Veil of Dust: A Homestead Game is a farming simulator seeking to turn the genre on its head. Inspired by the likes of Stardew Valley and Don’t Starve, this game is a historically-grounded fantasy homesteading and survival game with a more adult-oriented gameplay. You’ll play as the Callahan siblings, Shane and Áine, as they learn to cope with loss and learn how to survive life in the desert of eastern Oregon.
With a more task-centric focus, and less grinding, Veil of Dust sets you on an adventure to explore magic, intrigue, small town politics, and more. You’ll farm, forage, and hunt to scrape together the resources and food necessary to survive. Overcome challenges with tools you craft, and fill bellies with different recipes you’ve scraped together, as well as forge relationships. Survival isn’t just about finding food and shelter, after all. Life needs to be worth living, too! Experience deep characterizations and explore realistic, relatable scenarios that touch on heavier topics.
Veil of Dust isn’t devoid of humor and fun, though! Guide Shane and Áine as they search for answers as to why mysterious monsters attack their town and livelihoods. While defense wasn’t always a priority, you might need to protect your homestead from them. The homestead you’ve carefully made your very own by lovingly choosing the perfect colors, turning your inhospitable dirt patch into a comfortable home.
I’ve previously played the cute Everdream Valley, and written a review. At the time, the game was far from a finished product. It was pretty empty and had some other issues. Even as I wrote the review, the devs, Mooneaters, added some features that improved the quality of life of the game. And now, they’ve released a roadmap of new features they intend to work on implementing!
October brings a great update that includes fast travel! One of my chief complaints was how big the Everdream Valley map is, making adventuring a little tiresome because running everywhere was the only option. The developers have been listening, though, and fast travel is certainly an exciting new addition that will improve the game. The fun doesn’t stop there, though. You’ll get access to a new lawnmower tool that allows you to tidy up lawns and hedges. Which sounds like a great way to further decorate and personalize your farm. You’ll be getting new plants to decorate with too! Add some charm and vibrancy to your little farm with a riot of natural colors.
Then there’s my favorite part. A Halloween event! Get spooky with fun new items and decorations. Even get dressed up in costumes. I can’t wait for that. There’s nothing like making your home cozy with pumpkins and ghosts. Perhaps the best update, however, if the addition of multiplayer! That’s right, you and your friends will be able to team up to play Everdream Valley together. There’s no word now on how many people can play in multiplayer as the feature is currently in beta, but even just making it two players would be great.
As for the rest of the intended updates, here’s the list straight from Everdream Valley’s Steam page:
Alpaca Rancher is a sweet 2D game where you raise alpacas! This casual life sim lets you explore the world where you’ll meet fun new characters. They’ll even assign you quests. Discover helpful items that make traveling easier, and even find some zen locations perfect for relaxing in.
While you explore Alpaca Rancher, you’ll come across all sorts of stylish alpacas. Help them find a cozy home by taming them and taking them to your ranch. Take care of them by feeding, brushing, and shearing them. You can then sell their wool so you can buy upgrades to your farm buildings.
Also spend time foraging for food, seeds, and other resources while you explore Alpaca Rancher. You’ll be able to plant those seeds on your farm to grow a variety of crops. Water them and use fertilizer to help them grow into the highest quality food. Feed those crops to your alpacas to help them grow higher quality wool, which will earn you more money.
Create a cozy and prosperous little ranch where your alpacas will be happy!
Alpaca Rancher does not have a release date listed. However, you can find it on Steam, where you can add it to your Wishlist.
Want another creature collection game? Check out Bug & Seek, a bug catching game.
Moonfrost is an upcoming free-to-play farming sim, and it is beautiful! How you play and where your journey will take you is completely up to you. You’ll start by customizing your very own character. Decide how you want to look, or who it is you want to create, then embark on your big adventure. Meet a growing cast of characters that range from legendary heroes, ancient evils, and lovable souls. Build friendships as well as find someone to fall in love with!
You’ll also have your very own home and farmstead to care for. Build a beautiful house and decorate it to match your tastes. Plant crops, harvest produce, and care for animals. Moonfrost also has fishing and resource gathering. And if you get bored of farming, go on an adventure through an ever-expanding world where you’ll come across secrets and experience the familiar and the fantastical!
