Gather round, cozy farm sim players, we’ve got a mashup I’ve not seen yet. Echoes of the Plum Grove is a colony farm sim that its publisher Freedom Games is calling part Paper Mario, Stardew Valley, The Sims, and even Oregon Trail. And yeah, I do actually see all the ingredients in there. Plum Grove turned up to the PC Gaming Show: Most Wanted in a montage of other upcoming Freedom Games releases scheduled for next year, and it has a demo on at the moment too.
Obviously that big, green “download” button in Steam was calling to me, so I did take the demo for a very short whirl. The “Oregon Trail” part of the equation is that I’m the sole survivor of a shipwreck who’s conveniently washed up right beside the town where I’d already bought the deed to a disused farm plot. Lucky me! My new home Honeywood is a cartoonified version of the North American colonies—buckle shoes and schoolhouses and all—where I’ll settle down in typical farm sim style by befriending all my fellow locals.
(Image credit: Unwound Games)
The Stardew inspirations obviously come into play with the set of tools on my hotbar that I can use to rehab the property and plant new crops. Tragically I don’t own the place free and clear though, and I owe taxes to the mayor every Sunday. Meanwhile The Sims namedrop harkens to the social simulation elements. I’m meant to make friends with my neighbors but I can also insult them and become enemies. Not that I ever would (unless they started it). In today’s trailer I also spotted the possibility of catching consumption, getting married, having kids, and dying too.
“The choices you make will resonate through generations,” Freedom Games warns, adding that you’ll eventually play as different members of your family, cultivating a legacy that goes beyond your initial castaway character.
According to Plum Grove’s store page, the threat of winter is no joke. “With your very survival at stake, you’ll have to work your land, fish the sea, cook meals, craft, forage, and more to ensure your family makes it through the cold season,” says developer Unwound Games. “Should you neglect to prepare, your lineage could end before anyone can uncover the island’s secrets.”
Last up on the cited inspirations list is Paper Mario, obviously for the visual style of flat characters and scenery in a 3D world. Typically I’m partial to 2D pixel style in my farm sims and I don’t always get on with the 3D sort, but Paper Mario has a real special place in my heart. Something about the low angle, fixed perspective camera is really working for me here and I find it pretty dang cute.
Plum Grove is also in the last few days of a Kickstarter campaign, which was apparently funded in just a couple hours. It’s expected to launch sometime in 2024 but you can try the demo yourself over on Steam or wishlist it until then.