'Maybe this new Stardew Valley-like game is pretty good' I said to myself after blearily noticing I'd played it until 2 in the morning

A village life sim
(Image credit: Akupara Games)

Big news: I've adopted a bee! That means it's time to completely upend my entire life because this cute little bee needs a home. Well, technically, it doesn't need a home. It's a bee, its home is outdoors, and I'm the one who came barreling along through the meadow maniacally swinging a little net at it and thus preventing it from continuing its natural existence. But now that I have this bee, I'm going to build a home for it so it can make me some honey.

Problem is, I can't build a beehive because I need silk rope, and I can't make silk rope because I don't have any silk pods, and I can't make silk pods because I don't have a habitat for the silkworms I've also abducted adopted, and I can't build a silkworm farm until I've made regular rope, which needs a spinning wheel, which I can only build if I have bricks, which means, well, making other stuff that requires other stuff.

That glorious loop of needing something that first requires having a hundred or so other somethings is what caused me to look up blearily from my Steam Deck at about two in the morning. I bought farming life sim Everafter Falls Sunday afternoon because it looked like another cute Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing-type game, and by Sunday night it'd sunk its cozy little hooks deep into me. 

Speaking of hooks, yes, there's fishing. I'm living and farming and crafting on an idyllic island. Of course there's fishing.

There's not a whole lot of difference between Everafter Falls and a lot of the other Stardew-inspired farming sims I've played, but the few little twists are welcome. First, you haven't inherited a farm from some relative and you're not arriving in town for the first time ever. You already live there, you've just been plugged into a simulation game for so long you can't remember your actual life as a farmer, sort of like how I was plugged into Everafter Falls all night and forgot I had a life that required me to get up at a reasonable hour. Everyone already knows you, but now you need to get to know them.

(Image credit: Akupara Games)

A more important twist is a change to farming: the work of endlessly filling a watering can at a well or river to water your crops is a non-issue here. You have a loyal pet in Everafter Falls, and it handles the watering, not by peeing on the crops as I initially thought it might but by summoning a wee-little rainstorm, because of… magic, I guess? It's not automatic, and you still have to select the spots you want watered, but you can dash off while it's dousing your crops and it will catch up to you later. Nifty.

You and your pet can also level up your skills, especially when it comes to combat: I'm now decked out with magic rings and amulets that deal extra damage to blobs and other monsters in the endless underground tunnel network these idyllic islands always have. My pet also heals me by a couple HP every few seconds when we're in the dungeon, so we're becoming quite the fearsome farming duo.

(Image credit: Akupara Games)

The townfolk of Everafter Falls are pretty chill, too. I find these kind of games a bit grating at times because villagers always seem to be sending me mail or giving me quests or demanding my attention when I'm trying to focus on something else, like the troubling lack of bee housing on my property. 

While that happens here it's a lot more subdued, mostly leaving it to me to decide when to pick up new quests or engage in social interactions. Conversations are nicely short, too, something I appreciate because all I'm thinking when someone is talking to me is "Okay, fine, but is this in any way going to get me closer to having a house for my bee?" 

(Image credit: Akupara Games)

There are events in town, but they're pretty rare so far, which also suits me. There was a rubber duck race I was summoned to, which annoyed me because I was trying to spelunk for copper ore, but it turned out to be a lot of fun because I was allowed to throw rocks at my opponents ducks while they drifted down the river. I came in second place. My aim isn't great.

Of course there's plenty of familiar features, like an empty museum and aquarium to fill with the specimens you find, a farmhouse you can decorate and livestock you can adopt, different crops to grow as the simulated season change, and more of the usual type of Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley type stuff. 

Everafter Falls isn't doing all that much different than some of the other Stardew-likes I've played like Coral Island or My Time at Portia, but the stuff it is doing, it's doing pretty well. Definitely well enough to keep me up until two in the morning, and to have me keep checking my watch at work today because I really want to keep playing. I'm almost done building my bee house. Next stop: honey town.

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.