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Fantasy Stardew Valley style farming game reveals big ocean update

Stardew Valley style farming game Coral Island unveils details of update 1.1, which launches in beta in mid May with new Merfolk to meet.

Coral Island update 1.1 adds underwater farming and merfolk romance - Newcomer Slamet, a handsome merman wearing a bandana.

Alongside the launch of Stardew Valley 1.6, we’ve seen a real surge of delightful rivals including Paleo Pines, Disney Dreamlight Valley, Lightyear Frontier, Kingsgrave, and My Time at Sandrock. One of the best farming games in the style, however, is Coral Island, which puts a coastal fantasy spin on the format with a blend of above-ground and underwater building and growing, all tied together with some gorgeous art. Developer Stairway Games teases its new Coral Island 1.1 update, which brings the long-awaited Merfolk romance options to the table.

Coral Island update 1.1 is “all about the ocean,” Stairway Games says, and it’ll bring several new Merfolk to the farming game along with the ability to develop relationships and even romance with the underwater denizens. There are plenty more upgrades packed in, too, along with a wealth of ocean crops and a new location to farm and ranch below the waves.

Coral Island 1.1 update - The four new merfolk townies, Rysy, Slamet, Jannu, and Tahat.

Four new Merfolk townies are joining the kingdom – Rysy, a tattoo artist; Slamet, a rancher; Jannu, the owner of the local Sleepy Eel tavern; and Tahat, a loyal guard who cares deeply for his wife Etna and daughter Denali. Along with these new characters comes the ability to start building relationships with the Merfolk and even romance them if you want – although some will obviously be off the cards there, including Tahat and Jannu (who is more than content to immerse himself in his work).

The new ocean farming is unlocked as you progress deeper into Coral Island, and you’ll get a large plot of land that you can clear out and cultivate to your heart’s desire. Of course, given their location these crops won’t need watering, but they will instead require light, which you can provide using a new tool called the Lumina Wand. Along with that, there are five underwater animals for your ranch, each of which produces a different resource you can sell.

Coral Island 1.1 update - The five new underwater animals: Shellcluck (pearls), Inkhog (deepvoid ink), Carapoultry (cara egg), Seashroud (seashroud algae), and Mermoo (mermoo milk).

Of course, there’s plenty of new decor suitable for your home beneath the waves, although some of the existing items will work both on land and underwater, with new tags allowing you to easily see what can be placed where. There’s also a new quest to reach Ocean Rank S, along with a new wedding location should you find love under the sea.

The decor system has also been given an overall upgrade to make decorating and redecorating easier, and there are also overhauls to conversations with your spouse and the look of the library as your town grows. The team at Stairway Games also teases that it’s “making tremendous progress on adding multiplayer to Coral Island,” with a showcase planned for June, so stay tuned for news on that when it comes.

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Coral Island 1.1 launches in beta on Monday May 20. If you’re eager to jump in and test it before the full release arrives, you’ll be able to do so by heading to the beta tab in your game properties and switching to the test version once it launches.

Looking for even more to keep you content? Here are the best games like Stardew Valley you can play right now. You’ll also find plenty of ways to exercise and expand your creativity with the best sandbox games on PC.

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