Coral Island brings us all the best things about the farming sim genre and puts it on a lush tropical island. If you’ve played Stardew Valley, Story of Seasons or Harvest Moon you’re going to recognise the premise of this game. Grow crops, raise livestock, make friends and revitalize the town and the island.
But there are some refreshing new features in Coral Island that distinguish it from other games in the genre. One being you actually have to care about the environment to save the island. And secondly the diversity of not just the people, but the crops and culture of Southeast Asia that’s made its way onto the island.
When we last wrote about Coral Island last year, the Indonesian indie studio Stairway Games had planned to release the game in the first quarter of 2021. But since then the game has really taken a life of its own. Meaning that even though we have a later release date, there’s also going to be a lot more features included. Here are some of the wonderful little things that will resonate with the Southeast Asian in all of us.
Local Southeast Asian Crops
Coral Island is a fictional tropical island meaning that you can grow just about anything on there. The island has four distinct seasons and plenty of crops that are inspired by the local flora of Southeast Asia. This includes a lot more exotic varieties of fruits and vegetables that you may not get in your other farming sim games. In this picture, I can already see sugar cane and starfruit or belimbing.
For those of you that don’t live in the region, you may notice the ‘Hearty Fruit’ from Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has made an appearance. Known as the King of Fruits, or durian in these parts.
There are over 75 seasonal and non-seasonal plantables announced right now.
Local Southeast Asian Fish
Coral Island is home to a variety of fish both tropical and not. Coming in either freshwater and saltwater varieties. In this chart I already spot a number of local Southeast Asian fish. The Tilapia and the Snapper are popular food choices here. And the Arowana is a popular pet in the Asian region. This is also the first time I’ve seen the Luo Han fish in any game! The Luo Han or Flowerhorn Fish is believed to bring goodluck and is a popular (if pricey) aquarium fish in Southeast Asia.
As part of the game’s nature conservation features you’ll need to restore more of the island’s ecosystem by saving the coral in order for more types of fish to appear. This is an awesome mechanic and I hope Animal Crossing is listening!
A Civet Cat?!
In addition to the traditional cows and sheeps Coral Island also includes a Llama and a Luwak?? For those of you who don’t know a Luwak, otherwise known as a Civet Cat, is native to tropical Asia and Africa. So how can a cat be a barnyard animal? What would you even harvest?
Well if you’ve ever visited Indonesia you may have yeard of Kopi Luwak or Civet Cat Coffee. This is coffee made from coffee beans that have been digested through the body of a Civet cat. The cherries are fermented as they pass through a civet’s intestines, where they’ll… naturally come out the other end to be cleaned and used as coffee.
I love that the Luwak is in Coral Island as a product and species that is so unique to the Indonesia.
Coral Reef Conservation
Southeast Asia is synoymys with islands, but it’s really Indonesia who takes the gold with more than 17,500 islands. With this in mind it should come to no surprise that the country is home to one of the world’s most extensive coral reef systems. Coral reefs are an important ecosystem to our overall envrionment. They house a diverse number of plant, fish, animals and of course coral. But due to destructive fishing practices, over development and pollution coral reefs have been dying.
Coral Island highlights the destruction of the reefs and encourages you to save it in game. Clean up the sea bed to make a home for rare fish, and collect ocean kelp for research and development. Keeping the environment in mind and creating awareness for important acts of conservation is so important. And it’s a good step that the team at Stairway Games are highlighting that.
Coral Island’s Story
Taking it one step further from the traditional “city kid moves to the farm” storyline, Coral Island actually has some lore and story to go along with it.
There’s the Pufferfish Drilling Corp. that’s lobbying to drill oil on the beautiful island. No doubt destroying a ton of wildlife, habitats and nature along with it. But don’t worry it’s not just you versus them because on the island are some mystical beings to help you. Dieties of nature such as the Goddess of Flowers. As well as the mystical Merfolk that will protect the oceans and the Giants that cultivate the land.
Rest assured that Unpause will be following the development of Coral Island and we’re hoping to learn even more features about the game as it comes out.
Some of the things you’ll be able to do are typical of most life and farm sims. Expect to make friends, fall in love and get married. There are also caves to mine and community projects to do to improve the town. As well as build your own skill sets, tools and house to improve life in Coral Island.
Coral Island – Kickstarter
Coral Island was funded in less than 36 hours upon its launch on Kickstarter. And is expected to fully launch sometime at the end of 2022 on PC – Steam. If you’ve signed up for the reward tier with the pre-Alpha access key that should be coming June 2021. While the Early Access tier will come in October / Q4 of 2021.
There are some amazing stretch goals that you could be contributing to right now including a console and Switch port. And if you’re already supporter (like I am!) then there are also some add-ons for you to contribute to. Such as getting the Digital Artbook & Official Soundtrack, a mythical dragon pet and much more cosmetic items!