Roots of Pacha, developed by Soda Den and published by Crytivo, is easily one of the most unique and refreshing takes on the cozy genre that has been introduced in a long while. Originally backed on Kickstarter, the indie simulation game has been lovingly developed, and the energy and dedication glitter brilliantly in the quality of the overall experience.
Fans will find everything they love about the cozy genre tucked into the steady mechanics and exciting exploration presented in Roots of Pacha, but the game’s unique setting flips the classic “farm, sell, grind, repeat” rhythm on its head in a much-needed way. The changes make the game stand out among every other Stardew Valley-reminiscent cozy currently on the market.
Roots of Pacha Key Details
- Developer: Soda Den
- Platforms: PC via Steam
- Release Date: April 25, 2023
- Cost: TBA
Roots of Pacha is about building a Community
The story driving Roots of Pacha is rich with lore. The developers have thrown aside inherited farms and miserable city workers, instead plunging players back into the distant past. Here, they assume the role of a Pacha clan member. This character has been adopted by an elderly couple in the clan, raised with the destiny of growing the village and revolutionizing how they interact with the land.
Through stories told by the clan elders, players learn that the villagers have traveled from a previous homestead in search of a new Pacha tree following what is assumed to be a devastating earthquake. Here, the clan must rebuild while working to understand the Yakuans and Morgani families that live nearby.
Players will also obtain upgrades by working together with clan members on “discoveries,” and by obtaining “Prosperity” via donating crops and goods. Prosperity functions as the game’s currency, showing that the success of the community as a whole provides rewards to both the player singularly, and to the entire village.
The rich story illustrates the struggles of settling into a new land, understanding complex relationships and misunderstandings between different cultures, and the importance of coming together as a community. Meanwhile, players are also able to build out more personal, immersive experiences by befriending, romancing, and marrying one of the many NPCs they meet throughout the adventure.
Farming is a part of exploration
Anyone who has played a farming sim is familiar with the grind of growing crops. Scraping together handfuls of coins for the first few bags of seeds can make the start of any save a truly brutal and repetitive process.
Roots of Pacha does away with this grind by introducing a way to harvest seeds from wild plants. Instead of finding low-value forgeable items, players will explore the vast map of Pacha to locate seasonal seeds that grow on plants in a select area. These can be taken back to the farm, planted, and raised into the wild equivalents of modern crops. After caring for the crops over a period of time, they will become domesticated, producing hardier, more valuable harvests.
This style of seed collection encourages players to spend their time exploring, and because the plants regrow in the wild, precious currency doesn’t have to be spent early in the game to purchase bags of seeds. However, those wanting to purchase them do have the ability after constructing the seed shop shortly after starting the game. This offers a nice balance for those who may want to plant a large yield of slow-growing produce early in the season.
As an avid cozy gamer, I found the ability to obtain seeds in different methods both refreshing and engaging, making the early game a rewarding mix of starting the crop fields and exploring the different locations on the map.
NPCs with personalities and depth
While attuning to a wide variety of animals using a flute in Roots of Pacha is an absolute delight, it is the NPCs that truly make the story worthwhile. Other recent cozy games like Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town and Rune Factory 5 struggle with warm and engaging characters, but players will find no shortage of personality in their Roots of Pacha clan.
Every NPC has a story to unravel through daily interactions. Family connections create an interesting dialogue between characters, with sibling rivalry, domestic romance, and elderly wisdom all woven into a complex web of social interactions. Players will likely struggle to pick a romantic partner, as all romanceable NPCs have captivating personalities that aren’t boiled down to basic tropes. My personal favorite was Krak, whose little blushes by the seaside made every trip to the beach exciting.
While it’s easy to go days without saying a word to anyone in games like Stardew Valley, I found myself taking time to sit by the fire in Roots of Pacha before heading off to bed, or just interacting with the characters that all live pleasantly close to me, and always have something to say. It was the first time I’ve truly connected with the whole cast of characters in a cozy game, and it made me feel like I was truly immersed in a little community.
Any fan of the cozy genre absolutely must pick up Roots of Pacha. It is the perfect game for fans of farming, social interactions, exploration, and relaxing gameplay progression. Quests to unlock improvements for the town aren’t too easy but also don’t leave you swearing at a rare fish you forgot to catch one season or a difficult crop to grow. From the wonderful music and art to the addictive desire to amass wild seeds, there is no shortage of ways to enjoy the game, and I intend to sink plenty of hours into it in the coming months.
Roots of Pacha is exactly what the farming genre needs — a surprisingly delightful spin on past mechanics, mixed with a unique story and setting that fans are certain to lose themselves in.
10 / 10
|Deep and carefully thought out world
|Revamped crop mechanics that reward players for exploration
|A focus on community that makes social aspects enjoyable
|Seamless, organic progression in quests and plotpoints
|Limited new areas later in the game
Gamepur team received a PC code for the purpose of this review.