Apparently my review was too long to post into Itchio's official rating system, so I'm posting it here. It's broken into sections based upon what people may be looking more specifically into for these kinds of games, though I do apologize if I missed anything. Please note of course this is my own personal view, etc, but feel free to comment your own thoughts and even anything you disagree with below to help the devs and possible buyers know better! Oh, and please note I still haven't done "everything" in the game yet, but I have put in over 20 hours so I think I have the ability to write a competent review.
I absolutely adore this game, it’s in the same vein as those such as Stardew Valley and Harvest Moon and really holds itself up as well with some unique twists that make it stand out to me. However, there are quite a few things that are still being worked on or do need work. I will be talking at length about the good and “needs improved” in this game, but ultimately just know I cannot recommend this game enough and that I will most likely also be purchasing it on steam eventually for easier modding through the steam workshop (as I personally don’t do well with modding folders.) This game is exceptionally fun, and has so many unique nuances to it I just can't get enough of it!
Animal Handling and Farming:
The farming and animal handling mechanics allow for both a fairly standard and allows for a more complicated system using “gene splicing,” a feature I absolutely adore as the genetics of the seeds and animals makes for a really fun and interesting take that is actually done in real life through careful breeding but rarely depicted in games. I have so much fun trying to create the best seeds and keeping their lineage alive, as well as creating the perfect farm animals to produce the best items I can manage. However, first note of issue here, is that animal products do not have a quality variable like harvestables but a “rare” option, which while an interesting system I would love to see continue, I also would like to the quality variables added for additional intrigue. There is also no “caring” mechanics for animals, such as brushing fur, talking to them, etc., but just feeding and walking (which is a unique feature to this game I love!) Also, there is no current alien-animal equivalent to a “horse,” which is generally a standard in these sorts of games which also allow “horse racing” events and faster travel. This game does have a unique animal though, a “crystal blob” which creates sugar crystals and is really cool and fun, and I’m excited to see more creatures as this game goes on as it looks as if there are 2 more expected animals according to the amount of pens in Nessa’s (animal handler) house.
Ignoring animal gameplay, farming is just delightful and so unique with the genetics of the seeds, though I do have mixed feelings about there being pre-made plowable areas. On one hand, it’s more realistic to only have certain areas be fertile enough to keep crops alive, but on the other it can be quite a walk to get to the areas (speed boot upgrade handles this fine though.) I would like to possibly have the ability to build smaller houses (barns or shacks?) which I could place beds in in order to sleep there. However, the fact that certain seeds can only grow in certain biomes (mountain, plains, marsh) is a really fun and creative way to encourage exploration while also making more unique plants, while allowing the “grows anywhere” gene good for players who wouldn’t want to leave their house. I also like how you must level up your tools to use these different biomes, as it provides really fun and nice complexity to the game making it harder to “rush” and easier to just enjoy things as you naturally develop your items and farm.
NPCs and Love:
I absolutely adore all the characters in the game, though I definitively have my favorites. They’re well written, have nice unique features for each of them, and really cool stories to follow through as you become better friends. For those that are interested, there is also some really cool canon LGBT stuff going on that isn’t just standard “playersexual,” but you have to become friends enough with the character(s) for that to become clear. There is also the nice option to be polyamorus with certain characters (As well as certain characters are canonically monogamous and do not allow such) which is a really fun and intriguing way to make the romance more complex, and I really enjoy the option to allow such as I tend to have hard time picking singular favorites in these games. However, I have heard there is no option to have babies/get married to multiple people due to a bug the devs couldn’t overcome, but with modders coming in this may be an option in the future. At the very least, I would like to continue dating multiple people while married/having kids with a single character as I really like two specific characters as well as their chemistry together.
I will say though, I wish there was more interactions available with the characters than just the daily talk and the “gift” system at their houses. I would like the option to just give flowers or some other items to characters similar to how you feed animals in the game, as that is generally a standard in these sorts of games with a like/dislike system though that may take a long while to implement. As it stands, the romance system is really nice and allows you to date and breakup with people as you would like through the diaries besides peoples beds, allowing you some exploration in romance, and has some nice romantic/sultry dialogue though I have yet to get married because my choices didn’t arrive till fairly late.
Oh, and fun fact: You can rename NPC's! I don't really understand why this is a feature, but it could be nice for players looking to make their real-life partner(s) and/or friends in the game.
Something seemingly unique to this game is extreme ability to decorate houses and the world through items you buy or craft. I adore this feature, and use it to sort of make “my own planet” with nice areas and such. The ability to your houses interior so detailed is also nice, as you can even do walls/floors and even the exterior however you’d like between some options. Though I will admit, I do dislike the current art style’s choice of having open gaps between rooms rather than doorways. I would like the ability to place walls/walls with doors (or at least archways) to make the interior feel more personal, as having the bedroom open to the kitchen seems a bit odd once you get past the 1st and 2cd house build. I also did not enjoy how fast you upgraded to mansion, as it seemed sudden from normal house to a giant place. There is also something strange where the furniture I place in the house seems oddly small, such as candles and the like being palm-sized for my character. I do not know if this is a glitch or a bug, but it’s awkward looking even when placed on shelves.
