Solar Haven is a farming-based life sim from Pixel Sprout Studios. It’s at the moment obtainable in Steam‘s Early Entry program and can launch afterward Swap.
The sport’s been known as Stardew Valley meets Dungeons and Dragons, however it looks like that’s extra of a shorthand approach of claiming it’s a farming-based life sim with fantasy parts.
Fast and soiled model: This recreation is nice; at some point it’ll be nice; a few of it would be best to purchase it right now and others ought to wait.
For those who’re a seasoned veteran in relation to video games equivalent to Harvest Moon, Stardew Valley, My Time At Portia, and Graveyard Keeper, you’ll end up proper at residence with Solar Haven.
Pixel Sprout’s painstakingly captured the essence of those video games and it’s fairly apparent the corporate isn’t attempting to shrink back from comparability. While you fireplace up Solar Haven you’re handled to an especially acquainted opening scene (except that is your first style title, by which case: benefit from the trope) and then you definately’re dropped off in a city that has an almost equivalent structure to those in Stardew and Keeper.
It is a good factor. The familiarity not solely helped me acclimate to some issues we’ll get into later, however it made the variations between Solar Haven and related titles much more startling.
In Solar Haven you’ll undergo the identical farm and village-building routine as you all the time have, however you’ll additionally expertise roleplaying parts usually not current in these different video games.
Expertise factors are utilized in a branching tree of unlockable skills offering a layer of participant development I don’t suppose we’ve seen executed as properly within the style earlier than.
What’s extra, the builders additionally differentiate Solar Haven from related titles by catering purely to the participant. This recreation is dripping with high quality of life tweaks on the decades-old method.
These embrace the removing of arbitrary “stamina meters” whose functions are higher served by using the in-game clock and day/evening cycle, introducing ranged and magic fight choices that really make killing issues simpler, and completely filling the world with strategies by which the gamers can completely and endlessly improve their character’s skills.
In some respects, the sport can really feel a bit too good, however that is countered by its immensity.
The sport has loads going for it in sheer phrases of scope, scale, and dimension. There are greater than a dozen romanceable characters, the map is comparatively giant, and I felt as if I barely scratched the floor after 16 hours of gameplay. There’s loads to do.
The not so good
Sadly, the sport’s in Early Entry as a result of it’s not prepared for a full launch but. And after I say it’s not prepared, I imply it.
I’ll name it playable in its present state as a result of I by no means skilled a crash whereas taking part in and, to date, I haven’t skilled something that made it unattainable for me to maneuver ahead in-game.
However that’s the place the laurels finish in relation to the sport’s stage of polish.
First off, the controls are abysmal. The one approach the sport was playable for me or my evaluate companion/fiancée was to make the most of an uncomfortable controller-mouse combo the place you do actions and choices with the mouse in a single hand and use the left stick on a gamepad to regulate motion.
You’ll be able to definitely simply use keyboard and mouse, however the motion felt a lot better with a controller (notice: we needed to set the controller up within the Steam menu, the sport itself doesn’t provide any obvious native controller help).
It will get worse. You’ll be able to’t map any controls in recreation. This was fairly near a deal-breaker for me. Almost each recreation Solar Haven competes with makes controller help seamless whereas concurrently nailing keyboard and mouse controls. This recreation feels prefer it was made by individuals who’d by no means used both, and that doesn’t make any sense.
This totally must be fastened, and stuck properly earlier than anybody can justify the $25.99 price ticket this Early Entry recreation ships with.
Shifting on, there are different issues with the present recreation state that make it obscure its developmer’s priorities. The most effective issues concerning the recreation is discovering new gear choices that change recreation mechanics or provide new options. Sadly, getting or utilizing a flowery new treasure would typically inexplicably lead to a beforehand gained treasure or merchandise disappearing.
It’s nice that I discovered a magical ebook, however why did my hard-earned, badass, tremendous sword disappear the second I switched to it in my hotbar? These sorts of points occur far too continuously.
And there have been scores of cases the place I merely didn’t know what was occurring and couldn’t make sure whether or not the sport was buggy or I used to be simply being dense. I spent 15 full minutes attempting to determine how the hell to plant seeds – actually the primary quest within the recreation. And I nonetheless don’t perceive.
Try this display screen shot:
I used to be purported to until 10 patches of grass, plant 10 wheat seeds, and water them. Easy proper? For those who’ll discover above, it appears to be like like I mangled the garden and haphazardly planted seeds in no discernible sample. Am I a wild man who spits within the face of symmetry?
No, no I’m not. There simply didn’t look like any precise rhyme or motive as to why I may plant seeds in a single tilled tile versus one other. All of the brownish areas there within the inexperienced grass space the place you don’t see little speckles of plant progress (these are the seeds) are locations I tilled and inexplicably couldn’t plant seeds.
This may look like a foolish grievance, however these video games are actually about constructing your perfect little farm. However as an alternative of realizing my gardening goals, I used to be caught taking part in a recreation of reverse-Minesweeper attempting to determine the place the hell I may and couldn’t plant seeds.
Stuff like this occurs far too typically for me to spend as a lot on this recreation as I might for Stardew Valley and Graveyard Keeper collectively.
However, I find it irresistible
All that being mentioned: this isn’t a foul or damaged recreation. It’s a great Early Entry recreation that just about absolutely will turn into an incredible completed product some day. The builders lovingly took this recreation from a profitable Kickstarter to a well-reviewed Steam Early Entry title they usually’re nonetheless pushing fixed updates.
A number of the issues that pissed me off about Solar Haven final week are not points right now. And I count on most, if not all of my above gripes to be dealt with sooner or later.
I actually take pleasure in taking part in this recreation and it has loads going for it. However I actually don’t suppose it’s price $25 but. It’s lacking far an excessive amount of polish.
Proper now, I can’t advocate buying it except you’re in it for the lengthy haul. For those who’re the kind of one who places 100 hours in a farming-based life sim, Solar Haven might very properly be the itch-scratching mega title you’ve been on the lookout for. There’s loads to take pleasure in proper now, in its present steady construct.
But when this title isn’t on the high of your Steam wishlist, you could need to wait till some extra kinks are labored out. We’ll revisit Solar Haven as soon as it sees a full launch with a evaluate that touches on the story and multiplayer points of the sport.
Till then, should you stay undaunted, you should purchase Solar Haven on Steam right here.