After a long day at work, Kevin is longing for just such a game, as the medieval role-playing game Mirthwood looks like so far.

I find it hard to relax and rest these days. The mobile phone is constantly ringing when I’m not at work anyway, meeting up with friends and family or having other adventures. Most big movies and games fill me up with adrenaline and excitement as well, rarely leaving me a moment to breathe. Mirthwood might help me with that soon though.

The role-playing game seems to borrow neatly from my previous relaxation title Stardew Valley but only in bigger, more varied, prettier and with a cooler setting. Nothing easier than that, right?

New life, new world

Some people want a fresh start, others are forced to. You play the latter in Mirthwood: After a war in your home country, you flee to a foreign land to start a new life. There, a medieval open world with fantasy influences awaits you.

How strong they are is difficult to assess so far. Werewolves are part of the game, but dragons or other mythical creatures have not yet been seen. You can’t be a fireball-throwing mage, either.

(Werewolves are so far the only real sign that there are fantasy elements in Mirthwood.)
(Werewolves are so far the only real sign that there are fantasy elements in Mirthwood.)

Comprehensive character system

But you have several other options to give your character a unique personality. At the beginning, you choose your background story and your profession – this already has an influence on some abilities The rat catcher, for example, is less susceptible to hunger and disease, but truly doesn’t have the most attractive job and is scorned more quickly

Helpful, righteous citizens can also find happiness in love as rat catchers: A morality system decides how the NPCs perceive you according to your decisions in the game.

In addition, Mirthwood will have a skill system that judges you according to your own deeds – those who fight a lot will become stronger. On the other hand, if you take care of your plants regularly, they will grow faster over time.

My fear, however, is that it will be as simple and unmotivating as in Stardew Valley: One click to attack, one to dodge. But hey, my girlfriend loved stomping into the mine and facing the monsters! So for some people it can be fun.

I, on the other hand, am more the relaxed farmer who tends to his patch, feeds the animals, sets up the house and socialises with the neighbours – all that is possible in Mirthwood too! If you get on particularly well with an NPC, you can also marry at some point and start a family. Or you can insult someone until you have a rival for life. In any case, the social aspect should not be neglected in Mirthwood.

To fulfil the absolute relaxation potential, all that’s missing are lovely graphics and a soulful soundtrack – and Mirthwood will probably convince there too! At least the hand-painted look of the game has already captured my heart

If the music stays on a similar level as in the trailer, then I will probably fall into a Zen-like state from release in early 2024 every end of the day and radiate the peace and serenity of a Buddhist monk.

What sounds great, where do questions still remain?

This sounds great:

  • Character System: Not only at the beginning, but also during the game your character is constantly developing. Skill, morality and DNA systems seem very detailed and could combine to create unique characters.
  • A variety of possibilities: Whether as an adventurer, mercenary, thief, farmer or rat catcher – you can spend your time in the game according to your taste.
  • Graphics: The hand-painted style of Mirthwood looks cute yet fitting to the setting.

I’m still unsure about this one:

  • Fighting system: Not much has been shown so far – maybe because there’s not much to see there? Hopefully the fights won’t be too shallow and will remain motivating.
  • Scope: Mirthwood offers quite a few ways to spend your life. But how long will new things come your way? Does the farm work offer enough plants, animals and farm improvements? How often do events occur and how often do they repeat? How quickly can I find partners and raise children? Beating Stardew Valley on scale in this area will be challenging.

Editor’s Verdict

Mirthwood feels like the more expansive version of Stardew Valley in almost all areas, with an extra helping of role-playing to boot. My actions have an impact on me and on the game world. How I live my life is completely up to me and let’s face it, medieval fantasy is definitely cooler than the modern day.

For me personally, the game stands and falls with the life simulation. I want to take care of my farm in a relaxed way and make friends – but an adventure now and then doesn’t sound bad either! But I’m still sceptical about the combat system, whether it will be much fun. But if that were the only negative point, I could live with it – I just want to watch my plants grow in peace anyway.