Guide for Pumpkin Days – an extensive Guide
Pumpkin Days is a sandbox farming simulation game set in a scenic 3D landscape, where the player can choose among three different starting villages. Besides planting crops and trees, a good income can be made from mining, fishing, and crafting and, last but not least, ranching. And if this is not enough, to keep one busy, there is a museum to populate that will send the player far and wide collecting bugs, flowers, fossils and artefacts.
For a new player, the learning curve is a bit steep: there are so many items in the game, so many NPCs spread over four locations, so many things to discover in such a big and rich environment, and though the Library in town contains useful information, it doesn’t help much in outlining a strategy for play. At the same time, it is an open ended game with one set goal only: complete enough of the museum collection to keep Jounce Corp (does Joja Corp ring a bell?) away from the island. So you have all the time to figure things out at your own pace.
If you’re more like me, spending days reading on a game before getting to play it, then you need a strategy from the very beginning. This guide attempts to delineate the basics you need to know in order to have a successful start in Pumpkin Days.
Certain aspects of the game will be given a more detailed an*lysis, while others are barely mentioned. It is an extensive but not complete guide because I do not attempt to list everything there is in the game. (You can check either the Wiki or goukagin’s spreadsheet for answers that you cannot find here. The latter is particularly useful as it tried to recreate the ultimate Wiki in sheet format. The amount of work that went into it is awe-inspiring and, though it hasn’t been updated since 2020, it’s still pertinent… even if a bit difficult to navigate.)
I am mainly interested in giving you essential information that you can build on, but let you follow your adventurous spirit. Much of this game’s charm consists in exploring the environment around you with its various ecosystems.
For those who would rather play the game than read about it, I give you a link to my spreadsheet below. It contains essential information about farming, ranching, processors and tools, and loved gifts for NPCs. But most importantly, it worked out the profitability of the cooking recipes (beyond doubt, the main source of income in the game). You can just browse through the ‘Cooking Recipes’ and ‘Food & Drinks Processors’ sheets and look for Profit Percentage. (Also, say you have an excess of potatoes and you want to see which recipes are worth it. Just search for “potato” in these two sheets and you’ll soon find out that among the recipes that use only potatoes as the main ingredient, Fries will give you 114% profit and Potato Soup will give you a 300% profit. But nothing beats making Vodka in the still, with a profit of 344%.)
Here is my spreadsheet:
docs.google.com – https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1s39Im-L4MJ97vdYWMPHfkFiL-Kegkt_p2vPI0PV3UNY/edit?usp=sharing
At the very beginning, one of the options you have is choose your favourite food. This will decide the type of gifts befriended NPCs are more likely to give to you. And to have an informed opinion, you need to know a bit about food buffs.
All buffs are good, but one will be useful to you for the entire game rather than only for early game. Once you obtain the last tier tools, some of the food buffs become obsolete: fishing doesn’t need to be easier because you can instant catch fish with your meteor fishing rod; you don’t care about stamina consumption because meteor tools don’t consume any stamina. But you do care about speed of movement, which means cookies and pies. Of the two, I prefer to choose pies as my favourite food: not only there are fewer pie recipes (which will make inventory more manageable), but they give the maximum amount of speed.
Here is the list of possible foods and their buffs (if any):
|Cookies||minor speed buff|
|Pizza||major stamina buff|
|Juice||minor friendly buff|
|Pie||major speed buff|
|Salads||minor or major fishing buff; minor stamina buff|
|Sandwiches||minor or major stamina buff|
|Sushi||1 sushi recipe only gives minor stamina buff|
|Pasta||a few recipes give major fishing buff or minor stamina buff|
|Beef||minor or major stamina buff|
|Chicken||minor or major stamina buff|
|Fish||minor or major stamina buff; minor friendly buff|
|Alcohol||major friendly buff; drunk debuff; awake buff|
(*Not all recipes in this category give you the mentioned buff!)
After you’re done with character creation you’ll enter the game: talk to the Secretary, then talk to the Mayor. Choose your farm plot: they all have more or less the same size, but location will give you easier access to different resources (which will stop being so important once you get a horse).
You’ll be given a series of tasks; completing them will allow you to go explore beyond the confines of your starting village. Yet, before continuing with the tutorial, we need to look at the time progression in this game.
By default, 1 day in Pumpkin Days lasts 30 minutes. That includes both day-time and night-time, so in effect the days will be much shorter. Going to sleep replenishes stamina (a 7-8 hour sleep should completely refill your stamina bar) and takes away your sleeping debuff. But if stamina replenish is no longer an issue, 1 hour (the minimum you can sleep) is enough to sleep off the debuff, and this will considerably increase what you can get done in a day.
Of the 24 hours in a day, you’re fully awake for 18 hours. For the last 6 hours, your character will adopt a slouched posture and stamina consumption doubles or so (ex. If you can easily plant a 36 plot field with a full stamina bar, now you can only plant half or even less). For the last 3 hours of the game, you’ll get a warning sign (a ‘Z’ above your character’s head) that you have to hurry up to bed. If you don’t make it to bed within 3 hours, you’ll pa*s out and wake up at the Clinic the next day, in the middle of the day, with half of stamina bar and minus a certain percentage of your money (depending on the difficulty level you’ve chosen: 3% for relax mode, 10% for normal mode, 30% for hard mode, and 50% for challenge mode).
So it’s a good idea to sleep 1 hour before going on big adventures like delving in the mines, a long fishing trip or a long exploration of the map.
But there is a way you can control the day length. While in game, press ‘ESC,’ then choose Admin, and here you can increase the day length to a maximum of 167 minutes per day. You can also hurry up time to a minimum of 5 minutes per day. This is a great option that gives the player a lot of flexibility and, most importantly, it will allow later to deal with multiple plots in different locations. Just choose the length that fits you, Save, then press Cancel to return to the game.
You can adjust the day length whenever you want. You can do your chores every morning at 167 minutes, then hurry up the time until a store opens or you want to meet a certain NPC. (The only caveat is that NPCs who use to walk to a certain location at a certain time seem to be unaffected; they still move at their normal speed. For Gelfie or Yuki this is not a problem since they teleport to a given location. Others, like Jelmo for example who walks to the cemetery at around 11 AM, will not make it at the expected location.)
