The Sims 4: Cottage Living Review – A Breath of Fresh Farm Air

The Sims 4: Cottage Living Review

After having the opportunity to write the preview for Sims 4: Cottage Living, I knew this would become one of my new favorite packs. There’s just something so charming about being able to have our Sims live the rustic farm life in the beautiful UK-inspired, Henford-on-Bagley. The eleventh DLC entry into the series, Cottage Living is the first farming-focused pack to be released, and it gets almost everything right.

Starting Out Fresh 

When you’ve finally made the move into the new rural countryside, you’ll be able to easily buy chickens, cows, and llamas by purchasing animal sheds in build mode. Chicken coops can house up to a combination of eight hens or roosters. Unfortunately, the cow & llama shed can only house one animal, but luckily the game doesn’t inhibit us from owning more than one barn at a time.

Tending to your animals is key here, as the better they are treated, the higher the rewards which you can use to be made into tasty recipes or to be sold. You’ll be able to converse, play and pet your animals along with giving them treats. You can create various goodies for your farm friends, which will increase the animals’ affection and give them certain effects. For example, you can feed your cows veggies to produce plant-based milk or give your chickens gold treats to turn them into golden chickens, eventually giving you golden eggs. Tending to the animals is such a fresh feature in the Sims world, not to mention the critters themselves are wonderfully adorable.

Along with caring for your furry friends, Cottage Living also comes with two new Lot Challenges. The first challenge, “Simple Living,” adds another layer of immersion as you’ll now have to live off of the land as much as possible. Here, you’ll be making cooking recipes but will require players to use ingredients that are farmed, foraged in the woods, or bought at the stalls in town. The other challenge, “Wild Foxes,” makes the appearance of these sneaky little guys more prevalent on your farm. They can often be found lurking around and will try to steal eggs from your chicken coops as well as picking fights with rabbits.

The Sims 4: Cottage Living

New Activities To Take On 

There’s nothing better than having fresh food at any time of the year! Now Sims can make canned goods out of various jams, sauces, conserves, and more. Kids can now also help out in the kitchen as well as on the farm. I love that kids can assist in the kitchen; the act of my Sims cooking together was just so wholesome and funny, and on top of the family togetherness, you can take those items and others along with you on a picnic. For our more creative hands-on Sims, you can now buy hoops to create a range of different-sized cross stitches. Depending on size and skill, you can make a decent amount of simoleons on the side or even gift them to that special Sim.

Finchwick, the neighborhood with an air of romance and idyllic charm, is so beautifully put together that the town actually feels alive. The area is large and feels like an open world. You’ve got the pub to go to and merchant stalls where you can buy much-needed equipment and ingredients. I was also delighted to see that some of the buildings were interactable. Being able to window shop or change your outfits in the buildings is a simple addition and really makes the city feel more lived in. You’ve also got the Finchwick Fair, where you can compete with other Sims in various baking or produce competitions.

The Sims 4: Cottage Living

It Was…Almost Perfect

Since farming and the various new activities will require a fair amount of items for you to be holding and carrying around, managing inventory becomes a real problem. There isn’t a way to properly organize anything, and it can make searching for certain items a real pain as you have to scroll through the entire page slowly. There are some filters on hand to maybe help you out a bit, but it’s still not the most user-friendly mechanic.

I mentioned this in the preview, but I’m still a bit disappointed in the Create-A-Sim. I can dress my female Sims to my heart’s content, but the wardrobe and hair options for the males and kid Sims still leave very much to be desired. The overall Build/Buy catalog has some really great items, but it still feels like we didn’t get as many items in this pack as we did in previous releases.

The world of Henford-On-Bagley is absolutely breathtaking and has such a fairy-like and whimsical charm. EA really did a wonderful job capturing the rustic vibe of the European countryside. There are a few flaws with inventory management and the relatively scant wardrobe options, but you can still really enjoy your time on the farm. Because honestly, what’s better than being able to hug and pet your cows and llamas!

*** PC review code provided by the publisher ***


The Good

  • Taking care of animals and crops is incredibly rewarding
  • Henford-on-Bagley is a breathtaking world
  • New Lot Challenges for deeper gameplay
  • This world feels very well lived in

The Bad

  • Create-A-Sim and Buy/Build mode is lacking
  • Inventory management is non-existent