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Sun Haven Review - Laboring The Point

Sun Haven

Sun Haven is clearly trying to be fantasy Stardew Valley. If you imagine SV with two extra towns (with their own farms), fantasy races, and a bunch of overworld combat areas instead of just the mines, you'll pretty much have exactly what SH is. At first, it's great. There's a much better sense of exploration than in SV and you have a wider variety of skills and items with which to customize your character. The problem, though, is that it takes a fantasy approach to much more than just the fun stuff. There is almost no automation of any kind to help with your farm chores, and since there are eventually three farms to worry about, those chores take up an increasingly huge part of your time.

Sun Haven

Now, that might not really be a huge problem if SH wasn't determined to make it one. If quests had normal farming game goals like "bring me a watermelon", it wouldn't matter that it takes ages to run an entire farm because you could just grow a single watermelon. Unfortunately, SH doesn't do quests like that. The main quest includes objectives like acquiring 3,000 of the currency used for one of the later two farms, and that farm's most cost-efficient plant sells for 6. Unnecessarily huge quest goals plague almost every part of the time. Several seasonal bosses require you to do the same thing dozens of times potentially over the course of numerous days, and I'm told that this grind was even made worse in an early patch.

Sun Haven

In most farming games, the grind is at its worst early on and then alleviates towards the end as you're able to automated your farm. In SH, it just gets worse and worse as you go on. The last few quests include an objective to slaughter 1,000 drops worth of monsters and a final boss with 90,000 health. Beating that took 20 minutes of just standing in front of it with the attack button held down and invincibility turned on. That's the entire default day length, and half of the maximum length. Doing this without invincibility would've required a colossal grind to get enough temporary buffs for my already near-max level character, and the only alternative was to instead grind to basically complete a whole new round of museum donations. The game ends with a joke about how bad the grind was, but it would've been funnier of they'd restricted the absurd numbers to that fake quest.

Sun Haven

I've seen some complaints about the multiplayer being pasted on since you mostly don't share quest objectives and usually can't fight bosses together, but that's slightly misleading. You do share inventories, farms, and progress in things like museum donations and mine unlocks. That may not sound like a lot, but it allows for a division of labor that massively speeds up working through the second two farms. There's no chance that I'd have finished this game by myself, and some of the most offensive quests might even have been fine if I'd had a full group of four.

Sun Haven

Lastly, it's worth mentioning that the characters are almost universally forgettable. That's true of most farming sims, but it can be particularly disappointing here because the characters talk so much and increasing your relationship with them is quite slow. There's not a lot of characterization beyond what you get right of out the game, and even if you max out a character's hearts and get married, they don't move in with you and it only results in occasional gifts and different greetings.

I had a lot of fun with Sun Haven for the first 20 or so hours, and if you really want a new co-op farm sim that closely approximates Stardew Valley, this might scratch the itch for a while. I like Coral Island and My Time at Sandrock more, but the former isn't multiplayer and the latter has very little farming. The mid and late game grind really killed any fun I had here, though. You may have better mileage if you either space out your playtime more than I did or can find a mod that lops some zeroes off the quest objectives. As it is, this is okay at best.

Rating: 60%

Time to beat: 44 hours in two player co-op. Probably much longer alone.

MSRP: $25

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