Homestead Arcana review

by on May 11, 2023
Reviewed On
Also Tested On
Release Date

April 21, 2023


I must admit that for a long time I found farming in video games a little on the boring side. As someone who was brought up on tricky platformers and twitchy shmups, the idea of waiting around for a turnip to grow just wasn’t what I looked for in video games. After a lot of growing up and finding the right titles, I was hooked on cultivating for cash. Games like Ooblets with its adorable creature gathering and Rune Factory with its RPG elements tempted me over to the dark side, but can the magical adventure of Homestead Arcana keep me there?

As a custom made witch you’re tasked with finding a way to get rid of the pesky miasma that’s destroying all the farmland. Armed with magical powers and your charming familiar Huckleberry the cat, you set off to the edge of the miasma to set up a farm and do a bit of dangerous exploring into the sinister infected land.

A screenshot of Homestead Arcana

Before you get to do any of the saving the day, you’ll need to set up a base camp and have your kitty companion teach you how to farm. It’s not particularly tricky to grow and harvest those veggies, you plant a sapling into some fertile soil, give it a little water and then after a couple of days you can manually pluck off any fruit or veg from the plant. At least that’s how the suckers do it, the rest of us use magic.

You see you can channel your magic through a crop to make it grow instantly, which as you can imagine is a pretty handy skill for a farmer to have. If you overdo it with the magic though the plant will blither and stop producing delicious goodies. It’s an interesting system in theory with some risk and reward to dabble in, but once you realize that the sweet spot of channelling twice works in almost all situations then some of the excitement is lost.

There are a couple of aspects of farming that just take too long as well. Moving your cursor around the plant to harvest any crops is unnecessarily cumbersome, and channelling is a chore too. To channel your magic into some corn or an apple tree you have to move your cursor slowly over orbs that surround the plant, and it just feels needlessly sluggish.

A screenshot of Homestead Arcana

You’ll need the food from the plants to fill your belly, health and mana though, so it’s certainly a worthy cause. Hunger goes down pretty damn quickly and once it’s fully drained your health is next, so keeping that belly topped up is key. Once you’ve got a grill though the meals keep hunger locked up till lunch, and it’s not too big of an issue.

Another important cause in Homestead Arcana is upgrading your camp, which you’ll need some materials to do. You’d think this would involve some sort of chopping or mining, but all the parts you need grow on plants too so you’ll just be doing more plucking. I’ll admit when I first saw a plant growing metal ore I thought it was a novel idea, but eventually you realise that it just means there are less things to keep you interested in the game.

There are only so many materials that you can find in the area around your farm, and eventually you’ll have to take that first trip into the miasma. Aided by a plague doctor mask, you’re able to survive for a few minutes (which can be upgraded later on) in this dangerous environment. The miasma has a whole host of materials and recipes to find at the farms that were abandoned within, as well as monsters you’ll need to avoid if you want to keep your goodies. Eventually it becomes clear that with the right sort of fertilizer you’ll be able to push back this dangerous toxin and restore the world to its former glory, so that’s exactly what you start doing.

A screenshot of Homestead Arcana

Alongside the main quest, you also get side objectives in the mail which can provide you with items and cash to spend at the merchant. Some of the handiest upgrades come at the cost of a good chunk of silver, so making the best items to sell for a tidy profit and completing the tasks you’re given is key if you want to move on up in the world.

It’s worth mentioning the performance issues I experienced when playing Homestead Arcana. On the Xbox Series S this colourful farming game has some pretty significant issues with the framerate (particularly when in the miasma). I also struggled to get the game to run without crashing and generally running poorly on Steam Deck (which admittedly can’t really be held against the game, but is worth keeping in mind if you want to do some farming on the go).

Homestead Arcana looks lovely and has some good ideas, but is ultimately just a bit of a slog to play. The farming takes so much longer than it needs to (whether you use magic or not), there’s a lack of interesting things to do, and it has some technical issues on Series S. In a marketplace that’s currently packed full of farming games, it’s just not one I could comfortably recommend right now.


Visually pleasing
Huckleberry is a great character
Has some unique ideas


Farming crops takes too long
A lack of interesting things to do
Doesn't run well on Series S

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

Homestead Arcana has some interesting ideas, but cumbersome farming and a lack of interesting things to do make it hard to recommend.