Coral Island is another addition to the farming sim genre, and while there’s already plenty of Stardew Valley-likes out in the wild to scratch the crop-growing and town life itch, the island lifestyle has players hooked – it’s already become one of Steam’s top-sellers three days post full launch.
Described by developer Stairway Games as a “vibrant and laid-back reimagining of farm sim games,” Coral Island drops you onto the idyllic shores of the titular island for a fresh start away from the big city of Pokyo. Much like other titles in the genre, you’re given pretty free reign over how you play, whether that’s living off the land, improving the island itself, romancing the townsfolk or exploring the ocean.
While you can go farming beast-mode in Coral Island and forget all things except tending to crops and your animals, there’s also the story of the town and 70+ unique characters to delve into if that’s more your speed. With 25 single characters to romance (Oh god why are they all so hot what’re they putting in the island water) and eventually marry and start a family with if you choose, the social dynamics of this title are enough to keep you busy before even getting into the expansive caves and seas surrounding your new home.
The great outdoors offers even more to get stuck into, with fishing, deep sea diving, and insect hunting to try out – so if you put in work in Animal Crossing: New Horizons and enjoyed catching critters to your heart’s content, Coral Island has a bit of that sprinkled in there too.
It definitely seems like the game leans into the best little features from many farming sims and cozy games and brings them all together in a hyper-colourful package all of its own. There’s home decoration, a local museum to expand and caverns to mine (and fight off monsters in) – if you’re a cozy gaming buff, these probably all bring to mind an array of different iconic titles you’ve likely played and loved over the years. It seems like this mix of all the good bits of much-loved games from the genre is really striking a chord with players, given its Steam top-seller chart debut.
Coral Island originally launched in early access in October 2022 after a successful Kickstarter funding campaign in 2021 (which met its initial funding goal within 36 hours), so already has a legion of dedicated players behind it ready to evangelise the masses.
Currently, Coral Island is outselling (by revenue) massive games like Dead by Daylight, Grand Theft Auto V, and Starfield on Steam for the week – and with over 7,000 reviews tipping it into the ‘Overwhelmingly Positive’ category, it looks like this tropical farming sim is a certified banger. One recent positive review calls it “Stardew but everyone is hotter,” and I’m inclined to agree with their astute observation.
It looks like Coral Island is on the up and up as more cozy gaming fans get their hands on it and take a stab at living the tropical life, attempting (unsuccessfully) to create a harem of all the pretty dateable NPCs, and revitalising the township. With so much to do, this game seems like one of those hundreds of hours time sinks you come across from time to time – and I, for one, am so ready to become irrevocably obsessed with Stardew Valley for people who fuck.
Lead Image Credit: Stairway Games