I will continue to compliment though, I love how you can recolor furniture through wood stains and the like, as well as the fact you can unlock special “character” furniture by the gift giving mechanic as it stands. I really enjoyed some of the furniture, though again some seems to “shrink” when placed inside the house. Ultimately though, I do adore the system as it stands as it allows a far more unique house appearance than what other games in this genre appear to present, and I really like being able to decorate outside in the free-roam world.
Player Character / Customization :
I like how you can customize your character at the start of the game, as well as there is no "sex-segregation" for certain appearances and items allowing maximum customizability. However, there is a current complete lack of a gender/sex/pronoun system which seems odd (But not bad!), though I do appreciate the fact you are automatically called they in this respect as well as seem capable of having kids with any character despite their own gender/sex. Pronouns aren’t inherently necessary for gameplay and don’t even appear too often, so this isn’t really a complaint but just an unusual surprise for those who may have come to expect either a pronoun or sex choice at the start.
I will say though, I hate the sprite art but especially for the player. Other characters are alright though sometimes off-model from their own avatar art (notably, Jade’s skintone is far more warm in sprite than in avatar and Wyatt doesn’t have glasses on his avatar). I think it’s a mix of accidentally over detailed and semi-realistic proportions with overly cartoony faces, but it’s hard to say. Ultimately, the player is by far the worst contender though as there may be options for different noses/eyes/hair etc. but they seem far more simplified than the other avatars walking around unless you pick the specially-detailed items (which may not sit right with other fashion items). This is mostly a personal preference though, and I also acknowledge that the art team did wonders creating the sprites out of literally nothing and making a art style for all the characters.
However, I will say I appreciate the ability to add textures/details later in the game once you unlock the weaver, however I have yet to explore that yet. It’s a nice thing to see that you can craft your own items and details, and I will enjoy it immensely. Ultimately, I really appreciate the ability to decide so much for the player character at the start, but I also feel as though it could use some improvements in many ways (especially in regards to other facial feature options as there were only 3 eyes which seemed all fairly feminine if I remember correctly.) The choice to make you “cycle” through clothes also seems odd, as it takes a lot longer to find what you want. A pick and choose from the side would be far more desirable, as you could compare far quicker and see all options from the start.
Events, Seasons, Community Buildings: [BUGS?]
So far, I’ve only experienced 2 town events, which was the beginning of solstice in the town square and a celebration once everyone in town was achieved. I would really like to see more festival type things with limited time items, especially competitions or silly minigames like egg-hunts.
As for seasons, I think there may be a glitch on my game as I’ve experienced 1 autumn (when I arrived), and 2 eclipses (winters) and 2 summers. It went fall, winter, summer, winter, summer, and seems to be broken but doesn’t seem to be really adversely affecting anything else.
I may be missing events due to the apparent seasons bug, or there just may be a really strange year system, but ultimately I am a bit underwhelmed with these current things.
For community buildings, there is only the hotel which seems to have absolutely no use (not even for resting in!) at this time and there are no pubs as Nessa (Animal Handler) mentioned before. All buildings dual function as houses and “visual” businesses, excluding for the one actual shop which belongs to Miles (Shopkeep). I would like for there to be more things I could buy from more people, or at least some places with “time-based” hangouts that are only open between certain hours of the day and have multiple NPC’s in the area. Area-specific interactions with NPC’s could also help alleviate this, making the “visual” businesses appear more authentic (I.E Wyatt (Flora Scientist) in Nessa’s house: “It seems like these creatures only eat flowers, rocks, or wood...how strange!” or anyone in Miles’s shop: “He’s got a monopoly on milk and bread, but at least it’s still fairly affordable.”
A simple note, I wanted to say here that it appears you are allowed as many save files as you want as well as can delete them as you want, which is nice for people who want multiple play through or gameplay styles. I personally plan on replaying this different times with focuses on different decoration styles throughout the planet, as well as marrying/dating different people in different games. I believe in my first playthrough, I will most likely be monogamous with Miles (as I love his expressions!), though I cannot wait to be poly with some of the characters and explore the romance routes through that. I may experiment with breaking up/dating more people before marrying Miles, but I’m not quite sure.
This game is very mod friendly, with the dev team highlighting example mods both on here and on Steam. Though I personally do not mod and only download, it looks like there's a few simple ones out already, and that they have steam workshop implemented on steam for maximum accessibility. I really enjoy this, as I have trouble downloading mods for games and understanding the setup when they weren't made with modding in mind, so this is a really neat feature! Unfortunately, there's not many mods out yet, but with more hype comes more community and hopefully more mods!
Again, I adore this game and will continuously play this at a borderline obsession until I run out of things to do, but for now I’ve dumped well over 20 hours into this game and have definitely gotten 20$ worth of fun out of it. I personally plan on buying the steam edition whenever I get more money, as I would like to have easier modding though it’s also fairly easy to download mods on sites such as Itchio, but I’m a bit lazy and prefer just click click done. There are definitely some stuff that needs a bit more tweaking, but ultimately I genuinely have fun with this game and look forward with whatever else may come of this game. I really hope people start picking up this game, as it stands very well on it’s own but also is a nice contender in the farming/dating sim genre of games, and I would LOVE to see a modding community pick up this like the community for Stardew Valley, as this game has so much potential both from the devs and community alike. At the very least, it's something similar but different to the usual games of this genre, allowing you to enjoy something you're definitely into while also having some fun new experiences. 5/5, will keep playing and hype it up to everyone I know :D