Developer: Vadzim Liakhovich
Platforms: PC (Reviewed), MacOS, Switch
Genre: Casual, Indie, RPG, Simulation
Release date: 8th September, 2023
Sprout Valley is a cute farming simulator game. Sprout Valley was developed by Vadzim Liakhovich and published by RedDeer.Games and Vadzim Liakhovich. Games similar to Sprout Valley would be Apico and Stardew Valley. This review was done for the PC, but the game is available for the Switch and the MacOs.
Sprout Valley is a single-player game where you play as a cat named Nico. Nico started off in a town where he worked under a big corporate company but later found an advert for a property on sale in Pascal Town. You play Nico, who embarks on a cosy farming journey to take a break from his previous life. You are able to craft items, sell items, plant seeds, grow vegetables and fruits, fish, level up Nico and even travel.
The controls for Sprout Valley are very straightforward. You pretty much use your mouse to interact with objects and then the keyboard keys to move and do other interactions as well. The controls for the most important keybinds are shown on the bottom right-hand side of the screen. I like how, in the game, there’s an outlined grid that shows in which way you will be interacting with objects; if the grid was not there, it would make interaction very frustrating. The controls also work smoothly, except sometimes there is a bit of a delay. For instance, when watering crops, you water the tile intended, but then when you go to water the next tile. It waters the same crop as before, so it can be a bit annoying.
The art style for Sprout Valley is so cute and cosy. It has subtle pixel art visuals with a top-down-ish view of your world. Everything about the game is so bright and colourful. One of my favourite parts about the game was the very first cutscene shown in the game. It was a bunch of sketched-out frames put together to tell a story. The pixel art is smooth and does not even look entirely pixelated, which goes well with the atmosphere of this game. I love the little animations in the game as well, from the house door swinging open to Nico being stationary and bouncing up and down. There are a lot of little details in the game that bring it to life; for example, a small animation in the water makes it seem like the water is flowing, and you even have transparent clouds that hover over your world, making it more atmospheric. I think, by far, the fish are my favourite part of the visuals because each fish you catch has such a cute design to it. I love the axolotl and the crab the most. With the visuals of this game, the soundtrack soothes it so well. It is subtle piano music that seems to be mixed together with other instruments, like a triangle, to create soothing, relaxing music. I also really enjoy how the music changes as you play. Sometimes, it will go from just the sounds of someone playing with a bell to distant instrumental music. Some of the music in the game has a resemblance to the music you’d find in Studio Ghibli movies that creates this aspiring yet calming blend of sounds.
What I like about the game is that there’s a variety of choices for you to pick from. So, you’re able to choose from 9 different worlds that each have different layouts. Some of the worlds include the following: Colpong islet, Archipelago, Small Resort to Small Forest. Now the, game can be a bit slow as you do the same farming and crafting every day which, can make progression slow, so with having different worlds, you can try messing around with how to design different farms. Because the game offers ten save slots for you to choose from, it gives you the best opportunity to try out all the different worlds in each one of those save slots. Personally, I really liked the small resort and small forest layout. I tried out all the worlds, and each was unique; some were harder to set up separate areas in, but they all worked really nicely. Even with having one world, you are able to travel to other islands in which you can expand your farm. At first, I wasn’t aware of where Oslo’s shop was, but if you interact with the book in your house, you are able to buy many things, from seeds to house upgrades to materials and more.
The game also has a story that you unlock the more you play it, and with that comes meeting new characters. I love how the game allows you to create relationships with these characters by giving you the option to chat and gift them. This makes it so that you are able to increase your level of closeness with them and get to know them better.
I enjoyed the game as it was one that you can play while watching something, or if you wanna just sit back and relax too. The game is very slow-paced. You pretty much do the same things, including clearing our world, selling items to gain money and unlocking crafting recipes. It has similar mechanics to Stardew Valley, where using equipment wears you out, so you need not use all your energy. What I like about the tools in this game is that they have infinite durability, and to swap over to your tools, you can just scroll your mouse wheel. The fishing in this game is also really relaxing and plays similarly to animal crossing, where you throw your reel near a shadow fish in the water; it’ll bob off your bait a couple of times, and when you see an exclamation mark it lets you reel the fish out.
I also loved the character dialogue and dialogue box. It is so cute as you see the little pixel art character animations, and the text fades in and out accordingly. It adds more liveliness to the game as well as you are able to meet other characters. What I like about this game is that when you encounter a new mechanic, in the game it pops up with a little informative box with an animation to explain how certain important mechanics work. As you progress, you unlock further things, but the main goal of the game is just to sell, make money, craft and farm. You are also able to upgrade Nico by carrying out the achievements and goals listed in your journal. I also love how you are able to customise Nico and equip pets, which is just another cute feature added to the game. Another nice detail is that there’s a calendar in your journal that highlights important days, such as upcoming weather and harvest days; on top of that, there’s also a helpline that can rescue you if you’re stuck, which makes things a lot more efficient in the game. Even though the game has few mechanics from other games, it has its own unique charm, and the more you play it, the more addicted you get to upkeep your beautiful, charming farm.
Now, if you want to play a cosy, relaxing farming simulator game that has cute visuals and melodic melodies to listen to while playing, then Sprout Valley is definitely the game to check out. You get to play a cute cat named Nico who gets to fish, farm, sell, buy and travel the world of Pascal Town.
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