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Lawn Mowing Simulator (PS5) Review

Do you suffer from hay fever yet wish you could straddle a magnificent vegetation-trimming machine and give a close-shave haircut to an overgrown garden without the fear of having an allergic reaction? Perhaps you live in the UK and only have a small patch of grass that takes less time to cut than it does to find and set up your mower, which you have to dig out of the shed under everything that’s fallen on top of it? Or, maybe you do have a decent-sized garden but you only own a push-operated lawn mower, dreaming of one day being able to drive a seated mower like they do in the movies? If so then you’re in luck as Lawn Mowing Simulator was made for you!

Initially released on PC and Xbox in 2021, publisher Curve Games and developer Skyhook Games recently released the casual landscaping simulation game on both the PlayStation 4 and 5 (with cross-buy) – I’ve been taking a look at the PS5 version for this review.

Although simulation games usually allow you to do things that you may not be officially qualified or able to perform, such as operate trains, drive a bus, fly a plane, or run a hospital, sometimes you just want to do something you could easily do in real life but without having to get off your arse. This game, and Powerwash Simulator, have been my go-to casual relaxation therapy sessions for the last few weeks, but why did I feel more tense and frustrated towards the end of my time with Lawn Mowing Simulator? Let’s find out…

Lawn Mowing Simulator 1

I may or may not have knocked into the bin…

Lawn Mowing Simulator is a simulation game in which you mow lawns – just in case the title wasn’t that obvious… There are a few modes to jump into, Career, Freeplay, and Challenge, yet you need to progress within the main Career Mode first in order to unlock missions, vehicles, and locations within the others. Your main goal within the Career is to earn as much as you can and invest in new vehicles, hire new staff, and improve your reputation by perfecting jobs without causing too much damage to the flowers (even though it’s sometimes fun to go on a floral massacre).

For the lawn mowing fanatics out there, Lawn Mowing Simulator contains officially licenced mowers for you to perch your bottom upon as you glide around the garden. There are twelve models to purchase from Toro, STIGA and SCAG, ranging from the low-end with a slow speed and not much power all the way up to much bigger ones which could probably tear the garden to shreds if you’re not careful. Some mowers even come with optional accessories which change the way they work and/or how the grass is deposited.

Although the Career Mode will easily take up many, many hours of your life, especially if you’re trying to go for all the trophies by fully training your staff, buying all the vehicles, finding all the collectables, and using a certain mower on a certain day in year 2+, the other modes also offer countless hours of enjoyment if you wish to simply jump in for a casual session or torture yourself with the very tense and frustrating challenges (more about these later). 

Lawn Mowing Simulator 2

Just having a stretch after mowing for an hour, 0.4% left to go!

Gameplay
Lawn Mowing Simulator is a simple yet frustratingly realistic simulation game. Before playing the game, I thought this was going to be an arcade-like simulation game that let me casually drive around and cut the grass, relaxing and enjoying the ambience as I carefully but quickly turned an over-grown garden into a well-trimmed one. Oh, how I was wrong. Instead, you have to constantly adjust the throttle in order to not burn out your motor and damage the vehicle, whilst also being mindful of not damaging the plants, hitting things, and dulling your blades by cutting concrete or moving too fast! It’s quite stressful at times.

Basically, depending on how powerful your mower is and how short you’ve been asked to cut the grass, you have to adjust your speed accordingly so you don’t try and cut it too fast as that can lead to engine failures which damage your vehicle, dulls the blades, and doesn’t even cut the grass properly. This may be realistic and add to the authenticity of the experience, but I found it to be a little frustrating as it meant you had to drive around much slower than the vehicle was capable of moving, often leading to upwards of an hour (or more) to complete the bigger missions. 

Thankfully, if you find it hard to reach smaller nooks with your big mower, or you want to get a close shave near the flowerbeds without decapitating them all, then you can jump off your vehicle and grab a trimmer from the back of your truck and use that instead. The one downside is that you have to literally look at your feet whilst using it, but it does allow for more precise and accurate cutting. Being accurate is important as you’ll receive penalties if you trim the flowers, damage the ground, or continuously bang into things.

