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Ikonei Island is an adorable Zelda meets Stardew Valley farming sim

Ikonei Island is an adorable adventure game with Zelda meets Animal Crossing vibes that combines farming sim elements with action combat in a cutesy art style

Ikonei Island - a feathered owl-like creature and a black slime sit on a bench together

Initial impressions of Ikonei Island: An Earthlock Adventure are certainly those of Zelda meets Stardew Valley, but the indie game looks to carve out its own niche in the relaxing island life game genre alongside the likes of Animal Crossing: New Horizons with dynamic combat systems, freeform island development, and a mysterious story at its centre. Waking up on the bizarre Ikonei Island, you’ll uncover its various mysteries and befriend the wildlife, harnessing their unique abilities to help you explore further.

Ikonei Island launched on Steam Early Access on August 18, and PCGamesN took a look at the game and its planned updates during our time at Gamescom. Perhaps most exciting for fans of the genre will be the planned multiplayer game mode – currently, the early access version of Ikonei Island only supports a single-player adventure, but up to four players will be able to work together on an island once multiplayer launches.

Like all the best farming games, Ikonei Island lets you build up your farm from scratch, earning a variety of tools and equipment to help increase your crop efficiency as you progress. As you harvest more resources, you’ll be able to build workshops, housing, decorations, and more to grow your simple base of operations into a thriving hamlet. In addition, you’ll be able to craft a range of weapons to tackle dangerous monsters out in the wild in Zelda-like combat sequences.

Not all the creatures you’ll encounter on your travels will be hostile, however – plenty of them can be befriended and cared for, and as you improve your bonds with some of the weird and wonderful wildlife found around the island you’ll be able to make use of their abilities to navigate to previously unreachable areas. The game’s developer, Snowcastle Games, says that its roadmap includes improved creature care that will allow you to earn bonuses for your furry friends as you provide them with the appropriate love and attention.

As you explore Ikonei Island, you’ll discover gangs of pirates who have their own greedy designs on the island. It’s up to you to infiltrate their camps and attempt to secure the island’s future. Snowcastle Games says that its focus is on crafting, however, and that players don’t need to fight if they don’t want to. There’s already some story to uncover as you navigate around the island, but more is planned to come throughout the early access period.

Ikonei Island is available on Steam – Snowcastle Games notes that they plan for a price increase after early access concludes, in order to reward players with a lower price “for their part in helping us make the game better.” If you fancy a slightly more sinister management sim, perhaps the vampiric Bloody Hell Hotel might take your fancy. Otherwise, our pick of the best simulation games on PC should have plenty of other ways to immerse yourself in a variety of virtual activities.

Additional reporting by Lauren Bergin.