Animal lovers tend to see their love of the cute and cuddly – or furry, feathery, or scaly – as a driving element of their personality. So, if you fit into those criteria, it kind of makes sense to extend your love of animals to your love of gaming. You with me?

There are hundreds of titles out there, but the six below are, for me, the best of the bunch. Whether you’re a quick-play connoisseur or prefer a marathon gaming session, I’m confident there’s an animal-themed game amongst this lot that will appeal to you.

Golden Buffalo

This one is a spectacular choice for those who play slots in their spare time. Golden Buffalo is one of the biggest hits in the slots’ world, thanks to its stunning theme and simple-to-understand gameplay. It’s a medium volatility slot, with a solid RTP – that stands for return to player, i.e. what you’ll get back from what you put in (on average). All of this means your bankroll – should – last plenty of time, as long as you keep your bet amounts regular. Plus, you should see wins both little and large.

The theme is what will really appeal to animal lovers though. Of course, the buffalo is the image that everybody wants to appear on the reels, but there are also plenty of other American prairie animals too. Look out for the mysterious wolf and the majestic mustang.

Shelter Series

The Shelter series is a series of games that allow you to become various different animals in an ever-changing (cruel, challenging, but stunningly beautiful) world. The first lets you play as a beautifully illustrated badger, whose sole mission is to look after her cubs. Keep your wits about you to survive in this harsh environment, but don’t let that blind you to the beauty all around!

Beyond the survival element of the game, you’ll also get to enjoy an emotional tale and a stunning artistic style. This indie developer has received rave reviews on the sites where it’s stocked, such as Steam. So much so that there are now three games in the series, each allowing you to play as a different animal, but each featuring key themes of love, loss, and survival.

Stardew Valley

If you prefer your animals to be both cute and productive then Stardew Valley is the choice for you. This game that was made entirely by Concerned Ape drops you off in an abandoned homestead and asks you to, well, get on with it! You’ll need to tend the garden, befriend the villagers, and slowly make-over your crumbling house, but better than all of that, you can choose some animal friends to keep around too.


You start with either a dog or a cat, that doesn’t do a great deal except show your affection. From that point on, you can get chickens, ducks, pigs, goats, cows, and even a horse! Before long you’ll have a veritable menagerie that produces valuable goods like eggs, feathers, cheese and even honey.

The Sims 4: Cats & Dogs Expansion Pack

So far, I’ve not picked a game that has exclusively domestic animals – that’s all about to change. The Sims 4 Cats and Dogs has – as you might have guessed  – cats and dogs at the heart. You’re able to build your own animals in the Create a Sim interface with a surprising degree of accuracy, being able to choose everything from the color of their nose and eyes to the unique splodges on their coats – and much more besides. Of course, if you’d rather skip right to the gameplay you can choose from a large gallery of pre-made breeds, including foxes and racoons!


Once you start playing the game properly, you can decide how ‘easy to live with’ your furry friend is going to be. You can train them to pee outside, or you can leave them to it and hire a maid. You can train them to do tricks and even make a little money out of it if the right sims see you. Finally, you can make a veterinary clinic and make sure that all of the cuddly critters in the city are well looked after.

Endling – Extinction is Forever

If you’re a fan of the Shelter games, then you’ll enjoy Endling too. While the title is, well, pretty miserable, the game itself is so pretty that I reckon you’ll be able to focus on that, hopefully. It’s a side-scrolling game, where you’re in control of the last fox on Earth. It’s up to you to guide her and her cubs to safety, in a world that’s been destroyed by humans.

If the theme feels a little close to home, that’s frank, because it is, but indie games like this that deal with difficult topics in a beautiful and creative way are worth celebrating. There’s light at the end of the tunnel for the foxes in this game, and there’s light at the end of the tunnel for us too, if only we can keep nature in mind and live our lives accordingly.