Farming Sim season continues to reap a bountiful harvest with the arrival of Moonstone Island. From the moment the Studio Ghibli-inspired opening credits roll and the score kicks in, it was clear that this has the vibes I thrive on. Magic, crafting, farming, and an abundance of weird little guys. That’s right, Moonstone Island is a farming sim on the same level as Stardew Valley and has creatures to catch.
Your adventure begins at home, on your last day before leaving to find your new home where you can begin practicing alchemy. Your parents offer you a brief tutorial on crop growing and spirits, which are the creatures wandering around the world. Your mother passes down a locket to you, which can be home to three spirits who will make up your fighting team. The three spirits in your locket will also follow you as you wander the world. For now, though, you get to pick one. Once you do, it’s time to fly off on your broom and almost immediately crash land on Moonstone Island.
Luckily, local inn owner Ossono finds you, your tools, and an unfortunately broken broom. Fear not, though, because you are now the Alchemist for Moonstone Island! You have your basic hammer, axe, hoe, scythe, and watering can, so it’s time to start collecting materials to make your tent and meet the townsfolk. The interactions with your neighbors have taken inspiration from Stardew Valley; interactions with them fill up your relationship meter, and you can speed this up by giving residents gifts they like.
Like in Stardew, you can only give people gifts once a day and a couple of times a week. Where it differs is that you will have three options of conversation style: Chat, joke, and flirt. You will have a percentage chance of interactions being successful, and as you become better acquainted with people and level up your skills, that chance of success will increase. That’s right, there’s a skill tree to consider! Catching spirits, foraging, farming, fishing, combat, and social skills are all upgradeable. Improve your spirit-taming abilities, catch better quality fish, and improve your social skills to eventually date someone.
Moonstone Island Let Me Find My One True Love With Its Romance Options
Speaking of dating, there is only one valid option for me. That is the weirdo Magic Man. Magic Man proclaims himself to be called Waldo, lives in a chicken-legged Baba Yaga house, and has lost shards of his memory. These are scattered throughout dungeons, and he asks that if you find any, return them to him.
Get it? He’s called Waldo? Bits of him are lost? Where is that Waldo?
Anyway, he’s weird, and he is wearing a big mask made of spirit upgrade tokens. Is he hideous? Is he Skeletor? Who knows, maybe you will find out.
Now, I’m going to tap into my Medium side because it’s time to talk spirits. There are eight basic types of spirits: Earth, Fire, Water, Electricity, Poison, Ice, Psychic, and Dark. These spirits won’t be found on Moonstone Island but in the over one hundred islands surrounding it. The islands have their biomes, and some of those islands have hazards—most of them. There are fire islands where you will gradually get your stamina burned away, electric islands where it will get zapped out of you, and so on. They also house their respective spirit type, and the further out from Moonstone Island you travel, the higher the level of the spirits. When you fight spirits, you can feed them to tame them. Once they are tamed, you can keep or release them, but you have to have a spirit barn built or open one of the three spaces in your locket. Not only do you have to have a barn, but you have to have feeding stalls set up. Each spirit needs its own stall, so get chopping trees for wood right away.
The designs for the spirits are adorable and varied. My personal favorites are Loony Lid, Coolslime, and Fishbo, although there isn’t a design among them that I don’t like (take note, Pokemon Company.) There is also a fun crossover with one of my favorite indie games, Ooblets, as Radlad from their game appears as a spirit here. There are 66 spirits to collect, but there are also holographic ones! The true version of a holographic trading card, the holo versions subtly flash when you encounter them and will have a slight color variation. Judging by the achievement for it, they are pretty rare, so keep your eyes peeled. Speaking of achievements, let’s just enjoy some of the ones that I have so far, including the one for taming 69 spirits.
There is a lot you can do on Moonstone Island. For starters, you can befriend the locals, tame spirits, and try to find bits of Waldo’s mind. There is also fishing, farming, mining, and dungeon running. There’s also collecting Moonstones, an integral part of crafting. There will be one on every island, but chests and combat also have a chance of dropping them.
Breaking rocks could find you a ladder into a mine; there is one on almost every island. Inside the mines are treasure chests filled with potions, concoctions, gems, and crafting blueprints. The two best things about this are that a) it will tell you how many chests remain to be found, and b) you can pick up the chests once empty and take them back to your home for storage.
Other absolutely delightful quality-of-life additions in-game consist of not having your inventory stolen or lost if you pass out or are defeated and that you never have to fill your watering can. Do you understand how monumental this is? No more legging it back and forth from water sources to fill up a watering can that can only do five crops before drying up. No more finding amazing potions only to have some rando steal them when you get K.O’d. Plus, if you get knocked out or stay up too late and fall asleep where you stand, Waldo will come and scoop you up, and you get to have a wee nap in his Baba Yaga house. If I could give new players a tip, it would be to get your glider crafted as soon as possible. It makes traveling to other islands so much faster.
I have reached the end of my first year as an Alchemist on Moonstone Island, but it still feels like there is so much more to explore and discover. I still don’t know what Waldo’s actual deal is; I haven’t yet discovered every spirit, and I’ve barely scratched the surface of crafting and creating alchemical concoctions. I’m currently in the process of building a tree fort mansion, and it isn’t going to be done anytime soon. Moonstone Island gives me the same feeling that Stardew Valley did and still does, which means I’m not leaving anytime soon.
Moonstone Island is out now on PC, Linux, Mac, and Nintendo Switch.