Your main goal in every job is to cut at least a set percentage of the grass to the height you’ve been employed to do so. A handful of missions set this at around 95% but the vast majority expect you to perfectly cut 99.9%, meaning you’ll often be running around like a headless chicken as you search for the final few scraps of grass you’ve missed. To help you out, there is a button which highlights the uncut grass whilst you’re standing still – move and it stops flashing – yet you’ll still find it hard to spot anything that’s not in a clump, especially during the timed challenges.

Lawn Mowing Simulator 3

I see you hiding there!

Aside from earning money and reputation by completing the jobs you accept, you can also earn a little of both on the side by finding ‘lost items’ which have been left behind within various locations and also clearing the grass of debris before jumping on your mower. Clearing the grass is an optional event, tasking you with looking for items such as gnomes, bottles, and frisbees in the long grass which could potentially damage your vehicle. However, should you disregard this as you have enough experience or don’t feel like walking around, the items simply vanish upon mounting the mower – so technically you won’t accidentally murder a gnome, sadly.

There are a few different types of jobs which pop up during Career Mode, a standard mowing request, a striping request, and litter picking. Litter picking is basically the same as the above optional task of finding items in the grass, only this time there are more items and you’re looking for trash that’s been discarded in the parks and public areas. The striping requests require certain mowers and accessories, forcing you to alternate the direction you mow in order to leave a striped effect on the grass whilst also aiming for the set percentage of grass trimmed to a certain length at the same time.

As your reputation increases, you’ll gain access to new locations and alternative areas within locations you’ve worked in before. After you’ve done at least one job within them, they’ll become available to select within Freeplay Mode. I liked the variety on offer and thought the level design was great, offering various locations ranging from small backyards to massive open parks and even a castle’s grounds. If you need help gaining more reputation or money, you can always…

Lawn Mowing Simulator 4

Meet my team of Master Lawn Trimmers

Hire a team
You’ll initially find it hard to save money as you’ll spend most of your earnings on repairing your mower and upgrading to bigger and better machines. However, after you’ve got a few spare vehicles you can look into hiring people to help you out, n00bs that you can assign to the jobs you’ve been offered that you’re not personally taking care of for that day. As you grow and move into new headquarters, you can invest in more members of staff and equipment. However, this isn’t a ‘get rich quick’ trick, you have to successfully complete a job for your minions to also complete theirs, if you simply start a job then leave, they’ll also come home empty-handed. 

Challenges
I was loving Lawn Mowing Simulator right until I decided to try my skill at the challenges. The majority of these are quite easy, you have to cut the grass in set locations within a certain amount of time or with only a small amount of fuel, all whilst trying to not damage your vehicle as it’s “game over” if you bang it a few times. However, there are two almost impossible challenges in the expert difficulty section, mowing 99.9% of two massive gardens within a very short time with a low-tier lawnmower. 

I’ve personally tried these two challenges at least 15 times each, always failing either at 99.8% and unable to find the uncut grass or accidentally damaging myself too much by driving too fast and murdering the innocent plants. The time and percentage are very unfair and hard to achieve – it’s not technically impossible as some people have the platinum, but I honestly can’t complete them. This is a shame as I really like the game, but the amount of stress and frustration the challenges have caused really affected the enjoyment I was having. 

Sure, challenges are supposed to be ‘challenging’, but these two in particular feel dramatically unfair and ruin the casual nature of the game. If they were to simply require 0.1% less, or give you a few extra minutes, then that would make a massive difference.

Lawn Mowing Simulator 5

Making the lawn striped is fun, it can be a little intense when on the clock though!

