Genre: Adventure, Indie, RPG, Simulation
System: Steam (Windows)
Developers | Publishers: PixelCount Studios
Controller Support: Yes, Full
Price: US $TBC | UK £TBC | EU € TBC
Release Date: December 6th, 2022
Review code used, with many thanks to Honest PR.
Initially released in 2018 in early access, Kynseed, an adventure, RPG, and simulation game, is now ready for its full release. The game has been developed by ex-developers of Lionhead Studios, famed for creating the excellent Fable series on the Xbox, and Kynseed is PixelCount Studios’ first game.
The Land of Quill
Boasting a similar pixel art style, Kynseed is clearly inspired by Stardew Valley. However, while both games may look almost identical, Kynseed has much more to it. The game leans heavily into the RPG genre with quests and a more fulfilling story with lots of charm, humour and lore.
When it begins, you get to do a little customisation on your character. You can choose boy or girl, hair, and skin colours. Then the story begins in earnest; You live in a shoe with the rest of your large family. One day your Uncle arrives and takes you and your twin sibling to the beautiful land of Quill to live there with your Uncle and help out on the farm.
Make Choices and a Story of your Own
You’ll meet Pott and have a few choices to make at the beginning of the game that will determine your path. Later you are given the Kynseed, which is a mystical acorn that, once planted, grows into a family tree.
I don’t want to go into too many storyline details as it’s a storyline that you should I experience yourself instead of me spoiling it. However, the story does have dark twists, which are evident when you explore your surroundings. For example, you’ll come across Goddess statues to give an offering to, and Wicker Man effigies are scattered around the map.
Raise a Family and Grow Old
You’ll raise a family, grow old and eventually die; everyone ages and dies, including your character and your pets. You then continue the legacy by stepping into your children’s shoes and continuing the game.
Kynseed does have a little help for the player when they start the game. While there isn’t a tutorial, there are plenty of pointers, and if you press the right stick down, you get help from the information bubbles that appear above essential items. You can also use the Thatterway, which, if you pin a task to the HUD and press in the left stick, points you in the right direction to complete the task.
Any new player to the genre might find themselves overwhelmed in Kynseed as there isn’t much hand-holding. For me, that is what I enjoy the most, being left to my own devices.
Lots of Activities to Do
Once you play through the prologue, it’s up to you how you want to proceed. For example, you can farm by planting crops or fish, cook or craft. Most activities are played out like a mini-game. In such a tiny game, making an item in the blacksmiths, you must time the hammer hits on the steel. I found the mini-game enjoyable; I love working in the blacksmiths.
Say Hello to The Locals
In addition, you can explore the vast map and chat and give gifts to the NPCs, some of which are nice and some not so lovely, like Hurbet Lemon, who greets you by saying, “Yuck! It’s You.
All the NPCs have great names; the blacksmith is naturally named Jeremie Smith. Then there is Hob Crunch, who changed her name to Ginger Nutt when she married Wally Nutt. However, some NPCs’ dialogue could be expanded as they tend to repeat some things. I would think that this will be updated in the future.
There is plenty of humour and puns, lots of old books everywhere in Kynseed and plenty of reading. It is the kind of game that will have you smiling at times.
Don’t forget to visit the Goddess statue and give an offering, though I hope she is kinder to you than she was to me. Her blessing may shine on you, or you may have bad luck as I did with my crops which only yielded one crop from each of the plots I’d planted. Rotten luck!
Combat is played out in monster-infested places in Quill. Before each battle, you can load up on supplies and prepare. Then, during the battle, you can buff, block, parry and dodge. It is fun, quick, and surprisingly satisfying. Once the battle is over, you can continue to the next area or return to Quill with your loot.
This is a great game with many hours of gameplay to enjoy, with tasks you choose when to do at your own pace. Eventually, when you grow up, you can run your own shops and become a blacksmith or a potion maker.
Visuals and Controls
As I’ve already mentioned, the graphics are pixel art, and Kynseed is set in a bright and vibrant world. The colours pop out of the screen, and I love how the trees are animated to move in the wind. The music is beautiful to listen to; this is a game to play with headphones on so you can hear every note and sound.
Playing Kynseed, you can use the keyboard and mouse or a controller. I tried out both methods, and they work equally well. I had two occasions when the game crashed while I was playing it; other than that little hiccup, it ran well on my laptop.
Kynseed is a great game to get lost in for hours. With an entire cast of weird and wacky NPC to keep you company. Plenty of mini-games to play and a large world to explore; there is always something to do in Quill.
Final Verdict: I Like It A Lot