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Echoes of The Plum Grove Impressions

Persistent worlds with life and death are not very common in the cozy farming genre, but we do have one strong example of this available right now on Steam. Echoes of the Plum Grove is a fantastically created farming simulation game in the vein of Harvest Moon and Story of Seasons, but with one major twist – you can die. Yup, you can die, and if you don’t have heirs to continue on your family farm, it’s game over for you!

Now it’s not all that bad – settings can be tweaked so you continue on forever, but to play the game as it was intended by the developers you will need to take time and nurture relationships. You’ll need to find that girl or guy, get married, have some children, and then pass on your farm to them. It’s actually a really great system that keeps the game from getting boring and stale. Sure, you are doing the same thing season to season (planting crops, foraging plants, etc) but with the added twist of needing a partner, nurturing kids, and more. It means that every two years of game time, you’ll need to find someone to marry, and get the job done. That involves getting a bouquet of flowers and wedding rings, befriending the friends of your soon-to-be-spouse, and more.
It’s not as easy as walking into the town square, pointing at a beautiful lass and pulling a Gaston – “That’s who I’m going to marry!” It didn’t work for him, and it’s not going to work for you either. These things take time and planning, and since you can only gift once every three days, you’ll need to be diligent as well. The sooner you get married, you can have more kids. More kids means more heirs to pass your farm and fortune to.
What got me playing, however, wasn’t this gameplay loop. In fact, I never knew this was the gameplay loop until I booted it up for the first time. Instead, it was the Paper Mario-like esthetic. It’s not coincidence this launched right around the remake of The Thousand Year Door. While it’s not the exact same look, when you do look at the game you will instantly say, “Oh ya, that looks like Paper Mario.”
It’s charming, and really well done for this small development team. Each piece of art is lovingly crafted, bringing so much of the game to life. Whether the wildlife, the characters you interact with, or the town and countryside you get to explore, each screen you visit is as beautiful – if not more beautiful – than the last. The music and soft sound effects are also incredibly well done, and bring a lot of life and atmosphere to the experience.
I do find the whole farming system very slow, and while it is a good way to make money when selling gold crops, the entire process seems to take too long. I begin to dread taking care of my farm as opposed to enjoying it. Getting seeds has also been a hassle early on.
All in all, I think Echoes of the Plum Grove is a fantastic game with a great little story to enjoy and explore. I won’t spoil and of that here, but it’s more than serviceable to keep you playing and attempting to achieve various goals. Here at GamesReviews, we highly recommend this one!

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blank Kevin Austin has been in gaming journalism in one way or another since the launch of the Nintendo Gamecube. Married and father of 3 children he has been gaming since the ripe age of 6 when he got his first NES system and over 30 years later he is still gaming almost daily. Kevin is also co-founder of the Play Some Video Games (PSVG) Podcast network which was founded over five years ago and is still going strong. Some of his favorite gaming series includes Fallout and Far Cry, he is a sucker for single player adventure games (hence his big reviews for Playstation), and can frequently be found getting down in one battle royale or another. If it's an oddball game, odds are he's all about it.

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