From the very beginning, just before I tackle the Tutorials, I prefer to set the day length to max (167 minutes). This gives me a good control of the time, allows me to fully enjoy the dialogue exchanges (which otherwise I would click away at max speed), lets me estimate how much I can do in the day (how many animals I care for, how many plots I farm, how many NPCs I befriend etc.). And, since there is so much more you can do in the day, it’s a good idea to control the saving of the game (after all, if something goes wrong and you need to reload the entire day, you’ve just wasted almost 3 hours of your time, real life time!). So, I disable the Auto-Save (‘ESC’→Settings→Options) and rely on saving it myself whenever I am content with my progress or before attempting something dangerous (like playing around with Bark Scorpions).
(There will be a lot of players who will find that 167 real life minutes for 1 in-game day is way too slow and unrewarding. So, for most of the time, you’ll find yourself toggling between different day lengths. The truth remains that if you plan big—you extend your farming experience in all towns, get into breeding lots of animals, befriend all NPCs—then you simply don’t have time to deal with all of it in one day.)
So, you’ve just waved good-bye to the Mayor and now have a Journal full of things to do. Like all other farming games, the Tutorials are meant to give you the basic information about what you can do, the stores available to you, and last but not least, a full set of tools to start with.
You can select a quest in your journal and you’ll get a marker (a yellow rhombus) both on the map and in the compa*s bar at the top of the screen guiding you to the location. You can also freeze time (by pressing ‘F’) while you browse through your quests in the journal, or read mail, or pick up quests from the board. It is a very useful feature that a lot of players ignore.
Also, since certain quests in the tutorial involve a mini-game, you might also want to save before starting a quest in case you might fail.
Let’s take them in order:
- Go to my farm
→ You receive a Wooden Shovel, a Wooden Hoe, a Wooden Watering Can, a Wooden Sickle, a Well, and a few seeds.
You only need to do the minimum required. With shovel equipped, remove the 2 dead plants, then equip hoe and make 1 plot, plant just one seed, water the plot.
Since you’re on your farm, place the bed near the entrance to the farm for easy access (the bed doesn’t need to be placed inside your house, though you may do so if you want), place the chest nearby and put the remaining seeds inside. Place the well.
- Visit the local fisherman
→ You receive a Wooden Fishing Rod.
If you don’t know who he/she is, just follow the marker. You’ll receive a fishing rod and be tasked to fish 1 fish.
The fishing mini-game:
Just LMB on the water or press ‘E’ with the fishing rod equipped.
When the fish bites, there will be two bars on the left of the screen. You have to keep the needle within the confines of the green bar for the duration of the grey bar. Keep your eyes only on the green bar and ignore the other one.
Left-clicking will cause the needle to go up, not clicking will cause the needle to go down. The mini-game requires you to control the needle with short bursts of LMB, but do not click frenetically, nor make long clicks.
Once you catch the fish, check its selling price (LMB on it, choose Info). If it’s less than 20g, try to grill it on the Grill Station on the pier.
Talk again to the fisherman to complete the quest.
- Visit the Post Office and follow the dialogue.
- Visit the local Farm Shop and follow the dialogue.
You can sell all your wooden tools you have for a total of 95g, that will be added to your 50g that you start with. The amount of funds available to you can be seen in the top left corner of your inventory bag.
In order to sell items, select ‘Buy and Sell’ option from a vendor. Then press the blue ‘Sell’ button in their shop window. Choose the item you want to sell and choose sell or sell all (for the whole stack).
- Visit the local Animal Shop
→ At the end of the quest you’ll get 1 poop sack and 1 milk.
(You receive a shovel just for the duration of the quest.) Talk to the rancher, put feed in the trough, equip shovel and scoop out the poop, unequip the shovel and go pet the nearby cow. Milk the cow by clicking on the rear of the animal and then talk again to the rancher to complete the quest.
- Visit the local Café/Restaurant
→ At the end of the quest you get 1 cooked recipe.
Talk to the chef and cook the recipe at the nearby kitchen. Since cooking involves a mini-game, you might want to save beforehand.
- Visit the local Blacksmith
→ At the end of the quest you get 1 Iron Axe.
You might want to save again before starting the quest. Talk to the blacksmith, smelt the iron ore, talk to him again. Craft the axe at the anvil and talk to him again.
- Visit the local Carpenter
→ At the end of the quest you get 1 Basic End Table.
Save game before start. Talk to the carpenter, make wood into planks at the sawmill, talk to him again. Make the furniture at the crafting table and talk to him again to complete the mission.
- Visit the Furniture Store
→ At the end of the quest you get 1 Basic Chair.
Follow the dialogue, place the chair anywhere in the store then pick it up again. Talk to the person and that completes the quest. While here, you may sell both the table and the chair. At this point you’ll have 240g.
- Visit the Home Extension Store
→ You receive 1 milk. At the end of the quest you’ll get 2 cheese.
Follow the dialogue, turn both bottles of milk (including the one you got from the rancher) into cheese.
- Visit the Home Improvement Shop
→ You’ll get 1 Wallpaper Tools, 1 wallpaper (applied on the house), plus 4 more wallpapers.
Talk to the intended person (in Pumpkin Vale it’s in the same shop), and you’ll be asked to use a wallpaper to decorate your house. Select the house, then drag the wallpaper into the first slot (‘Outer Wall’). Talk to him again at the end of the quest and select ‘Move Building.’ Move your house, in a corner of the plot where it will fit, snug against the fence so it’s out of the way for the time being.
This completes all the Tutorials and you’re free to go exploring… not just yet!
Monday: Day 1
Go back to your farm plot and place the Wallpaper Tools close to your house and remove the wallpaper on the outer wall by dragging it into your inventory. Save the changes.
Store the poop sack into the chest then go to the Furniture Store and sell the Wallpaper Tools and all the wallpapers. At this point you have 1,330g available funds.
Next, go to the Home Improvement Store and buy the following: Sawmill (400g), Small Bland Kitchen (400g), A basic TV (150g), and Pestle and Mortar (50g). You’re left with 330g.
Return to the farm plot and place the TV near your bed and everything else relatively close to your chest.
You can watch TV in order to learn new recipes (cooking and crafting) twice a day: recipes refresh at 6 AM and at 6 PM. So go ahead and learn the first two recipes.
Then, with the iron axe equipped (the only tool you have at the moment), cut 5 of the logs scattered on your farm (not the trees) for 10 brown wood. Stick them in the sawmill. If you are running too low on stamina, eat the pumpkin bread.
