Echoes of the Plum Grove Review – Fare thee well!

Reviewed May 15, 2024 on PC




April 29, 2024


Freedom Games


Unwound Games

Farming life can be difficult, and that’s a hard thing to remember when playing through most of the happy-go-lucky farming sim games out there where waking up early to harvest your crops and living out in the elements is as easy as breathing, and death is something that you don’t find yourself thinking about at all.

Echoes of the Plum Grove does something a little different, taking a leaf out of Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life’s book, and putting a focus on the passage of time and how that affects your characters. The main focus of Plum Grove is less farming and more lineage. There’s a great deal of importance placed on the act of starting a family and raising someone to eventually take over your farm when you die; because you will die, that’s just the way it works.

Opening with the player character being tossed overboard on their trip from the mainland, you quickly wake up on the island of Honeywood, seemingly the only survivor from your ship. The game doesn’t linger at all at this moment, instead directing you to what is going to be your farm, covered in weeds and dying trees, as is custom in a farming sim. There isn’t all that much story from this point, as characters don’t have quests to follow and the only through line is growing and expanding your farm as time passes. The island of Honeywood also has some more supernatural elements hidden under the surface that can be found with enough patience and nosiness, and dealing with this becomes a secondary goal, with your survival always taking first place.

The art style is very cute, leaning right into that Paper Mario aesthetic with 2D characters and objects in an otherwise 3D world works very well. It looks incredibly polished, every element feels like it belongs within this world and it’s a lot of fun to explore. It also does an outstanding job of setting Echoes of the Plum Grove apart from other games in the genre, the style is very distinctive and executed perfectly. There was also great care taken to make it clear which objects are interactable in the world and which aren’t, while still allowing the environment design to be subtle and easy to digest; anything that can be picked up, or interacted with has a thick black outline, from crops on the farm to trees that can be shaken for wood once a day, it’s easy to recognise what can and can’t be touched.

Honeywood is quite explicitly based on 1700 Massachusetts and the devs talk a lot about their research on the era via their social media. The inspiration is very clear in the architecture and outfits that you see the townspeople wearing day in and out, they also have cute little catchphrases to say such as ‘Fare thee well!’ or ‘Godspeed!’ whenever the player says goodbye to them. Being Australian, I don’t know all that much about this setting, but it evokes what I picture when I hear an American talking about Thanksgiving, which I assume was the intention.

Another element that ties Echoes of the Plum Grove to it’s setting is that it doesn’t shy away from the concept of death at all, it’s ever-present throughout the game. There isn’t necessarily a great deal of doom and gloom around the subject and the world is very bright and colourful, it’s just a fact of life, people get sick, people get old, and people die. Given the gameplay, this was the best route for the narrative to take, getting too deep into darker territory just for the sake of surprising players often comes off as trite and unnecessary, so it’s good that Plum Grove manages to toe that line.

Townspeople are just as much a victim to the slow march of time as you are, able to die of old age or illness as well. Echoes of the Plum Grove wants you to know that things can change at any moment, that maybe the character you have been giving flowers to day in and day out will get sick and die and all that effort will be put to waste. It’s definitely an interesting direction to take the game in, though this focus on the brutal randomness of country life does mean some other elements fall away entirely.

Because other characters in town are designed to be random elements that contribute to creating vastly different outcomes in each new playthrough, none of them are fleshed out or expanded upon in any meaningful way. All characters are disposable, and it definitely feels like it. Speaking to any of the townsfolk will just net you repeating trivia about other people in town and while they can die, or get married, or have kids, I rarely found this having any sort of effect on my experience, I would just keep on farming and might have been considered the town pariah for never attending a funeral, but I had turnips to harvest and didn’t care about that dead guy anyway.

“All characters are disposable, and it definitely feels like it…”

The townsfolk also offer minor fetch quests for the player and these seem to be almost completely random and I often found that the characters would ask me for things that I currently had no way of getting. There are also so many quests available every single day that it’s overwhelming to look at your journal, but there isn’t much reason not to accept every quest you see because you’ll never know when you might happen upon the means to get something one of the townsfolk is asking for. I personally just pressed on with the quests given by the two blacksmiths, because they most often gave me rewards that actually helped me to gain new farming equipment. I ended up giving one of them three fish in exchange for the blueprints for a smelter.

Echoes of the Plum Grove also puts a larger focus on survival mechanics than most farming sims. While an exhaustion meter is pretty common, it usually drops based on how much manual labour you have been doing around the farm that day, whereas both exhaustion and hunger meters in Plum Grove slowly decrease as time passes regardless of what the player is doing. This means needing to eat food often and making sure to sleep when you get tired. There are some other miscellaneous survival mechanics too such as tool degradation and food that spoils after a certain number of days if uneaten. All of these mechanics can be toggled on or off in the game settings, I personally turned off tool degradation pretty quickly because I found it more annoying than immersive, especially when the main thing you are doing is farming.

It’s a bit of a half-measure. The game doesn’t lean into the survival mechanics quite enough for it to really be a survival game. I didn’t have any trouble staying fed and always managed to get more than 8 hours of sleep every night, so the mechanics don’t add all that much to the gameplay loop as a whole and instead just serve as a minor annoyance while you are busy getting your crops planted for the season. Luckily the farming itself is done quite well, the art style makes all the different fruits and veggies you can plant really pop and there’s a lot of satisfaction in seeing a full field of crops on your farm. There isn’t much innovation about it, but there doesn’t need to be, it all just works. Some newer mechanics include a compost bin that you can dump your spoiled food in to make fertiliser and drying racks used to preserve meat or fruits to prevent them from spoiling, both of which tie in very nicely with the process of expiring food and feel very organic in the game.




  • Solid and enjoyable farming mechanics
  • Cute art style that really pops
  • Focus on lineage is a fresh take


  • Flat, unmemorable characters
  • Disconnected survival elements

There’s a lot to like in Echoes of the Plum Grove, the art style alone sets it apart from other games in the genre, the farming works very well and the focus on survival elements and lineage is interesting, it’s just a shame that these two parts of the game don’t feed into each other quite right yet. However, if you are just looking for a farming sim with a little bit more spice, Echoes of the Plum Grove might be just what you need, I’ll just be waiting for something even spicier.