I’ll be the first to admit that farming sims aren’t my cup of tea. Why would I want to plant, water, and grow crops when exploring uncharted worlds and battling monstrous enemies are options? We consistently get a handful of these games every year, and while they perform decently well, the biggest success in recent memory is Animal Crossing: New Horizons. But Fae Farm uniquely called out to me when I saw its launch trailer a few weeks back. Touting Multiplayer and RPG elements blended into an isolated island connected to a fantasy realm, I decided to take a look and see what Far Farm could bring to the table.
Your story begins with a fateful discovery on the oceanic shores of your home as an invitation from a faraway land in need appears via a message in a bottle. Embarking to help those calling out, your created character sets sail in search of this alluring place. Things turn south as a group of giant whirlpools destroy your ship. You wake up in the magical land of Azoria. Welcomed by the kindhearted mayor, you find out those whirlpools are keeping people from reaching Azoria and are tasked with helping dispose of them. The mayor isn’t the only resident, as a variety of citizens call Azoria their home that you meet through a series of introductions. Following this opening, a series of mysteries and discoveries are set into motion, revealing Azoria is more than it initially appears.
As a reward for agreeing to help them, the mayor provides a home, land, and some basic tools to get you started on your new life of farming and gathering. Using what you’ve gathered, caught, or mined, you’re free to customize and blueprint your land however you’d like. Fae Farm does a great job of offering a multitude of things to do for whatever kind of player is playing. Whether you want to focus your efforts on crafting, farming, mining, exploring, or a little bit of everything, there are countless things to upgrade, so you’ll never be short on things to do.
Living and thriving in Azoria isn’t free. You’ll need money and resources to upgrade your tools and purchase new items. I mentioned RPG elements earlier, and this is where those things come to fruition. By doing quests and using your given tools, you’ll level up your skills and earn money along the way. When you level up a specific skill, you’ll become more proficient. This either increases your skill’s power or increases its yield when harvesting items. The consistent sense of progression is very addicting; I found myself wanting to increase every attribute to maximize my efficiency.
You’ll be offered a hefty amount of quests to do in Fae Farm, but the quest system itself leaves a lot to be desired. Aside from the main story quests, a subset of optional job, friend, and romance quests are primarily how you’ll spend your time day to day. The first problem is the limitation of one active optional job quest at a time. By picking up a different job, you lose all progress on the previous one. This funnels you into focusing on one job at a time and restricts your freedom to do other things. Additionally, romance and friend quests are simply about fetching items without any notable storyline attached, unless you count your pal wanting a beverage as a story. It feels void of purpose and left me dismissing these quests as an irrelevant consumption of time and resources.
Like most farm sims, Fae Farm uses an in-game clock to end your activities for that day. After sleeping a restful night, the morning begins at six and you may either continue where you left off or begin tackling a different task. Running approximately twenty minutes of real-time, days feel very short in allowing you to do a variety of things. I never felt like I could do a variety of activities, but instead had to focus on one thing to make it worth the time investment. With each day ending at midnight, regardless of what you’re doing or where you are, the day ends. This is either a good or bad feature depending on how good at time management you are.
As you progress through the story, four of Azoria’s dungeons will unlock, offering another way to gather items and resources. Uniquely themed, dungeons offer better rewards for progressing further down each floor. However, enemies that you’ll need to defeat stand in your way. Sadly, the enemy encounters match the dungeon experience with bland and repetitive design. Each dungeon contains the same four or five enemies with the same four or five-floor layouts. It is a major disappointment, as I love dungeon crawlers and having a fleshed-out dungeon activity paired with the farming sim would’ve made the game have a bigger and more enjoyable game loop.
Upon completing Fae Farm’s main storyline, I met a variety of Azoria citizens who each bring their unique expertise to a job. You’ll spend time meeting everyone and, if desired, can pursue friendships and romantic relationships. Unfortunately, the game does a bad job of making those interactions feel organic or fulfilling. Chatting frequently and repeating the same dialogue doesn’t garner friendships or relationships. I also reset my relationships with some citizens, because I went from acquaintance to flirting simply because I chatted with them. While many RPGs have dialogue options, Fae Farm features one chat button to select, resulting in a poor implementation of a relationship system.
The best aspects of Fae Farm are the colorful visuals and customization options available for your new home and farm. Unlocking new decoration recipes can be done by purchasing them from citizens and finding scrolls hidden around Azoria. You’ll need a lot of components to craft, but the result is worth the time and effort. Customization is easy with the blueprint design system. Selecting an item opens up a grid layout, allowing you to place, rotate, and move things however you like. Changing your mind doesn’t bring any penalties either, as simply reclaiming that item refunds the materials used for crafting it.
Lastly, I want to touch on my solo experience playing Fae Farm. With the game centered around allowing one job quest to be active and the sheer amount of materials required to craft items, the game is significantly slower paced. With the customization of a house and farm being the game’s main draw, crafting those items as early as possible will be the primary objective of many. Having said that, I recommend playing Fae Farm with friends via Multiplayer. It’ll unlock the game’s best features in a reasonable timeframe, whereas playing solo runs at a snail’s pace.
Noah is the resident weeb who spends most of his time gaming and watching anime. His goal is to expand his skills while meeting new people. You have probably seen him feeding the other team kills in Overwatch Comp or speculating Star Wars and One Piece. Follow him on twitter @RigsbyNoah.
Barring its quest system and dull dungeons, Fae Farms is a solid farming sim that offers a ton of things to do in a fun and magical realm.