The success of Stardew Valley has inspired something of a renaissance of slice-of-life farming sims, with multiple releases (both fully-completed titles and early access games) having already come out this year. Indie game Sun Haven is one such release, but there are quite a few ways it sets itself up to be more unique than its counterparts, especially in its combination of elements from Stardew Valley and Dungeons & Dragons.
The last year or so has seen an increase in the prevalence of “cozy” games like Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley – games that feature little to no combat and instead focus on relationship development and everyday tasks. Gameplay tends to revolve around daily life, emphasizing both routine and exploration by allowing for extensive customization of characters and locations within a familiar environment. My Time at Portia is another example, and there are plenty more set to come out soon.
This year’s E3 was full of non-violent games and other “cozy” titles, some of which borrowed fairly directly from Stardew Valley. One Lonely Outpost, which will release in early access in 2022, has been considered “Stardew Valley in space” by some. Even The Sims has gotten in on the farming craze; its latest expansion, Cottage Living, focuses on a rural, country lifestyle, complete with the ability to tend animals and crops. Sun Haven, however, does quite a bit to move itself in a new direction compared to other recent farming games.
Sun Haven released in Steam Early Access on June 25, and according to its Steam page, it will remain in that form for the next six months as developer Pixel Sprout Studios finishes implementing additional features and story segments of the main questline. The game presents itself as something akin to a typical farming sim game crossed with a fantasy RPG. There are seven different fantasy races to choose from, magic skills to learn, and even an RPG-style skill tree. The game relies heavily on familiar fantasy elements in its world design, too, such as dragons and elves.
Despite being technically incomplete, Sun Haven already has an impressive amount of content. The game supports multiplayer with up to eight people at once, includes three worlds to explore, and features 15 characters as romance options. On top of standard gameplay elements like farming, fishing, and mining, Sun Haven has extensive customization in its combat options, thanks to the well over 100 skills it presents players. It also includes RPG-like quests, some of which are minor assignments that gain affinity with townsfolk, while others are part of an overarching storyline. Sun Haven combines some of the best elements of fantasy RPGs like D&D with Stardew Valley-esque farming sims into a surprisingly fleshed-out experience.