Welcome to EXPlay, (Explain & Play) the review series where we care not for scores but tell it how it is when it comes to every game we get our hands on, whilst also taking the time to include some lengthy gameplay, to give you the reader, the chance to shape your own impressions and views whilst watching and reading.
In this explanatory review, we’re covering Fae Farm by developer Phoenix Labs:
Fae Farm (The Explanation)
Fae Farm is a newly released indie game that takes cues from Animal Crossing, My Sims, and other sim games. The game takes farming, fishing, crafting, and relationship-building and mixes it up with a magical flair. You start off the game with a simple yet robust character creator tool where you can outfit your person in a variety of body types, eye colors, hairstyles, facial hair, and voice effects. Once you are finished, you start off your journey by finding an invitation to Azoria, a mythical realm. After being caught in a storm you wash up on the shores of Azuria.
Once you land you are greeted by the Mayor of Azuria, Merritt. She welcomes you and introduces you to the town and a simple quest to go find your house in the northern part of the island. Before she sets you on your way, she alerts you to the whirlpools surrounding the island that have kept its inhabitants stranded.
As you journey to your home you can stop and chat with the locals, but in the early chapter, it didn’t seem as though they had much to say. I would recommend following the main quests in the game in the first hour or two so you can progressively learn about gameplay mechanics and what you need to do to level up. When you arrive at your house, Merritt’s welcome package awaits. Within the package, you will get some tools that will help you in the harvesting of stone, wood, vines, and more.
You can name your house, which I messed up in my early play-through, but you can rename it by going up to your bed and choosing house options. It was long before I was into Fae Farm that I could rename my home to Lon Lon, as I was set in the town of Hyrule. Merritt will give you a variety of tasks from clearing the land around your farm, planting some seeds, and picking up stone and wood scattered on the ground. Much of the early game of Fae Farm had me doing tasks reminiscent of games like Stardew Valley.
Fae Farm includes a health (red) and energy (green) mechanic, and later a magic (blue) meter. These meters deplete throughout the day and seasons, as noted by the top right UI of a clock and seasonal icons. I haven’t played enough of the game in my EXPlay to see how the seasons change or how often. Hopefully, I can report on that more as I play the game throughout the weeks and months.
Scattered around the town are scrolls that will unlock new crafting items for inside and outside your farm. You can also make items and sell them for florins, the town currency. In the center of your town, there is a market area, where you can place items you have found or built, insects, fish, and more. Each new day brings buyers of your items and money in your pocket. It was unclear to me in the opening hours what I would be using that money for, but I can only assume it is for buying upgrades and items that I would otherwise not have access to in the world.
Each day you might have a quest or two from townsfolk, otherwise you can explore the land at your leisure and talk to people. Each person, it seems, can be made into an acquaintance, or friend, and even some can be romanced, if you choose to. The game explicitly states that you don’t need to romance anyone, but you can if you want. I am curious how this plays out and if the game has marriage and family quests. Your relationships with people change based on conversations you have, finding items for them, and completing tasks or jobs that they assign to you.
Within a few in-game days, I had found a magician who provided me with a magic staff that would destroy thorny vines that blocked my path. I also was given a net for catching bugs that float around, and I ended up selling most of them. The beekeeper character that gives you the net seems like one of the quirkier characters.
I was also given a fishing rod by Eddy from Stay-A-While Bay. There are streams, ponds, and an ocean all around Azuria which allows you to cast your line into a fishing mini-game. Once you equip the rod you can use the right stick to set your cast location and then use the A-button to jiggle the line or reel in a fish once it takes to the hook. Eddy the fisherman asked me to catch a fish for him. Once I had the fishing minigame down, I found myself just catching fish to fill out the encyclopedia in the game and also provide some sustenance which replenishes stamina after being cooked and eaten.
Overall, my early hours of Fae Farm are a very promising take on the simulation game genre. I really enjoy games that let me relax through a story driven by missions from townspeople that are interesting. Time will tell if the decoration of my farm and house will be as interesting as games like Stardew Valley or Animal Crossing. As it stands right now though, I highly recommend the game to anyone needing to scratch that cozy farm sim game itch they may have. Fae Farm is a remarkable achievement and hopefully will get the notice it needs to succeed as an indie darling. This game is Miketendo64 approved, as well as, a certified Jonlike (if either of those things means anything to you).
Fae Farm (The Gameplay)
Developer: Phoenix Labs
Publisher: Phoenix Labs
Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Category: Adventure, Simulation, Role-Playing, Multiplayer
No. of Players: 1 (Single System) 2-4 (Online)
Release Date: NA|EU: September 8, 2023
File Size: 1.7 GB