The first review I read of Fae Farm was meant to be scathing, but it completely sold me on the game in the opening sentence, which was basically: “Fae Farm is just like every other farming sim; if you love Stardew Valley, I guess you’re gonna love this too.” And I do love Stardew Valley! In fact, I would go as fas as saying that Stardew Valley has been my constant companion through some of the toughest times of my life! Everything’s always okay on Hoagie’s Homestead! Anyway, yes, Fae Farm is very much like Stardew Valley, which is very much like Harvest Moon, which is very much like if The Sims had some acreage, and that’s just the way these things go.
The opening story is pretty straightforward: You get shipwrecked in the enchanted world of Azoria. Luckily, the mayor who finds you all washed up on the shore happens to have a farm he’s jonesing to give away, and you are the lucky recipient. You grow some crops, you collect some resources, you make some money, you explore. The more you learn, the more you can craft — potions, furniture, farm equipment — and the more you craft, the more you level up. You can sell stuff in the market overnight, like when Mayor Lewis comes around and collects your crops from your bin in Stardew. And you can also buy so many home furnishings at the market. And unlike any other game I’ve ever played, the furniture you choose gives you all kinds of bonuses to things like health and charisma.
But it’s not all work, work, work. In Azoria, you meet all kinds of other villagers in your new magical home, some who you can romance. All the marriageable characters are playersexual, meaning they’re whatever sexuality matches up best with yours. If you’re playing a bisexual enchanted farmer, you can date anyone. If you’re playing as an overalled homosexual farmer, you can date only women. And they’ll all be so happy to date you back. You can also date everyone or no one. None of this Cassandra Pentaghast rejection in Azoria! In total, there’s 15 new buddies, and you can romance six of them. But don’t lollygag! You can play with a co-op of up to four people on the Switch, and you can compete for the affections of the romance-able NPCs.
I am one of the minority of Stardew Valley players who love both the mines and fishing, and I am so pleased that Fae Farm also includes little dungeons! You’ll have to upgrade your tools to fight more powerful Jumbles as you progress, which you can, of course, do by simply living out your farm life, growing and collecting and selling things. And there’s fishing! Which isn’t as challenging as Stardew but is more challenging than Animal Crossing, and you don’t have to sit through a single pun about the Sea Bass (…at least a C+!). The name is Fae Farm, so you know there’s magic afoot — and, in fact, it’s everywhere. I won’t spoil any surprises for you, but the magic here is way more accessible to the player than in any other farming sim I’ve played.
The farming and fighting and collecting part of Fae Farm is really, really fun. The social parts, however, aren’t nearly as good as Stardew Valley, which does make sense because every dang character in that glorious game has a beautiful, fully-realized story arc if you spend enough time getting to know them. But if your love of farming sims, like mine, goes all the way back to FarmVille on Facebook, well, these cozy chores and rewards are for you!