This farming sim sits at the bottom of your screen while you kid yourself you’re doing other things

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Steam is lousy with farming sims that will absolutely destroy your productivity by ensnaring you within a compulsive loop of reaping and sowing. Rusty’s Retirement explicitly promises a less engrossing experience: it’s a farming sim that “sits at the bottom of your screen while you do other things.”

Specifically, it’s an “idle-farming simulator”. You select crops, plop them down, and choose how to spend resources as you unlock new crops, process them into biofuel, and use the biofuel to power a growing army of robots who automatically carry out tasks around the farm.

Or, you ignore all that, and do some work for a while. Rusty’s Retirement clamps to the bottom of your screen, just above the taskbar, and takes up about a third of your screen real estate. It’s designed such that you can poke and prod at your farm and then return to writing that job spec for an editor-in-chief role at a video game website. If the farm becomes too demanding or distracting, you can also turn on Focus Mode, which slows down crop production to give you less to do.

I’ve been pairing work with ambient experiences for years. (As I write this post, I’ve got a livestream of a tornado chaser open in another tab.) I long for games that can deliver a similar level of distraction, tickling my brain between paragraphs, then swiftly turning me back to whatever it was I was supposed to be doing.

It’s too early for me to know if Rusty’s Retirement will offer me this, but I like the idea. It’s out now on Steam. and it’s £5.39/€6.29/$6.29.

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