There's a new cozy game in town, and its highly compelling elevator pitch is that it marries the freedom and creativity of crafting games like Minecraft with the chilled-out farming sim aspects of Stardew Valley.
Solarpunk has only been on Kickstarter for a few days, but it's already completely obliterated its initial $32,000 goal, with $165,000 pledged at the time of writing. In an update on Kickstarter, Germany-based developer Cyberwave confirmed that Solarpunk pushed past its funding goal in just five hours after the Kickstarter went live. Frankly, it's easy to see why.
The game has a charming art style - brought to life in Unreal Engine 5 - that reminds me of My Time at Sandrock, but with floating islands everywhere that bring to mind Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. There's also an interesting "energy" system that lets you craft gadgets that use sunlight, wind, and water to work.
You can build and decorate your home with what looks like an extensive customization system, you can grow a ton of different crops in your self-built farm, and you can build a frikkin' airship and explore distant islands in the sky - again, a little like Tears of the Kingdom, though it isn't specifically listed as an inspiration.
Solarpunk is directly inspired by the survival and crafting elements of Minecraft (the developer says it doesn't want to "pressure you too much," but you will have to keep tabs on your hunger, thirst, and health bar), Raft's co-op gameplay, and the "cozy, farming" vibes of Stardew Valley. Worlds Adrift's flying traversal system and Dear Alice's visual "feeling" are also listed as inspirations.
Cyberwave has yet to set a firm release date, but it's expected to release sometime in June 2024, barring any roadblocks along the way.
In the meanwhile, here are some games like Stardew Valley to get your chill on with.