- Tip: The reasons I advised you to place the stations near the chest are:
1. for convenience (it’s always good to have dedicated storage near the places where the resources are to be processed), and
2. because you can have stations run in the background while having an opened storage and the time is stopped.
When you open any form of storage (including the shipping bin, but excluding your backpack inventory) time in the game is frozen. It is different from freezing the game with ‘F,’ because everything else is not frozen: animals and NPCs will continue to walk around, and machines will keep churning. You may find this as too much of an exploit, but I can think of so many instances where you’ll be grateful to have this option available to you. The choice is yours.
If you have chosen to play on 167 minutes, the time is now around 11 AM.
Take a walk in town searching every trash can (there are 6 in Pumpkin Vale, 8 in Wahoo Beach, and 7 in Diamond Falls; and there are another 3 at the Museum), picking up all 6 daily quests on the board, and talking to as many NPCs as you can. Accept all delivery requests (the “Need Anything” type) and try to fulfil as many of them as you can. The delivery requests, though a bit annoying with all the walking involved, will give you a little bit of cash and/or some other rewards, either food or things worth selling.
(Note: do not be afraid to sell any decoration, furniture or clothing that you get. Once they were in your inventory, you can order them from stores later in the game when money is no longer a problem.
Some food is worth selling either because it’s very profitable—like the corndog that you may find in the trash cans—or because it gives very little stamina back—like the grilled fish or cheese. Otherwise, food is more valuable as stamina fuel. Do not sell bacon, bread, or the Jounce can. The latter sells for 0g(!) but it fully restores your stamina; though, I don’t know if there are any consequences to drinking that stuff.)
Around 1 PM or so, you should be done with most of the deliveries (forget about the board quests for the moment). Decide what you can sell in order to get to a total of 1,020g (food items can be sold at the Café). If you haven’t found any corndogs in the trash bins and the rewards from quests were not very generous, you may need to expand your trash can search to nearby areas. Keep any trash you find from the bins and recycle it at any Dump point; you can sell the vouchers at the Café or Flower and Seeds Shops.
When you have the money, go and buy an anvil (300g) from the Home Improvement Store and 4 gold bars from the blacksmith (4x180g=720g).
Oh, wait!, there are no gold bars on sale at the blacksmith today! Here we come to what some of you might consider another exploit.
In Pumpkin Days, stores have a limited number of items for sale in any given day out of their complete stock. For example, the blacksmith can sell any of the tools (from wooden to gold) and any of the bars (copper, iron, silver, gold), but only has a limited number of selling slots in his store. If you’re looking for a particular item (in our case, gold bars) then you can Save & Load the game in order to refresh his stock. You can do the same thing if you’re looking for particular seeds or livestock or items at the Saturday Market stalls. Or you may choose not to use this exploit (if it really is an exploit) and let it to chance to find it on sale. (I’ve read about people who made it into Fall without finding soybeans, though it’s an all-year-round crop in Pumpkin Vale!) Your choice again.
Return home, place the anvil next to your chest, recover the planks and experiment for a Gold Pickaxe and a Gold Shovel (see the recipes in my spreadsheet). Crafting recipes for the anvil and cooking recipes for the kitchen can be unlocked via experimenting. All other recipes—for Crafting Bench and Sewing Machine—can only be unlocked by watching TV or from certain quests.
At this point you have several options and, since they all involve long adventures, it’s advisable to get 1 hour sleep before you decide what to do next. If it’s after 6 PM when you wake up, grab the next round of recipes from TV.
- You can go gather herbs (see the map below) to be processed into Pestle and Mortar and, on the side, pick up the required items for the board quests.
- You can go mining: I suggest going for the ore and gem nodes around Lake Dia since it has a good selection of ores and not too varied gems (which help with your limited inventory), plus some salt. It’s true, it’s quite far if you haven’t started in Diamond Falls, but you don’t need to break any boulders and stamina matters a lot at the beginning.
- You could go hunting for treasure chests. For those of you who don’t mind spoilers, continue reading below.
- Or you could try do all three of them; more on that in a bit.
1. Gathering Herbs and Fruits
→ I suggest you focus on herbs and not flowers (only pick up the flowers needed to fulfil the board quests). Selling 100 flowers will unlock the bee boxes (a pa*sive source of income), but the bee boxes are quite expensive (800g) so it will be a while until you can capitalise on them.
Whatever you grab, you should try making it back to your farm no later than 11 PM.
(Note: Going outside the confines of the town is not always a walk in the park. There are a lot of aggressive bugs in the wild that will knock you down and take a chunk of your stamina. Most do not do a lot of damage; still, every bit of stamina counts in the early stages of the game. The black widow spider, though, will take half of your stamina and the bark scorpion will send you straight to the clinic. If you’re not familiar with the bugs (who’s who and what they can do), I strongly advise to change the game difficulty in Settings to “Relax.” In relax mode, bugs do not attack. You can change back the game difficulty at any time: just don’t donate anything to the museum while in relax mode. The museum completion conditions differ with the difficulty level.
Monday: Day 1_continued
Here are the maps for herbs and fruit trees and crops. I do not claim the herb map lists each and every patch, but it should give you a pretty good idea where to find what you’re looking for. Take your time and study the maps and make an itinerary before you go on adventure.
Or, for better readability, access this link:
drive.google.com – https://drive.google.com/file/d/1oq-Akzf1Nja7Jt_dgi6c4nzfI5CoJz7d/view?usp=sharing
Fruit Trees & Crops Map
Or, for better readability, access this link:
drive.google.com – https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Qp816o9kqQR7O7JEyKL6zCSRHb6Knd3V/view?usp=sharing
The good thing about most herbs is that they can be processed in the Pestle and Mortar and sell for a lot more. The most profitable herbs are those that can be grounded into Fish seasoning (capers, dill weed, lemongra*s, and sage). Equally important are those that can be grounded into Beef seasoning (coriander, cumin, thyme): do not sell Beef seasoning but consume it before long sessions of stamina-heavy activities like mining, clearing up your farm and planting. (If you go treasure hunting, you can easily sell the beef seasoning, since stamina is no longer that important.)
To stall time while processing, open your chest first, then open the Pestle and Mortar interface. Process all herbs (except for vanilla and mint) that you can, and sell the result.
