Rusty’s Retirement Is The Best Thing On My PC Right Now

And I have a lot of things on there.

As the “cosy” farming/life sim genre has continued to swell and grow in recent years, propelled off of the backs of the likes of Stardew Valley, Animal Crossing and a global pandemic, it can almost feel like too much. It’s hard to look anywhere without seeing another cosy sim of some kind, and trying to keep up even as a fan of the category can be tough.

Still, there’s an itch there to scratch and it’s an itch that I can only fill with tended crops and a slowly-growing community of friends. That’s where Rusty’s Retirement comes in. This is a game that not only gives me those base needs but does it in a way that I do have time for, by sitting idly in the bottom of my PC’s display and asking for just the barest of interaction while I do the things I’m actually supposed to be doing. It’s the ultimate work-from-home companion, then, a pleasing bit of desktop decor that also happens to be a game.

I’ve been “playing” Rusty’s Retirement for less than a week, and even then my progress has been slow purely on account of my nature to swing wildly between hyperfocus and easy distractibility, but it’s hardly mattered. The adorable, pixelated little farmin’ robot and star of the thing, Rusty, potters away in the periphery just watering, harvesting and processing the crops I’ve plopped in during a spare 30 seconds, and as I glance down under my work every so often I see I’ve amassed enough resources to expand his farm or bring in a new friend to lighten the labour.

One day I’m sure I’ll have a thriving farm with a whole army of robotic friends and farmhands, a full compliment of stores to buy new and exciting tools from, decorations placed with some degree of artistry and many more acres of land, and if I wanted to I could even employ help from my (non-existent) Twitch audience to get there, but I’m not in any kind of hurry.

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That’s the beauty of Rusty’s Retirement. It’s not a traditional game with goals and a sense of urgency, it’s somewhere between a toy and a piece of interactive ornamentation. Even when I’ve had my fill of what it has to offer, which is a fairly robust suite of dozens of different crops, automated assistants, livestock, wild flora and fauna and more, I know it’s going to continue to sit at the bottom of my screen because it just looks so nice there. You can have it go down the side, too, if that’s more to your taste.

There are definitely things I’d love to see go into the game down the track. Moving objects around can be tricky when you only want to nudge them a few blocks either direction, I’d be keen for some more decorations or apparatus, and there’s a tendency for the game to hog system resources on the default settings, but if none of that ever happens I’d still call it $10 well spent.

So if you’ve ever wanted something that’s halfway between a cosy farming sim and a live wallpaper, or just need a pleasant and charming distraction to take some of your desktop real estate away from the drudgeries of work, Rusty’s Retirement might be just the ticket.

You can get Rusty’s Retirement on Steam for $10.49 (currently $9.44 as an introductory offer until May 8th!)