5 beginner's tips for Echoes of the Plum Grove to help you survive your first season in Honeywood

Echoes of the Plum Grove - villagers mingle at an autumn market in the town square
(Image credit: Unwound Games)

Although it looks just as cute as other farm sims, you're going to need some beginner's tips for Echoes of the Plum Grove if you want to live through your first season in Honeywood. In this historically inspired farm sim you'll focus on the typical routine of foraging, cooking, and crafting while also befriending the townsfolk. But you'll also have a lot of survival elements such as aging, disease, and the threat of starvation, which introduces a bit more challenge than your typical farming sim. 

Getting set up can be a little overwhelming since there is so much to think about and take into account from the get-go. Once you've got a grip of the basics you'll hopefully feel a little more at ease, and to make the process even easier we've pulled together a few tips and tricks to alleviate some of the stress of getting started.  

Don't let your food spoil in storage 

(Image credit: Unwound Games)

Echoes of the Plum Grove bombards you with hordes of edible items like animal products, veggies, and fish. But unlike a lot of other farming sims that let you hoard until your heart's content, each food item has an expiry date. When you hover over an item in your inventory a number of "days until rot" will appear, and you'll need to consume your perishables before this number drops to 0. If you forget about them, which is pretty easy to do if you're chucking items into storage to clear space in your pockets, they will turn into an inedible mush called "rot." 

There's still an upside to finding your food storage chest full of gunk, though. Food that has become rot can be put into a composter to make fertilizer which will at least help your next batch of crops grow. So all is not lost if you do end up losing your harvest to rot, but it's still best to make the most of your fresh produce while you can.

And when you've progressed a bit further, make sure to secure an ice chest for your house and fill it with ice cubes from the storage shed in town.

Keep up with the blacksmith's quests 

(Image credit: Unwound Games)

Getting stuck into Plum Grove takes some time since you need to gather 200 pieces of wood and 15 nails to repair the bridge on the west side of town standing between you and some of your main quest tasks. It feels like a pretty arduous obstacle while you're getting set up, but there are some things you can do alongside this that help make the game feel more fulfilling and provide a sense of direction. The Blacksmith, Rowland Smith, has a series of quests you can complete that will get you started on the path of unlocking more tools and exploring the mines, so it's worth working your way through these as soon as you can. 

In Rowland's first two quests, you will need to buy a rocking chair from the carpenters, then find his mallet in the mines. They're fairly basic quests but well worth completing so you can get one step closer to unlocking access to all the tools you need to make farm life and make your time in Honeywood more efficient. 

Being mean can pay off sometimes 

(Image credit: Unwound Games)

It's easy to want to be the nice guy in a game like this since no one really wants to swan into a new town and insult everyone around them. But one of the early quests you'll be tasked with completing will require you to—brace yourself—insult 20 villagers. Gasp!

This seems super mean at first, and if you're trying to keep the peace you may be putting this one off, but it can be massively beneficial to gaining friendship points. You'll lose friendship with the folks you insult, of course, but there's a small (and potentially valuable) upside.

Completing this quest can max out your friendship with any characters with the "cruel" trait, who like it when you're mean to others. At that highest tier of friendship, they may decide to send you very nice gifts in the post. To give your friendship another boost, you can also try wooing a cruel character, which will grant you extra friendship points when you talk to them and then insult someone else.

Basically, it's cruel to be kind in Plum Grove, and sometimes dishing out insults can be more beneficial than a friendly face. 

Plan for your own passing

(Image credit: Unwound Games)

Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever in Plum Grove, and just like your produce turning to rot, you will eventually expire too. Death is inevitable, and you should start planning for your end as soon as you can. The best way to do this is by making sure you've got offspring to continue your legacy once that dark day comes, since you will continue to play as your child when you die. There are a few ways you can make sure you've got an heir to the farming throne once you pass, like wooing a spouse and procreating, but for an easier route, you can also buy adoption papers from the mayor. 

To adopt a child once you've purchased the necessary paperwork, you can either talk to your spouse's child if you do choose to woo a single parent, or you can speak to an orphan to adopt them. This is particularly useful if disease is beginning to spread through Honeywood, since you can adopt children that have been orphaned by sickness, which is probably wise since it may claim you before you know it as well.

Turn off survival systems in the settings menu 

(Image credit: Unwound Games)

If you feel overwhelmed by all the survival elements of Echoes of the Plum Grove, you do have the option to toggle things on and off to customize your experience. If you're looking for a more traditionally 'cozy' gaming session, then this is probably the place to aim once you've started. From the gameplay menu you can turn off elements like hunger, tool durability, taxes, and aging. Basically, it'll make your life a lot easier and give you less to manage. 

Of course, altering these settings will impact your game and you won't have to worry about the consequences that Plum Grove has on hand, but it does mean you're free to play the game how you want. Plus, when you're getting started and learning about every aspect you'll have to manage, taking the pressure off a little bit isn't a bad thing. There's nothing to stop you from altering them again once you feel more established and you've found your footing in Honeywood later down the road too. 

Kara Phillips
Evergreen Writer

Kara is an evergreen writer. Having spent three years as a games journalist guiding, reviewing, or generally waffling about the weird and wonderful, she’s more than happy to tell you all about which obscure indie games she’s managed to sink hours into this week. When she’s not raising a dodo army in Ark: Survival Evolved or taking huge losses in Tekken, you’ll find her helplessly trawling the internet for the next best birdwatching game because who wants to step outside and experience the real thing when you can so easily do it from the comfort of your living room. Right?