Spirit of the Island looks like another farming simulation game at first, but while reviewing the game, I found some elements that were quite different. I wouldn’t classify it as a farming sim, to be honest, as tending to crops is really a minimal part of it. Spirit of the Island is more a combination of simulation and survival, with bits of management thrown in.
Even though I didn’t fully love the game (and gave it an I Like It), I decided to make this little starter guide to get you going once you have decided to buy the game. But don’t forget to check out my review before you do so!
General Tips to Get Started
There are a few things you need to realize when starting your game:
The tutorial is big. At the start, the game is constantly giving you tips and explanations. These aren’t gathered in one place afterwards. But when you go to ‘-‘ you find the tips in several places, like here in the Skills page. Underneath each skill, you can see what is needed to unlock the next level.
It’s a wilderness, but it’s your plot of land! Start to clear it out: you can get rid of the piles of brick by using your pickaxe. And the broken fences with your axe. The axe is also useful to clear away the broken furniture inside your house.
Make keys as soon as you can. They act like a tool in that it has several uses before they are used up. Carry them with you all the time, as you may find treasure chests in your exploration, and they give nice loot.
There’s one such treasure chest next to your house. Once you’ve opened it you can use it as a chest for storage.
Maybe this is just me being dense, but be aware that your inventory in your bag is all there is (under ‘-‘). The quick bar isn’t additional but just an easier way to access some things in your bag. And you have to assign items to it. You might have empty squares in your quick bar, but you still can’t pick up stone or wood because your bag is full.
When you still have ample space in your bag, items you pick up go automatically to your quick bar. When your bag is full, it won’t fill up the quick bar squares.
Drinking and eating enough is a constant worry. But so is the shortage of space in your bag, and when you’re packing bottles of water, the empty bottle takes up space. Pick up coconuts from the palm trees to lessen your thirst. When you’ve used them, they won’t take up space in your bag. Sadly, they don’t lessen your hunger. Free apples hanging on trees do the trick for that.
Let’s say you shake a tree for an apple and have it pop into your quick bar automatically. The green square indicates your cursor is at the right box, but you find you can’t eat the apple right away. For some reason, you must first scroll one left or right by pressing the shoulder buttons. Then back to the apple square, and now you can eat it with ZR.
There’s no way to make your character walk faster….the only thing you can do is to get wheels! Build a garage and make a bike or scooter to get around more quickly. Maybe go for a scooter, as the bike won’t make it up the hill if you want to go into town.
Storage is at a premium. What you need to do is make a crafting table ASAP. You do this by pressing ZR, and the menu for all things to craft or to buy for your farm comes up. When the table is up, you can find the various sorts of chests under the little house icon.
Build several chests, place them and know that you can name them. You do this by pressing X while in the chest menu. These little name tags are visible when you walk up to a chest.
Vegetables, fruit, dishes, flowers etc., start to rot into organic waste after a set number of days, even when you store them in a chest. You can stop this process by putting them in a fridge. Mind you, it stays in the state it is in when you put it in the fridge; it doesn’t reset the process. You can make one under the ZR tab.
A way to revert fruit or veggies going spoiled is this: turn the item into a dish. For example, when the cherries you picked go off, combine them with apples into sliced fruit at your cooking table. The time it will be spoiled is reset this way.
You start with the basic tools needed to get going. Tools have a durability meter, which you can see in the square with their icon. When the tool is used up, you can’t use it anymore. If you have a crafting table, you can craft a new one. But to do this, you need materials like wood, and those are hard to get when you’re axe is broken! So you can either keep an eye on the durability and make a new one in time. Or, when you have a hammer in your inventory, you press A to repair the tool while in your inventory. If both of these solutions fail, you could be lucky and find the golden tools that are scattered on the islands in treasure chests.
I found myself in a pickle this way when my axe broke, and I didn’t have a hammer or wood. In the end, I was so relieved when my pickaxe did break up tree trunks that were lying around. Otherwise, I would have had to restart the game!
Farming and Animals
To sow crops, you need to ‘build’ Farm Crop, which is under the Farm tab in the Building menu (ZR). You get little patches of soil to put down on the ground, on which you can sow seeds.
You have to water the crops daily, and you’ll see a percentage to indicate when the crops will be done. Using the ZR Builder menu, you can also make sprinklers.
If you have already laid out your farm plots, you might need to make room for the sprinklers. Demolish a patch of farmland by using the shovel on it.
You do need electricity on your property to keep sprinklers going and any other appliances you install. You can generate electricity by building a power generator, which needs gas from your Gas Can (you can make this on your crafting table) to work. To make this, you need 2 Oils (which you can make on your cooking station), 2 Iron Ingots and one pack of Nails. Equip it in your quick bar and interact with the power generator to get it going.
At first, you’ll notice that it’s very dark on your homestead from 7 pm. As soon as you have your electronics crafting table up, you can make streetlights. They need power to work.
The first animals you should buy are chickens, for which you have to build a chicken coop. The animals need to be fed and watered. You do this by having a wooden bucket in your quick bar, filling it up with water, and having grain in your quick bar (Grain can be made on the crafting table and requires wheat). Click on the coop to put the water and feed in.
Spirit of the Island has a lot of content, but I do feel nothing is straightforward. There are many steps to take, things to craft and build, to reach your goal. Like it is for hiring a worker. Here’s what you do:
- Press ZR and go to the Staff tab (it looks like a little profile picture). Build a simple staff house that can house 1 worker (or one of the other housing that can accommodate more workers).
- To build the Simple Staff House, you need 70 Fine Wood Plank, 20 Pack of Nails, 10 Rope, 30 Brick and 10 Duct Tape, plus $1,000 and a crafting skill of at least 3. Put the house on your property.
- Stay in ZR and build an Office Table on the shopping tab. You need a crafting skill of at least 1, 10 Wooden Plank, 5 Pack of Nails, 10 Electrical Wires, 10 Mechanical Parts and 10 Electrical Parts.
Put the Office Table on your property as well. By interacting with the Office Table, you make a Work Contract for 5 Resin.
- Put the Work Contract in your quick bar and click on a tourist. He will immediately occupy the house.
- Now, you want to assign him to a task. You do that under ‘-‘ and the Staff tab. Your worker is there; it shows how much he costs and what job he is assigned to.
You can choose between a Housekeeper or a Vendor. The first job lets him work on the property and take care of your animals. I gave him the vendor job as I have a little stall at the edge of my property leading to the beach.
- You can’t point them to which shops or tell them what exactly they need to do.
- The workers all sleep at night.
Exploring the Islands with a Boat
Once you’ve got your farm up and running and can make a little cash from your crops, you can buy a boat and explore the other islands. To start the sequence to buying your own boat, go into town. Once in town, head south till you find the Town Pirate, Jack.
He will tell you how to repair the South Pier, the one that is to the south of your property. After you’ve got the right materials, go back to Jack, and he will see that the pier is repaired. One day later, go back to Jack, and he will have boats for sale.
Remember, the boat needs fuel. However, there is nothing labelled with that specific word in your crafting menu. There is, however, a Gas Can. Equip it in your quick bar when you access the boat on your South Pier and press X for Refuel.
Your amount of fuel determines which islands you can reach. You only need fuel for the way over; going back home doesn’t use up fuel.
Another thing to keep an eye on is Resistance. Every island brings a certain amount of Wear, and your Resistance has to be higher than that. When it’s depleted, you must Repair the Boat (with Y). For that, you need a Repair Kit that can be made on your Electronics Table in your quick bar.
Those are my tips to get the game going and actually enjoy yourself. Have fun!