There’s something comforting about the farming simulator genre. For longtime fans of farming games, the Harvest Moon games (now Story of Seasons) will always be a testament to the fact that some of gaming’s most satisfying moments can be had outside of action. Newcomers to farming sims have found a favorite with Stardew Valley, the critically acclaimed hit from developers Concerned Ape that has rejuvenated the genre and introduced many to a world of casual yet rewarding gaming. Now, Australian indie developers Bisonbit are striking out to till their own field with Farm-Folks.
Currently Farm-Folks is in pre-alpha, but the developers have made the game available for players even this early on. Fort now Farm-Folks exists in a placeholder world, but with every update the environment, and the experience of building a life in it, grows richer. Bisonbits developers are a communicative team, and they always have a line open in their community Discord for suggestions and bug reporting from their player-base. Updates to the game are frequent, and the developers keep fans of the game in the know with weekly blog posts about the process of development. This sort of transparency allows players to feel as if they are a part of the game’s community even before the alpha stage, which bodes well for the game’s player base when Farm-Folks progresses and comes out for full release.
Farm-Folks brings back a fun style that we know and love from the genre, and offers recent Stardew Valley fans a look into the third dimension of farming. The art of the game is colorful and cute, with a warm color palette and bubbly characters and critters to make you feel welcome on your farm. Currently the game’s main features involve taking care of a variety of crops and the cows and chickens the player can keep on their farm. These animals are especially cute, and even if they may have limited animation for now they always look happy to see you and reward any interaction from the player with a relationship-affirming heart. Farm-Folks also features a day-night cycle and energy system, which means you have to manage your stamina throughout the day to ensure you can get all your chores done on the farm. Though character customization is a feature promised in the future, for now all players swim, plant, and tend to their livestock as the same character. The map and music are limited for now, but both have their charm and contribute to the game’s lighthearted aesthetic. In a lot of ways Farm-Folks’ style brings to mind early access title Slime Rancher, which has an equally cheerful atmosphere and simple mechanics that allow you to build something bigger.
Farm-Folks’ promised future features and the potential it currently shows also make it an exciting addition to this genre. Bisonbit has many plans for the game, such as fishing, relationship building, rideable animals and vehicles, family building, and a mining system. Bisonbit’s plan to include all these staple features of rpg farming simulators suggests we could have another nostalgic classic on our hands when the game moves out of its current pre-alpha stage.
In an attempt to get their game out to a wider audience, Bisonbit holds frequent giveaways for Farm-Folks. Subscribing to their newsletter automatically enters you into a weekly giveaway, and later today they will also start a special event through IndieDB. Bisonbit will be giving away 200 copies of the game for PC in its current state to the lucky winners. If you don’t find yourself to be among them, however, Farm-Folks is also available at a very reduced price of $9.99 while it’s still in development. Of course, purchasing the game now also means you’ll be at risk for bugs and quickly exhausting Farm-Folks’ available material, but if you’re interested in getting a chance to play the behind the scenes version then it’s worth picking it up now; purchasing Farm-Folks early ensures you can receive all future updates and the final game for free. Though Farm-Folks is currently only available on PC through Humble Bundle, Bisonbit is in the middle of running a Greenlight campaign to get approved on Steam for future release. If all goes well, the developers also plan to release the game on Mac, Linux, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch in the future, which means Farm-Folks could bring the joy of casual farming games to all platforms.
If you’re already a fan of farming rpgs, then chances are a game like Farm-Folks will be an instant win. As a rule, you can count on these games if you’re looking for a low key but enjoyable experience. Farm-Folks also has the added benefit of still being early enough in development that you can have a chance to influence features as a community member and get a look at the process of game building. Bisonbit’s dedication to keeping the game updated and adding new content on a regular basis means that it could very quickly begin to take shape into the game they’ve promised, which is an exciting thought. They’re clearly working very hard to bring their game to the community, and this recent giveaway on IndieDB is a great opportunity to get a look at the game.
Farm-Folks pre-alpha is available for purchase for PC from Humble Bundle for $9.99. For more information on Farm-Folks, visit Bisonbit’s official website for the game or the Steam Greenlight page. To enter to win one of 200 free copies, visit IndieDB.
Are you a farming simulator fan? Do you love the classic Harvest Moon games, or did you learn about the genre from Stardew Valley? To let us know your thoughts on Farm-Folks, comment below or contact us. Do you love what we write and want to support us? Then please consider taking a look at Gamer’s Almanac new Patreon to get more exclusive content.