Roots of Pacha Summer Game Fest Hands-On Mini Preview
Farming Sims are one of my favourite genres to chill out with and I got to check out the ambitious Roots of Pacha.
Over my years of gaming, I’ve spent a lot of time with farming sims, or farming sim-adjacent games. I put a lot of time into Harvest Moon on the GameCube, even more time into Stardew Valley and, although not technically a farming sim, 1000’s of hours into the different iterations of Animal Crossing.
As you can imagine, when I saw Roots of Pacha appear during the Day of the Devs tenth-anniversary live stream, I was intrigued. I was more than intrigued.
Developers Soda Den seemed to be looking to evolve the genre that has become exceptionally popular over the last few years and wasn’t just content to ride the wave of success farming sims are currently going through.
At Summer Game Fest Play Days in LA, I got to go hands-on for a mini-preview of Roots of Pacha alongside the devs and here are my immediate thoughts.
It should be noted that my time with the game was extremely brief, but what I got to play has left me excited for the end of this year.
The premise of Roots of Pacha is much like those that came before it, it’s your job to build and cultivate a budding village, however, the twist this time is that the game is set in the Stone Age.
This means that any tools and luxuries you’ve been accustomed to using in games like Stardew Valley and Harvest Moon don’t actually exist yet. Therefore, as well as building your sustainable village, you’ll need to discover the tools and ideas that have shaped humanity for years to come. These include things like basic utensils, farming practices like aqueducts and irrigation, the ability to domesticate crops and animals, and everything in between – including a pestle and mortar which we helped to discover during my playthrough.
All of the discovery is left up to the player character and can be completed, with the help of NPCs and other clans, by exploring the world. As you and your people start to encounter difficulties, you’ll be tasked with coming up with ideas to overcome them.
As I was playing, in Co-op, alongside Soda Den’s Timo, we roamed the land, looking for wildflowers to domesticate and bring back to our village. Along our way, we befriended a handful of animals and partook in the Roots of Pacha’s fishing minigame.
While it all seems standard fare for this type of game, everything felt like it had a purpose as you try to shape humanity around you. While I loved Stardew, and still do, at times it felt like I was just grinding for money. I imagine Roots of Pacha’s loop alleviates a lot of that.
Although set in a simpler time, Roots of Pacha also has lots of relationship-building elements. You can settle down with a partner and also look to appease the complexities of those around you. There are plenty of villagers and clans to work with, each helping in different ways and bringing their own flavour to the game.
I’m very excited about Roots of Pacha. The Stone Age setting really helped to elevate the game for me and I think there’s tons of promise. There are no shops or tools, you don’t know which plants are which and life is much simpler, initially at least.
As you progress, you build relationships, develop your village and really start to shape humanity. This is definitely another game I can see myself losing hundreds of hours to. I really hope it lives up to its lofty promises!
Roots of Pacha will be available later this year on PlayStation, PC, Switch and Xbox and you can wishlist it right now.