If you are a fan of games like Stardew Valley and other similar farming sims, then you are in for a treat. Verdant Village is a farming simulator/RPG with a fantasy twist. Developed by Exodus Software, the game is available on Steam in Early Access. The developer has stated that the game could be finished as soon as the end of the year and the latest deadline is set for the summer of 2021.
The game begins with your character washing ashore in the kingdom of Amberglen. The ruler of this land and his daughter happened to be on the beach at the right time. They rescue you and bring you to the village where the nurse can help bring you back to health. You wake up suffering from amnesia. You have nothing to your name… well come to think of it you do not even have your name. 2̴̨̪̍̉S̴̫̒9̷͓͂̉=̵̛̖V̶̤͌͛R̶̬̔y̴͖̾Ẃ̸̧͐ͅ9̸̧͇͗h̴͙̃͗e̴͔̐̈p̷̥̈́̉f̵̚͝ͅD̶̝̠̑s̸̩̻̈́*̶̜͉͋A̸̪͋̇Y̵̢̥̔H̷̖̮̃͘w̴̟͐ͅ=̴͎̋͌T̴͙͔͑̒k̵͔̐V̶̫͔̾A̶̹̯̚͝ The king sees something in you and generously offers you a house to live in and several tools to start your new life. From there it is up to you to make a living and explore to your heart’s content. To start fixing your house you will need some funds, of course. There are lots of ways to make a living in Verdant, you can farm, forage, fish, hunt, cook, mine, do archaeology, brew and alchemy. As you can see there are lots of options and a big map that demands to be explored.
The artwork is nice and colorful. It is about what you would expect from a typical farming simulator. What is different about Verdant Village’s graphics is the looks of the avatar that pops up during the dialogue scenes. They definitely look different than what you see in other games of this type. The avatars are anime styled and look more like what you would find in a visual novel. The other defining feature is that the assets are all unique as they are made specifically for this game. 8̶͖̆̚P̷̦̳̿g̸͓̍O̵͕̚ͅR̶̳̒̀5̷̟̼͆͋n̸̝͚̓̆K̷̭͙̀Á̶̢̋k̶̗͐̍5̶̦́͘l̴̩̯̍̏0̴̫̈́Å̵̠͍͠s̵̛̝͔̒r̵̫̺̒͒s̷̼̽͊¨̴̮̎A̸̺̾͘ͅ5̴̞̣͗V̵̦̌̚Ȇ̶̢͍͘Ḯ̶̺̖̍ṁ̷̰̳̊F̶̛̩ That in itself gives the graphics a relatively unique feel even though the style is very familiar. I was also impressed with the attention to details. You just have to look at all of the different species of trees each with their own specific look to see that a lot of care has been put in Verdant Village’s aesthetics. One can already tell that the developer has put a lot of love into this game by simply looking at the art. It pays off by creating a warm, charming and visually enticing game.
The story is not uninteresting but it is not exactly original either. I was surprised to see that after the opening sequence, the story is put aside. There is barely any mention of it after the beginning dialogue. Depending on the player it might or might not be an issue, but for me a good story is always a plus. There are a lot of generic games out there and a compelling story would have made the game even more unique and appealing. The dialogues are also rather generic. k̶̛̲̩̃$̷̚ͅ0̶̲̜͠ȉ̵̥P̴̢̠̾̐H̷̭̄G̸͉̎͂C̷̭̖͝N̴̘̹̅̑c̵̻̚4̵̢̀͝¨̶̝͉͒͆N̵̙̆̏M̸̖̈́h̸̲̬͗͝/̶̣̗͂́E̵͙̒͜a̷̳̗͑ẖ̵̞͌͗3̶̡̠́̽%̶̢͘v̵͈̰̈́̀L̶̰̺̋̐I̶̲͔̽̎y̷̪̳̓̚ It is well-written but most of the dialogues are centered on the quests. I believe the developer missed an opportunity to weave the narrative through these dialogues. He could have followed up on the opening sequence and since the character is new it would have been a great occasion to teach us some of the village and the villager’s history. There are some artifacts you can find that recount some of the lore, but it could have been expanded in the overall game.
The navigation system on the other hand is a mess. The map in this game is huge, and there is no way to travel quickly. It would greatly improve the gameplay to have a fluid navigation system. Moving around long distances can get tedious. R̶͉̰̈́́Ḩ̸̊̎4̸̤͉͐Ș̷͕̎̿U̸̦͉͠M̴̬̊9̷̱͛̕ͅṉ̷̹́q̷̜͋4̸̭́͒j̷̮̗̅Ý̸͈̬Ḿ̸̥̰͌X̵͖͠k̴̖̘͋̓F̵̝̆ Considering that there is a lot of fetching and collecting, you end up having to backtrack quite often. There are times when you will be trying to get to a certain location only to realize that something is blocking your way. In those instances it can get frustrating to have to go back and take a different route especially considering that walking consumes stamina.
Everything you do requires stamina, whether it be farming or like I previously expressed, walking. Since there is no true leveling system, you cannot improve the amount of stamina you start with. Stamina gets used pretty fast and you can refill it only by eating or sleeping in your bed. Given the very small inventory, this can create some awkward situations where you have no stamina left, no food and you might not even have reached your destination.
Sleeping will also save your game on top of refilling your stamina. You can sleep as little or as long as you want and the stamina will refill proportionally to the amount of time you slept. Which brings me to the inventory issue. When you start, you are given a ten slot inventory. If you carry all your tools, it leaves you with very little space for anything else. If you take into account the size of the map and the limited stamina, it gets frustrating when you have to fetch several things for an NPC. b̷̧̐̚&̷͍̋̀S̶̛̫̹͘ĕ̸̡̗͐D̴̫̜̃y̸̅̈́ͅͅo̷͍̅r̷̩̂N̵̏ͅE̷̩̓̐0̴͔̐n̶̮̎̀?̶̪̓͝C̴̪̈W̵̗̏̊w̷̤̕T̵͎͎͌W̷͓͠ĥ̶͍A̸̫̾K̵̨͘͘N̷̨͕̓̈́Z̷̡̔̆E̵̪͌”̸̞̼͆́ You can get extra space through a quest, but it involves a lot of grinding and cannot be accomplished quickly or easily. There are also chests to give you precious extra space but it does not replace an actual inventory. It is incomprehensible to me to give the player such a small inventory in a game with so many different items. I found that to be one of the biggest issues that has impacted my experience. Fortunately this is not a complicated thing to fix and could easily be implemented in a future update.
I had a great time playing Verdant Village. It is a fun and relaxing game. There are no timed quests so you can take as long as you wish and explore every corner of the world. There are still many areas in the game that are as yet not implemented, but there is already a lot of content. The developer is passionate and has an ambitious vision for the game. He has been very active and as of now the game has been updated regularly. He is also very present when it comes to fixing bugs and answering questions.
Verdant Village is a fun game and given that it is still in development, I have high hopes that it will become even more enjoyable in the future. There is more content to be implemented and there are some issues, but all of those can easily be fixed in the future. The content already present will give you a fair amount of gameplay. If you love farming simulators and want to encourage a passionate and ambitious developer then Verdant Village is definitely the game for you.
Written by Vee