Along with herbs, you might also consider picking up fruits and crops, plus all camellia, mint and lavender. Keep some fruit to turn into tree seeds (check my spreadsheet to see what grows where). With the rest, experiment for juice and tea (see also ‘Cooking Recipes’ in my spreadsheet). If you want, you can also keep some of the tea herbs to grow on your farm and have readily available in the future.
|1 camellia||Experiment 4 times: Black Tea, Green Tea, Oolong Tea, and White Tea (10g for each)|
|1 rooibos||Rooibos Tea (15g)|
|1 chamomile||Chamomile Tea (20g)|
|1 camellia + 1 lavender||Lavender Tea (20g)|
|1 camellia + 1 lemon||Lemon Tea (20g)|
|1 camellia + 1 ginger||Ginger Tea (20g)|
|1 camellia + 1 peach||Peach Tea (20g)|
|1 camellia + 1 orange||Orange Tea (20g)|
|1 camellia + 1 mint||Mint Tea (50g)|
|2 cherries||Cherry Juice (20g)|
|2 coconut||Coconut Water (20g)|
|2 watermelon||Watermelon Juice (40g)|
|2 plum||Plum Juice (12g)|
|2 pear||Pear Juice (25g)|
|2 peach||Peach Juice (20g)|
|2 orange||Orange Juice (30g)|
The idea is not so much, or not only, to make a profit, but also to unlock the Grey Fridge and Medium Bland Kitchen (allows cooking with 3 ingredients) by shipping 50 cooked dishes. Store the pumpkins in your chest.
2. Mining for ores and gems
→ If you focused on specific herbs and have processed a handful of Beef seasoning, grab it along with any food you got from quests and trash bins, plus your pickaxe and shovel and head for Lake Dia. It takes about 1 hour on foot to reach it at 167 minutes day length. If you leave around 11 PM you should have enough time to clear the nodes at the lake. If you haven’t done it already, grab the 6 PM recipes from TV before leaving.
Once you reach Diamond Falls search every bin and process the trash at the Dump on your way up to Lake Dia.
Eat some Beef seasoning for the food buff (it significantly lowers the stamina consumption) and get to mining. Look everywhere around the lake and venture into the two openings on the side. When you’ve completely circled the lake, you can jump the cliff to the farms below.
Also, if you have time left and stamina, you might consider breaking the two boulders blocking the entrance to Pride Flowers (you’ll need those flowers as soon as possible for your bee boxes). Grab all the pride flowers you can find.
You should head home around 4 AM. Once home, sell 30 of your unpolished gems and keep the rest. You’ve just unlocked the Gem Polishing Station.
Just before going to sleep, experiment for Pumpkin Soup (1 pumpkin + 1 salt) and then cook the last four. Grab 1 hour of sleep.
3. Treasure Chest Hunting
→ For obvious reasons, the following is marked as spoiler alert. If you do decide to take advantage of it, the rewards can be game-changing… for early game that is! Otherwise, it will just take longer to get there. It all depends on what you want to achieve in this game and how quickly.
There are a set-number of treasure chests to be found in certain locations. They spawn only once per game file, every time in the same place, and their contents are a*signed randomly when the game file is created. That means that you cannot change the rewards with Load & Save, which is a very good thing.
Before foraging or mining, you might consider checking the map and see what chests have to offer. They are pretty far apart, so make a note of the chests that interest you and incorporate them into your foraging itinerary.
Here is a map of the chests I was able to find so far. I don’t know if these are all the chests out there.
drive.google.com – https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Pgzp0qSXqh1Rp3smaKNaRzcBKlUg-_1k/view?usp=sharing
You’ll notice that there are 3 labyrinth (2 plant and 1 stone) on the map. Each labyrinth contains 3 treasure chests (hence the three smaller stars), usually guarded by scorpions (the bark type that take all your stamina!) and the rewards from them are almost always hybrid seeds. If you don’t play in relax mode, you’ll either need bug repellent or a bug net to catch them out of your way.
For now, you may ignore the labyrinths and just check out the other chests (they may still be guarded, so proceed with caution). Some chests are placed in areas whose access is blocked by boulders (the same stamina-consuming boulders you need to break down to advance in the mines). I’ve marked on the map if this is the case or not. So stock up on food items before going out for them.
The rewards you’re after are:
- 5 polished meteorite
- 20 polished diamond
- big backpack
- any meteor tools: usually axe or hoe
- early easy cash: 40 rum (sells for 40g each); 20 old tire (trash, I know, but each tire gives you 2 vouchers and each voucher sell for 20g), etc.
There are some very disappointing chests out there, containing fire ants or scorpions. Don’t worry, they don’t bite you, but they don’t stack and that totally messes up your inventory.
There is no guarantee that you’ll find all of the above. You may also find the same reward several times (I had a game file where all three chests up at Meteor Lake gave me a meteor hoe).
With the polished meteorite you can craft your first meteor tools: I suggest you make a meteor pickaxe and a meteor fishing rod. The meteor tools don’t consume any stamina and they don’t break (in normal mode; at higher levels of difficulty, they do break). And the meteor fishing rod skips the mini-game entirely so you instant catch every type of fish, including the impossible ones.
Use the diamonds to craft the rest of the tools, starting with an axe (unless you’ve already found a meteor axe). Sell the gold tools you’ve crafted earlier. Now you’re all set for any task ahead.
Tuesday: Day 2
It’s around 6 AM when you wake up. You have some decent food (5 pumpkin soup) and some tools (or all of them if you went treasure hunting).
What you need is to clear up your farm plot and start planting. If you have your tools you can start doing that right away.
Otherwise, check all trash bins in town, pick up board quests and try to gather the resources for them until around 9 AM when most shops are open and NPCs are easier to find. Pick up any delivery quests too, if you’re short on money. (To see if they need anything delivered, exhaust all dialogue, usually the third or fourth time you talk to them. If you don’t want to pick up deliveries just talk twice at max.) As for the money, you need 14 more gold bars (= 2,520g) in order to craft the rest of the tools: hoe, watering can, a better axe, sickle, and fishing rod. The latter is not so urgent.
You’ll also need some money for seeds and fertiliser, and fertiliser costs 50g per bag. How much fertiliser you need it all depends. Fertiliser increases the yield; it does not make crops or trees grow faster. With re-growing plants that is very beneficial. Right now, you’ll need fertiliser for mushrooms (more on that in a bit), any trees you want to plant, and strawberries.
