From the announcement of Fae Farm to the publication of Pheonix Labs’ adventure, the wait was very short, with the title destined to debut on PC and Nintendo Switch on Friday 8 September 2023. In view of day one, we have we have already been able to take our steps on the island of Azoria, where we found a nice micro-world with a fairy-tale mood waiting for us. In a production that blends adventure, magic and agriculture, Fae Farm fully fits into the thriving universe of wholesome games, where tension and a sense of challenge give way to relaxation and lightness.
After having thwarted mischievous spirits and enchanted brambles and having given shape to an enchanting fairy farm, we are ready to tell you our impressions of the Phoenix Labs production. Enjoy the reading!
A magical fairy tale
Driven by the discovery of a message hidden in a bottle on the beach, the protagonist of Fae Farm decided to head towards the island of Azoria, convinced that upon arrival he would find a heavenly place waiting for him. The journey to the atoll, however, turns out to be much more stormy than expected and the destination is reached, but only following a tumultuous shipwreck.
Helped by the local citizens, the intrepid traveler is welcomed by the mayor of Azoria, as eager to help him as to ask him for some assistance. Within a few minutes, we find ourselves in possession of a large farmhouse to be renovated, while the islanders compete to pass on to us all the knowledge necessary to start a new life. In return, we commit to trying to solve the bizarre problems that have been plaguing the community for some time.
That of Fae Farm is evidently a pretextual narrative incipit, aimed at offering a framework for the adventures that the player will be able to face in freedom. Although the title proposes a sort of main campaign, its ambition is not to weave an intricate and structured plot, and the inhabitants of Azoria themselves, however available and eager to make our acquaintance, certainly do not show off multi-faceted personalities. Regardless of the possibility of making closer friendships and even getting married, the Fae Farm community does not therefore aim to satisfy gamers looking for great stories, but simply to animate a light declination of the varied genre of life simulators.
Alongside busy merchants, nostalgic veterans of the seven seas, bungling magicians and passionate cooks find space in a varied and well-differentiated island community, capable of sufficiently livening up the daily life of the atoll. Every citizen of Azoria is ready to entrust the player with small missions, but also to teach the protagonist a new job. And it is precisely the constant alternation of activities that represents the fulcrum of the experience created by Pheonix Labs. During his stay on the island, the adventurer (or female adventurer, obviously, to be freely shaped using a rather multifaceted character editor) can in fact dedicate himself as much to the exploration of dungeons as to fishing and agriculture, without forgetting activities of carpentry, collection of plants and minerals.
As mentioned, everything revolves around the need to free Azoria from a funny series of curses, which see the island surrounded by whirlpools that impede navigation, without forgetting the enchanted brambles and pools of darkness that hinder the free exploration of the map of game.
Completing the picture are the Guazzabugli, mischievous spirits who seem to have found the ideal environment in which to thrive on the island. The mood of the experience is purely fairy-tale and family friendly, for an experience that can also be enjoyed by budding gamers. A conceptually essential core, around which Phoenix Labs cleverly weaves a relaxing gameplay, capable of satisfying users looking for a pleasant and undemanding pastime.
Following the alternation of the seasons, marked by an in-game calendar not linked to the real world, the protagonists of Fae Farm transform day after day into true all-rounders of a fantasy world.
Fae Farm in multiplayerThe adventures of Fae Farm can also be experienced in company, thanks to support for a cooperative multiplayer mode. A maximum of four players can join forces in online multiplayer or locally wirelessly. Console and PC users can also interact freely, thanks to the game’s support for crossplay.
The available activities expand over time, to the point of composing an increasingly interdependent mosaic. In the early stages of the game, the tools at our disposal allow us to put our farmhouse back into operation and collect essential resources, including wood, herbs, stones and soil. A small campfire also allows you to cook frugal meals, while a small bed is all we need to recover our energy after a hard day’s work. Initially armed – as well as with our hands – with a shovel, axe, pickaxe and sickle, we will therefore be able to begin to complete some initial tasks, such as preparing a small vegetable garden, building simple furnishings for the home or cleaning the garden. of the farmhouse, infested with tall grass and piles of dirt.
The management of the tools is extremely simple in this phase: the game itself selects the most appropriate tool for each task, with the protagonist called upon to conduct the various activities with a single button. However, later on, by upgrading equipment, it will be possible to unlock some special powers, useful for speeding up the material collection processes.
The picture is enriched with the addition of further tools, such as a net for catching insects and small animals and a fishing rod, both associated with small dedicated mini-games.
There is also room for a magic stick, to be used to counteract the bizarre environmental anomalies of Azoria and to fight the Hodgepodge. The latter are hidden exclusively within dungeons that develop in depth and where a basic action-style combat system is set in motion. Between a bit of clashes, explorations and collection of resources, the gameplay of Fae Farm is completed with the activities connected to the management of the farmhouse. Here it is in fact possible to plant fruit trees, vegetables, colorful flowers and herbs to turn into fodder for animals, mainly fairy versions of the most common farm animals. Vegetables, eggs, cotton, milk and all the materials produced in our home can then be sold at the local market or reused to create more precious goods. This is how the protagonist’s farmhouse gradually ends up being populated with wood-burning ovens, stations for distilling potions and drinks, carpenter’s saws and much more. When this virtuous circle between resources, exploration, dungeons and home customization comes to life, Fae Farm manages to give its best, proving itself capable of offering a satisfying and well-structured gameplay loop. As a backdrop to the entire experience, the picture is completed by a colorful artistic direction, which, despite without extraordinary flashes, manages to compose a long-lived, colorful and decidedly pleasant fantasy micro-world.