Home » Lawn Mowing Simulator Nintendo Switch impressions — Scout Summary

Lawn Mowing Simulator Nintendo Switch impressions — Scout Summary

A Switch sitting in a field of grass with the Lawn Mowing Simulator splash screen.

Skyhook Games’ Lawn Mowing Simulator took the sub-genre by storm in 2021 by providing yet another new franchise in the sea of monotonous task-based titles. Despite its premise being pretty mundane and execution rather simplistic, quite a following has rallied around this little sim since launch. Seemingly out of nowhere, Lawn Mowing Simulator has found itself sprouting up on the Switch—nearly a full three years since its initial release.

One would be lead to think that this sudden expansion to other platforms means that a lot of work has been poured into ensuring the new version offers a competent experience. Alas, I was disappointed almost immediately with how Lawn Mowing Simulator stacks up on Nintendo’s hybrid—particularly because of the large time gap.

Trimming season

Before getting into the Switch specifics, we can at least go over a bit of the game’s scope. There are four modes on offer: Career, Quick Mow, Challenge Mode, and Free Mow.

In the Career mode, the goal is to expand your landscaping business by gradually taking up more complex jobs for bigger clients. As you progress, experience points are earned and money is amassed to unlock and purchase bigger and better equipment. There’s a variety of licensed lawn mowers in the sim, with there even being some high-tech options such as all-electric models for high efficiency workloads.

The Quick Mow mode is one that appeals to Switch players perhaps the best, as it offers the ability to simply jump into a random contract.

There is a “small” and “large” option, with the former generating a quick, 10-30 minute session, whereas the latter can produce a job that can take up to an hour to finish. Completing these missions don’t really seem to count towards any progression; they’re simply available for having something quick to play to kill time.

Lawn Mowing Simulator Nintendo Switch review Quick Mow mode.
The pick up and play nature of the new Quick Mow mode is perfect for a hybrid like the Switch.

In Challenge Mode, there’s a list of contracts that need to be completed under tricky conditions. For instance, some missions have you racing against the clock, whereas others force you to be mindful of your fuel consumption.

Free Mow, as the name suggests, simply allows you to venture out into an area and mow to your hearts content with any unlocked equipment of your choosing. On that note, while there are some starter maps and machines to toy with, you’ll have to first unlock more content by playing through the Career Mode for it to then be available in Free Mow mode.

Cutting to the right height

Truly, there isn’t much strategy to employ when playing Lawn Mowing Simulator. While many other machinery-based sims may encourage the development of some advanced skills to maximise efficiency, this one is more or less focused on simply handing the players the keys to an overall ‘chill’ experience.

There are important factors to pay attention to, such as watching the fuel consumption, setting your blade to cut the correct height, and finishing a client’s property in a reasonable amount of time. Yet, outside of the Challenge Mode, there isn’t much pressure applied outside of what the player may add to their own gameplay session in order to make things more interesting. The Quick Mow and Free Mow modes further emphasise the presence of a tranquil atmosphere that surrounds the whole package.

Perhaps the one thing the sim chooses to be truly picky about is getting to practically 99.9% completion of the work area before the mission is considered to be finished.

Screenshot of Lawn Mowing Simulator on Switch.
Making sure to grab every blade of grass is essential for completing a job.

The system truly does count even the decimals; I had to use the string trimmer to cut mere blades that I missed with the mower, including hard to reach areas where the mower simply couldn’t cut at all. Only then would the completion bar fill high enough. Of course, working in landscaping means you try to get everything to look as perfect as possible, so perhaps I should commend the sim’s attention to detail.

Minding the details

Speaking of optics, this is where I have a real bone to pick with the Switch edition of Lawn Mowing Simulator. To put it simply—this port is ugly.

Of course, by now we all know that so many multi-plat releases on Switch often fall notably short of other platforms when it comes to visual fidelity. But, the Switch has much more complex titles than this in its library, and they look better too. Even games in a same general sphere of vehicle simulators; titles like Saber Interactive’s MudRunner and SnowRunner, and Giant Software’s Farming Simulator – Nintendo Switch Edition all look very decent. This, however, just looks crude.

The lighting and shading have taken an exceptional hit. Everything looks flat and plasticky; there’s not much detail. The texture work is fine, but the lack of depth cannot be overlooked.

