Fae Farm review (Switch eShop)
Let’s cut to the chase. You are here because you are most likely longing for another farming game in your life. In fact, you’ve probably already played most of them, from Stardew to Harvestella, and you’ve likely been burned several times by games you didn’t play. completely scratch itching Now, you want to know if Fae Farm, one of the most promising farming games of the past few years, lives up to the hype.
The short answer: especially. The long answer: this review.
Let’s start with the praises – of which there are plenty – Fae Farm is absolutely fantastic. You might think the trailers are a bit like My Sims or one of those mobile game ads where grandma kills everyone, we agree with that, but in action, Fae Farm is beautiful. Colors bloom from every inch of the meticulously hand-drawn landscape, and although the character art skews on the side of minimalism, it works well, especially when the game is played in handheld mode. The designs for the food, decor, and monsters are all so cool and clever that they seem almost timeless and illustrative, like a Beatrix Potter book. It is a real pleasure to look at.
If you’ve played any of the Rune Factory games, you’ll more or less know how the game itself goes. Some dreadful environmental issues (vortices, thorns, toxic gases, etc.) hinder progress, so you’ll have to dig deeper into the dungeon-like areas to find the source of said problem. You’ll need to gather resources, money, local crops, materials for crafting potions, tool upgrades, and food to survive in the dungeons; Then, when the clock strikes 11, it’s time to go home and sleep. Rinse and repeat.
It is the “collecting resources, money, crops, and materials” part that makes up the bulk of the game. Between growing crops, discovering new crops, raising animals, and managing an ever-growing number of farm buildings and workbenches, your job will definitely work for you. Whatever you don’t need you can put up on the market tables in the city centre, where it will be sold overnight; Any money you make can be spent in the same market, mostly on home décor.
But home décor is actually, secretly, a vital part of the game. Certain pieces of furniture increase your health, stamina, and mana bars, allowing you to venture further into the mine dungeons and cast more spells. As the game’s name suggests, there’s quite a bit of fantasy that you’ll need to interact with – although they only appear after the first two long chapters – and magic is everywhere. Mana is the currency you spend to use powerful item abilities, like increasing the range of your watering can, and it’s also the way you launch attacks when fighting Jumbles, beautifully designed inanimate objects brought to life that plague your journeys to the Mine-Dungeons.
If that sounds like a lot to handle, it is. Our archive has been in existence for over 40 hours, and we Still We haven’t reached the end of the game’s story, because there’s a lot to do. There’s a workbench for everything: smelting ore, chopping wood, cooking, chopping food, making preserves, making drinks, polishing gems, making seeds, making cloth, making potion ingredients, making potions, making honey, and making seals that let you scroll to a specific dungeon floor. There’s also critter hunting, fishing, shell collecting, ingredient gathering, and…the list goes on.
It is in this many systems that the first downfall of Fae Farm appears. There are just so many things to keep track of. In addition to the many crafting stations, there are also job missions for almost every one of them, as well as different biomes with different types of wood, ores, creatures, and grass. There are different seasonal crops for you to craft, and there are at least four different farms to unlock, which doesn’t sound bad until you realize that each one has its own farm buildings That you can’t move, so you have to visit them all every day. No wonder our farmer is always tired despite eating five baked potatoes an hour.
Sure some of you probably read about the huge pile of things to do and smile. And we don’t blame you! It can be fun to manage a billion small systems. But it always made us feel a little overwhelmed at times, and we were never in control of everything.
But the developers make it hard to complain! There are a lot of small tweaks here and there that make Fae Farm a relatively smooth experience, not the least of which is the auto tool selector. Hover over the plant and it will switch to the watering can automatically; Stand next to a rock and it will turn into your pickaxe. Your character can also jump and swim around the map, making shortcuts a cinch, or which NPC they’re looking at for flawless directions. Your calendar keeps track of events and birthdays, the task tracker tells you what you’re supposed to do, and the calendar reminds you of everything you’ve learned so far. And this whole thing about home decor being the source of your personal upgrades? It’s very novel! You can tell the developers have cared and they really do.
But we’re holding back the biggest bitter note in this review: the game’s social aspect. It’s… not bad, it’s just… it’s not good. All NPCs are as interesting as a tea towel, with recycled lines that repeat every time you see them. You can become someone’s friend just by listening to them thank you for the umpteenth time for something you did three seasons ago. And friendships don’t even do anything. They won’t give you discounts, come to your house for tea, or even change their dialogue often.
Even worse, the predetermined romantic characters, with all the emotional complexity of a wet cartoon, will fall in love with you whether you want them to or not. You’ll go on dates with them — and they’re short and sweet — but your character is voiceless, and you’ll simply listen to them talk, usually about their concerns, before thanking you for listening as if you had a choice.. If you choose to marry one of them, you will get a nice party from them, but for the cost of 10,000 coins, you will occasionally see them hanging out on your farm. That’s it.
The disappointingly deep socialization of this game feels like a drop in quality compared to the beauty of everything else. The game itself isn’t terribly deep either, but it makes up for it with nice breadth. Coming back from a busy day on the farm to a husband talking to me like we just met seems like a pretty missed opportunity.
Also, as you might expect from a game with this many systems, there are some bugs at launch, although the developer, Phoenix Labs, seems to really excel at patches. One NPC has a permanent mission mark above his head, because he wanted to go on a date with us but then got married – we absolute bastards – instead. We also couldn’t complete freight contracts, which is one of the main ways to get big money, and we had some tricky crashes too, although the auto-save meant we never lost much progress.
However, all in all, Fae Farm is an amazing and thoughtful addition to the farming game business, with plenty to do that will keep you entertained for a long time. Just…don’t expect people to be more interesting than kale.