Coral Island is a wonderful treat for those looking to escape to a place where farming is all that matters. With farm tools in hand, get ready for a colorful trip to the small town of Pokyo.
Farming simulators have a way of capturing you with a simple concept and stealing hours of time out of your day without warning. I have put countless hours into games like Stardew Valley, and My time at Portia. There is something relaxing about having a list of tasks that have to be taken care of throughout the day in order to earn money so that I can upgrade my character’s life. While this might just sound more like work than something relaxing, the nice thing is being able to see your progress over the course of a few in-game days. Coral Island is a farming simulator that doesn’t break the mold in too many ways, but instead provides players a reliable experience as they help revitalize Pokyo, a small town where a vibrant cast of characters resides.
The story involves you moving to the island of Pokyo to escape the busy and hectic life that city living can bring. The town seems to have lost a bit of the magic that brought in visitors and business, so there is a lot of talk around your arrival and about how the farm could be a way to bring back some money to the island. The first hour or so of the game had me listening to the concerns of the other villagers while a major oil company, named Pufferfish Drilling Corporation, tried to weasel its way into the island’s community. A lot of the residents were against this, and I found myself standing right beside them as I built my farm up. After putting in all that work on my farm, I would have hated to see it pushed to the side by a big corporation attempting to bleed more money from the townsfolk.
During my multiple trips to the town, there were many instances where my plans would get thrown out of the window as I chatted with the other characters. Each one has a unique personality to go along with their colorful portraits. I started to account for each character I wanted to visit during my trips into town, and that was something that made this journey even more enjoyable. At one point early on in the game, I was asked by two villagers if I enjoyed fishing or catching bugs more. While I knew that this was just a way to get me to interact with the game’s different mechanics, it was nice to see it put in a way that felt like a genuine conversation with people as they tried to get to know me.
Getting to know the community is a big part of both the game’s story and its gameplay. While I only met a handful of the characters, there are sixty three different characters to run into, including some that are romanceable. I tend to spend a lot of time in these games by building a routine that provides consistent income. Due to this, I spent a majority of my time without a spouse during this review.
Some of the residents have jobs that can help you build the farm up as you go. There are shops that provide farm supplies like seeds and inventory upgrades as well as a place to purchase new clothing for your character. These shops are spread all throughout the town and since time is an important resource to manage, I frequently found myself rushing to get all my tasks done so that I could use the spare time to do some cleaning and organizing. Shopping and farming will take up both time and energy so thankfully, there are multiple ways to regain that spent energy. Another feature that allows you to alleviate some of the stress of time management is the ability to adjust the speed that time passes. You are able to speed it up or slow it down to best fit your playstyle. Since you are able to sell the crops you grow to get more income, it is important that you have the farm organized and growing at all times. Fishing is also a way to break up the cycle while continuing to earn some extra income.
Most of my time spent in Pokyo involved finding an efficient way to get income flowing while maintaining the fun found in these kinds of games. There is a lot of space on the farm to account for different layouts, but clearing out the land can be quite tedious. While you do not have to clear it all out in the beginning of the game, it is important to think of a general layout that would be best suited for your ideal farm. I spent a few hours at the start just chopping down trees and throwing out trash that was picked up, so I couldn’t get started right away. Since you are free to develop the farm in any way you like, there is no right or wrong way to get things started. This allows for you to have a different experience and farm layout compared to others as you play. Thankfully the game doesn’t punish you for these differences, and every “mistake” can be fixed down the road.
Coral Island is a beautiful game that does a wonderful job of making farm life feel as relaxing as possible. I felt like my time spent with each of the residents really meant something, and the farm that I have slowly built is coming along pretty nicely. For the fans of Farming simulators, this is definitely a game that is worth picking up. Although it is still in early access, there is a roadmap with constant updates planned for the game, with multiplayer being one of the last updates on the map. It was nice to see this from the main menu, since it was a constant reminder that the game would continue to get even better with each update. This is definitely a title I see myself playing on and off to scratch that farming simulator itch.
- vibrant and colorful art style really fits the location of the game
- Lots of things to do in order to bring in extra money
- A wide cast of characters to interact with and even romance.
- In the beginning, the map is filled with ? marks and it can be a little overwhelming with no guidance.
- The size of the farm can be daunting in the early hours of the game which may put some players off.
Xavier grew up playing classics like Final Fantasy, Legend of Zelda, and Silent Hill, so the indie scene has been full of love letters for him.
A perfect day for him includes hours of grinding out levels and exploring creepy hallways in scary games.
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