I’m having a bad time with my lawn mowing business. I’ve got a company loan that I’m having a lot of trouble paying back. My staff aren’t up to the job required of them, but I’m too scared to fire them. I’ve also lost my passion and attention to detail, and I’m still only at the very start of my career. In fact, I’ve grown sloppy, so much so that I keep ruining the ground by doing donuts on my mower. I’m not picking up my grass clippings and yesterday I ruined my best blades by smashing into an ornamental gnome that I forgot to pick up. It wasn’t all like this though as at the beginning I was a fresh-faced mower man; one with a dream and a skip in my step. Welcome to the world of Lawn Mowing Simulator.
When Skyhook Games and Curve Digital first announced Lawn Mowing Simulator it created a huge buzz; one that was loaded with a great amount of expectation. And then they released a demo, as more than 250,000 downloads proved that there were high hopes for the game. Now it’s here, in full release.
There are three options to enjoy in Lawn Mowing Simulator – Career, Challenge, and Free modes. I’m going to focus on the Career mode initially as it gives you a decent overall experience and what is required of the game mechanics and lawn mowing journey. It’s here where the first thing you get to do is to pick your avatar, the name of your company, and a logo from the many options on offer. Then you purchase your first lawnmower and the real action starts.
Now when we think of lawnmowers, it’s best not to imagine the ones that you push along the garden, hopelessly cutting the grass. In fact, you shouldn’t even think of those Flymos that get clogged up before you have even begun. Lawn Mowing Simulator deals with top-of-the-range mowers; the sit-on and drive type, so much so that the teams behind it have gained access to the licenses of real-world mower manufacturers – names like Toro and STIGA. Names that probably won’t mean much to many. However, these mowers have been designed to such a high standard that they are as accurate as can be models of their real-life counterparts, complete with all the attachments and shiny looks. You start your career from a choice of two, but there are 12 in all to purchase in the base game, and more promised via DLC.
So you’ve got the mower, and the next thing you need is some grass to mow. On the menu screen, Lawn Mowing Simulator gives out several categories and the most important one is the job list. Here you have several jobs, situated at specific houses or places that need a trim. They all come with a decent description of the job like ‘Front garden at 13 Chisel Place” or “Paddock” and then a star rating of how difficult the job might be in relation to the size and shape of the grounds. There is also the price shown, detailing how much you will be paid.
When you select a job you arrive at the location and the first thing you need to do is walk around the area that needs cutting, looking for objects that are laying around. You’re given a specific time limit within which you need to grab these items, if only so you don’t damage your pride and joy whilst actioning the job. When that’s done it’s a case of hopping onto your mower to begin the cut. Each job will have a requirement of grass length, and it’s a simple case of starting the engine, selecting the length of the blade, then beginning to cut.
It’s up to you how you then decide on your cut. Do you go around the edges first and work your way inwards? Do you just move randomly and haphazardly, before hoovering up the bits that you miss? In Lawn Mowing Simulator it’s pretty much up to you – as long as keep within a set time limit.
The thing is, you need to keep an eye on other things as you go about this. Your mower will need to be handled with care, and you’ll have to make sure you don’t over-exert it or the engine may get damaged, which will cost you money in repairs. Honestly, keeping an eye on your acceleration and braking is by far the most annoying part of being in the lawn mowing game, and after a while it just began to frustrate me.
Without that the cutting itself can feel quite meditative, and just a teeny bit addictive. But even then you’ll need to be on your guard, avoiding sharp turns in case you destroy the ground. You’ll also need to be aware of the flower beds and hitting them, because, well, flowers. Throughout though Lawn Mowing Simulator will give you a percentage bar showing you how much of the lawn you have cut and how much you have left. You don’t have to get to 100% and you can stop the cutting at any time to finish the job, but you will need to clear the grass trimmings, before getting an itemised bill of how much you are getting paid. You will be penalised for destroying flowers, or the soil, whilst payment will be dictated by how much of each job you actually complete.
You’ll need money too as with your earnings you then get to build into the business side of the game. Standard rules pretty much apply – more money means bigger upgrades to your premises and more vehicles at your disposal. You can also hire mower personnel to work for you, so you can take on more jobs at the same time. And yep, you guessed right – more jobs means more money and even more upgrades as your reputation soars. However, cash is always king and so if you need that upgrade early you can get a loan and if you need more clients you can spend some hard-earned cash on advertising. It’s a neat system and works very well.
Lawn Mowing Simulator looks great, especially when Optimised for Xbox Series X|S, with the lands based in the British countryside and residential areas. You can be mowing the lawn of a normal suburban house one minute, and then a modern millionaire’s detached arthouse or some castle grounds the next. The locations are varied and do an excellent job. The grass itself and the garden design are fantastically realistic and whilst I’m certainly no expert, the machines seem to be very genuine. The sound design is good as well with good old English countryside noises ensuring you are kept relaxed. That said, I would highly recommend turning the volume down and putting on your favorite playlist or podcast while working away as it helps to pass the time a little better.
Sitting alongside the Career are that of Challenge and Free modes. The former of these provides you with around 25 challenges, all split into three categories – Amateur, Professional, and Expert. Here you have either a time limit with which to cut a ton of grass, or a fuel limit so you’ll need to be careful with your acceleration. There’s even a stripe challenge whereby you are left to get all arty, creating a striped lawn by using different cutting lengths.
The Free mode does as you would expect, letting you customise sessions and Lawn Mowing Simulator to exactly how you want to play. You can forgo the requirements to keep an eye on your vehicle damage, and get rid of time limits completely. All locations unlock as and when you unlock them in the deeper Career mode.
In all, Lawn Mowing Simulator is a brilliantly presented and perfectly designed sim experience. The attention to detail in terms of the vehicles and the varied locations manage to fully complement a solid management experience as well. The problem is that much like most sims, cutting grass day in, day out fast becomes tiresome, especially when you’re always on edge, trying to keep on top of the micromanaging side of things, ie, ensuring your mower stays in tip-top condition and keeping to an optimum speed. I would guess that would be the case for many laypeople, but for lawnmower fans, this game is pretty much everything you’ve dreamt of and more.
Hit the ground mowing with Lawn Mowing Simulator on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One