Since being diagnosed with PTSD, I’ve learned that no matter how LOVED I actually am, there will always be moments where I feel LONELY.
Recently, I went through one of these phases. To be honest I’m still kind of in it. It kind of feels like emerging from the ocean. The tides are still lapping at my feet that are still sinking into the sand, but I’m almost on dry land.
While I was still out to sea, I randomly started downloading pet simulator apps. It felt like a way that I could set boundaries on my screen time, but still feel like I was playing something (that’s what we call personal development!). By finding the right apps, I didn’t feel so alone anymore. It reminded me that there are A LOT of people out there struggling with this same phenomenon.
That’s why I decided to publish my ten favorite Pet Simulation apps that I’ve tried out. In writing this listicle, I strove for diversity in time commitment, whimsy, and game mechanics. I’ve starred my absolute favorites that I still maintain. I’d love to hear your thoughts and which ones you prefer in the comments.
Whether you’re in a funk or just looking for a dose of adorable, I hope adopting one of these apps brings you joy:
- *Bird BnB: Run your own fully customizable treehouse turned hotel. Each bird that comes to visit has specific requests such as time at the bird baths and which food they prefer. My favorite part about this app is that the designers were super generous with the in-game economy! You never feel strapped for resources or cash and if you do run out, it’s easy to build your money back up with free options. Unlike other restaurant or hotel sims, there are no time sensitive punishments or rewards; so you won’t feel pressured into checking into the app every other notification.
- *Clusterduck: A silly duck collection game in the spirit of “Goat Simulator.” Anything can be a duck. The creativity is as endless as the combinations of duck heads, bodies, and tails. The only upkeep is hatching your eggs and keeping your population under 25. How? By sacrificing ducks to the mysterious pit; which the game incentivizes by giving you a cursed egg every now and so often. This keeps the game fresh and gives you a hearty chuckle every now and so often.
- Axolochi: A straightforward pet sim with only three steps to pet care and a whole underwater world to uncover. If you love mystery collecting sets then you’ll love this app. Each Axolochi can be leveled up four times and is super cute from infanthood to adult. With full attentiveness you can raise two a day. My only wish is that the in-game currency of “pearls” which will eventually expand your collection was easier to come by. If you don’t mind slowburn, though, this may be for you.
- DinosaurPark: All the fun of Ark without the fear of dying a semi-random, always brutal death. This game is for people looking for their next big upkeep and collection game.
- *Finch: This app is all about self-care through positive reinforcement. What is more positively reinforcing than an adorable penguin/finch looking “birb” you get to raise? NOTHING! Supplement your birb’s life adventures through achieving self-care goals, meditations, breathing exercising, and journaling. Along the way you’ll collect gems to spend on fashion and furniture for you growing birb.
- My Monsters: Pet collection made musical. Each new monster you collect adds a new pattern to your song. On top of being super adorable, it’s very cathartic.
- Secret CatForest: This app has truly captured the essence of being a cat lover. Instead of owning cats, they come to visit depending on the furniture you build. Every visitor eats a bit of your fish and returns the gesture by being absolutely adorable. This is another game with no high-strung commitment to feeding and caring for your “pet” and no negative consequences for leaving it be for a while.
- My Dog: If you’re craving a simulator like Petz this is the one for you. With this app you can raise and train realistic looking puppies. You can challenge other players to competitions to earn even more money for your pup. The app can get really immersive, so this is probably the only pet sim you’ll need for a long time.
- My Boo: Made for kids, but fun for adults. My Boo is an adorable pet sim where you feed, clothe, and play with a blob. Even though they’re kiddie versions of other popular games (solitaire, snake, etc), the minigames are fun tangents that are also very generous with in game currency.
- *Bird Alone: This is the only entry with a price tag, but for some it may be worth it. Meet your new best friend! Like My Finch, Bird Alone comes with prompts to encourage motivation and mental health. The art and music are super soothing, and the writers did an amazing job capturing the essence of a chaotic good bestie. Your best friend will write poetry, draw, and make music with you. It’s a great app for a small price, and if you’re hesitant you can try out the 14-day trial. Personally, the “conversations” with my parrot always warm my heart and bring a smile to my face.