I have long since been a fan of the Harvest Moon series. As the progenitor of the farming sim, it has spawned many off shoots that all focus or improve on different aspects of what that series started. Games like Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley have carried the torch of this genre into new generations and reached all kinds of different players. Coral Island is a new game slated for release at the end of this year that merges all of the elements of the various types of farming sim games into one.
From the start of the trailer, we can see the game takes a big inspiration from Harvest Moon. Or, as the series is known now, Story of Seasons. It is still Harvest Moon to me though, and you can’t stop me from calling it that. Later on in the trailer there is also some combat reminiscent of Rune Factory, but it all has the same chill aesthetic as Animal Crossing. You can grow crops, raise livestock, and even romance other members of the island. Speaking of which, the island appears to have an incredibly diverse cast of characters, which is always a plus. What sets Coral Island apart the most though is one of its unique features, diving.
Dive deep around the island
This mechanic is a first for the farming sim genre, and the Indonesian-based developers at Stairway Games have created a system that directly feeds into the ecosystem of the rest of the game. By clearing the ocean floor of trash, you allow more rare and valuable fish to appear. This also lets you collect new resources that can improve the quality of your crops and livestock. This positive feedback loop encourages players to be as environmentally friendly as possible and is the core message of the game. There are even hints to some mystical elements as well, akin to the recurring character of the Harvest Goddess in Harvest Moon.
Then delve into Coral Island
In addition to the other elements, players can also explore caverns and mines beneath the island. The character creator also appears to be more in-depth than other any game of this genre outside of Animal Crossing. You can completely customize your character’s appearance, and even what kind of pet they can have. Your animal companions can range from the standard cats or dogs to exotic examples like monkeys or foxes.