Many students use video games to relax after a long day, myself included. Games like “Animal Crossing” aim to create a calming experience for the player while games like “Merge Mansion” use a simple, repetitive premise and loose storyline to keep players entertained. Publisher Whitethorn Games combines these game concepts to foster a cozy and chill aesthetic with their 2021 puzzle game "Princess Farmer."
You play as the titular Princess Farmer, helping Mother Gaia and her friends as mysterious gummy vegetables appear in the gardens. The game's story is not complex and works primarily to move the player between puzzles. Although for “completionists” (those who wish to complete the game fully), each of the game's chapters are able to be replayed at any time if you would like to improve your score.
Many people are already familiar with the game's central puzzle mechanic. The player must match three of the same items on the board to clear, similar to "Bejewel" or "Candy Crush." “Princess Farmer” is different because pieces can only be pulled up from the top of the board or planted down to shift pieces in a row. While this mechanic may seem very limiting, it is satisfying once you figure out the game's rhythm. The limitations of movement also sets this game apart from other puzzle games and makes it feel more original than others within the genre.
If tricky puzzle solving is not your thing and you prefer to see the points go up, there are accessibility settings that allow for easy combos. While some may see this as cheating, I found it quite helpful to advance the story by making some sections easier.
Whitethorn Games is all about games that foster chill environments, and the developer Samobee promotes the same feelings in all their games. The game offers a 16-bit art style with bright and cheery colors with a similarly cheerful chiptune soundtrack.
"Princess Farmer" is a good comfort game and offers decent puzzles for its price. For those up to the challenge, "Princess Farmer" is available on all major platforms, including Xbox, PlayStation, PC and the Nintendo Switch.