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Southfield Beta Impressions – Left Me Wanting More

Southfield is a cozy farming and building sim developed by Radical Forge and there was a closed beta held on Steam recently. The game is in development and listed as coming soon, and the demo served as a delightful appetizer for what appears to be a full-fledged farming sim feast. Stepping into the wobbly shoes of a Bud, the game throws you into a world brimming with charm and quirky experience that was a lot of fun to explore.

The core gameplay revolves around you controlling Bud via running and sometimes rolling across the wide-open grassy plains. There are rocky outcrops and mountains in the distance, and a town with a npc a short distance away but the tutorials get you straight into farming. You will collect wood and stone by slapping trees and rocks, which is hilarious. Slapping plants too will yield some edibles which you can eat to restore health or throw into a machine to produce seeds which will yield more crops. Later crops can produce some awesomely useful fruits for your labour, such as the helicopter style berries that will slow your fall and allow you to jump a little higher.

As you water your crops and harvest the yield via slaps and pulls, a scythe will make the work much quicker. Next you build conveyer belts, trash bins and other machines to automate the menial tasks as you move onto bigger and better things such as building a house for yourself. I did find bud falling over a lot or finding himself knee deep in the soil of the plants which required me to jump and roll back to his feet. It got a little annoying when I was trying to do some precision movements like placing a plant in the corner soil that was right next to a conveyed belt, and the plumper parts of bud meant I kept hitting it and being thrown to the ground.

Despite the initial physics-based mayhem, the core farming loop feels surprisingly relaxing. Tilling the soil, planting seeds, and watching crops and trees grow provides a sense of accomplishment, even if your Bud trips over a bucket along the way. You can change your outfit to colours or funny suits and play co-op with up to three others. The upbeat soundtrack further enhances the laid-back atmosphere, and meeting other characters adds to the charm with their upbeat attitudes and the mystery that is revealing itself across the lands.

Buds aren’t the only inhabitants of this strange and unpredictable island. As night settles, a shadow grows, a mysterious Monolith looms, and out come the Ruffians. Southfield’s spectral mischief makers are out to cause chaos for you and your crops, and it’s up to you to defend yourself and your farm. Contend with wild weather, protect your harvest, help the other island-dwellers, and restore balance to Southfield – even if your Bud loses balance along the way.

The demo laid a solid foundation for what could be a truly engaging farming sim with heaps of decorative things to add to your house, and you can even edit walls to create doors or windows very easily giving you lots of creative freedom. The quirky characters, physics-based humour, and surprisingly relaxing core gameplay loop left me eager to see the full game blossom. If you’re looking for a charming and offbeat escape into the world of farming, add Southfield to your wishlist.

This review utilised a key provided by Renaissance PR and Southfield is currently in development for a Steam release coming soon.


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