawn Mowing Simulator doesn’t take the easy route and keeps things completely serious, and it seems better made than it has any right to be.
As you start the demo, you create your company name, pick from one of the available logos and choose your character from a list of options. Not a crazy amount of options, but still a nice bit of customisation. I couldn’t think of a fancy name so just went with “Cube Mows” and a logo that looked a bit like a cube with some grass.
To get your business going, you start off with £3000 to spend on your first ride-on lawnmower. There were two options to pick one from the demo, one a “collector” and one a “mulcher”. You can give these a test drive before you decide, but ultimately I went with the collector one because I figured it would be tidier. If you know more about mowing lawns, then the other stats for them may mean more, along with the makes and models, but I mow my lawn with a push mower that I got handed down for free so it’s not my expertise.
Once you’ve decided, it’s time for your first contract, a lovely cottage (this game is set in a British village). It gives you some estimates for pre-mow checks, how low the grass needs to be (you can set the cut height, so make sure you read it) and an estimate of around 20 minutes for completion.
The checks are quite simple, have a look around the garden, find any objects that could either damage your mower (such as twigs) or could be damaged by your mower (like a garden gnome). The graphics are really quite lovely, with lovely lighting, nice views and, most importantly, amazing looking grass. The estimates for the checks are around 5 minutes but shouldn’t take nearly as long, so you presume that would be the case for the main mowing.
However, it really does take that long to mow a garden. You really do fully mow the garden in real time. You can tackle it however you want – my tactics was starting from the outside doing full loops of the garden, moving slightly towards the centre each lap.
The strange thing is….it’s really oddly calming. There’s just something really satisfying about cutting grass in this game. Throughout the two levels in the demo, I spend just under an hour mowing and loved it. I was expecting utter tedium, but it was just really, really nice.
The time limit is just a recommendation, so you can take your time instead of rushing like a madman (although you do get bonus cash if you’re quick). You will have to be careful at the edges as any collisions with walls or destroyed flowers will be deducted from your income, which you’ll need for repairs, fuel and expanding your business.
Luckily, you don’t need to cut every single blade of grass. Only 99.5% of them (this is set by the customer, so may vary in the full game). Once you’ve mowed the main bulk of grass, you can activate a “Pro Mower” mode which highlights any small patches you may have missed.
I went into this demo expecting either jokes or tedium, but instead found myself being amused at just how compelling and relaxing Lawn Mowing Simulator is.