The beautifully aesthetic world of Azoria is a welcoming sight to lovers of cozy fantasy video games.
Available on Switch and PC, Fae Farm may follow your typical farming simulator genre and gameplay, but that doesn’t mean to say it doesn’t hold its own ground with an abundance of heart and a sprinkling of magic.
Azoria welcomes you in with a cozy, warm hug. The locals are eager with quests to give you and to help you along the way, never having you stop to twiddle your fingers with nothing to do. Gameplay is simple and inviting, yet a bit tedious at times too. On one hand, always having to go into menus within menus to do things can be something to get used to, especially if a Switch console isn’t your usual go to. On the other hand, moments like tools auto changing to whatever you start interacting with, e.g, stone or trees, is a handy feature to minimise unnecessary clicking to enhance the experience.
Fae Farm guides you in a gentle direction through quests, but never forces any linear expectations on you as a player. Feel like exploring Azoria yourself for a while? Go right ahead. Or perhaps you prefer to tick off quests faster than your budding farm can keep up? That works too.
Night time at Azoria quickly became one of my favourite times to explore and play the game, which is saying something when usually not a lot is happening at that time or quests may be limited. The hustle and bustle of the residents continued with no limitations to time, so I loved chatting with residents and visiting the shops as the vibrant art style filled my screen along with the perfect night ambience. It should be noted though, that like most farming sims, if it gets too late, you will auto-spawn back home in bed to start a new day. I didn’t mind this too much though, as loot doesn’t get lost, so sometimes it felt like a win-win situation if I was eager to drop off loot into storage anyway.
Building character relationships was just as important as completing quests and building my homestead. With guidance at how to shape these relationships, or not, it wasn’t long before Azoria started to feel shaped to my imagination.
Fae Farm can be played on your own, online or locally with up to four players. Before the game’s release, excitement hit me at the possibility of being able to play another local co-op game with my partner, as local co-op games can be few and far between. After playing through the first chapter, which can be a bit of a task as your fellow player sits patiently eager to play too, I was disappointed to discover that local co-op only existed if the person wanting to join had their own Switch.
Solo play was in this household then.
Among an abundance of farming sim games, you have to stick out from the crowd to gather new players, and not just rely on fans of cozy games or farming sims, though Fae Farm was obviously heavily curated towards them, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Personally, I haven’t played a lot of farming sims because they all feel the same to me, and I can get bored by the repetitive nature. Like I said, this doesn’t mean to say I don’t play them. The gameplay is the same, the quests are the same, but maybe that’s the catch. The familiarity to know what to expect provides comfort to many, and I can respect that.
In terms of performance issues, I did find my game lagging sometimes, which was a tad frustrating, even at the beginning of the game. Loading times were on the slow end too, which, similar to performance issues, I thought would have happened much further down the lines when the game bulked up its content, as opposed to in the beginning.
Fans of farming sims certainly won’t run out of options, especially on the Switch and PC, but that doesn’t mean to say Fae Farm doesn’t sprinkle its own magic into the group. That spark of fantasy magic brings life to Azoria in ways some farming sims don’t, and new players will no doubt find themselves spending hours paving their way across the magical land and building homesteads to their liking.
Released: September 2023
Platforms reviewed: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Phoenix Labs
Publisher: Phoenix Labs