Lawn Mowing Simulator and the Meditative Majesty of the Freshly Mown Lawn

Lawn Mowing Simulator and the Meditative Majesty of the Freshly Mown Lawn

Richard Walker

For whatever reason, the worlds of Farming Simulator, Bus Simulator, or whichever other game with the suffix of 'Simulator' have failed to garner my attention. But, through some inexplicable force that I can't quite understand, developer Skyhook Games has drawn me in with Lawn Mowing Simulator – a game in which the primary objective is to cut the grass of increasingly demanding clients down to size. Save for some light business management, that's about the long and short of it. Also, the grass starts out long, and gets short after you've finished. That's the long and short of that.

The pull of Lawn Mowing Simulator lies in its meditative properties. You choose an avatar and the colour of their uniform, name your business, pick a logo you like the look of, then sit astride a licensed mowing machine. It's then a case of choosing the desired cutting height to satisfy your client's parameters, before setting to the time-consuming task of felling the blades of grass. On paper, Lawn Mowing Simulator should be utterly dull – about as much fun as actually mowing a real lawn, albeit without the satisfying smell of oxygenated hydrocarbons emanating from the flattened green expanse.

Somehow, it works, seemingly through the sheer virtue of simplicity. That is, the hypnotic nature of tackling a lawn in the most efficient way possible, without music or any other frills to distract you from your surroundings and the job at hand. All you'll find is lilting atmospheric birdsong, perhaps the sound of a gentle breeze, and the loud, guttural buzzing of your mower's engine, as whirling blades dutifully slice through lengthy fronds. Few games manage to create such a relaxing aura from what in real life is a chore – I despise mowing my own lawn, spoiled as it is by divots, anthills, and cat turds from a neighbour's feline invader who arbitrarily decided our garden is its toilet.

But then, Lawn Mowing Simulator's mechanical grass-cleaving monsters are far beyond the garish orange Flymo you'd chuck around your own backyard. They're proper sit-down mowers, freed from an oh-so-severable power cord or the danger of lopping off your own toes. The worst that can happen while mounted to your chosen petrol-supping ride is a scuffed rotor blade, an over-revved engine, or a financial penalty should you err off course and squash a flower or ten. Apparently, there's more to mowing than stepping on the gas and thrashing your mower around flower beds and overgrown verges. Long grass creates resistance, friction by greenery, which, in turn impedes your mower and gums up the engine (sort of). Over-rev, and you can damage your mower's innards. Who knew?

As well as caring for customer lawns, you've a business to run, employees to hire and take care of, mowers and offices to maintain... And here I was thinking it just be about making uniform stripes, leaving no blade uncut, and neatening up gardens across the bucolic British Countryside. It is all those things, of course, but there's more here than I bargained for. Like buying and adding attachments to my chosen mower, managing its fuel, and emptying the hopper of grassy wads. To my dismay, I've become swept up in all of this, despite its fair share of rough edges and the fact that it is a game about cutting acres of grass. Perhaps worst of all is the fact that Lawn Mowing Simulator feels like a colossal waste of time, carrying out something in a virtual realm, while looking out onto my actual garden and feeling a pang of guilt about not mowing the real-life lawn.

And, it's that conflict that's preventing me from truly enjoying the simple, soothing act of sitting and methodically munching through strips of Lawn Mowing Simulator's swaying strips of unruly grass, standing defiant, as if daring me to slice it asunder. But dare I do, firing up my bright yellow STIGA to show those blades of green who's boss, while raking in the cash, and occasionally, piles of cuttings. Lawn Mowing Simulator has left me with a dawning realisation, however, despite its innate ability to provide relaxation – stressful it may be, but I desperately need to mow my own damn lawn.

Lawn Mowing Simulator is out now for Xbox Series X|S and PC.

  • I bought it a little over a week ago cause it's a cheaper game, and it's very zen and enjoyable. I however live in an apartment, so I have no lawn outside to feel quilt over neglecting. It's no less silly than a fishing game in my opinion. It's not perfect, but it's a solid 7 or 8/10 for me. No significant complaints.
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