What seeds and how many do you need? At around 8 AM or so you should receive some mail informing you of your shipping quota for the season. Fulfilling the quota will not only give you bonus cash, but it will grant you some hybrid seeds (see the Farming section below). So, though you want to focus on the seeds for the quota, you should aim to plant all the spring crops for your starting town.
How many? Calculate seeds according to the tools you’re currently using. Hoe, watering can and shovel are tools with an area of effect: the stronger the tools, the bigger area they cover. A gold hoe tills a 3 x 3 square (for 9 seeds), whereas a diamond hoe has a 5 x 5 area (25 seeds) and meteor hoe covers the maximum of 6 x 6 (36 seeds). You can go with individual plots for each type of seed or you can plant fewer and settle for varying harvest times.
Another important aspect is stamina consumption: using the tools (unless they’re meteor tools) consumes stamina, but not excessively so. Planting the seeds is a whole different matter. Planting the maximum of 36 seeds will almost entirely deplete your stamina bar. During the day, when you’re fully rested, you won’t be able to plant beyond the available stamina. If you hold 36 seeds but only have half your stamina, you’ll plant only about half. But if you’re tired (your character has a slouched position) and/or you’re in the last 6 hours of the 24 hours since you woke up, then your stamina required per action doubles and you will end up at the clinic the next day with less money in your pocket. Conclusion: always make sure you have full stamina before planting large fields.
So you have now a shopping list and rush to the local Farmer Shop, just to discover he doesn’t offer everything you need. You may just buy what you can and try again the next day, and the next, and each and every day for the next seasons… or you might just Save & Load to refresh the inventory, your choice.
Get back home, experiment your missing tools and get planting. Wait a minute, let’s take a breather!
You need to get organised from the very beginning to avoid undoing later the toils of today. You need a plan, like an actual plan of the farm plot as it will look in the future. At some point, you’ll want to upgrade you house, at least to Tier 3 if not the maximum of Tier 4. You’ll want some bee boxes and some proper storage, windmills, processors etc.
You can easily move the crop fields once you harvest them, but trees stay where they are. You can chop them down and replant them somewhere else but that means 28 days of watering and waiting and praying in front of them down the drain.
Here is an example of a farm plot with the maximum size house.
The farm plot is in Wahoo Beach but it has pretty much the same dimensions as the town plot in Pumpkin Vale. The arrangement is for Pumpkin Vale crops/trees, but it can be adjusted for other towns. It has room for 30 bee boxes (and 55 flowers), 2 of each PV tree (11 only can grow here including the hybrids), 18 maxed fields of 36 seeds each (watered in pattern so you can see them better). One field is for the mushrooms (I like to place it in the lower right corner) that keep re-growing till the end of Fall, 17 fields are the number of summer seeds for PV excluding the hybrids (summer is the busiest season in PV). You also have room for 2 windmills (place them first, since they require a big clearance around them), and 3 storage sheds. You can place any processors you need either close to the sheds (like smelters, sawmills, anvil and crafting bench), or on the deck of the house together with some large crates to keep resources close to where they can be processed (like cheese maker and butter churn, milk processor or special processors). You even have space left for pet houses and the odd hybrid seeds you might get. But the coop and barn will have to move to another farm plot of their own.
Still, you don’t need the biggest house to be able to marry and have kids. A Tier 3 house will do just fine.
Here is my first ever farm when I didn’t know much about trees or anything else. It developed in stages: when it became clear that I cannot accommodate all the animals I wanted, I moved my only barn and coop to another plot and filled the left upper corner with more windmills and storage sheds (you’ll always run out of storage in this game).
The kitchen and the fridges are inside. A tier-3 house should give you enough storage space inside for all your needs; you can craft a separating wall with the same wallpaper you used in the rest of your house for a more homely feel. And if you use light colours (all my fridges and cupboards are made of silver bars… why not?), especially in the kitchen, it will give the impression of more space.
Farm plot with a Tier 3 house
Kitchen in a Tier 3 house
Bedroom and Living Room in a Tier 3 house
Tuesday: Day 2_continued
Now let’s get back to planning. Clear the areas for the orchard and the crops, but not much else since you need a lot of your stamina.
→ There are 11 possible trees in PV but only 4 are to be found in the wild: cherry, cinnamon, lemon, apple. You can actually fit 2 of each type on your starting farm.
→ Of the 10 possible trees in DF (Diamond Falls), 2 can be found in the wild: plum and pear. Again, you can fit at least 2 of each type on your starting plot.
→ WB (Wahoo Beach) abounds in trees; 35 in total with 6 available from forage: banana, cinnamon, cloves, coconut, orange, peach. There is no way to fit all 35 trees on your starting plot. But you could choose to plant all trees that fruit in spring and summer here, and that takes you to 24 trees without the hybrids, one of each. You’ll need to dedicate another farm plot exclusively to an orchard to complete your tree collection.
Another thing to bear in mind is that mature trees come in different sizes. You’ll want to plant the big trees (with a big canopy) on the outmost row and keep the medium and small trees for the inner row or close to the gate. See below my suggestion for PV trees; see also my spreadsheet for info about tree sizes.
Once you have a plan, start measuring and hoe all the needed spots for trees (tilled plots do not disappear from one season to the next, so go ahead and till all plots for trees in advance). Turn the fruit into seeds in your backpack: left click then select seeds. Plant with fertiliser the tree seeds you’ve got. (In order to till just one tile, keep pressing LMB and stop pressing when just 1 tile is selected. Once the hoe is unequipped, re-equipping it will reset to the maximum size.)
Till the soil and plant the crops. If you have the money, plant all strawberries with fertiliser. Don’t forget to allow a plot for mushrooms; we’ll deal with them later today. You’ll need more fertiliser for the mushrooms.
Water everything, yes, trees included. To check if something needs watering, have the watering can equipped and walk close to a plot. A water drop symbol indicates that it needs watering; do not try to a*sess visually by the colour of the soil. Un-watered plants revert to a previous stage or die altogether. Out of season plants die the next day after planting.
You have a few options for the remaining of the day, but I suggest you try to make it to the mines, whichever are closer to you: Clementine or Lapidot. To advance in the caves you’ll need to break a few boulders: they’re stamina-consumption heavy and give you 5 iron ore. If you don’t have diamond or meteor pickaxe, you want to take with you as much food as you can and beef seasoning. Also, take nothing else with you: there are so many different ores and gems that you might take several trips back and forth.
goukagin’s spreadsheet contains maps for each of the mines that are very useful, especially until you get used to the layout. Try to follow the mushrooms trail (and pick all you can find) and only break the boulders that keep you from advancing to the centre of the mines, which is the Goddess Room in the Clementine Mines or God Room in the Lapidot Caves.