Pretty Princess Magical Garden Island is the sequel to Pretty Princess Party, and just as cutesy, magical, and pretty as the other. Only this time, you play as a princess who’s trying to revitalize a once flourishing island. You have full control over designing the island, as well.
Raise livestock to receive animal products to use in recipes. Grow crops and flowers. Manufacture other necessary items to craft beautiful dresses, hair styles, makeup, and decorations. Complete requests from visitors to earn money and points that level you up. You’ll unlock new buildings, decorations, and wearables as you level.
Decorate and Garden and Decorate Some More!
Pretty Princess Magical Garden Island looks a lot like Animal Crossing, honestly. You’re on an island that you get to design and decorate. You’re in charge of fixing it up without help, and there’s fruit picking and fishing to be done. Even the look of the map is Animal Crossing-esque. However, Garden Island successfully set itself apart, I think.
There’s mining, farming, even animals to look after, and you have functional craft houses and restaurants that produce different kinds of food. There’s a functional element to the game that gives me a reason to play beyond just decorating. Garden Island’s livestock aren’t needy, they’re simply a building you place, you feed them, then they produce items. Farming is easy, too. You buy seeds, plant them, and wait! There’s a cute little chime that plays when a crop grows to maturity, too. So don’t go into this thinking you’ll have a Stardew Valley or Harvest Moon experience. You won’t. It’s just what ACNH should have done with crops.
There is a timer to making items, however. The base time is five minutes, though they can be up to ten minutes. These timers apply to crops, the animals, crafting buildings, and restaurants. When I first encountered this mechanic, I thought it would get annoying fast. That wasn’t the case, though. I found that there’s enough to do around Garden Island that I’d get swept up in something else and not even realize five or ten minutes had passed.
The best aspect, and probably the main aspect of Garden Island, though, is the decorating. Decorate yourself, change your hair, slap on some makeup and hair bows, then go pretty up the island. It’s almost overwhelming how many incredible options for decorating there are. From pretty and cutesy to gothic, to normal garden and cottagecore styles, you shouldn’t have trouble picking out the perfect pieces to use. The excitement of this is a little offset by the need to craft dyes and other materials to use to buy the decor. However, you can place multiple of one building to have a whole crafting set-up going so it’s really not a huge issue.
Despite the minor gripes, I really, really enjoy Pretty Princess Magical Garden Island. It’s fun and simple and forgiving. I can pick it up for a little while to fill some time, or I can marathon it all day. I can create beautiful water themed areas or spooky gothic and Halloween displays. Or, if I’m feeling in the mood, deck the whole place out in bright pinks befitting a pretty princess. The purposeful crafting and fulfilling order really gives me a sense of accomplishment, too. It makes me want to play because I have to earn levels to unlock more stuff, and craft items to get that stuff.
Humble Bundle is a great resource for the thrifty gamer with their bundle offers. Pick a bundle, then choose what you wish to pay. It’s a great way to grab a bunch of games for cheap. Right now, Humble Bundle has a Cozy Games bundle perfect for trying out a bunch of games you may have had your eye on! And these are all worthy of playing. They’re cute, cozy, and wholesome. Some feature powerful stories, while some are just perfect for kicking back and relaxing with.
This offer ends in 20 days, so take your time to decide, but don’t let it pass by!
Cat Cafe Manager
Cat Cafe Manager has you taking over your grandmother’s derelict cafe in the sleepy town of Caterwaul Way. Restore the cafe, renovate it, and decorate it as you wish, turning it into an inviting home for the plethora of cats that call Caterwaul Way home. Hire employees to help manage the cafe, and explore the village to befriend the inhabitants and learn new recipes.
Witchy Life Story
In Witchy Life Story you’re the youngest member of the magical von Teasel family, but you’re not exactly their pride and joy. In fact, you have one more chance to prove yourself or your witch training is over. So, you arrive in the village of Flora to try and save their harvest festival. You have two weeks to make it a success. So, gather herbs, brew potions, get to know the townspeople, and even cast some spells. Maybe cause a little chaos, even.
