If you’re looking for a new farming sim to play, Everdream Valley might be exactly what you need. Taking notes from games like Harvest Moon and Stardew Valley, Everdream Valley also has a lot to offer in terms of its own story and gameplay. But is it any good?
In short, yes. It is a good game. But after playing for a while, it feels like Everdream Valley had the opportunity to be a really great game. Let’s start with the story. You’re a kid whose parents wanted the house to themselves for the Summer, so they drop you off at Grandma and Grandpa’s farm and call it a vacation. However, this is the farthest thing from a vacation, especially for a kid. Your grandparents are old, and due to them being pretty decrepit they’re unable to take care of the farm any more. But now, thanks to your parents, you get to spend a whole Summer here helping them restore it to its former glory.
The first thing you’ll do is create your character. Personally, I hated the way these characters looked. The facial features felt kind of generic, and I couldn’t find a look or hairstyle I liked. I am really picky when it comes to character creation, though. It’s one of my favorite parts of some games. After creating your creepy child avatar, you’ll be dropped off at the farm, and the game begins. Over the course of the first few days, you’ll learn how to do general farm work, like planting and harvesting crops, animal care, yard care, cooking, crafting, etc. There’s actually quite a lot to keep you busy. With all the chores, animal training (and herding), story-driven missions, side quests, minigames, and more, it can feel like you’re trying to cram a lot into one day.
For example, herding animals is the only way to get new livestock for your farm. You first have to find the animals and then herd them back to the farm, which is a very slow process. It made me not even want new animals, to be honest. But that’s the worst of the “chores” you’ll complete. The rest of them, like training the animals and restoring old buildings, give you a kind of rewarding feeling and make you want to invest more time. You’ll have to collect lots of materials in order to complete all of these tasks.
I’m sure most of you are familiar with how these games work. Get various, specific materials, use one of your trusty tools or crafting stations, and voila! A new building appears, a fence is rebuilt, a new dish prepared… you get the idea. Restoring the farm will take time, but it’s nice to have all of these things to do in a farming game. The day-to-day tasks can become mundane (like real life), and sometimes you just need to run around the farm with your cat and train it to jump through hula hoops or take on one of the many side quests Everdream Valley offers.
One of the strangest things you must do is play through a dream minigame every night when going to sleep. You’ll spin a wheel in the dream lottery, and it will choose what kind of dream you have. You’ll take the form of some type of animal, like a goat or chicken, and complete a quick minigame like collecting items or racing around an area, hitting all of the checkpoints. These would be kind of fun if they were optional or not so frequent. But they become even more repetitive than watering crops every day.
The main quests are there to kind of guide you in the right direction when it comes to restoring the farm. However, completing these too fast will result in you completing the game without even knowing it. I did the last quest and slept, assuming there would be more the next day. But nope, nothing. No credits roll, no congrats or thank you from the grandparents; just an endless summer and endless work. There’s a section in the pause menu that says DLC, and some of the map is left unexplored, so I’m assuming the developer plans on adding new seasons or something? Not sure how that would work, though, since the kid has to go to school.
As for graphics and music, Everdream Valley seemed to go in the right direction here, as the game looks great. And there’s a lot you can do with your farm as far as customization goes, which is always satisfying. Though I feel it was lacking in the quality control department due to the number of bugs and glitches, The game even shut off a couple of times when I first started playing. Farm work is too repetitive, as it is, to be dealing with stuff like that. I think a patch was released at some point to fix some of these issues. But I still experience bugs when trying to run consistently or getting stuck during the dream minigames and timing out because I’m literally not able to complete the mission. It is still playable, but it can be frustrating at times.
Overall, it seems like I did have a lot of criticism for Everdream Valley, but it wasn’t all bad. If the gameplay bugs weren’t there, herding animals was easier, minigames were optional, and there was a longer story or proper ending, I would really like this game. I read that the developers are working on the bugs and updates to make gameplay smoother, so there is still hope if you’d like to try it, especially those of you looking for a new relaxing farming game.
Everdream Valley is available now on the Nintendo Switch eShop for $24.99.
Review: Everdream Valley (Nintendo Switch)
Everdream Valley has the potential to become a good farming game, and there were times when I really enjoyed myself just working on the farm and training my animals. But the short story, underwhelming ending, and gameplay issues were a turnoff.