Like an idle Stardew Valley, this cute farm sim "sits at the bottom of your screen while you do other things" and already threatens my productivity

Rusty's Retirement farm
(Image credit: Mister Morris Games)

One of the key selling points of farm sims is the satisfaction of seeing things grow. That might literally be your crops growing, but it might also be the size or layout of your farm or the web of processing and agricultural systems you've connected. This stuff is just plain engrossing to set up and marvelous to admire. 

So I guess it only makes sense that the upcoming idle farm sim Rusty's Retirement has zeroed in on this zen-like progression to make a cute little game that's principally designed to be admired in the background, not unlike an idle Stardew Valley. 

Developer Mister Morris Games listed Rusty's Retirement on Steam just recently, and it's due to launch in the first quarter of 2024. I'll admit I wasn't that interested in it at first blush simply because there are a lot of idle games out there and the main appeal of the genre – that is, playing a game by not playing a game – has never really held my interest. But then the developer's name rang a bell in my mind. Mister Morris Games previously made Haiku, the Robot, a delightful little microvania about sometimes cute, sometimes corrupt robots that came out last year. Now my interest is piqued.  

Rusty's Retirement was built from the ground up to be "a relaxing idle-farming simulator that sits at the bottom of your screen while you do other things." You can zoom in or out to make the game less distracting on your desktop or to get a closer look for some fine-tuning, with closer perspectives gobbling up what looks like the bottom fifth of your screen. 

The goal, as you might expect from an idle farming sim made by a known robot enthusiast, is to assemble and fuel an army of tiny machines that assist with Rusty's farm. Select, unlock, and grow crops; produce biofuel and sell off the excess; and reinvest your profits to make the farm bigger and better. 

It's a game of efficiency, I gather, and I do so love a well-oiled machine. The presentation is lovely, and the subtle intricacies of the farm are already grabbing my eyes, and I haven't even got it on my desktop yet. I look forward to trying it out next year and inevitably enacting a self-imposed ban when I'm unable to look away. 

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Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a senior writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature, all while playing as many roguelikes as possible.