What is this? Another Farming Simulator in 2023? Why yes, yes it is. When the world stops making them, I will stop reviewing them. Until then, enjoy my thoughts on Everdream Valley.
Farming for the Holidays
I am not sure how many times I have started a farming sim review with the age ol’ classic – your grandma/grandpa is sick/ill/dead schtick, so let’s just say it definitely still involves your grandparents in how you obtain the farm. Luckily they are still very much alive but due to ill health the farm has taken a backseat and you have the summer vacation to get it back up and running again.
Unlike most farming sims, with Everdream Valley players take a third person perspective as opposed to the typical bird’s eye view. I have to say that I actually really enjoyed this camera angle and this does immediately add a new dimension and perspective to the game. This did feel much more immersive. Everdream Valley has a huge map and it makes it all the more fun to explore when you feel like you are really going through the long grass.
Everdream Valley has all the right recipes to a great farming sim. Rearing animals, growing vegetables, watering crops, tilling soil, mining rock, chopping trees. You name it, Everdream Valley probably covers it. This game does do something a bit different here too. Animals that you rear will not only be uncommon ones that are not usually found in your average farming sim such as little ducklings, pigs and the old alpaca or two but will also include mini games. Mini games that involve using the controller to milk cows, shear sheep, cook, and saw the wood into planks yourself.
Respect Your Fodder
If not looked after properly and not given the appropriate shelter, animals can get sick in the weather and you’ll need to craft medicine to help them. Don’t even get me started on the fact this is the first game where you can build an entirely cute working relationship between your dog and cat on the farm. You can choose between a number of breeds (I chose my dream dog: a Chow Chow), name it whatever you like and have it follow you around. This is so extremely cute it hurts my heart.
The dog will follow you, play with you, rear sheep with you and also chase the wolves in the night to protect sheep. By petting and playing fetch you can increase the level of your dog’s relationship allowing it to complete more tasks with you. Should you choose to not pay attention to your pup this relationship, like any friendship will dwindle over time!
Your cat literally does not care about you enough to follow you around, but depending on the relationship you have with your cat can catch bugs and rats that try to infest your farm. All animals will need to be regularly fed hay, and if not this will stop them from breeding so you have plenty to be getting on with in the day time around the story tasks.
The story tasks mainly consist of repairing or re-growing the farm. Each grandparent can give you a task on any day, and this will usually consist of finding a certain animal, making a certain fence or compound for your animals to stay, and even learning to fish. Sometimes they will send you on errands to collect a certain amount of materials, and if they have no task to give you they will usually give you a supply of a few items so you never run completely empty. Is it the most entertaining, enticing, edge of your chair story? No. It doesn’t need to be.
The game works at a nice pace and doesn’t front load the story with loads of tasks to do whilst making the rest of the middle bulk of the story sparse. The inventory immediately fills me with joy as it gives you plenty to work with, and the opportunity to buy chests with even more space. Farming Simulators or any kind of simulator/adventure which requires tasks or errands in some way can lack in an inventory department and make it some sort of upgrade, which becomes more bothersome and less interesting quickly. Everdream Valley has multiple different types of everything. Even including grass, from grass, sedge, different seeds of grass. I’ve never seen so much grass? This extends to things you can collect, the type of vessel you can hold your milk or water, the different ways you can interact with the garden or fields around you.
Something worthy of mentioning is your character does have a stamina bar. The story states as you grow in level, you will need to eat more nutritious fruits to be able to increase more stamina. Other than this, I have not yet really found any other use for being a higher level and it does feel slightly redundant and one of the only added extra’s I neither cared for, or noticed. The stamina can be easily gained again – unlike the Story of Seasons ventures where it is easier to just sleep to regain stamina. Here in Everdream Valley your stamina is regained pretty quickly naturally and doesn’t permanently deplete throughout the day.
However, you will not be able to just plough through the night to complete your tasks. Eventually wolves will come to attack the farm as well as chase and attack you. There is no defense for this and therefore this leads you to instantly fall asleep. If you do choose to fall asleep beforehand, you can be lulled into the sandman of dreams. The story also almost progresses through dreams also. Animals will talk to you, you will be given access to more areas and tasks and jobs will be given to you. As well as a bunch of mini games that can reward you with resources. Every so often a story quest can trigger a new dream awaiting you which allows a fun new quest.
During your dreams you can assume the role of your very own farm dog and defend the sheep from wolves, you can round up little ducklings, do a small bit of platforming and many other mini games. This is actually a lot of fun and does break up your day of work and labour. An interesting crossover is that should you accidentally lose a sheep in the dream defending against the wolves, you will be given a task to find that sheep the very next day.
Everdream Valley is not a perfect game, but it is up there with high potential to be one of the greats. When I immediately jumped in I had alot of coding issues, everything wasn’t labelled properly and sometimes I would have to hold down other buttons to select other certain buttons. Luckily, after some time, this was resolved and it appears the discord channel is very communicative with bug reporting and resolutions. I notice updates often on my console.
Speaking of finding sheep, I went to find my very sheep that I accidentally sacrified to the wolves in a mini game, and brought both sheeps home and the task did not complete so it is a looming task on my to-do list that won’t seem to disappear just yet.
Visually the game is bright, bold and wonderfully cartoon. Animals are full of cuteness, grass blades pop in the light, sounds and soundtrack still inject the cosy feel it should for a cosy farming sim. Customiations allow you to add your own touch to your character to increase immersion. I really enjoy the art style for this genre.
I have really enjoyed the differences between Everdream Valley and the usual archive in this genre. You can easily play the same game with different licks of paint when it comes to simulators – especially farming ones. Everdream Valley has managed to make some unique changes to their gameplay that will hopefully interest and intrigue those who are beloved to the genre.
Everdream Valley is an adorable farming simulator that involves, animals, farming and a bit of magic. What feels like a giant sandbox worth of adventure, is worth the bucket and spade. Whilst it isn’t a perfect game, there is a plethora of farming to be done within the Valley with an interesting story mechanic that is unlike other entries.
Everdream Valley is available now on PlayStation 4 and 5 (reviewed on latter), and PC via Steam and Epic Store. Nintendo Switch is coming soon!
Publisher: Untold Tales
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we were provided with a promotional code from the publisher.