Kynseed is an RPG about growing up, getting old, and dying, which is quite ironic since it feels like the game has been on Steam in various builds since forever. It actually first appeared on Steam back in 2018, back when GreenLight was a thing, and has now settled into Early Access where it's planning to stay until released.
Although the game's development timeline is somewhat lengthy, it's understandable looking at the scope of the game. It has the usual life-sim features like fishing, crafting, mining, and farming, but there are also businesses to buy, auctions to attend, gods to worship, different regions to explore, ferocious monsters to battle—it's a bit of a step up from just being a farmhand.
Many of these features have yet to be implemented, but even so, after jumping in and starting a game from the most recent update, it's still overwhelming how much there is to do. It takes me back to the first time I played Stardew Valley and got dropped into an intimidatingly giant plot of land with just a few seeds to my name. Kynseed is similar to Stardew Valley in that respect. You have a farm as your main source of income—you can plant, nurture, harvest, and sell crops—but it's only one aspect of your new rural life.
If a game has farming, it takes a lot to pull me away from getting stuck in, but Kynseed's ancient woodlands, faery myths, and fantasy folklore are worth leaving the safety of the farm. When you realise Kynseed is being created by three ex-Fable developers, you begin to see their influences everywhere. There are druidic stone circles, giant wooden wicker-man structures, and puns. So many puns.
There are even different gods you can worship. If you lay down daily offerings to these higher beings they can buff or curse your harvest in return. I offered my humble jar of blueberry jam, the best of the bunch I had crafted, but one particular god didn't appreciate my efforts and then cursed the crops on my farmland! Who knew gods could get so offended over a pot of jam? Perhaps they're more of a strawberry fan.
If you'd rather not be bogged down with farming, you can completely ignore your horticultural calling and start meeting the locals, of which there are a lot. Many of the NPCs have yet to have their dialogue fully fleshed out, but you can still give them gifts and become friends with them.
I have attempted to win the hearts of my farm's neighbours—the 100-year-old hermit to the West who babbles complete nonsense that scares me, and the passive-aggressive Scrumpy family to the South—although it doesn't help that I accidentily tried to steal an apple from their tree. Looks like finders keepers doesn't apply in Kynseed.
Kynseed's aim is to have a society of characters that not only are affected by your actions, but also grow old and eventually die, meaning families will remember your apple stealing wrongdoings for generations. This intergenerational feature is a long way away in the development pipeline, but eventually, you'll get to see your characters grow old and play out the next generation, passing down your possessions and even whole businesses to your children.
Running your own business is one of the major pulls for me in Kynseed, and there are multiple places you can buy. The main four are the tavern, blacksmith, general store, and apothecary and each one has its own crafting mini-games and business system.
I am still but a humble farmhand, but I do have my eye on the apothecary. Customers come in and ask for cures and ailments and you need to use the various crafting stations to meet their needs. One station involves you working with a mortar and pestle for herbs, there's one with interconnected brass tubes to make creams, and a big ol' witchy cauldron to create potions.
Until you're ready to become a fully-fledged business owner, you can help out residents with their needs and get money in return, or even run a stall in the town market where you can set the price and sell your produce. You can dig up materials in the mines, cook up recipes with a cooking mini-game, and use a rod to fish (although I found the fishing mini-game even more rudimentary than Stardew's).
There's a lot to do in Kynseed for an Early Access title that costs less than your lunch, and there's still more to come. I admire the scope and ambition of PixelCount Studios and I can already tell I'm going to be in it for the long haul.