Cornucopia Review | PC

The right movement for furthering gaming of this genre.

By agentCookie, Posted 07 Jul 2024

Truthfully speaking, I was not confident about this game when I first heard of it. I mean, the pitch sounded exactly like Stardew Valley and the Harvest Moon titles. I was convinced that if I had played those games, then I have basically played this one as well. However, I did not want to let my prejudices stop me from trying it as the game had garnered lots of praise on the internet despite being released in early access on PC in 2023. While as of June 2024, it is currently still in early access, Subconscious Games is planning to launch the full version soon.


Cornucopia, Review, PC, Gameplay, Screenshots, Farming, Simulation
 

Your character is discovered in the mines, encased in a block of ice, a whole century after you walked into them, and that is how your tale begins. After the locals of Cornucopia revive you, they offer you a rundown farm that you may fix up and make your own.

From the outset, your character's backstory differs from the typical farming sim protagonist, who often has a distant relative tied to the history of the game’s setting. As per the norm, you are able to customize your character’s appearance, and the standard fare includes a modest home, a shed for storing items, a coop for chickens, a barn, and a greenhouse that may be improved later on.

Aside from planting crops for harvest and sale, you may also create various equipment, such as the refiner, to increase your income. Pickup for all items placed in the shipping box will take place Monday through Friday at 6 pm. At the top of the Menu screen, it displays the grand sum of your earnings from that shipment. Numerous structures, such as a bathhouse, may be purchased for your land with that money.

Once Cornucopia’s residents settle you in, they leave you with Munger, a bulldog for whom you will now be responsible. Though he suggests you feed and hydrate him, neglecting him has not had any detrimental consequences so far. And yes, ‘he’ refers to Munger; the dog can talk, but only you are made aware of that. No player's subconscious would intentionally starve him, or at least I hope so.

I will now highlight the agricultural part of Cornucopia by sharing the information that there are three distinct soil types, and each piece of land that you will be plowing has its nutritional worth. Alongside bioactivity, nutrients include the elements potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen. Each plant has its unique nutritional preferences, soil type, and preferred amount of nutrients. The three soils can also have their combinations. You may still farm and make quick money without using this mechanism at all.


Cornucopia, Review, PC, Gameplay, Screenshots, Farming, Simulation
 

In the vast open world of Cornucopia that awaits you when you step out from your farm, you will find a plethora of shops, services, events, and NPCs whose storylines you may immerse yourself in or just observe as they progress. Many of the town's amenities are spread across the map.

There are other houses for sale in different parts of Cornucopia. If you are in no mood to go home for the night, you can always decorate one of your other homes and place beds in it. Not all of the residences are exorbitantly priced and are very attainable. The capacity to travel quickly is a feature that just became available. If you interact with the unique signposts in some areas, you'll be able to pick the way to proceed.

You may find just about everything at any of the many shops around here, from the general store to the farm store, the eatery, the fish market, and so on with their selections being updated daily. Pretty standard for these farming simulations. While most of the companies included in these games are somewhat generic, there are a few that are exceptionally new concepts in the game of Cornucopia.

Among them, you may find the Arcade and the Auction House. The Auction House is exactly what it sounds like; however, NPCs place their bids remotely. It would seem that nobody is interested in making a purchase at the massive deserted building.

You may make bids with the NPCs on items that are put up for sale from time to time. You can see the current bids alongside the item's standard price. Livestock is one of up to three things you may put up for auction every day. You can end up with far more profit than you would have gotten from a regular sale.


Cornucopia, Review, PC, Gameplay, Screenshots, Farming, Simulation, NoobFeed
 

The arcade in Cornucopia is massive, and it is packed with attractions. Some real-life arcades could be surpassed by it. You may play a wide variety of minigames in the various rooms. Slot machines, a coin pusher, a game where you have to toss hoops, the ever-frustrating crane game—there is a lot.

Not too many festivals occur in Cornucopia, but at each one, you may play a minigame inspired by an arcade game, giving you the chance to level up in that skill. Winning these games will earn you tickets that you may redeem for rewards. Upstairs, you will find a food court, as well as a racing course for your animal. Vending machines are also present and offer helpful products.

There is nothing else like the fishing method. To catch something, instead of hitting a timed meter, you are met with a ball-drop game. Whichever fish, plant, or whatever has the most dropped on it is what you receive. Where you cast your line and the bait you use to determine the kinds of fish you could pull in. Other than the shops, there are also residential homes. Each one of them feels unique to their owners, with every inhabitant having their room.

Depending on your relationship with the NPC, you can gain access to go inside the room. A silly occurrence that had occurred during my playthrough was accidentally going through another person’s mailbox, and getting anxious afterward that perhaps I would get into trouble.

