stub The Witch of Fern Island Review (PC) -
Connect with us


The Witch of Fern Island Review (PC)



The Witch of Fern Island Promotional Art

Having swished and flicked a wand or two about in the likes of Moonlight Peaks and Wylde Flowers for a concerning amount of time, naturally, I felt that the fluorescent horizons of The Witch of Fern Island was the next best spot to lay my broom and freckled frog. And I was right to think that, too, seeing as the vast majority of the knowledge that I had already acquired in alternate dimensions was, for better of for worse, the only thing I needed to make headway on the glimmering beacons of the witch-centric archipelago of islands. Sure enough, I knew how to tend to a few crops, and I knew how to transform a dusty plot of land into a bustling communal workspace for both regular citizens and natural-born magicians alike. The question was, could I apply those skills to another section of land; specifically, an ultraviolet haven?

For the record, The Witch of Fern Island is not a new game, as such, but rather, a game that has recently left its Early Access phase and shed its adolescent roots. Needless to say that there’s a good amount to unpack here, as well as a whole lot to look forward to as Enjoy Studio continues to iron out a few creases, apparently. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here — so let’s rewind it back, to the very beginning.

World of Witchcraft

Player character standing on stone (The Witch of Fern Island)

The Witch of Fern Island brings all of the traditional life and farming simulation elements to a brand-new locale that’s teeming with vibrant biomes to explore, NPCs to befriend, and an entire host of quests, side activities, and customizable components. It is, for lack of a better word, cozy, and not to mention a product that we’ve seen a dozen or so times before. But don’t let that fool you into thinking that it’s of the ordinary sort, as it’s a lot more than that; it’s witchy charm bears a wild card of its own, and it has the power to propel you into a world that’s both alluring and unpredictable at the same time, weirdly enough.

It goes like this: you fill the boots of a fledgling witch, one of whom has the sole purpose of becoming the most renowned spell caster and communal hero of an island that’s seemingly starved of helping hands. But there’s a catch: Fern Island isn’t home to just the one magical culture, but rather, three completely unique magics that each have their own stories and tapestries of cultural heritage. It’s your role, as the island’s newest arrival, to embrace its rich history, and go under the wing of some of the world’s most powerful witches in order to develop your craft and, with any luck, master the arts of elemental magic.

Of course, a good amount of this sounds all rather trivial on paper — and it is, in ways. But, that’s the beauty of it: the game, at least narratively, favors a simplistic approach over a convoluted one, if only to allow its additional components to shine through the cracks of its relatively bare-bones storyline. And even then, that’s me being somewhat harsh; the plot isn’t all that bad, to be fair.

Teach Me, Oh Powerful One

Player character conjuring magic (The Witch of Fern Island)

Ignoring the fact that the storyline—a premise that mainly focuses on one up-and-coming witch’s quest to discover the magical secrets of Fern Island—the game itself is a real delight to work through — more so if you’re into cozy life and farming simulations games that build their walls around the idea of being a small fish in a big pond, and having players essentially fatten up in order to bridge a few gaps and develop a social circle along the way. This is, for the most part, what The Witch of Fern Island is all about: building a life off of the fat of the land, and utilizing a series of spells to make things a little easier to accommodate.

I will say this, though: The Witch of Fern Island isn’t massively into the whole “magic” side of things, despite being a game that attempts to force such wizardry down your throat right from the get-go. In fact, other than the occasional spell that can be used to change a seasonal situation or fend off a critter or two, there isn’t a huge amount of casting that needs to be done. Instead, the game mostly revolves around all of the same bells and whistles that you’d normally expect to find in other farming sims — Story of Seasons, My Time at Sandrock, and Coral Island, to list just a few.

When all’s said and done, it is, rather disappointingly, a little easy to lose sight of the magical essence that the game often aims to conjure. And sure, whilst you can take full advantage of your broomstick and glide through numerous plots of land, the vast majority of the quests don’t necessarily reflect on anything even remotely witchcraft or spell-like.

But It’s Cozy, Alright

Beach setting (The Witch of Fern Island)

Don’t get me wrong, The Witch of Fern Island is still a lot of fun, and definitely something that any avid fan of the genre will enjoy, for sure. Aside from its wealth of fetch quests and exploration-based invites, the world itself is also bursting at the seams with copious amounts of fascinating locations, as well as a handful of friendly characters and local critters to befriend, too. What’s more, it also features a feline companion—a cutesy accomplice who you can control and use to complete a number of different odd jobs around town and the local allotments. It’s a nice touch, and arguably one of the better features of the journey — even though, realistically speaking, it still doesn’t have a whole lot to do with, you know, magic.

In the dozen or more hours I poured into the soil of Fern Island, I often found myself running a lot of the same loops—a seemingly infinite cycle that mainly consisted of locating certain items, and transporting them to another piece of land in order to help something else grow. Aside from that, I also spent a huge amount of time trying to please the locals—a job that, although pleasant in short bursts, never really pushed me any further in my agricultural exploits. But then, despite the fact that the NPCs weren’t overly talkative, or even all that likable, for that matter, I was still happy to at least have the opportunity to share the world with others. And that’s just it — Fern Island never felt cordoned off or lifeless, even when it felt like I was the only one working towards its betterment.

The Viscous Cycle

Fishing mini-game (The Witch of Fern Island)

There are a lot of things I do like about The Witch of Fern Island, mainly the fact that, gameplay-wise, it doesn’t stutter. Mechanically, everything sort of slots into place and flows all rather smoothly—a thing that, surprisingly, doesn’t always make the cut in other games of its kind. The broom handling, for example, is a lot of fun to navigate, as are the general day-to-day tasks that rely on your ability to craft, forage, and manipulate the weather and seasonal changes, for that matter. So again, whilst none of this is particularly revolutionary, everything in its arsenal does, at least, perform to a certain degree — and that speaks volumes for the game as a whole, truly.


Feline companion (The Witch of Fern Island)

At first glance, it’s easy to discard The Witch of Fern Island as a run-of-the-mill life and farming simulation entrée with one too many similarities to be anything more than an emulation of another IP. However, if you were to bypass the tropes and cliche progression systems, and scratch away at a couple of its inner layers, then you’d actually find a pretty fantastic sandbox sim to work with and shovel through.

Like I said before, there’s a huge amount to unpack with this one, and an entire future to look forward to, from the sounds of it. At the time of writing, I am, in ways, content with the material that’s on display, though not quite satisfied enough to justify an infinite cycle of replays. Or at least, not yet, anyway. But if a little more magic were to be introduced and implemented into the teamwork of the sandbox, then sure, I’d come back in a heartbeat.

To cut a long story short, if you are on the market for a cozy (there it is again) farming sim, then you could certainly do a whole lot worse than The Witch of Fern Island. If, however, you’re more interested in learning a plethora of spells and becoming the GOAT in witchcraft, then you might want to consider enrolling in an alternate academy — Hogwarts Legacy, for example.

The Witch of Fern Island Review (PC)

Swish, Flick & Dig

The Witch of Fern Island isn’t the most magically-inspired life and farming sim on the block, but it is, for lack of a better word, clean. What’s more, it’s also bursting with stunning locales and a wealth of quests and side activities — three things that, in all honesty, are likely to make any fan of the genre swoon.

Jord is acting Team Leader at If he isn't blabbering on in his daily listicles, then he's probably out writing fantasy novels or scraping Game Pass of all its slept on indies.