Fae Farm is a game from Phoenix Labs studio. It’s a farming simulation RPG. This game was sold to us as a worthy heir to the must-haves of the genre that are Animal Crossing And Stardew Valley. It is eagerly awaited by fans of the genre. It releases Friday, September 8 on Nintendo Switch. Does it live up to what it claims?
When you start the game, you must create your character, a crucial step in this type of game. And we can say that the game’s proposals in terms of diversity of colors and aspects are really important. You will be able to choose the elements of build, skin color, hair, eye shapes and colors, mouth shapes, hair and eyebrow colors as well as details such as freckles… You will also have the choice in the pronoun used to refer to you.
For once, the game begins with a scenario different from the traditional family farm inheritance left by a grandparent. Here, you will have received a message from a bottle thrown into the sea which invites you to come and join an island that needs you. The message promises the provision of a house if you introduce yourself to the author of the message.
So you went on an expedition and reached the island after being shipwrecked.
Once you arrive on the island of Azoria, you are welcomed by Mayor Merritt who is none other than the person who threw the famous bottle into the sea. This gives you a first rather catastrophic presentation of the island but she asks you to stay because according to her the island is really worth it. She then gives us the map of the island and informs us that a welcome package awaits us in our house.
During the first chapter which will act as a tutorial, you will familiarize yourself with the locations, the most essential commands and the inhabitants of the island. You will therefore obtain the house promised in the letter, but also a set of tools: a pickaxe, an axe, a sickle, a shovel and a watering can.
After getting started with the tools, Merritt presents construction mode and the almanac. The latter will serve as a traditional encyclopedia bringing together all the plans, all the objects to unlock or build. Then, she tells us that we will have to check our mailbox daily to receive quests from other villagers. Finally, she has us build a cooking fire that will allow us to cook rudimentary dishes in order to regain energy.
Indeed, we initially have two bars to monitor very closely: the energy bar and the health bar.
Once your energy bar is used up, like in other games, you will no longer be able to perform any action with the tools without eating or resting but you will not faint, which is rather reassuring.
Then, she invites us to meet some important characters from the island like Eddy the sailor and Mel the beekeeper who will give you two additional tools in exchange for completing a few quests. After collecting your fishing rod and your net, you will have the essential equipment of a good self-respecting farmer.
The end of this chapter 1 marks the end of the starting tutorial and unlocks access to multiplayer. We’ll talk about this later.
During the following chapters, you will unlock a weapon (a magic bumblebee) to defend yourself against the babazars who inhabit the mine which you will have to unlock.
Then you will have access to the animals and breeding that will arrive with the unlocking of your animal cabin. In it, you can raise chickens and Lapicotons. You will have to feed them and take care of them so that in return they deliver you some products such as eggs and wool.
Like all other games of the genre, you can upgrade your tools using ores or ingots that you obtain by rummaging in dungeons. You will also be able to enlarge your house and above all you will be able to decorate your interior and exterior and given the large number of items offered, there will be something for everyone and everyone will be able to find their inspiration.
Until now, you might say, this is a traditional farm game like hundreds of others. How does it stand out?
A clear and efficient menu
The menu allows us to quickly access our quests, our progress in the farmer levels (drilling, logging, agriculture, fishing, gathering, capturing critters, animal care, cooking, brewing potions, magic). Then we have access to social status, calendar, almanac, dungeon locator, map, inventory, multiplayer, save, settings, a “help I” button. am stuck”, and a button to return to the main menu.
Note that unlike other games like Animal Crossingit is possible to have several different saves in the game.
Subtle and very useful functionality additions
The game uses the mechanics that work very well in its predecessors but it also makes some rather interesting and useful additions for this type of game.
Indeed, in most games of the genre, you have to switch between different tools in order to select the right one to carry out the action you want. In Fae Farm, the selection is done automatically, which greatly facilitates farm clearing operations, for example. Also, when you want to use a tool you don’t have to spam the button multiple times for the action to feel like hitting wood or rock. To do this, simply keep button A pressed for the action to continue until the task is completed.
You can activate the card using the “–” button. This is only revealed for a good half at the start of the game and it is already quite vast. It will take a little time in the game to get your bearings. But this promises many hours of play to be able to unlock everything.
In addition, you can access characters with quests to offer you or to validate from the map. When you activate the character in question, an indicator in the form of a compass appears in your environment and you can follow it in order to find this character and recover or validate your quest. This feature is very well thought out and is really useful for this type of game.
On the other hand, when important information is given to you like a quest, to complete it you will have to hold down the A button, which allows you not to lose information because you wanted to go too quickly.
Concerning the dungeons, two elements should be noted. We maintain our progress even after leaving the mine or changing days. If we have unlocked the door of a level, we can access it again without having to find the switches scattered throughout it.
In addition, when you have unlocked levels it is possible to buy items, seals which vary every 5 floors, in order to be able to teleport there again.
The only small bugs with no impact on your game will have been detected in these places. Indeed, when you knock on babazars (monsters populating the dungeons), if you send them into the background, they will simply disappear as if they were caught. This has its advantages because the fight ends but the disadvantage is that we then do not get the items they drop when we win.
The surprises at the end of the dungeons are really nice. We won’t say more so as not to spoil the surprise for you.
We also really liked the sequence of quests which is very fluid. A completed quest very often leads to another. And we never run out of missions to complete.
Another element appears in this opus: magic. It is true that the title is quite evocative with the presence of fairies and that it could scare more than one person. However, the presence of magic up until now is very well balanced and the game does not have a childish approach to this component.
In order to access the multiplayer, you are offered before even starting a game to create a Phoenix Labs account, which is done very quickly and very easily. This process will allow you to retrieve a useful pseudonym for further operations.
So we tested the multiplayer in crossplatform and it works perfectly. For this, it is enough to have the person in our list of friends to invite him to join our game. To do this, simply add them to your friends list using your Phoenix Labs account nickname. And once the invitation is accepted, your friend lands on your island. He will be able to help you in the realization of the tasks of agriculture, fishing… He will also be able to help you to fulfill the proposed missions and he will share your wallet.
It’s really enjoyable to go through the game with friends and the crossplay opens up a lot of possibilities.
Visual and audio are also important in this type of game
The game has very cute and colorful graphics. The characters are reminiscent of those of My Sims, a game previously released on DS. It is very pleasant to go through the different environments. The game is as enjoyable to play in handheld mode as it is in docked mode. Regarding the soundtrack, we are accompanied in our adventure by a very pleasant background music but which is weak and which is quickly surpassed by the sound effects of the different tools. It is totally adapted to this type of game and it is very pleasant. Sometimes you will only hear the sound of surrounding birds which is really nice and relaxing.
- A caring universe in every way
- Traditional game mechanics
- Very useful additions
- Cute graphics
- A gripping story
- The music that sometimes will stop and leave a void but it never lasts long
- The very slight monster bugs (because it takes a lot less)