Over the past couple of weeks, I find myself re-playing Stardew Valley. I picked it up shortly after it released back in March of 2016, and played it for well over 100 hours across a pair of playthroughs. I probably never would have loaded it up again, but recently a friend asked me to try out a multiplayer game with him, and after our second session, I started up another single player game, and it’s been all Stardew Valley all the time around here since then.
Over the last five years, I’ve bought quite a few titles hoping to recapture the magic I felt playing Stardew Valley for the first (and well, let’s be honest, the second and now the third) time. Some were pretty great – I really enjoyed Verdant Skies and My Time At Portia. Quite a few more either didn’t do it for me, or I never actually got around to playing them.
However, quite a few new titles are expected to drop over the next year, and if you loved Stardew Valley, you might want to drop some of these on your wishlist. Click the pictures to go right to the Steam page for each game!
Coral Island looked so good to me, I backed it on Kickstarter in order to get alpha access (which is anticipated to be available sometime in June). And I don’t seem to be alone in this – the crowdfunding campaign brought in more than 23 times its original $70,000 goal! Needless to say, that hit all the stretch goals, including console ports, mod support, multiplayer, extra characters, and a more robust endgame than originally planned.
Coral Island will offer all the traditional farming sim elements – farming, fishing, raising livestock, mining, crafting, cooking, and socializing with the villagers. What it brings to the table that sets it apart is its underwater world – spend some time cleaning up the coral reefs and you might run into mermaids! I expect there will be enough here that is familiar to appeal to fans of the genre, and enough unique mechanics that will set it apart.
For me, Roots of Pacha looks particularly interesting thanks to the setting; it takes place in a pre-technology world! This adds an interesting research tree mechanic, where you decide which of your community’s ideas you want to work towards figuring out. You also won’t get to just pop over to the shop for your seeds and livestock – you’ll need to forage and domesticate wild animals in order to build your farm.
You will have NPC community members, but Roots of Pacha was designed for co-operative play, so it’s a great choice if you prefer farming with friends.
Although I didn’t personally back this one, it did have a Kickstarter, and is still accepting late pledges.
Sun Haven is closest to release, if you’re not inclined to be very patient. This farming sim has a distinct fantasy spin; you’ll be able to choose any of seven playable races, the livestock options are far from traditional, and a dragon serves as the protector of your town. Combat options will include spellcasting, and there are significant RPG elements as well as the typical farming sim fare of crafting, cooking, fishing, and socializing.
As if there weren’t already enough here to set it apart from other similar games, Sun Haven will feature a wish mechanic, allowing you to change the world around you through the power of wishing. It will also have multiplayer support at release, so this is another great choice for people who prefer farming with friends to farming alone.
Ok, so calling Witchery Academy a farming sim might be a (very small) stretch – the concept is that the player is a student at a school of witchcraft. There are farming sim elements, as you will learn to brew potions, so you will need to grow and forage for your ingredients. The game will also include fishing, cooking, and “spell catching” but seems to lack the dating sim element that’s usually standard in these types of games.
Witchery Academy is planned to release on Steam and for Nintendo Switch, and it looks like something I’d really enjoy having on the more portable platform.
Snacko seems to borrow slightly more from Animal Crossing than it does from Stardew Valley & Harvest Moon, but I still think it fits. You will be able to farm, and raise livestock, but there will also be a lot of mechanics catering to folks who like building and customizing the look of their town. Also, you get to play as a cat, and I mean, who doesn’t want to do that?
The developers are giving monthly updates on their blog, and progress on this game seems to be proceeding steadily, despite there still not being any indication of a release window.
Chances are good I’ll be picking up all of these games at or near their release dates, but I don’t think there’s a bad choice in the bunch if you like the gameplay loop offered by these sort of farming sims. I don’t know if any of these will be the huge success story that Stardew Valley was, but the market for this type of game still seems to be pretty robust.