Once you return to your farm, turn some (or all) of the mushrooms into seeds and plant them with fertiliser. If you can’t afford it, it’s better to postpone planting for a day or two until you reach the required amount. Remember, you’ll be able to harvest the increased amount of mushrooms until winter comes, so it’s more than worth it. I also like to plant one red mushroom in the mushroom field as an affordable gift for Gelfie.
For some time, Mushroom Soup (1 mushroom + 1 salt) will be your food to go (if you run out of salt, you can cheaply buy it from the Market on Saturdays).
If you made it deep enough into the mines and came across glowing mushrooms, you should turn them into seeds too and plant them with fertiliser. They’ll bring you a very good income.
Wednesday to Friday: Days 3 to 5
You should try and form good habits early on. Start your day around 6 AM. Learn the two recipes for the day, go water crops and trees. If and when you have animals and pets, go and brush, pet, feed and collect from them. Then go through town checking the trash bins, talking to people and picking up quests. Don’t forget that every other day at 11 AM sharp, your big animals will poop, so go clean all of that; keep the poop for fertiliser.
Then you’re free to do whatever else you want. If you play on 167 minutes, you’ll be done with your chores around 9-10 AM (I’m talking about huge fields and lots of animals). Before going to sleep for the day, get the recipes again.
What to do depends on many factors. Here are my suggestions:
- Continue clearing up the mines. Polished gems can be donated to the museum, used for quests or gifts, used for crafting (the fox and cat plushie—if you acquired the recipes—are quite profitable), or sold as such. Initially you need all the money you can get; later on, you can build up a stack of each to have readily available for possible quests.
The glowing mushrooms that you find deep in the mines are a good source of income. Make them into seeds and plant them with fertiliser—always use fertiliser! You should aim at dedicating a whole field to them and only sell the excess.
- One of the things you’d want to do as soon as possible is clear access to the Pride Flower area up in Diamond Falls. They require some effort to obtain (you can gather around 20 with each visit) and take 8 days to grow, but once you set up your area for bee boxes, there is nothing more to do but enjoy free honey for the rest of your time in Pumpkin Days. Pride Flowers are the only flowers that grow everywhere and all seasons including winter.
- You may also want to spend time on cutting trees and processing the lumber into planks. Sooner rather than later, you’ll want to get into ranching. You’ll need lots of money for that, but also lots of planks, so you can start with the planks for now. I find that the best trees to cut (in terms of stamina investment and amount of wood obtained) are the very large trees in Palash Jungle and Bitterleaf Jungle. They give brown wood, which is also required in crafting for experimenting.
- As you make more money each day, invest some in a Big Backpack and then a Large Storage Crate. This will allow you to adventure further afield for longer periods of time. It will also allow you to keep some things in stock.
- When you’ve managed to cook and ship 50 cooked dishes, you should invest in a Medium Bland Kitchen (850g) and/or fridge (2,000g for 104 storage slots). If you acquired the recipe for the fridge, you may craft it yourself.
- When stamina is no longer a big issue, and the storage on your farm gets bigger, you might want to grow some if not all of the flowers and herbs that you can grow in your area. I aim for a stack of each in early game, then increase the stacks as needed.
- Start collecting flowers for museum and not only.
- If you’ve managed to craft a meteor fishing rod, and I suggest you put it first on your priority list if you haven’t, get fishing. Either way, try to fish enough to ship at least 50 fish to unlock Fish Prep Station and go buy it.
- Whatever you choose to do of the above, and in whatever order, try to make as much money as possible until the coming Market Day which is on Saturday!
Saturday: Day 6
This is the day to get rich, as rich as you want and have time in the day!
Wake up at 6 AM and do your chores for the day as usual. Whichever town you’re in, Market stalls open at 7 AM and close at 7 PM.
You have two options and both require using Save & Load for inventory refresh.
- If you can only cook with two ingredients at the Small Bland Kitchen, then your money comes from cooking Herb Fish (1 fish fillet + 1 fish seasoning). With a totally empty inventory, go to the Market and Save & Load until you can buy Dill Weed from the General Goods stall and Bream from the Lake and River Fish stall, both at the same time!
- If you have unlocked and bought the Medium Bland Kitchen and can cook with three ingredients, you’ll make money from Grilled Shrimp (2 shrimp + 1 salt). With a totally empty inventory, go to the Market and Save & Load until you can buy Salt from the General Goods stall and Shrimp from the Ocean Fish stall, both at the same time!
Buy as much as your finances and backpack inventory allow for: either dill weed and bream at a ratio of 2:1, or shrimp and salt at a ratio of 2:1 and return home.
To make herb fish you’ll first need to process both the dill weed and the bream. Open a chest, then start processing them so the time doesn’t pa*s in game. Make all dill into fish seasoning in Pestle and Mortar and all bream into fish fillets at the Fish Prep Station. Then move to the kitchen and cook it all into herb fish (you’ll need to experiment once to unlock the recipe). Make sure you don’t mess up; it’s a good idea to save before.
2 dill weed and 1 bream cost 23g, and you sell one herb fish for 100g; that’s a 77g net profit or 334% profit percentage per dish (my spreadsheet has lower figures because it calculates prices with processed materials). But it takes a lot of time (real time!) to process everything.
To make grilled shrimp there is no intermediate processing required. Just go the kitchen, experiment the recipe once, save the game and cook all the rest. The raw materials cost 45g and the dish sells for 80g; that’s a 35g net profit or 77% profit percentage. Much lower, except you don’t need to spend time processing… so the winner in my opinion!
Return to the market stall (any will do) and sell all the dishes. Choose the blue ‘Sell’ button from the stall, select the last stack in your inventory and press ‘Sell All’ until you empty your backpack.
Rinse and repeat. Buy the raw materials, go home and process and cook them, back to the market to sell them all. At some point, you might want to invest some of your gains into expanding your backpack or significantly expanding your pestle and mortar and fish prep station collections. I found out that I can fit up to 16 Pestle and Mortar interfaces, while still being able to see most of my backpack inventory. Notice below, in the left bottom corner, how I opened a storage crate nearby to freeze the in-game time.
