Fae Farm Review - A Little Bit of Magic

Published: September 11, 2023 10:17 AM /

Reviewed By:

Fae Farm Review - Cover Image Player Character Running Across a Late-Game Farm

You usually know what you're getting when you play a Farming RPG. Fae Farm subverts many of those expectations with surprising innovations and fewer management annoyances -- but as this Fae Farm review will show, it also makes some odd design designs.

Fae Farm is the sophomore title from Phoenix Labs, the same Canadian game developer who brought us Dauntless. On its surface, it seems similar to most other Farming RPGs with some magical elements mixed in. A deeper exploration of its mechanics revealed an experience that is well worth exploring for all fans of the genre.

Fae Farm Review - Fighting in the Floating Ruins Dungeon with a Magic Spell
The Dungeons provide a challenging mix of monsters, puzzles, and environmental hazards to overcome.

Simplifying Systems

One of the highlights of Fae Farm is how it's chosen to simplify the standard systems you'd expect to see in Farming RPGs. These streamlined mechanics are often an improvement on the genre, but some of these decisions are a detriment.

The most immediate and obvious example is the way you store items. Your farm has a storage shed with no maximum capacity as far as I can tell. Your backpack still has limited space, but gone are the days of building 50 storage chests in a corner of your farm somewhere.

The friendship and romance systems are somewhat pared down, too. Gifts only need to be given to one of a handful of potential prospective partners; otherwise, you can simply chat with or complete simple quests for the villagers.

Not all simplifications may be welcome, though -- the fishing system has been reduced to a one-dimensional objective of "reel in the fish without breaking the line." There is no need to craft bait or conquer a complex minigame to reel in a sardine. This will be a welcome change to some, but fans of fishing minigames may be disappointed by the lack of complexity.

Fae Farm Review - A Chickoo Phases Through a Fence While I'm Trying to Water my Crops
While the farming system is a breath of fresh air, the farm animals proved to be an annoyance most of the time. They can phase straight through fences and easily get in your way when you're trying to work on your farm.

Innovating Farming Mechanics

While Fae Farm has simplified many Farming RPG mechanics, it has also innovated some of the systems that haven't fundamentally changed since Stardew Valley reinvigorated interest in the genre back in 2016.

I was somewhat confused in the first few hours I played -- the farming merchant only sold a total of six seeds. Surely a Farming RPG wouldn't have only half a dozen different kinds of seeds to grow. I thought, perhaps, I'd have to find or craft them. Instead, I was surprised to find that Fae Farm does things very differently.

In a sense, Fae Farm's farming system is a magical twist on the real-world practice of selective breeding to create new plants. It's one of the highlights of the experience.

After you've planted a crop, you can then sprinkle it with magical fertilizer to transform it into something else depending on the current season or the soil you're using. Each of the six core crops can be transformed into one of four seasonal variants and a magical "fae" variant.

The chance for transformation is random, but you only really need a handful of the transformed crops. You can then craft seeds and plant them wherever you wish. In a sense, Fae Farm's farming system is a magical twist on the real-world practice of selective breeding to create new plants. It's one of the highlights of the experience.

Fae Farm Review - Overzealous Chat Filter Blocks Innocuous Animal Names Even When They're Default Suggestions
The built-in chat filter blocks even the most innocuous names as "inappropriate." Even default name suggestions are blocked!

A Series of Silly Mistakes

I have a lot of good things to say about Fae Farm, but that doesn't mean that it's perfect -- far from it. Phoenix Labs has made some downright silly mistakes in the design of Fae Farm and I have to wonder what the heck they were thinking.

The farm animals proved to be a major source of frustration. There's a bell you can ring that makes animals leave the coop or barn, but that same bell doesn't make them go back inside and there is no apparent way to do so. This feature either doesn't exist or doesn't work correctly.

Once they're outside, the animals will run all over the farm. There's a "lure" item that is supposed to attract them to a particular area, but it doesn't seem to work correctly, either. It can make tracking them down to care for them all the more difficult.

It's actually possible to die if you pause the game in the middle of a dungeon, either because an enemy attacked you or a protective potion you were using wore off.

The biggest issue with animals is that fences don't actually block their movement. A Chickoo -- Fae Farm's version of a chicken -- will wander near me while I'm watering my crops and I'll unintentionally start petting instead of performing the task I intended. It was so annoying that I seriously considered selling all of my animals so I didn't have to deal with them.

Multiplayer has some questionable design decisions, too. Anyone, at any time, can go to sleep and end the day for everyone. Fae Farm is not a game that you'd want to play with someone you don't trust.

The pause feature was the most inconsistent and ill-designed feature by far. Pausing the game will stop the clock, but your potion effects will continue running out. Enemies in dungeons will continue to move around and attack you. It's actually possible to die if you pause the game in the middle of a dungeon, either because an enemy attacked you or a protective potion you were using wore off.

Finally, there are no sprinklers for your farms. You can eventually unlock a total of four large fields for planting crops, but you're going to have to water everything by hand. This is perhaps the strangest omission of all -- sprinklers have been a standard feature since Stardew Valley and their absence was both noticeable and painful.

Fae Farm Review - Standing in the Elven Village While a Bee Flies Around Nearby
The Elven Village is abandoned due to a plague of magical miasma, but you can restore it to its former glory.

Fae Farm Review - Final Thoughts

At its heart, Fae Farm does a lot right. It does away with some of the annoying micromanagement that goes hand-in-hand with Farming RPGs, and Phoenix Labs actually came up with some pretty cool ideas for doing farming differently.

However, the questionable design decisions with the farm animals and the pause menu border on nonsensical. I can't imagine how the developers could have missed such obvious problems in the course of Fae Farm's development. These issues need to be fixed in a post-launch patch for Fae Farm to truly shine.

Though there are some flaws, Fae Farm is still a pretty solid Farming RPG. I had plenty of fun despite some of the more annoying issues I encountered in my time with the game. Fae Farm is definitely worth playing whether you're a veteran of farming games or someone new to the genre.

Fae Farm was reviewed on PC with a copy provided by the Developer over the course of 91 hours of gameplay - all screenshots were taken during the process of review

Review Summary

Fae Farm improves the genre with innovations in farming mechanics, but a number of questionable design decisions stops it from being a truly great game. (Review Policy)


  • Innovative New Farming System
  • A Cute and Wholesome Story
  • No Item Storage Limits


  • Pausing Doesn't Work Correctly
  • Fences Don't Block Animals
  • Overzealous Chat Filter


Have a tip, or want to point out something we missed? e-mail us at [email protected] or join us on Discord!


More Info About This Game
Learn more about Fae Farm
Game Page Fae Farm
Phoenix Labs
Phoenix Labs
PC, Nintendo Switch
Release Date
September 8, 2023 (Calendar)