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  • Writer's pictureStormieDae

Coral Island Review - The Best Farming Sim Game Since Stardew Valley?

Coral Island review by Stormie Dae (PC, XBOX, PS)

Released 11/14/23

Stairway Games, Humble Games

Embarking on a journey from the bustling metropolis of Pokyo to the serene shores of Coral Island offers a refreshing escape, where you can sculpt the farm of your desires, cultivating crops, nurturing animals, and fostering a profound connection with the natural wonders that envelop you. Aiding in the rejuvenation of the local town and its encompassing coral reefs, you'll weave intricate relationships with over 70 diverse inhabitants who call Coral Island their home.

Indeed, Coral Island is another entrant into the farming simulation genre, but does it distinguish itself from the crowd or seamlessly blend in? While the game enables you to construct the farm of your dreams, its charm extends beyond the conventional boundaries of typical farming simulations.

A screenshot of a farm in Coral Island
Welcome to Coral Island!

You start like any other cozy by customizing your character with loads of different variations so you can make your dream character. Then you are dropped onto Coral Island to take over your family farm.

Of course you do have all of the pieces youd expect in a game like this. Foraging, growing crops, having farm animals, fishing, bug catching, as well as mining. As you get past all the normal farming mechanics in the game you will quickly learn that there is so much more to this game than a lot of the other farming sims that have graced us in the last few months.

A notable feature, drawing inspiration from Stardew Valley, involves a colossal corporation intending to exploit the island for oil drilling. As part of your quest, you find yourself immersed in the ocean, undertaking tasks like cleaning up debris to restore the health of the coral reef. This distinctive element elevates Coral Island above its counterparts, infusing environmental consciousness into the gameplay. The diving mechanics are not only enjoyable but also impeccably responsive, making the act of environmental stewardship a gratifying experience.

An underwater screenshot from Coral Island
Environmental consciousness plays a big role in Coral Island

Acknowledging the inevitable comparisons to Stardew Valley, Coral Island indeed bears resemblances, approaching the essence of a 3D rendition of the beloved title. The familiar mechanics, such as leaving items in a box outside your door for selling and the overarching theme of corporate intrusion into the town, echo Stardew Valley's core dynamics. Furthermore, the nuanced relationship-building component adds a layer of depth, with 25 eligible singles on the island, each offering a unique narrative to explore.

The process of building relationships transcends mere interaction, as players are invited to engage in thoughtful gestures and conversations to win the hearts of their chosen companions. Choosing from an assortment of endearing gifts and spending time in meaningful dialogue not only deepens the connection but also serves as a means to unravel the unique likes and dislikes of each character. This attention to detail adds a layer of authenticity, making the dating aspect of Coral Island a genuinely immersive experience.

As players invest time and effort in cultivating these virtual relationships, the game rewards them with a gradual progression of hearts—a visual representation of the evolving emotional connection. This mechanic encourages players to navigate the delicate nuances of social dynamics, fostering a sense of attachment to the characters and the overall narrative.

Coral Island successfully captures the essence of companionship within its virtual community, echoing the spirit of camaraderie that has become a hallmark of the farming simulation genre. The diverse range of characters, each with their own backstory and aspirations, ensures that players can tailor their dating experiences to align with their personal preferences and inclinations. I did manage to apparently pick the most grouchy person in town to pursue but I mean thats not unusual for me I do go for Shane in Stardew afterall, dont judge me okay.

A screenshot of the character customization screen from Coral Island
There are tons of customization options available

The last bit of this game that is insanely good and needs to be mentioned, is the festivals. Holy crap I have not seen a game do festivals this good in a very very long time. There are two festivals every season and in the festivals you actually have things to do! Not just collectibles to buy but actual mini games and I was just totally blown away by this. A lot of these games do have festivals but they are pretty much just for looks and dont have anything you can actually do. That is not the case in Coral Island and I was so impressed with this.

An unexplored narrative involving goddesses and the overarching theme of preserving the island and planet's health adds an additional layer of intrigue, ensuring a multifaceted gaming experience. The incorporation of a skill tree system, where skill points earned through activities can be exchanged for upgrades, further enriches the gameplay by providing a sense of progression and customization.

In essence, Coral Island presents an extensive array of features that extend beyond the surface. While I have touched upon various aspects, there are still unexplored facets that add to the game's depth. Despite minor control issues on PC using a controller, the game's commendable graphics and seamless performance contribute to a really fun experience. The character designs, reflecting evident dedication and passion, stand out as a testament to the developers' commitment.

A screenshot of Yuri from Coral Island
Coral Island lives up to the hype for those who love Stardew Valley

For those eagerly anticipating the release of Coral Island, the game lives up to the anticipation. If the prospect of a captivating farming simulation aligns with your interests, I wholeheartedly recommend Coral Island. Undoubtedly, it stands out as one of the finest farming simulators I've encountered this year, deserving a silver genie lamp of approval.


  • Great dating/relationship system

  • Lots of different activities to keep the gameplay fresh

  • Festivals are super impressive


  • Controller support on PC is a little wonky

  • Maybe a little too similar to Stardew Valley if you want something different

Silver Genie Lamp of Approval
Silver Genie Lamp

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