Turns out, they are apathetic when it comes to getting their mail stolen, they will just watch you take it. Their mailbox may contain anything from nothing to a rare item or even an active explosive. If you ask me, it sounds like Cornucopia’s twist on Russian Roulette.


Cornucopia, Review, PC, Gameplay, Screenshots, Farming, Simulation
 

One of the most unique aspects of the game is the card system. There are different cards for you to collect and use. Scratch cards are used to get random items, random quest cards, and random cooking recipes. Quest cards will give you a task to do and reward you with a treasure chest for completing it, such as watering 25 plants or talking to a specific NPC.

There are also effect cards that can help you with your daily life like making enemies weaker, auto-watering plants for you, decreasing the risk of an NPC outbidding you in an auction, changing weather, double jump, and so on. I did not realize I could use the cards until a bit into my game and it made everything so much easier. You can activate 4 of these at a time.

Befriend and maybe even romance more than fifty NPCs; unless they are underage or already married, which is the case for very few NPCs. Therefore, almost anybody may be romanced. Every one of them has their timetable and gift-receiving preferences.

You have a journal to record everyone's information; it will remember their birthdays, favorite things, and any recipes they may give you as a token of their appreciation. At this time, there is no restriction on the number of presents you may distribute daily. Again, pretty normal for these farm simulators.

You can instantly maximize their adoration if you find out what they like and then provide them with more of it. However, I am sure this will be fixed in subsequent updates. Once they reach the maximum level, you may gift them an arcade item to start dating with, and later on, you can win an engagement ring to propose with.


Cornucopia, Review, PC, Gameplay, Screenshots, Farming, Simulation
 

NPCs may even let you redecorate their homes if their bond with you is deep enough. This is where you take the hint that you are able to steal their furnishings without consequence. Conversations were either kept to a reasonable length or made you want to jump right in, and there was plenty of well-placed comedy. Some of the dialogue from NPCs however, had them describing their actions by outright saying them rather than implementing asterisks. It can be humorous but odd at first glance.

As part of the main mission, you will need to venture into the mines. In and of itself, working the mines was entertaining and satisfying. Even better, they slow down the clock so much that you can farm the site for insane results in a single day.

The mines contain enemies along with resources for you to mine or harvest from, like rocks with gems and strange mushrooms for mushrooms. You do not really have gear for the RPG side of the game, you can use your normal tools as well as the torch that you are handed when you first enter the place. While explosives and tools each have their unique skills, the basic idea is to move on to the next adversary and hit it until it dies.

An interesting feature of Cornucopia is that your animals may become allies and accompany you on your adventures, even if the monsters can be challenging at times. It becomes much simpler to fight them when you are accompanied by your pet. You may evade them by positioning yourself far away while your tanking partner takes the brunt of the damage.


Cornucopia, Review, PC, Gameplay, Screenshots, Farming, Simulation
 

However, the attack will still strike you regardless of your location since the game still counts you as being there when the animation is played. Rest assured, if your pet loses, it will teleport back to the farm instead of passing away permanently, leaving you to deal with the aftermath. If you are unable to make it yourself, you will wake up in the clinic holding a bill for 2500 gold.

There is really no real skill-based combat, but grinding through the mines will not feel tedious either, considering the rewards. You cannot play the mines to their full potential just yet as they are still under active development.

Overall, Cornucopia was a relaxed environment, and I do not recall ever becoming overly irritated with any of the mechanics. Everything is 2D inside a 3D setting since it is a 2.5D game. Beginning tutorials were fantastic, and missions essentially covered all the ground you could cover in terms of what you could accomplish.

As you stocked up on items for your general storage, you could use the hotkeys for most of your desired functions. Even if the map was pretty vast, there were teleportation stones as well as cards I mentioned previously to make it easier.

Time in-game may be halted at any given point as well, much as in storage and inventory. If you wanted to avoid punishment for being up all night, you could simply eat your energy pack instead of sleeping.


Cornucopia, Review, PC, Gameplay, Screenshots, Farming, Simulation
 

The game never really hit you hard, and it felt incredibly peaceful for a game, especially, of its kind. I can definitely see myself going back to this after it is fully released. Cornucopia is a game that gives the player the impression that it is way more ready than usual early access games and was well put together.

Cornucopia is still being updated by Subconscious Games monthly and is very likely to be fully released soon. Until then, I think people should save their money and wait. I highly recommend this game if you are a fan of this genre, as Cornucopia paves the way to modernize these games and take them to newer pastures. 


Jennifer
Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Cornucopia

85/100

Platform(s): PC
Publisher(s): Subconscious Games
Developer(s): Subconscious Games
Genres: Simulation
Themes: Indie, Farming, Role-Playing
Release Date: 2023-07-31

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