PC, PlayStation 4, Switch, Xbox One
As a JRPG enthusiast, gamescom 2022 had little to offer. Square Enix, for example, was present, but other major publishers of the genre were hard to find. And then you have to get a little creative with where you go.
That’s why I scheduled an appointment at the booth of Ikonei Island, a Western-made farming title. You may think this has nothing to do with the introduction, however, Ikonei is a title set in the Earthlock universe. And that title is a tribute to JRPGs.
Ikonei is not a game that will be released in the future. The game is already on Steam, where it is part of the Early Access program. The focus of our visit was therefore mainly on what the future would bring. However, since we can’t assume that you have already tasted this EA title, we’ll start with a summary.
Ikonei takes the player to a colorful island in a fantasy world, where you must not only survive, but flourish. By collecting resources you build tools and weapons and you can explore the island and fight enemies. These enemies come partly from Earthlock: Portal of Magic, but are joined by pirates who hold animals hostage. Animals that play an essential role in your adventure.
There’s a kind of dodo that uses its beak to cut down trees, a boar that can help with burping and a creature that is reminiscent of a Vaporeon to fish for the treasures of the sea.
Your own house
The end goal is not to make a mini zoo, but to build your own home. A goal that you can accomplish wherever you want. While titles like Harvest Moon often give you a piece of land that limits you, the entire island of Ikonei is your playground. So you can make your farm as big or small as your heart desires.
The problem with this setup is that you will eventually run into logistical limitations. Time is also a currency in Ikonei that is not endless and there is only so much ground to look at on a daily basis. Therefore, Snowcastle Games intends to add several features that expand on this. This could include more features for the companions, who are already fighting by your side and can grow if you feed them, but which can probably help on the farm in the future when you are busy with other things. Human help is also on the way, with a four-player co-op planned. And since the spokesperson told us they’re aiming for a Q1 2023 release for the full title, it couldn’t be far away. We eagerly await.
If you look at the Steam page now, you will already see that Ikonei Island in its current form is a pretty decent experience, with room for improvement. The team seems very aware of this and intends to do something with that feedback in the very near future. Do they handle that well? I can see this becoming a hit with fans of Stardew Valley titles.