Titles that no one sees, hide in the shadows, developers that remain segregated in the libraries of the online stores. The long story of someone trying to carry on a project, which apparently seems to be a stalemate, but then becomes a small pearl to be discovered. I would like to start telling you about Animal Valley in a simple way, not because this should be a review, rather because it is not at all.
It's a story of how something simple presents itself to you, and slowly becomes a thought in your head. The last few months have not been easy for the relationship with video games, it almost seemed like it a generalized apathy towards the media, there was not much exciting. Between personal commitments, work and study, you don't always have the head to take those hours of time to play video games and immerse yourself completely without thoughts among new titles to explore or even recoveries of old titles. I'm sure it's happened to everyone at least once.
Then I almost by chance discover Animal Valley, nothing complicated, a title that seems to come out of the early 90s and that immediately captures me. I can't even explain why, yet something clicked in my head, which made me think that perhaps it was time to try something new and different from what the market has been offering me lately, but that's another matter. . If you had to answer the question what is Animal Valley? Perhaps I would tell you that it is a Zen corner where you can cultivate your thoughts. Ultimately, the goal of the game is simple. Tired of city life, you retire to the countryside where you have inherited a field to cultivate.
Oddly enough, the cultivation will be monothematic and will only include apples. I can't explain why the fact is that the idea intrigued me and not a little. So my journey began and after just a few hours I wanted more and more. You know don't you? That addiction that you don't know how to get out of your head, but you absolutely want to understand where your actions will take you. A bit like what happened with Death Stranding, who would have thought that we would all become messenger boys, attentive to the path to take, timing every step we took.
What do we grow today?
Obviously it must be said that the Animal Valley play system refers much more to titles such as Animal Crossing, to mention something newer, or if you want even more similar to a Harvest Moon. The scale of complexity is certainly lower, if not almost nothing, given the actions that we will be able to perform within the title they are really small and mainly focus in the management of our plants.
Our days will be strangely fast at first, passing the time, sleeping inside our room. This is where I began to ask myself the first questions, “Why am I speeding up the game?”, “Why do I want to see how apples grow?”. In short, it almost seemed that I wanted to speed up the process to understand where he was going with this.
After all, apples grow on their own, but if we don't take care of them, they risk rotting, or eaten by crows. I then realized that I was not simply doing mechanical actions, but I was taking care of something. I know, at first reading it may seem strange, yet every day I spent in Animal Valley I wanted my plants to grow and bear fruit, looking for the ones with the biggest apples.
AH! A small detail, randomly, could spawn a golden apple which, if sold, could frustrate you with a nice nest egg, needless to say that for each of them, my eyes sparkled, but not so much because I could complete part of the tasks that the game offered me, but because I knew that thanks to that money I could buy new seeds or automatic sprinklers for my growing trees.
When it seemed that everything was about to end, however, the world around me opened up and from my apple orchard, I went to explore the lands to the East which led me to a series of new places to explore, making me discover the true potential of game. I discovered that you could fish, fetch quests and help the people of a small village. The idea of starting from a small apple orchard and becoming the perfect neighbor was almost a dream come true.
Fishing at one point almost took the place of my activity as a farmer, yet the thought of watering the plants every time I got up was always present. So, before leaving for the fully of the my fish encyclopedia, complete tour of the apple orchard, to pick fruit and water the trees.
At one point I realized that time was passing too quickly, consequently from wanting at all costs to make the days go by, to make the trees grow, I wanted time to stop so as to have more hours available to fish in complete peace of mind. Hence my desire to understand even more FrWhy was I so glued to these mechanics, and perhaps there is an answer, but it cannot be found in the title. It will certainly not be the developer to give me an answer.
So here's how this story began, at some point it will end. Just as my adventure with Animal Valley ended, after completing everything, with a complete encyclopedia, and with all tasks completed. Maybe I didn't need a different title, I just needed a new one take some time for me. I think it's a shared experience of having to disconnect at a certain point, and find something that allows us to get out of the routine. A bit like the protagonist of the game needed to completely detach from everyday life, we too need to take a break from time to time, and perhaps enjoy a fishing trip by the lake.
What is left for us
Animal Valley is just a small story, a small test of an independent developer who has not managed to reach the general public, but which I am sure can find a lot of positivity in those looking for something with a staid pace, and perhaps even in those looking for objectives to complete . It's peculiar how this title comes from Itch.io, for those who don't know it, is a famous site that allows you to publish your work completely independently. Itch is now home to many developers and personalities who are making their way within the community because they are able to bring forward new ideas, or perhaps even reinterpret old ideas from the past in a modern key. To cite a small example, the whole horror movement in PS1 graphics was born from Itch. Almost non-existent textures, yet there are those beyond all this, who put their ideas before the technique.
Animal Valley is instead a different story, unique pace and completely distant goalsthe. Perhaps because it was also a way of finding serenity for those who developed it, deep down we've always said it, the things we want for ourselves are born from our minds. In short, if you've come here, trust me, and take a look at Animal Valley. They could become your favorite pastime, and then maybe we'll exchange photos of our apple orchards, so we can figure out who has the best orchard.