Here Comes Niko
Play as the adorable Niko, who’s just become a professional friend for Tadpole Inc. in Here Comes Niko! You’ll explore different scenic islands while making friends with people you come across. Complete requests for them by catching fish and bugs, solving puzzles, and even just listening to them. If you’re lucky, they’ll pay you and you can then invest in a train system to get to new islands!
Welcome to the Grove! You’re its new guardian, and it’s your duty to rebuild the village and uncover the story of its past. Garden Story is a chill wholesome game where you’ll complete quests to defend against encroaching Rot, gather resources, restore, and improve the town. There’s even a way to turn off combat to make it even cozier to play!
Lemon Cakeis an adorable little game about restoring a run-down, haunted bakery. Grow fruit and care for animals, who provide ingredients for your bakery. Repair, furnish, and decorate every room to create an inviting little business. Mix and bake up some fantastic recipes, and maybe even convince the ghost to help you out!
Alba: A Wildlife Adventure
Join Alba as she visits her grandparents on a once-beautiful Mediterranean island in Alba: A Wildlife Adventure. She’s ready to explore the island with her friend Ines, but when she sees an animal in trouble, she realizes she needs to help it. As Alba, you’ll start a whole campaign to clean up the island! Convince the townspeople to help out and gather volunteers to restore the island and help the wildlife.
A Short Hike
A Short Hike is about exactly that, hiking! Spend time in the peaceful mountainside of Hawk Peak Park simply exploring. Hike the marked trails or explore the wild back country. Climb some rocky cliffs. Glide over lush landscapes. Take your time to absorb the beautiful surroundings and meet other hikers. Perhaps you can help each other out. Even discover some treasures!
Assemble With Care
Assemble with Care features a meaningful, evocative story line about Maria, a globe-trotting antique restorer as she arrives in Bellariva. She wants to help the inhabitants fix their personal items, but discovers it’s their personal lives that are starting to fracture. It’s harder to fix those, but she’s determined to help. You’ll solve puzzles by fixing items brought to her, meet the townsfolk, and tune into a lovely soundtrack inspired by the 80s.
65% off Coupon for Haven Park
Unfortunately, Haven Park isn’t included in this bundle, just a lovely 65% off coupon! It’s a great discount for such a cute game where you play as Flint, who has just taken over his grandmother’s beloved park. He wants to make it a park campers will love, so it’s up to you to help him out. Fulfill each camper’s wishes and build whatever their hearts desire. Happy campers will attract more business, which means more quirky characters for you to talk to and enjoy!
Welcome to Everdream Valley, an inviting and cozy little piece of the world where your grandparents have a farm. Unfortunately, Grandma and Grandpa went on vacation for a while, and the farm has fallen into disrepair. They need help restoring the farm, and your parents have volunteered you! You’ll get to spend the whole summer with your grandparents, restore the farm, take care of adorable animals, and experience the magic that comes out at night!
An Abundance of Animals
I’m not sure I’ve played a game with quite so many animal options. Stardew Valley has a handful of the barnyard staples, Wylde Flowers has recently added more options, and so on. Everdream Valley, though, has a heavy focus on the animals, and I love it. There are pigs, cows, chickens, horses, ducks, deer, geese, alpacas, sheep, bees, wild boar, magpies, beavers, frogs, beetles, butterflies, mice, snails, and different kinds of fish. Nevermind the different variations of the farm animals. Each one has several different breeds, which makes for a colorful barnyard. Nevermind that they’re round, and you can pet them. You’ll even get to choose from a variety of dog breeds, and have a cute little kitty running around
At the time I played this beautiful game, the only way to get new animals was by visiting the merchant, then pet them to make them follow you, and run to the farm. Chickens you can carry, thankfully, as petting only makes them follow you for a whole 20 seconds.
Pair the 20 second time with the fact that they’re essentially feral unless they’re on your farm with their wooden sign. So they run if the 20 seconds is up, and you need to chase them to pet them again. This mechanic made some of the quests where you fetch critters, well, annoying. However, the Everdream Valley team listened to the constructive criticism and introduced a magic flute that makes animal following SO much easier. Play the flute and they’ll follow. Play the flute again and they stop following.
