SunnySide | Feature Image

Publisher: Merge Games
Platform(s): Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, PC
Release Dade(s): May 24 (PC), June 10 (Console)

PC Demo

SunnySide has a special charm to it that is honestly hard to describe, despite me having an opportunity to go hands-on with it at GDC 2024, but I found myself wanting to spend more and more time in this world. The plot setup is straight forward: you purchase a plot of land in the Japanese countryside, and you have to build your own life in it. You can use technology to build up a farm, you can participate in local community life by falling in love, buying from businesses, and meeting people in the world around you.

During my hands-on time with the game, my biggest surprise was that I didn’t feel ‘pressured’ to go do anything. Sure, I had goals set up for me to do, but if I wanted to not bother doing all that and instead run off into the SunnySide countryside to see what I could find, then I felt like it was perfectly okay to do so. The graphic style is fairly unique here, too. Your fully customizable character exists in a 3D world that really pops with color, and it had a solid anime feel to it, too. A lot of the more well-known farming sim games rely upon throwback pixel graphics, and it was nice to see that SunnySide took a different approach to it. The music was also very relaxing and charming, and I was surprised to find out that you can access the playlist on your in-game phone to play what you want.

SunnySide | Your character exploring the local community.
One of the focuses of SunnySide is to interact with the characters and the community around you, instead of solely on your farm. (Images courtesy of Merge Games).

SunnySide | Talking with an NPC

As for the farming itself? Planting takes place on a grid. You select the spot you want to plant, you dig, and then you plant. It is surprisingly simple to do, and it didn’t require me to select the type of soil I wanted to use, or to water the plant, or do anything else if I did not want to — though I assume it is certainly an option if you want. Additionally, setting up structures also took place in the grid system and you can shape it however you want it to look. To assist with your own master farm layout, SunnySide has a drone feature available that you can activate through your phone in order to see your plot of land overhead. It was a surprisingly helpful tool, and it was a clever way to naturally integrate an overhead viewpoint when you need to have a ‘big picture’ view of the world.

SunnySide | Planting
Farming in SunnySide is done through a grid-like system where you can plant and shape your fields how you want. (Images courtesy of Merge Games.)

SunnySide | Farming on a grid system

During my demo, I unfortunately did not get the in-game combat or visit the nearby big city. However, I was told that the combat is a turn-based, card-based combat system and that there is a lot to do in the cities. I was also told there are around five years of in-game story content to complete, that there are 28 days in a season, and there are 20 real-life minutes in a day.

SunnySide | Character Customization Screen
There is also a robust character customization screen available in SunnySide! (Image courtesy of Merge Games).

So what does all this say about SunnySide? Even though I was only able to play it for a brief time, SunnySide is clearly meant to be a cozy, gentle, farming simulator title that wants you to just lose yourself in that world. I’m curious to see what SunnySide looks like when the full game is available on May 24 for PC and for Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5 on June 10. If you cannot wait until then, there is a PC-only demo currently available for download, and I would recommend you check it out!

Are you excited for SunnySide? What would you want to grow in your garden?

Let us know in the comments below!

Quentin H.
I have been a journalist for oprainfall since 2015, and I have loved every moment of it.