Screenshot of Lawn Mowing Simulator on Switch review graphics
The Switch has limited hardware capabilities, but this is sincerely low effort when it comes to getting the most out of the system.

To really rub salt in the wound, the Main Menu has the audacity to include in-game screenshots for background images. However, the images have not been changed for the Switch edition; they’re reflective of perhaps the PC version.

While this particular detail is something one might miss if they’re not paying attention, once you notice it, it’s impossible to unsee. But, honestly, even before I took note of that, my initial impression upon loading up my first mission was: “Wow, this is hard to look at.”

Playing in handheld mode does help to alleviate some of the visual degradation, but there’s still no getting past that I feel like more work should’ve been done to flesh out the presentation on Switch. Even the audio quality seems to have taken hit; another cut corner. Having released so long after the initial PC version in this state, there’s no good excuse other than this seemingly being a quick and dirty port job.

Sprouting up through the cracks

Once again turning attention to the time gap, one has to wonder why now is this port releasing? Lawn Mowing Simulator may have a following, but it’s still very much a niche game. It never even truly hit critical mass in the way that something like the similarly mundane, yet surprisingly popular PowerWash Simulator did.

Lawn Mowing Simulator’s extremely late arrival on Switch, particularly in the current state its in, just leads me to believe this was done merely to ink out whatever sales could be garnered from curious casual shoppers.

Its shortcomings don’t necessarily lead it to fall into the category of useless shovel ware fodder, but it’s not too far from that either, given the lacklustre presentation alone.

Lawn Mowing Simulator review world visuals on Nintendo Switch.
The game’s charming visuals are what’s always added to its appeal, but that’s not the case with this release.

True, graphics are not everything. However, a big part of Lawn Mowing Simulator’s appeal is its soothing visuals of properties surrounded by lush lawns ready to be manicured. You don’t get any of that visual communication on Switch since it all just looks like cheap dollar store cut-outs.

The other key area where the Switch edition falls short is not truly a fault of the devs, but more so the system.

Having to make minute adjustments to your mower when rolling along calls for good use of analog sticks and triggers. The Switch’s primary controllers (Joy-Con and Pro Controllers) lack analog triggers, so controlling the throttle is an interesting task. The game even yells at you for overloading your mower’s motor if you drive too fast when cutting.

Interestingly, the default control scheme has the left stick function as both a steering wheel and secondary option for the throttle in order to get that analog functionality.

Lawn Mowing Simulator Nintendo Switch controls.
Controlling your mower isn’t the easiest on Switch due to the lack of analog triggers. But, some alternative control methods have been implemented to help.

Although this is a good alternative to make up for the lack of a real analog trigger, it’s not that easy to properly steer while also nudging the stick up and down for the throttle. At the very least, hitting the “L” button activates the cruise control, allowing the mower’s speed to be held and adjusted while you focus on steering; particularly useful when mowing larger properties.

Hedge funds

With these shortcomings in mind, I stand by my initial comment of how I’m disappointed with this rendition of Lawn Mowing Simulator. What really seals the deal on this sentiment is that this port is going for the same price of $19.99 across both the Nintendo eShop and Steam. Meanwhile, the physical version (while nice to have) is even more egregious as that’s going for $34.99.

It almost goes without saying that the Switch edition is not worth being the same price, given the significantly stripped back visuals and awkward controls. Not to mention that the Steam version tends to go on sale for as low as $5.99; so a Steam Deck (or other PC handheld) can offer a better experience for less money.

Lawn Mowing Simulator Nintendo Switch price
Just as the game invites you to be smart with your money when it comes to buying new equipment, so too should players be mindful of which version of Lawn Mowing Simulator they pick up.

Unfortunately, Lawn Mowing Simulator on Switch, at least in its launch state, is more like a patch of weeds than a nicely trimmed yard. Here’s to hoping the developers can spruce this up in the same way the player does to the virtual in-game properties.

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Scout Summary is a series dedicated to providing a review-like report of games and their DLC when, despite not having been fully completed, they’ve already shown off a significant portion of their mechanics. Thus, these reports highlight the visited aspects of the content and summarise the writer’s overall feelings of the project. Or, you can just call these mini reviews/impressions…but that’s less fun!