One of my long-time stress relief activities is playing computer games. My all-time favorite game right now (over 300 hours put into it since I bought it a few years ago) is Stardew Valley. It's relatively inexpensive, not very hard (for the most part, although there are workarounds for the harder aspects, like fishing and battling in the mines, until you get the hang of things), it has lots of repetitious activities I find soothing, and uncovering the NPC character stories is fun.
But after a while even I want to try something new. But similar! I've tried a few "similar to Stardew Valley" games and most of them have fallen short in some way. Or they simply haven't been finished yet - I'm learning to loathe Early Access on Steam. For example, I recently tried Fantasy Farming: Orange Season, and while it had potential, it has a long way to go before it can make it out of Early Access. Then there's stuff like World's Dawn, which is technically a finished game but has so many bugs I couldn't possibly recommend it to anyone.
At the moment, the closest thing I've found to "like Stardew Valley, but not" that's actually a finished game and hitting the right appeal factors for me is Alchemy Story. Your character is an alchemist who moves to a small town and discovers that most of the inhabitants have been transformed into cute animals, supposedly by a local witch. As you transform the villagers back, you gradually unlock other areas of the game. It's much more linear than Stardew Valley - it forces you to unlock things in a certain order, so I had to figure out how to get bluebells in order to unlock the forest, and I'm only just now being give the option to start unlocking the mines.
But it has cute animals, the characters have personalities (although they stay in one place and are less interesting than Stardew Valley's NPCs), and there don't seem to be any time limits for anything. You can befriend the NPCs and eventually marry them (choosing one is going to be so hard), buy cute pets and farm animals, and spend your days running around and collecting flowers and insects. I consider Stardew Valley to be pretty easy to play, but Alchemy Story is even easier - fishing literally just involves getting your hook somewhere near a fish and then clicking when the fish is caught, and all you have to do is make sure your energy never goes to zero. And hey, when you pet animals, their happiness increases your energy. How cute is that?
I doubt I'll end up putting as much time into this game as I have into Stardew Valley because it feels more limited in a lot of ways and doesn't seem to have as much replay value, but it still seems pretty decent so far. We'll see if my interest survives the Nintendo Switch I'm supposed to be getting in a few days.
Here's what some of the animals look like (screenshot taken from here). Look at those chubby cuties! The NPC designs are similarly cute, but it's a little weird looking considering that several of the guys have 5 o'clock shadows.