How long do you keep up with these financial shenanigans? For as long as you have the patience or time in the day. The thing is you’ll need lots of money (and I mean lots!) early on in the game.
What to do with all the money?
- For starters, and I’ve already touched on it, expand your backpack to full. You can add 4 big backpacks and that’s 4 x 2,000 = 8,000g
- You want to buy all the remaining fruits that you can grow as trees in your town and make them into seeds. Plant them on the prepared spots with fertiliser.
If you have the storage, you might want to buy all possible crops for the town you’re in, so you don’t have to lose time at the start of a new season by going to the Farm Shop and start the Save & Load dance when you have so much to do. You may just do the dance now, once and for all… all the crops from all the towns.
When you have them all, at least 1 stack of each, you can get cooking properly.
Maybe down the road you buy more land somewhere else and expand your farming experience over yonder; you’ll already have the seeds for it.
- If you go for 30 bee boxes, that’s 24,000g.
- You’ll need storage sheds; that’s 3,000g a piece.
- A fully upgraded barn will cost you 7,000g (and 150 planks). A fully upgraded coop takes you to 1,800g (and 120 planks). A pet house is just 1,000g (and 100 planks) but a pet (either cat or dog) is 7,500. Maybe you want 3 or 4 pets?
Let’s say you want to get into breeding. And you want to get into that as quickly as possible. Animals with more hearts have increased chances to produce a special offspring.
Now that’s a serious investment. Animals may cost from 1,000g for a goat to 9,000g for a horse. If you consider breeding and want to increase your chances to get special animals, you might want a full barn per species: say 7 female horses and 1 male horse. That’s already 72,000g. A barn full of cows is 16,000g. And then you’ll need more barns for the future offspring and so on and so forth.
- You’ll need to buy new farm plots. The one in Spoonie Island costs you 10,000g, all others cost you 20,000g each.
A day may come when you can say you have more money than you know what to do with, but… in Aragorn’s words… but it is not this day! This day we fight—correction—cook! I bid you stand, Men and Women of Pumpkin Days!
Fine, you don’t need to do it all on the first Saturday. There are more Market Days and Festival Days in the coming weeks.
Yeah… so there you have it. Your first 6 days into the game, already on the road to achieve everything you want. The island is your oyster! Enough with misquotes and prosaic licences.
In what follows, I’ll give a short overview of the main activities in the game. The spreadsheet contains most of the information, but it needs a bit of context. I give you again the link to my spreadsheet:
docs.google.com – https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1s39Im-L4MJ97vdYWMPHfkFiL-Kegkt_p2vPI0PV3UNY/edit?usp=sharing
All three locations have specific crops and fruit trees, though some of them can be grown in other places too. Make sure you check the location and season for the crops you intend to plant.
Crops have different growing times, some re-grow while others don’t. Some are all-year-round crops, others can grow in more than one season, while others are only season specific. Check all the information and make a plan before starting to plant.
Check for the water drop sign to know when plants/trees need watering. Don’t a*sume, just because it’s raining/snowing, that you don’t need to water (I have encountered a bug where rain was NOT taken into account by my crops in Pumpkin Vale).
Trees will require watering for the first two stages of their growth. After that they no longer need watering. All trees grow in 28 days, except for Dragon Fruit which takes 84 days to reach maturity. After that, they produce fruit in their respective season every six days.
Because of their lengthy growing time, you want to start growing them as soon as possible. Some you can forage in the world, but most of them have to be purchased from either the local Farm Shop (it will only offer season specific seeds or produce) or from the Market stalls and then turned into seeds.
When harvesting crops, you don’t usually spend stamina, with a few exceptions. Harvesting re-growing crops (like any berries, tomatoes, corn, mushrooms—but not the glowing type—etc.) will always consume stamina. Harvesting fruit trees (you need a fruit picker for that!) will always consume stamina. So watch your bar carefully when you have big harvest days.
Harvesting crops can be a bit frustrating when you select a tile and nothing happens. To make harvesting a smoother process, position you character to highlight a square of 4 x 4 tiles. Then left-click on one corner tile, wait for the short picking animation to finish, and left-click the next tile in line. When nothing happens is either because you haven’t let the animation finish or you clicked on the crops on the ground rather than the tile itself. Watch how the crops spread around you and aim for the tile only.
Besides the usual crops, you’ll come across hybrid crops. They can be rewarded for completing your shipping quota or after completing certain quests. They can also be obtained from treasure chests (especially those hidden in labyrinths).
Though I find it an interesting concept, I think it needs some adjustment. They’re meant to act as substitutes in cooking for the crops/fruits you cannot otherwise grow in your town. But if used as such, most of the recipes become unprofitable due to the high selling price of the hybrids (50g). So I just don’t bother and sell them raw.
Then there are the different types of special pumpkins. So far, I haven’t found a use for them.
Here is a table of the hybrids and what crops they stand in for.
|Hybrid||Stand-in 1||Stand-in 2|
|Black Beet||Black Beans||Beet|
Because of how costly the initial investment is, many players choose to postpone getting into ranching. But by the time they get to fully enjoy everything livestock has to offer, they feel they have already reached the end-game and that’s the end of it.
It’s true, this is another area of the game that requires some adjustment.
For example, if you both brush and pet your animals daily, you feed them and never let them get sick, it takes about 2 seasons to get them to 10 hearts. If some of your animals are bugged (usually chickens and pets), that is, they do not always “acknowledge” being petted and brushed, it takes a lot longer.
Not only that happier animals give more produce, but they also have higher chances to produce a special offspring when bred. (I don’t know the exact percentage; it is still quite small, I a*sume.) It takes 18 days to breed animals and anywhere from 10 to 28 days to reach maturity, depending on the species. I know of players who went through a handful of breeding cycles until they got their first special animal. That adds up to a lot of days… seasons… years even!
Also, to increase your chances, you’ll need a big pool to start with. If you work with one full barn for species, and there are 4 special big animals, plus the golden hen, that’s a whole lot of money, resources, animals to care for and clean after. At least most animals give some produce, but horses and pigs do not. While horses take you places (and make the Tuk-Tuk system even more obsolete than it already was), pigs do nothing other than being very cute… which, I suppose, is enough.
My advice then? Bite the bullet and buy an adjacent farm plot. Turn it into breeding territory with lots of barns and coops and, most importantly, an animal bell.
(Note: When placing the barns, try to fit them as closely as you can to one another and against the fence. Then place one fence on the small gap remaining between them to block access.) Animals are renowned for finding the smallest of gaps and get stuck in them.)
