Farming sims can be highly addictive, especially when you check in daily to chip away at your objectives or keep up with maintaining your homestead. In time, some do start to become repetitive, but when done right, you can dedicate hundreds of hours into them while still finding new things to do. While I’m not at that mark with Fae Farm, I’ve spent a lot of time on the magical world of Azoria, and it’s been some time since I’ve been this captivated by the genre.
Almost instantly, I fell in love with Azoria. The characters are friendly and inviting, the world is vibrant and beautifully crafted, and the pace is near perfect. There’s never any pressure to complete a quest or task, allowing you to play however and whenever you want depending on what you want to do. Fae Farm has a main questline that definitely helps you to learn the main mechanics, and in the first handful of chapters you’re introduced to various equipment and machinery that’ll help you to expand your farm and unlock various items.
The thing is, those times when I was having the most fun came from exploring and finding things out for myself. You’ve got so many avenues to walk down and explore, carving your own path into the type of inhabitant of Azoria you want to be. Phoenix Labs has fit in so much into Fae Farm that you can play through the story, but you’d be missing out on so much. It blends farming with magic, infusing mana with almost every aspect of your day-to-day routine, giving you plenty to think about as you go about your day.
Gathering materials is the core concept with Fae Farm, as is with most games in the genre. However, collecting different types of wood, stone, coal, silt, sand, metal, and more is all done with a single press of a button. Your tools automatically switch out so you never need to worry about opening the tool wheel to select them. Managing stamina is important, and you can find energy orbs or eat food to replenish it, but making it easier to gather what you need is one of the many quality of life features Fae Farm offers.
As you begin to acquire a healthy stock of resources, you can use them to build pretty much everything you can think of. Cooking stations get more advance, meaning more detailed dishes and meals that come with plenty of benefits; smelters, lumber mills, and looms allow you to craft ingots, timber, and fabrics to craft furniture, medallions, better tools, clothing, and so much more. Checking out your almanac will provide a ton of recipes and blueprints for hundreds of items you’ll need to improve your farming life, and it’s so satisfying when you see the work you put in to improving your homestead.
Everyone in town is always willing to help you out, offering quests to earn some florin, the game’s currency. Many of them have shops where you can by crops and special fertilisers, animals to increase your livestock, outfits, inventory space upgrades, a bunch of tasty treats, ingredients for advanced recipes, and tons of other cool stuff. To make even more money, you can sell anything by placing it on a collection of stalls laid out in the centre of the main town, or even unlock a produce stall next to your home.
Along with gathering materials with your tools, you can switch to your fishing rod and catch fish, or collect various butterflies and bugs with your net. Doing both of these tasks is simple enough to do, and they can be used for specific meals or to sell. Another aspect of Fae Farm is heading into dungeons and mining precious gems and metals to help build more advanced equipment. Along the way, you’ll bump into jumbles who are mysterious creatures for you to fight with your magical staff.
Like everything, your staff and tools can be imbued with magic, making you hit harder or mine quicker, but managing your mana and health gauges are important. Thankfully, it’s easy to do, with potions and food that’ll refill them when running low. Each floor of the dungeons can be unlocked by finding a switch to the door at the far end of the level, and upon leaving and re-entering, you can return to a previously unlocked floor as long as you’ve used a particular seal, just as long as you’ve got the correct materials and workstation to do so.
Fae Farm really comes into its own when you reach the end of the first dungeon and meet one of the mystical creatures on the island. What unfolds is a deeper story of magic and wonder, where the opportunities available open up, allowing you to advance your experience with new traversal techniques and more that I won’t spoil for you here. Azoria is your oyster, but like I’ve said before, you’re free to do whatever you want without the constraints of time getting in the way. It’s a chilled experience, but there is a challenge if you go looking for it.
Chatting to the villagers can lead to new quests, but it can also lead to great friendships, loving relationships, and even marriage. Be it romantic or platonic, finding joy through communication and connection makes your will to succeed in Fae Farm ever growing. As long as you have a Phoenix Labs account, you can even explore or playthrough with up to three other friends, helping to expand that joy with others through players and characters, whether real or not. Despite being a wholesome experience, there are a few issues with how it runs, specifically on Nintendo Switch.
When you boot it up, the opening logos and menus stutter, and the loading screens can be rather long. When you’re in the game, it runs relatively smoothly for the most part, although some quest pop-ups or dialogue heavy moments are a little janky. It can be rough around the edges, but the general performance is solid, and despite some rough transitioning, Fae Farm runs perfectly fine. When you’re running around and immersed in your tasks, it’s not that noticeable, but worth mentioning.
Fae Farm is filled with wonder. The characters are lovely and welcoming, the grind is never a chore and you’re always busy doing something. Some early quests don’t explain how to craft a certain item as well as they could, but once you get to grips with the mechanics, the pacing is wonderful. Simply by playing and exploring, you’ll learn naturally how to play, providing one of the most satisfying experiences with a fun little story at its heart.
Always something to do
Lots of crafting options
Rough around the edges
Some things aren't explained well