The new cooperative farming game is called Dinkum

New Farming and Life Sim Dinkum takes the cozy island living formula and tops it off with what the genre desperately needed: crocodiles. This Australian-inspired island won’t dispel any of the memes about the wildlife-dominated outback waiting to murder you. Given that, I’m going to plant crops and pet the excessively fat wombats in town instead, thank you.

Dinkum launched last week in early accessfighting over a peak of nearly 9,000 players (opens in a new tab) Sunday and earning an “overwhelmingly positive” 95% user recommendation so far. This is also no small feat for a self-released indie game in Early Access. Australian solo and local developer James Bendon says he wants to “recreate a bit of the magic and nostalgia of his childhood”, with Dinkum’s Australian biomes and animals.

As expected based on the launch trailer, many players are referencing Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing in their reviews. Those of us waiting for a true AC competitor have had a few cool indie games, but still nothing with the staying power that Stardew Valley gave the Harvest Moon formula on PC.

“If you like Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley, Minecraft, and Harvest Moon, it’s slow work to build a city from scratch, much like New Horizons,” said one player after 10 a.m. “You do most things in Animal Crossing, but with freer gameplay from Minecraft and Stardew Valley,” said another.

On the broad spectrum of Stardewlikes to Crossinglikes, Dinkum sounds like he’s falling right in the middle. You’ll decorate your home and town to your liking, fish and catch bugs, and invite nine different characters to join your island. You’ll also raise crops and livestock, from cacti to wombats, and Dinkum doesn’t tie you to the real-world clock like Animal Crossing does.

As for multiplayer, it’s more like Animal Crossing. Friends can visit your world to help you farm and forage, but only the host can progress major quest objectives, which is mentioned in most of the negative (and some positive) reviews that had hoped for shared progress more like Stardew.

Dinkum has a few more twists for those of us familiar with the life and farming sim loop. Choosing the right location, not just the season, for your crops is important because temperatures are different between biomes like eucalyptus forests and deserts. It also brings foraging activities like metal detecting and sneaking ways like hang gliders.

It’s not all sun and cacti here. Dinkum is based on Australian wildlife, and not just the kind you’d want to pet. You will have to fight or trap crocodiles waiting in the water. And don’t forget that kangaroos are also dangerous.

Dinkum is still in early access, beware. Bendon says routine updates will add “new seasonal events, new characters coming to the island, clothes, items and loadouts, loadouts more”, and plans for the early access process lasts at least a year.

Down in the user reviews, one player is already ahead of us in the inevitable cash crop grind, saying“Five hours and I’ve made next to nothing in terms of progress because I’m too busy trying to earn Dinks.” They recommend it too, despite the dink grind.

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