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Thoughts on Verdant Skies

A farming game with a twist

Did I mention that I love farm games? No? Well: I love farming games.
When I was eight years old I was finally able to buy it: My first gaming console: A Nintendo DS. One of the first games I got myself for my most prized possession? Harvest Moon Ds. It is incredibly buggy (especially in the European version) but it is just so relaxing.
I’ve noticed a surge in popularity of these games recently – starting with the amazing Startdew Valley – and I could not be happier. Would I be good at being an actual farmer? Most definitely not. But there is just something so relaxing about digging up and watering little pixelated pieces of land.
It is, however, something that can get quite repetitive as well: You get your farm, there is this huge goal you’ll have to reach, some villagers to befriend and secrets to find … In comes Verdant Skies!

The game follows the same formula but the setup is a little bit different: Instead of inheriting or stumbling upon some farm in the woods you crash your spaceship directly onto the planet you were supposed to colonize. Great work! At least you won’t have to repair your spaceship since you’re already where you’re supposed to be. 

At the beginning of Verdant Skies you’re greeted by Rosie – the colony’s blind mechanic/engineer – and Jade – everybody’s favourite strict mayor. She luckily relieves you of your debt – spaceships are indeed expensive – but don’t think she’ll let you slack off.

From now on the game is pretty simple: You get to grow produce – there’s three different ares all with different crops to grow – take care of your lifestock or go mining and fishing nearby.
Your colony will grow slowly and you’ll have plenty of new people to talk to in no time.

Colourful…

All new villagers will have new quests for you, collections to finish and relationships to build. One thing that stuck out incredibly positivel to me was that those relationships can be whatever you want them to be: Friends, Lovers, Spouses … Or Ex-Spouses. You can even live in a polyamorous relationship if that’s what you want. And gender does not matter.
This is something that – personally – is usually very important to me. It gives me (and queer, polyamorous, whatever-you-identify-as people) the chance to be fully immersed into this world. You can either try and be exactely as you are in real life or just let lose and do whatever.
I also love he fact that yu can split up or get back together and what not.
Also: Other characters will react to your relationship. I got together with Rosie and whenever I talk to her brother he threatens me not to hurt her. So that’s some detailed love from the devs.

The colonists will also have all sorts of stories to tell! They’re all from different backrounds and nationalities and occupy different positions.

… and customizable

You also get to customize a lot! And by that I mean A LOT. Your house, your clothes, your windows, your hair … All of it!
You’re still limited to certain shirts and certain hairstyles yet I loved the freedom I got (since it’s not really a thing in other alike games; at least not to this extend).
And if that’s not enough for you: The game is modable!

A little more SciFi…

The more I went on the more I was missing the SciFi-touch though … Sure, you’re on an alien planet but it’s pretty clear that everything is somewhat based off of earth. Berries that look like long-ish raspberries, flowers, taht look like orchids … You know it’s not an actual flower that would grow on earth but I’d love for it to be a little more creative! You could totally go over the edge here! I’d have loved it.
Same thing goes for the animals – only one of them seems to be truly “alien” to the earthlings.
It’s a little sad, really. Since I feel like the setting was a little wasted (Such a cool setting, though!).

I would have also loved it if I’d gotten to do more quest. And I’d loved for them to be a little more exciting! I’m on an alien planet! I want to go on an adventure not catch bugs (Honestly … I did not enjoy catching bugs).
I also would not have minded a fight system and some enemies here and there but it’s fine. Not a must.

In the end – as it seems to happen – my excitement wore a little off. I usually reach some point in those games where I’ve done pretty much all I’ve wanted to do. I went on to craft most of the equipment, got a girlfriend, built a huge mansion … You know: All of it.
That’s usually my mane problem with farm games: They’re relaxing – yeah – but they get old quick. That doesn’t mean that I don’t get to revisit my farm every once so often! So that’s what I’ll do.

So: If you’re looking for a cute, lovingly created little farming game with a twist; Get this one. It’s cute and – for the most part – creative. With Verdant Skies – You’ll feel right at home!

Play it here

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