The map is HUGE… and lifeless. There are quite a few areas to run around and discover new animals, useful items to grab, and bushes and trees to take back to your orchard. From a beautiful forest, to lush fields, and winding rivers, Everdream Valley has a beautiful atmosphere, but the map is almost too big. You can’t walk through the rivers (which look more like shallow streams), so you’re stuck using a single bridge to access each area past the farm. Unfortunately, the bridges are usually not in a convenient position, so trekking across the map is a time-consuming undertaking. It is nice to just wander around and take in the beauty of nature, though.
That said, things feel a little empty, too. There’s you, Grandma, Grandpa, and the merchant at the farm. That’s all you have to interact with, besides the animals. It makes for a lonely experience, though it does allow you to focus on farming and quests instead of running around to build relationships with people. So, maybe it’s more of a nice little break from the norm.
Every night you dream of a talking scarecrow who shows up with a handy roulette wheel. Spin the wheel to see where your dreams take you. Perhaps you’ll be a duck fighting to get her ducklings in a row, or a goat jumping across an obstacle course, or even your trusty dog defending the farm from thieving wolves.
The way these minigames are used make for an interesting change from the usual. What minigame you play will be different night to night (unless you have bad luck like me), and you can even skip them altogether. You forfeit any rewards you would have gotten from them, but I really enjoy having the option to just not do the minigame when I’m not feeling like completing them. Some of them are a little annoying, too
I’ll admit I’m not the most dexterous gamer, so maybe it’s on me, but I felt like the goat minigame was difficult when simply walking knocked over obstacles, which reset the game. Or the magpie game was difficult to maintain an appropriate flying height without crashing to the ground. My biggest complaint is the wolves not only stealing your sheep if you don’t chase them off in the dream, but they break SO many fences. I dreaded spinning that minigame, but much like the addition of the magic flute, the Everdream Valley team listened and added a mode that made the wolves a lot more lenient.
I know I brought up a few issues I had with the game, but overall the game is nice. There’s no pressure to complete quests as soon as possible. Run around and explore, farm, and decorate your treehouse whenever you wish, and complete those quests as you feel like it. And we can’t forget Grandma and Grandpa. Aside from giving out quests, they’re not just there for random conversation. Every morning Grandpa actually gives you crops and animal products they’ve collected, which you’ll need to sell to earn money to buy more animals.
What’s really great about this game is their development team. It’s not a perfect game, but instead of ignoring player feedback, the devs accept it graciously, then actually implement changes. From the magic flute for easier animal following, to the more lenient dream wolves option, Everdream Valley has seen quite a few excellent quality of life changes in their recent update. There’s now object rotation to make decorating easier and better. You can now turn off animal breeding, too, if you’re being overrun by babies. And for those of us who get motion sick, a crosshair has been added to give us a visual anchor for smoother, more enjoyable gameplay.
There’s a LOT of great work going into this game, it seems, and I’m excited to see what new features get added.
In Wylde Flowers, you play as Tara as she starts her new life in the town of Fairhaven, located on a small rural island. She may be a city girl turned farmer with little outdoors experience, but she has the can-do attitude needed to help Gramma Wylde take care of the family farm.
Learn how to plant and care for crops, mind animals, and gather materials like mushrooms and wood. You can also learn to fish, craft items, and much more!
Wylde Flowers features a diverse multicultural cast of characters. Get to know each of them through talking, quests, and story moments. Each one has a compelling backstory and even personal mysteries to discover. You may even find romance and love in one of them! Or if you prefer, platonic relationships and friendships are available and equally fruitful.
Rural life isn’t the only new thing for Tara, though. She’s also learning to become a witch! You will learn how to fly your broomstick, craft potions, control the weather and the seasons, and turn into a cat. Join the local coven who will guide you in your lessons.
Available on Steam Now
Wylde Flowers is already available to play on Apple Arcade and is now also available on Nintendo Switch and Steam. There is currently a free demo available on Steam, too.