The sounds of nature
The menus within Lawn Mowing Simulator have music, it’s a catchy tune which suits the game well. However, once you get in your truck and arrive at your job destination, the only sounds you’ll hear are the purring of the lawnmower between your legs and the birds in the trees. I liked this as it further added to the immersion and allowed you to play your own music through USB or Spotify, should you wish to do so. I personally stuck to the atmospheric sounds, becoming lost and absorbed in the casual gameplay. Well, that’s until I was pulled out from my immersion due to the…

Terrible pop-in
I was playing Lawn Mowing Simulator on the PlayStation 5, Sony’s latest console which is capable of loading a vast amount of data within the blink of an eye thanks to the super-fast SSD and optimised hardware. However, it’s clear that the game hasn’t been fully optimised to take advantage of the hardware and/or simply hasn’t had the visual settings adjusted accordingly for the new-gen console. the performance is fine but the level of detail (LoD) has been set very, very low – you constantly see flowers, bushes, grass, and objects pop in as you drive around, even if they’re only a few feet away from you in-game.

For me, this is the worst part of the game, having flowers and the grass pop in and out of existence is very jarring, a visual issue which shouldn’t be a thing when you’re driving around a small enclosed level. Even the bigger levels aren’t technically that big, not if you compare the game to bigger open-world games that have far more vegetation and little to no pop-in on the PS5. I’m hoping this is simply a settings issue that the developers can adjust, pushing the LoD out far or disabling it completely (maybe give us an option to do so if it affects performance) – but, as it stands right now, you can almost see the circular LoD barrier around you as you drive, pulling you out of the immersion and distracting you throughout most locations.

This video should show you the pop-in visuals. You may need to re-watch a few times:


Is it fun?
Short answer, yes. I found Lawn Mowing Simulator very satisfying, watching as the grass turned a different shade of green depending on how short you trimmed it, gradually purchasing new upgrades and vehicles so I can perform the tasks quicker, and I even enjoyed the challenges (bar the two I literally can’t complete). There’s a decent amount of progression and polished gameplay which some simulation games don’t usually provide, making it not only fun to play but also pretty to look at and easy to pick up and play.

I also, strangely, liked the fact that you had to constantly regulate and adjust the amount of throttle you placed on the mower to avoid it burning out and damaging the garden. Rather than being able to hold down the trigger and race around the garden without any issues, forcing you to slow down means you have to remain focused and engaged. However, this did mean I couldn’t use my HexGaming Pro Ultimate Controller as that has digital triggers so I’d have no way to manually adjust the speed.

The only negatives I personally had were (once again) the two almost impossible challenges and the terrible pop-in. It’s a shame as the game actually runs really well on the PlayStation 5, offering a 60fps framerate and nice sharp visuals, it’s just let down by the fact your character must be very short-sighted, only seeing flowers appear when it’s within 1-2 meters in front of you (grass about 5-6 meters) – maybe he should go to Specsavers? I also loaded up the PS4 version of the game (as it’s cross-buy), thinking maybe it’s a bug and that version is fine? Nope, exactly the same settings only a much lower resolution (there’s also no save import option).

Official Trailer:

Final Conclusion:
Lawn Mowing Simulator takes a mundane activity and turns it into a very satisfying and relaxed experience that quickly becomes super addictive. Although the Career Mode is very relaxed, starting off solo and then allowing you to hire NPCs to help you out, the challenges will certainly test your patience, speed, and efficiency. If you’re willing to overlook the incredible short LoD, which results in pop-in a few feet in front of your vehicle, and the frustrating spike in difficulty within a few of the challenges, then those looking for a relaxed casual simulation experience should pick this up today.


There are trophies on PSN for two DLC packs which are out on PC and Xbox, but the DLCs aren’t out on Playstation yet. However, considering the trophies are live on PSN, I imagine the two packs will be coming soon.


Here are 20 minutes of us mowing the lawn:

A copy of the game was kindly provided for review purposes

Lawn Mowing Simulator

£15.99
8.5

Final Score

8.5/10

The Good:

  • The career and Freeplay modes are very relaxing
  • Has a decent amout of depth with hiring a crew and unlocking new gardens and fields
  • Looks very pretty
  • Can be played by anyone
  • Contains both the PS4 and PS5 versions

The Bad:

  • The pop-in is terrible, flowers, grass, and weeds appear a few feet in front of your mower
  • There are two very hard challenges which have a very big difficulty spike over all of the others
  • Not a negative but there's no info on when the DLC is coming out yet
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