Nature games for PC? Any recommendations?

A couple years back, @Skipper posted in a thread that there are some nature games out there where you play as animals. Anyone have any recommendations that fit this bill?

The more realistic, the better. No problem with the natural violence of nature, for example hunting as a hawk, although that is not necessarily a plus. But I am definitely not looking for what is essentially a human in an animal body fighting with superhuman powers. Could be first or third person, but not abstracted to a board game style, or anything like that. I’d be good with something walking simulator style in this vein.

The Shelter games sound like what you’re looking for, though they have highly stylised art that may put you off.

Totally not real-life nature per se, but Subnautica might be worth checking out

Lost Ember is coming in the next few months. Somewhat stylized art style, but otherwise it fits the bill.

I don’t think that really fits the bill.
Those are barely games to begin with. You just run around and essentially do nothing. Certainly relaxing, though, if you can stand the graphics (I couldn’t. Made my head hurt).

What about this:

My first thought was: Wait, wasn’t that game famous for being horrible?

But no, that one is about a Black Tiger, not a Cougar. So stay away from Life of a Black Tiger:

I would take a look at all the games the Shelter folks have made. They’ve done a number of different takes on the formula. I would definitely recommend Shelter 2 over the first Shelter. Shelter 2 is more open world, more of a survival game. That’s what Shelter 1 looked to be, but it was actually a series of specific linear challenges (at least, as far as I got).

I absolutely love the art style of Shelter; I just wish they didn’t wash out the colors quite so much.

I just remembered there’s also the two Venture games, made by Pocketwatch before Andy hit the big time. Little known fact, I started helping Andy out with croc / dino behaviour and morphology for the third entry in this series, but he took a break to make a quick game that turned into Monaco!

I played VA many years ago and quite enjoyed it, you can control various animals although it’s more of an ecosystem simulator, but for the price worth a look if you can live with the graphics.

UnReal World (that you can play freely, and that you can buy on Steam when you fall in love with it) is one of the most beautiful tributes to nature and man’s relationship with it in a videogame in my opinion. The nature in this game is as beautiful as it is unjust and dangerous. You need, of course, to not care about the visuals, and it’s got the drawback you play as a very dangerous animal, a male man ;)

My original thought was about this old PC game, Wolf ('94):

And if I recall correctly, then or sometime since then, someone recommended this one:

The original I played and it struck me as such a great way to both learn about an animal and also enjoy playing as one. Unfortunately, gameplay like that leads people to want to try it only for exciting animals. You wouldn’t want to play SimRat, right? Playing as a wolf was fun but it’s been so many years since then I only vaguely remember it.

I can imagine that something a bit more exciting would be a game about a fictional Druid who had to take the form of different animals and both learn about them while also using each one as part of an overall goal.

Thank you for the suggestions. I’ll be checking these out!

I’d forgotten about WolfQuest - they’re remaking the game as a free update, with more realism and better gameplay systems apparently. I never played the original Wolf game but it actually looks great! Love those graphics.

Black Tiger had me thinking it was a sequel to the Capcom platformer.

Definitely not on the realistic side but there’s Niche. Start with an species and then mate with other species and the genes of both transfer to the offspring. Stay alive and evolve. I bought it when it came out played for a bit but then got sidetracked and never went back. Didn’t play long enough to determine if it was any good but the Steam reviews are positive.

Oh, there’s also Saurian where you play as a Dakotaraptor and, eventually, a handful of other dinosaurs. It’s still in Early Access and I’m not sure I’d recommend it just yet. It’s come a long way since its initial launch but I don’t think it’s there yet.

This game doesn’t fit the parameters (in fact it might be the polar opposite of what you want), but I just wanted to mention that hunter : call of the wild has the most beautiful representation of real wildernesses that I’ve seen in a video game (provided you have the gpu).

This thread reminded me of Survival on the ZX Spectrum which was released a year after I was born. I’ve no idea how I remember it but I recall it being brutal and exciting. As a very young child I scarcely understood what I was doing but it obviously left an impression on me and even then I could tell it was trying to teach me about nature. I also loved the box art. Looking back, it seems a bit rogue-like.