Game Info:

Hope For Village
Developed By: Cloaz Studio
Published By: Cloaz Studio
Released: Apr 4, 2019
Available On: Microsoft Windows
Genre: Farming Simulator/Role-Playing Game
ESRB Rating: None specified
Number of Players: SIngleplayer
Price: $1.99

First, my thanks to Cloaz Studios for the review key.

When it comes to role-playing, some people like to be a brave hero, and some just want to do something less violent, like being a farmer. Hope for VIllage attempts to do both, something of a cross between Stardew Valley's artistic style and farming gameplay, as well as the side battle system from some of the older Final Fantasy games.

The result is a 2D, top-down game that basically asks you to do a bunch of farming, fishing, and other tasks associated with the professions of farming and husbandry on one hand, and also asks you to go adventuring like a JRPG hero on the other, with the tasks you do for both aspects of the gameplay opening up new options for the other half.

In terms of story, it doesn't really have one. It's an open-world styled game where you just explore, do various things to help villagers like fish and growing plants. When it comes to items you can't obtain in these ways, you have to go and hunt monsters for things like hides and animal parts. It clearly was designed to be a budget title, hence the lack of elaborate story. While that's not necessarily bad, the game drops you right into the gameplay, and most of the time, you have very little idea of what you need to do.

Hope For Village

Strong Points: Good conceptual crossing of the farming and role-playing game genres
Weak Points: Horrible design decisions for graphics and gameplay
Moral Warnings: Fantasy magic/violence; mentions of alcohol

It has a day-night cycle and keeps track of in-game time, much like Natsume's Harvest Moon games did, and time is important for events like growing food, though I noticed some of the places you can do this don't seem to work as they should. There is a quest-based system, but there is no way to check quests, save talking, and they can be hard to locate.

The combat system is a pretty basic side-view, turn-based combat action and you generally have to take out enemies before they take you out, with healing done with healing items and/or abilities in the wild. If this isn't enough, you need to return to the starting town map to fully heal automatically. It's a simple system, but it's not very well-explained.

The graphics are even worse than the general gameplay, being a mix of stock assets and the Time Fantasy DLC RPG Maker assets, and while that would not be a bad idea given the retro style the developer was going for, the zoomed-out resolution makes these graphics incredibly pixelated and the user interface is nigh-unreadable thanks to the laser lemon colors and white text.

Hope For Village
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 34%
Gameplay - 4/20
Graphics - 3/10
Sound - 3/10
Stability - 3/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 89%
Violence - 7/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 8.5/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 9/10

Sounds are generally limited to some ambient tracks, the rest is again stock assets, but there are at least enough of those former sounds. Controls and stability are not all that bad, but the fact they were not altered in the slightest regard from the stock engine to make this game more fun to play is not good, especially since there are no options for changing the resolution or dialogue box backgrounds. There is no map that can be toggled on or off, as the game is bereft of giving you directions for anything.

Morally, this game isn't bad off, really. It's got some mild fantasy violence/magic against stock RPG monsters and animals you can hunt, and some mentions of alcohol, but it's otherwise no worse than the family-friendly Nintendo RPGs of the early nineties.

Overall, this is not a game I could recommend. It's poorly constructed, has a lot of bizarre design decisions, feels like an unfinished beta build of something needing a lot more polish, and it's not very fun or engaging. The real Stardew Valley and Final Fantasy games would be much more worth spending money on.