If you could have your own land with the bluest skies and no next-door neighbors, what would you do? Would you build upon the land? Maybe you would start to farm and harvest crops? Who knows, maybe your animals would be the greatest ones around and your crops would be the talk of the local market? Having your own farm would pay off, but it would be a lot of work. But does the developer, FusionPlay, show us farming life? Let’s find out with Across the Valley for PlayStation VR2.
Across the Valley is a farming simulator that has a hand-drawn art style where the focus is on simple, relaxing gameplay. Sow, water, and harvest their own plants, and raise adorable animals all while trying to make your farming life the best it can be. So before you go in and try to be the farmer of the year, there are a few things that you should be aware of. First, find your favorite place to sit or stand. Farming life can be hard work, so you might as well be as comfortable as can be. Second, make sure you have some room to move your arms. You are going to need to put your back into the chores and you don’t want to hit anything or anyone. Third, make sure those Sense controllers are charged. Your farm is not going to run itself. You wouldn’t want any crops to die because you forgot to charge them, would you? And finally, just have some fun. With all that said, let’s continue…
When starting the game, you will notice a few things. One, your barn, your house, the sign, and the art style which is hand drawn. To your very left, you will see the Options Menue that will include options for Music and Sound volumes, selecting if you want to stand or sit and the Grab Mode. You will also notice a book that will become your manual for the game. Heading to your farm, you will see your crops and hear a cow as the day turns to night. This, of course, is you dreaming of what your farm could be.
Waking up, which will cause the PlayStation VR2 haptics to kick in, there is a bird flapping its wings to motivate you to get up, go to work, and turn your rundown farm into a paradise. That’s all fine and dandy, but if you don’t know the first thing about farming, it’s ok as you will have a task board that will give you different tasks to grow your farm to the best of your abilities. With each task, you will earn a reward to help your farm grow. For example, the first task is Sowing Seeds where you will need to go to the fields, use the shovel to dig up the dead plots, and plant new seeds. Your reward is a chicken that can be used for laying eggs.
As you progress, you will start to earn money so that you can buy things such as animals, upgrades for your house, and even more plots to harvest. When you have animals, you do have to take care of them by making sure they have enough water and food and cleaning up after them. Before you know it, your young animals will start to grow over a few days. Animals like chickens produce eggs, cows produce milk, sheep produce wool, and etc. But in order to feed them, you do need money to buy feed, which means you better get to harvesting your crops so you can sell them. Farming takes a lot of work, so you will have to make sure you get some rest so you can continue the next day.
The tasks will seem repetitive as there will be signs in the fields that will show what needs to happen, needing to check on the animals that you do have, and trying to sell your items as well. Inside the middle of your house is where you can upgrade and buy new animals, as long as you have enough money to do so. This all becomes part of the tasks that in order to complete some, you will need to do the upgrades and buy more animals, which in return, means more tasks that you will have to do daily. But once you get a better handle on things, the easier the reputational tasks become.
Let’s talk about the graphics and sound. The hand-drawn art style is beautiful and pops on the PlayStation VR2. Seeing the times change from early morning to night was a nice touch which made it seem like you are having a productive day in this relaxing atmosphere. With the sound, hearing the different animals along with the soothing music, is very relaxing and sounded pretty good with the Pulse 3D Audio headset.
There are some things I would love to see. For one, more control options. Having to teleport works, but it is restricted and would sometimes not be in the correct spot having to recenter my view. At times, it became challenging when it shouldn’t be. So having the options, such as free locomotion, would be beneficial for a lot of players. Second, more content. I would love to see more content added such as the different seasons of the year and then have the weather play into it all. And finally, it would be fun if there was a way that players could visit other farms and it became this farming community where players could make trades and buy new things.
Across the Valley fills in that farming void and shows us farming life to the best of its ability. It doesn’t try to be anything other than what it presents and that simply is a farming simulator that anyone of any age can enjoy. In life, we can’t make things happen as quickly as we would like, but if we have the patience, the end result will be one that we can be proud of.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I have a farm to grow.