Fall and winter are key times to focus on homesteading basics like food preservation, from-scratch cooking, and handcrafts. These projects help children learn valuable life skills and the value of hard work.
Homesteaders often have animals that require certain tools, so make sure to have a few basic animal supplies on hand. For example, bag balm is useful for treating chapped udders and tying up livestock.
The first time I double-jumped in Fae Farm, floating across the screen with my Fae wings outstretched behind my avatar, I was pretty much hooked. Fae Farm, the cozy sim from the Phoenix Labs team (of Dauntless fame), aims to blend the best elements from genre staples such as Animal Crossing to Stardew Valley, all with its own RPG and multiplayer twist.
Fae Farm’s main draw for me is that it is so much more than the name implies. Sure, there is a deep farming sim under the hood here where you’ll plant, harvest and sell crops. But there is so much more. There’s also a system that allows you to not only fully customize the look of your farm and homestead, but the inside of your house as well, a la Animal Crossing. From placing furniture to deciding the exact color of every detail, even choosing what material the paths outside your farm should be, there is a lot on offer here.
Not only can you plant crops, but in my gameplay demo at Summer Game Fest earlier this month, you can also raise animals, cultivate relationships with your homestead neighbors, and more. Romance is in the air at Fae Farm as well, with tons of choices of who to pursue should you choose to do so.
It sounds like, on the surface, to be a mix of Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley, in the best ways possible. But Fae Farm doesn’t stop there. Remember that double jump I started out with? I was absolutely in love with the whimsical mid-air twirl my avatar performed each time I used it, but it’s practical as well. This allowed me to travel to unreachable areas of the map – and it’s handy to get out of the way in combat. It’s this magical element that helps to set Fae Farm apart from its other cozy sim rivals.
Dungeons populate the world of Fae Farm, and as part of our demo I had to venture into one in order to obtain some ore that was needed to craft a fancy new clock for my homestead. The dungeons play out on floors, much like we see in Stardew, where each floor has its own minerals, enemies, and more to capture. Armed with my Wand, I blasted enemies with spells, mined minerals, and delved deeper till I finally got to a floor with a chance to actually harvest my desired quarry.
Combat in Fae Farm sees you take on all sorts of enemies – in our demo it was golem-esque statues – with the Wand being used to batter enemies or use the magic spells equipped as you enter a dungeon. Spells use mana, while using tools such as a pickaxe or watering can use energy. These are replenished by resting in your homestead, and it’s crucial to manage them while out in the wild. Potions can help, especially when protecting against the miasma that is taking over the world of Fae Farm, and making sure you have a couple when you venture out of the homestead is crucial.
Magic helps to improve the typical grind of harvest materials, your farmstead and so on. It felt incredible to use magic to auto-mine a group of rocks around me instead of having to swing away at each individual one. Gathering my crops can be done in the same way, using my magic wand to harvest whole fields, as well as water the plots for the next day’s harvest. These actions make it easier to get right back into the meat of the Fae Farm experience, though the sim allows you, if you want, to simply harvest each by hand. There’s something here for every player type should you choose to venture onto the farm.
Fae Farm’s Fantasy Elements Are Woven Beautifully With Its Laid-Back Farming Sim
What I am going to lose hours of my life to (and my partner as well, as we’ve spent countless just refining the flower fields of our Animal Crossing islands together) is going to be the sheer level of customization on offer here. Being able to customize everything from the type of fairy wings to the trim on my new clock. Fae Farm’s desire to just let you make your homestead yours oozes out of every pixel, and I really got the sense that we were only scratching the surface of what the upcoming farming has to offer here.
At least in my carefully curated slice of the game it never felt like one way to play overshadowed another. While I followed the demo pretty closely, it really highlighted multiple ways to play Fae Farm. I could be the warrior, delving into dungeons to slay monsters and gather high-end materials for my friends who prefer crafting and building. Farmers who just want to see their crops take blue ribbons can focus hard on that aspect. Multiplayer is going to make this amalgamation of play styles that much more impactful, I think. It allows players to come together and compliment each other in a way where it, I hope at least, allows Fae Farm to never feel too one-note after a while.
My demo ended with my Phoenix Labs’ David Block showing me a flower bed that got me way too excited. See, one of the things my partner and I bonded over early into our relationship was trying to spawn each type of flower in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Each night I’d make my way to their island, water the flowers and help to move stuff around the island in a convoluted dance to try to figure out what combination of flower placement and watering schedule would produce the required flower. We’d end each evening watching star showers or playing on the musical instruments in their house.
Block described a situation where you can actually use bees to help cultivate the flowers you want to beautify your homestead (or sell at the nearby town’s market). This to me, combined with the sheer customization homesteading offered, was a godsend, and a sign that it’s a title my partner and I will need to spend some time in once the cozy sim launches into early access on September 8th on Switch and PC.