Game: Fae Farm
Genre: Adventure, Roleplaying, Simulation
System: Nintendo Switch (also available on Steam, (Windows)
Developers | Publishers: Phoenix Labs
Age Rating: US E10+ | EU 7+
Price: US $59.99 | UK £49.99 | EU € 59.99
Release Date: September 8th, 2023
No review code was used, as I purchased the game myself.
Fae Farm has been on LadiesGamers radar for a while; it’s a farming adventure simulation. Yvonne and I have been playing it constantly since it was released. In fact, we have played so much that we have written a Fae Farm guide. But now it’s time for a review of Fae Farm.
Fae Farm resembles many simulation games like Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley and Disney Dreamlight Valley. It mainly reminds me of My Sims (Wii and DS Game). Phoenix Labs seems to have taken some aspects of all those games, rolled them all together, and came up with Fae Farm.
Character Customisation and Phoenix Lab Account
When Farm Fae begins, you’re asked to make a Phoenix Labs account to play online or local co-op. That might put some players off thinking they must add an email address, but it’s a simple process. It’s all done on the Nintendo Switch; you don’t even use the Switch’s browser or an email address.
Next, you’ll customise your character avatar and name your homestead, much like any farming simulation game. First, you make a character avatar. All the usual choices are available; you can choose eye, body shape, hair colour and more.
Oddly, you can’t name your character; instead, they take the name of your Nintendo Switch username. In my case, it’s my name anyway. However, if you have a strange or weird username on the Switch, that is what your character will end up being called in Fae Farm. The overall characters’ customisation is pretty detailed, if a little fiddly. I completely missed naming my homestead. Now, it will be forever known as My World, which, in a way, it is.
Message in a Bottle
Our hero or heroine (depending on your character avatar) is looking for new challenges. You find a message inside a bottle adrift on the beach, which invites anyone who finds the bottle to embark in the direction of Azoria, a fairyland that promises a home to the first person who visits it. Who can resist a new home and a beautiful island? So, off you set, destination Azoria.
Unfortunately, your boat gets caught in whirlpools surrounding Azoria and destroying it completely. You find yourself shipwrecked and aboard a wooden plank. Once you arrive on shore, the mayor welcomes you.
Mayor Merrit explains the situation in Azoria. While it may be a beautiful place, it’s plagued with dark magic that has tainted the surrounding forests, and to top it all off, you are now stranded due to the Whirlpools, which prevent you from leaving by sea.
The core gameplay of Fae Farm resembles a familiar theme for anyone who has played the likes of Rune Factory or the games I mentioned above. The plot revolves around resolving environmental issues obstructing your progress on Azoria, such as the whirlpools, thorns (aka Disney Deamlight Valley thorns), and poison gas.
Additionally, you embark on a dungeon-like adventure to uncover and resolve the sources of these obstacles. You must collect resources, earn money, cultivate crops, and gather materials for crafting essential items like potions and tool upgrades. You will also use a magic wand during light combat in the dungeons and eventually receive fairy wings and jump on bouncy mushrooms as you explore, which is great fun.
Dungeons are Mines
The dungeons play out on floors, where each floor has minerals, coal and enemies. Armed with my Wand, I’ve blasted enemies with spells, mined minerals, and delved deeper into the mines.
Furthermore, every floor in the dungeon has a fast-travel pedestal, and you can fast-travel to a floor you have previously opened. However, you must craft Seals using ore from the dungeons to use the fast travel pedestal.
Usually, that doesn’t sound so bad, but Fae Farm has 25 floors in a dungeon, and 24 have a fast travel pedestal to craft a Seal for, and it takes ages to craft them. And that’s only for one dungeon; there are other dungeons, each with 25 floors. That’s a lot of Seal crafting to do.
Fortunately, magic helps improve the typical grind of harvesting materials and on your homestead. It feels good to use magic to auto-mine a group of rocks around you instead of having to swing away at each one.
Gathering and watering crops can be done similarly, using a magic tool to gather plants and water the plots of the next harvest. These actions make it easier and speeds things up. Also, if you want to harvest each by hand, you can. I think there is something in Fae Farm for every simulation player type should you venture onto the farm.
Your house plays an essential part in Fae Farm; not only is it where you will return to bed each night, but you can also decorate it inside. And that’s important due to the Cozy Factor. As you decorate your house with furniture, you can increase your health, mana and stamina bars. It’s a neat way of making you decorate your house as you gain an advantage from doing so.
A Few Niggles
While I have enjoyed the game immensely, I have a few niggles about it. Fae Farm is a game centred around story quests, missions and fetch quests. For example, an NPC will ask you to make them something or fetch them several fish. The storyline has held my attention so far, but it’s a slow burner and takes a while to open up.
Also, I think Fae Farm falls way short in its social aspect. All the NPCs lack depth, with recycled dialogue lines and minimal character development. It’s the same old lines even if you establish a friendship with them. You can romance an NPC of your choosing, but the relationships feel underwhelming, with the characters lacking emotional depth and personality.
Visuals and Multiplayer
Azoria is a rainbow of colours, with a hefty dose of cuteness bringing the world to life. In one corner of Azoria, you’ll find a sparkling glade. In another, a spooky wood and a cold, frozen mountain in another area.
The music is quite good, though I have had the volume turned down low most of the time because the NPCs don’t speak, as there isn’t any voice acting. Instead, they laugh and make oh ah noises like in MySims, which begin to grate after a while.
There’s also the bonus that the entire game can be played in multiplayer with up to four players. Responsibilities for fishing, farming, and caring for creatures are shared among friends, which is great fun.
I love the quality of life features in Fae Farm. Unlike most games in this genre, the game automatically knows what farming implement you need to use. Plus there isn’t any annoyance of rotating through a menu to pick what you need. It just lets you do your job. It’s a great feature, and all farming games should have it.
The overall performance of the game is solid on the Nintendo Switch. There is a long loading time initially as the game boots up, but other than that, it runs fine.
Conclusion – A Fun Time Had By All
Farming, bug catching, fishing, crafting and animal care have all been implemented well in Fae Farm. There is certainly plenty to keep you busy. The game looks beautiful, and it’s pretty chill. However, I’d look elsewhere if you’re into the romance side of simulation games and looking for relationships with NPCs. The NPCs don’t offer much and feel wooden, which is a pity.
The price point of Fae Farm is high, in the same league as you’d pay for the more well known IPs. A lot of you may be wondering if it’s worth it, and Yvonne and I discussed this specifically. Well, Fae Farm does promise two big updates from December 2023 to June 2024. And even at the start, it’s already a huge game. And I must say, it plays effortlessly, no bugs or anything marring the gameplay, and it’s a feast to look at. So I’d be inclined to say that for me, it’s worth the price.
Fae Farm is definitely worth a look if you’re a cosy game and farm sim fan. Just make sure you have ample time, as the gameplay and especially the crafting can be very addictive.
Final Verdict: I Like it a Lot