Farming is an appealing theme in games, which is why games like Harvest Moon and Stardew Valley are so popular. There is only a small selection of visual novels with farming or gardening as a component of the game, so I wanted to delve into a few VNs that manage to include our beloved harvesting theme as a fundamental part of the story. The last visual novel in this list takes the cake as my favorite farming VN out there right now.
Flower Shop: Summer in Fairbrook
Flower Shop: Summer in Fairbrook, released in 2010, is a visual novel that combines dating sim elements with farming mechanics. The story centers around Steve, a city kid who’s forced to spend his summer on a farm in Fairbrook. This game is adorable and has farming mechanics, which is what everyone is on board with, so why isn’t it more popular?
Flower Shop: Summer in Fairbrook allows you to buy seeds and plant crops that you can sell at the market. The item design and user interface for planting are really appealing and polished. The problem is, there isn’t a lot of motive for farming in this game since it doesn’t benefit the player in any way, and you can’t buy anything like gifts to help with your relationships. Aside from your harvesting duties, there are four girls in Fairbrook that you can romance, but if you don’t play your cards right, you can end up alone.
While this game has received mixed reviews since its release over a decade ago, it’s worth mentioning that it was one of the first visual novels to implement farming sim mechanics, an innovative choice at the time. Summer in Fairbrook is an ambitious visual novel, though I wish the game’s farming element reaped more rewards for players. I think if a similar game to Summer in Fairbrook were to be created today, one that is distinctly a visual novel with rewarding quests and strong relationship building, it would do well.
Peachleaf Valley: Seeds of Love
Peachleaf Valley is an otome game about a girl who leaves the big city to become a farmer. She meets four love interests in this town, but which one will steal her heart? This article wouldn’t be complete without Peachleaf Valley, and fans might be surprised that it doesn’t actually contain farming sim gameplay, but there are still features that make this game special.
Despite the game not being projected to have simulation gameplay, the theme of the story is heavily influenced by farming sims, which alone makes it lovable. The artwork in this game is jaw-droppingly beautiful, and that’s no surprise considering this game is being developed by Great Gretuski Studios, the makers of Love Spell. These games are absolutely in my top three indie visual novels with beautiful artwork, and Peachleaf Valley is likely at number one.
What I’m really excited about in Peachleaf Valley are the “his POV” stories, because I adore reading the love interest’s perspective. Naturally, there’s an aura of mystery to otome love interests, and having that POV chapter helps resolve some of that mystery.
Play as a magical bunny in Princess Farmer, a pixel art visual novel with farming mechanics. The gameplay matches the style of Bejeweled; the goal is to match three or more crops to make combos.
Princess Farmer was released in March 2022. It is a gem because it brings something entirely new for visual novel players. I like that Princess Farmer features solo, co-op, and AI game options; it’s rare for visual novels to have options for social gameplay interaction.
Match-3 games are very alluring; I can easily find myself lost in them for hours, and this one has an actual story to go along with the gameplay. This game has dialogue options, relationship building, and a captivating storyline with mysteries to solve. Overall, out of the three games I’ve rounded up in this article, Princess Farmer seems to be the best combo of farming simulation and relationship building in a visual novel.