Kynseed is an indie, sandbox slice-of-life that combines a rich fairytale world with expansive gameplay. The attention to detail and fantastic art direction make it stand out among other farming games.
Kynseed is a pixelated slice-of-life simulation game that has been in development since 2017. The game released in early access for Steam in 2018, and has seen large leaps in content and polish since the early days of playability. Similar to games like Stardew Valley and Littlewood, players take on the role of a young adventurer and must keep a farm, grow a business, and connect with the local townsfolk.
However, Kynseed is on a different level than most other farming sims, giving fans the chance to truly immerse themselves in a dynamic storyline. Their character will age and grow, with every choice impacting the direction of the narrative. These important choices are apparent from the very first moments of gameplay, creating a truly magical experience.
Kynseed: Key details
- Developer: PixelCount Studios
- Price: $24.99 USD
- Release Date: December 6, 2022
- Platforms: PC via Steam
A rich fairytale setting that differs from other farming sims
Most slice-of-life players are familiar with the farming sim formula. The main character is a downtrodden office worker, home maker, or business employee who throws down their suit and briefcase for a pitchfork after learning they have inherited a derelict farmstead in a tiny, forgotten town.
Kynseed abandons this threadbare premise for a rich fairytale narrative that mixes well-known fantasy tales with darker twists. The story starts as the orphaned main character and their twin are adopted by a long lost uncle, freeing them from the care of The Old Woman Who Lives In A Shoe.
From there, the player goes through a tutorial that is tackled while the main character is a child. Exploration, farm work, town maps, and social connections are all explained through the main character’s chores and request tasks, integrating the many mechanics in a way that makes learning the ropes part of the story’s experience.
The plot is colorful, including Faeries, magic, and fairytale characters. The player also forms bonds with the numerous townsfolk, family members, and odd creatures that flesh out the world. The dynamic dialogue adds an additional level of depth that keeps players curious and alert.
Kynseed’s farming and animal care is quick and fun
Kynseed has removed the frustration from farming and animal care with easy to use tools and intuitive controls. Players can click on any animal to feed it, and can gain products by right clicking the animal with the correct tool equipped.
Additionally, farming is simple, with players easily plucking produce from growing plants on plots of land or picking fruit from trees or bushes. Watering cans don’t need to constantly be refilled, and will water continuously when the right button is held down, making the process speedy and enjoyable.
The only downside is the seed planting mechanic. Players must plant seeds by clicking on the tilled soil and selecting a seed, rather than just equipping the seed bags and tossing them over the soil. However, this does ensure players don’t accidentally plant the wrong seeds.
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Kynseed’s cooking mechanics are almost perfect
Kynseed’s cooking mechanics are one of the most outstanding features of the game. Instead of simply clicking on a recipe while using a crafting or cooking table, players can actually cut up each ingredient, control the heat of the pot being used, and watch as the recipe becomes an edible treat.
However, there are a few bumps players may run into. First, they must prepare all the meals within a required timeframe dictated by an hourglass in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. While the timeframes ensure the minigame moves along quickly, there were moments when it would have been nice to have more time, or to cook at a more leisurely speed.
The other issue can be the chopping mechanics. While some items like berries cut easily and are a quick job, dicing up an enormous honeycomb is quite the task. Especially when clicking the comb doesn’t result in a cut. There were many times the honeycomb would remain intact despite frantic clicking to break it apart in the required time. Once tweaked, the cooking mechanics will be some of the best in any farming sim to date.
Kynseed’s pixelated art style is not Stardew Valley in the best ways
While there are a number of farming and slice-of-life games that have used pixelated graphics in recent years, Kynseed manages to take something that can look very flat and create a complex and stunning style that breathes life into the world.
Rich colors and unique images make it easy to forget the world is technically a pixel style, as certain areas are reminiscent of an oil painting. Character designs are also diverse, and each location is made up of unique buildings, landmarks, and layouts. While games like Stardew Valley can be murky and occasionally flat, and Littlewood can sometimes be jarringly saturated, Kynseed finds a perfect balance of both while also adding eccentric details that capture the fairytale setting and unique mechanics.
The Verdict – 4.5/5
Kynseed is the obvious product of hard work and dedicated development. PixelCount Studios has taken every standard mechanic from other farming games and looked at it from a new angle, offering fans of the slice-of-life genre something that is not only refreshing, but utterly and delightfully unique. The game is a perfect example of how farming sims can create a magical experience from the mundane, and it is a must have for any cozy gamer’s library.
Dexerto was provided with a Steam code for the purpose of this review.