Cozy, farming simulators are everywhere you look these days.
No doubt, fans of the genre are eating well and Fae Farm is one that’s stood out for quite some time with its mix of adventuring, magical creatures, and multiplayer.
And for good reason, because this one’s great.
There’s a bit of everything in Fae Farm, from home designing, resource gathering, selling and trading, and even some dungeoneering. It’s a very versatile game with a great hook, stunning style and a solid loop that gradually helps the player build a connection to their town and what you can do in it.
Sure, there’s a basic story attached to it – though probably elaborate than most – but it’s enough to show you the basics, like cutting away grass, mining rock, chopping away vines, fishing, and even reading your mail. If you’ve played these games before, you’ll have a pretty good idea of how this goes.
It begins with you washing up on this small town and being greeted by the townsfolk. You’ll gradually work your way around meeting different people, like the local fisher, the beekeeper, the town mayor, as well as market vendors and even the local wizard.
Each will have initial quests for you that eventually see your reach expand and other opportunities open up to you from other citizens. You’re always on the clock, though, so just as you’ll find with other life sims, only certain actions can be performed at certain times of the day and people will go to bed if you’ve stepped away to make a cup of tea or something.
Equally, there are some tasks that require you to sleep through to the next day, like selling your wares on the marketplace for instance.
If you’ve ever played any of these games before, you’ll quickly start to learn and know the drill. But you can get married in this one, and as mentioned before there’s something a little bit extra special with this one as you get magical abilities along with the opportunity to raid some dungeons.
And once you breeze through the initial four chapters, the game becomes a lot more interesting and the differences really start to gleam through. Sure, you could jump on bouncy mushroom pads before to get to higher surfaces and even get sucked into a whirlpool which then gives you a total top down view of your map, but the best is yet to come.
There’s even a seasonal system here which definitely gives throwback to my Animal Crossing adventures where you can only find certain creatures and certain activities will happen within the town to make each time period feel more distinct.
And then there’s the dungeons which are full of resources to mine, things to craft and enemies to fight. See, in Fae Farm, you’re not just here to build your house and make nice with the residents, you’re also designated to look out for them, and craft unique meals to protect them from the dangers.
It’s made all the more interesting by full multiplayer so people can visit your towns, you can trade, take on dungeons and resource gathering together. But also you can rear animals, tend to gardens, craft new items and even share a bank. It opens up the game enormously and with long term support planned in the form of two DLC packs, you have to feel like this one is really set up for the long term.
On the one hand, what you see is what you get with Fae Farm. It is, unashamedly, very much like other cozy life and farming simulators on the market. But unlike those, it at least tries to do things a little differently by incorporating some magic, combat and deeper exploration visiting other worlds and using fast travel.
Topics of conversation often play out the same way and there’s not much life or energy in much of its cast. Which makes marriage and all those sorts of activities a little underwhelming. Also, in multiplayer, tool and gear progression doesn’t carry across if you’re not the host, which means there’s going to be plenty of repetition.
Speaking of, tasks do get pretty grindy after a while and you’ll find days can whizz past a bit too quickly so you can miss crucial opportunities and details, even when you think you’ve paused the game.
I’m also going to be completely honest, the lack of camera movement on the right stick really bugged me after a while. My view constantly felt obstructed and I instinctively wanted to look around to get a better look. But I appreciate this isn’t the only game that does this, so I guess it’s more my lizard brain getting in the way than something which would be a deal breaker for others.
Ultimately, though, Fae Farm is as good as any farming sim I’ve ever played. It’s just different enough from the others to stand out and it refines many common practices of the genre in a better presented way. And even if you’ve never tried one of these before, this game feels like a great bridge from titles like Animal Crossing, Minecraft Dungeons, even Stardew Valley.
Fae Farm takes note of what works in many great games and combines them in an entertaining, enjoyable package that offers great opportunities for replayability and multiplayer. Its relatively forgettable cast, grindy activity, along with some other minor frustrations do detract a bit from the game, but if you’ve ever loved farming sims / even if you haven’t, you’ll find plenty to enjoy and unpack here.
+ Gorgeous art
+ Fun mechanics with a good gameplay loop
+ Lots of activity variety, taking the best of all things from the genre
+ Multiplayer really lends itself to replayability
– Progression in multiplayer is disappointing if you’re not a host
– Cast are a bit bland and soulless
– You quickly fall into the grind with its activity base
Fae Farm is out now on PC, Switch, PS5 and Xbox
Code Kindly Provided by Phoenix Labs for review purposes
Tested on PC