Also, try to invest as soon as possible in automatic fodder/feeder dispensers (that requires getting on friendlier terms with certain NPCs; more on that in Socialising below). When you do, place the feeders against the fence to avoid traffic jams. But do not place the normal fodder/feeder trays against a fence; that will only provide your animals with a platform to jump over the fence and start pooping everywhere. And then try to make them go back in the fenced area without other animals escaping… oh, the headache, I’m telling you!
Every morning when you do your animal care routine, start by sounding the bell and send all animals inside (unless it’s raining and they’re already inside). Focus first on the chickens to give the big animals enough time to make it to their barns and untangle from any traffic jams. (Yes, they still jam one another even with minimum of clutter, just because some want to leave the barn while others want to get in. At 167 minutes day length, it takes about half an hour until they willy-nilly sort it out. At normal speed it may take hours of frustration. Petting or brushing them may cause one to peel off but it’s no guarantee.)
For every barn, start with a round of brushing, then unequip the brush and do another round of petting plus milking (where applicable). Try to position close to the middle of the animal for petting, then immediately click on its rear for milking while WASD-ing your way to the next animal. This cuts down on the milking animation and saves you a lot of time; unfortunately, it doesn’t work for collecting wool, though you can sheer two adjacent sheep at once. When you’re done, don’t forget to sound the bell again to send your animals outside.
Every other day, 11 AM sharp, your big animals poop. Poop can be turned into fertiliser, which is good (to unlock the Fertiliser Barrels, you need to ship 10 poop sacks). What’s not good is that collecting it is a pain; and, also, that they don’t poop at 6 AM. Playing at 167 minutes, you’re anywhere but near your farm at 11 AM. Since you finish your chores at about 8-9 AM, by 11 AM when your horse drops the bomb, you may as well court your husband/wife to be, peruse the last issue of The Economist while fishing on Piscari Island etc. Now you have to factor in the poop-scooping and make it back way before 10 PM when they go to sleep and it gets impossible to clean the poop from under a sleeping animal. If only they pooped at 6 AM when you were doing the rounds anyway. Sigh!
The trick about collecting poop is to click as quickly as possible on adjacent ones so you can shovel more than one at once and save time.
And now let’s address the elephant in the game, not that there are elephants in Pumpkin Days… how long until you populate your barns and coops with animals. Well, if you resign to RNG, it may take a looong time: you may only find baby animals and wait for them to mature (10 to 28 days), then breed them (another 18 days) just to get the wrong s*x. Breed again (another 18 days), then wait for them to mature (another 10 to 28 days) and so on.
Or you could use the Save & Load strategy again and force the rancher to sell what you need. Warning: even with this trick, you’ll reach the limits of your patience. I suggest arming yourself with the cup of your choice (tea or coffee), maybe a kitty in your lap for morale-boost… you get the point.
Fish breeding is done in fish tanks and fish tanks require a lot of space. They also require you to have shipped 100 fish to unlock them in the Home Improvement Shop. For these reasons, I’m not too much into fish breeding.
That being said, there are a few fish that you’ll want to breed: Salmon (river fish tank); Tuna, Yellow Tail, Sweet Shrimp and Grouper (ocean fish tank). These fish are time and again requested in recipes and some of the recipes ask for the whole fish rather than the fish fillets. They can only be caught in one season only, at locations with a rather large fish pool (which significantly lowers the percentage of getting them on the hook). Breeding the rare fish for money is a waste of time, and especially space: it takes almost a season (25 days) to make a casual 2,000g. Not worth it.
As for the list of fish itself, more in the Museum section below.
Here is a farm plot dedicated to livestock (depending on what animals and how many you want to breed, you may need a lot more barns). There is some space in the centre if you want to move your bee boxes here:
It was while trying to work out what cooking recipes were the most profitable that I started making my spreadsheet and the whole idea of this guide was born.
And my initial suspicions proved true. The most profitable recipes are those you can easily buy the ingredients for and still make some profit, even if not the biggest. It is the only way to control how many of a certain ingredient you need. The key word here is “easy to buy.” That radically reduces your choices to fish and ingredients from the General Goods stall, because these market stalls have the smallest array of produce. You may still need to Save & Load a few times, but nothing as ridiculous as, say, making the Wahoo Beach stall sell pa*sion fruit. Even players who make it a matter of pride never to Save & Load, have good chances to find the right ingredients, especially if they try the market in Diamond Falls which always offers more items for sale.
That’s how I chose Herb Fish and Grilled Shrimp as my money-to-grow-in-trees.
In time, as you get to plant more and more crops and fruit trees, and as you expand to other towns, you’ll end up with an excess of certain crops. At the very beginning of the guide, I looked at potatoes and listed some of the more promising recipes. You can simply search my spreadsheet for the ingredient you have in excess—in both ‘Cooking Recipes’ and ‘Food & Drinks Processors’—to see which will give you the biggest profit percentage.
On average, you’ll find that the winning recipes are either those where the ingredient can be put into a processor (like Vodka for potatoes; but then you have to factor in the processing time), or those requiring the minimum number of ingredients besides your excess ingredients (like Potato Soup where you only add salt, or Fries where you add oil). But that means you need to buy the extra ingredients (in order to match the main ingredient in number) which lowers the profitability of the recipe.
Another conclusion is that the vast majority of recipes (which require 3+ ingredients) are rather obsolete. You rarely cook them for profit because it’s difficult to match equal numbers of ingredients.
Ex.: There are some exceptions. When I bought a WB-plot and I got to Fall and planted zucchini, I didn’t realise the amount of crops I’ll get. The first harvest comes after 5 days and then it keeps producing every 2 days. I planted a whole field with fertiliser and I was swimming in zucchini. I ended up drastically expanding my rice, carrot, and especially soybean production in PV, so I can cook Bibimbap with a profit percentage of 257%. But it was very difficult to match the number of ingredients since they have different growing rates. The recipe consists of: 1 chicken egg + 1 rice + 1 carrot + 1 zucchini + 1 soy sauce (= 2 soybean + 1 salt). How many chickens do you need to match the hundreds of zucchini you get every 2 days? How many plots of soybean which take 12 days between harvests? And if you end up buying half the ingredients, you might actually incur a loss!
Such recipes only get cooked when asked for in a board quests or as gifts.
Still, cooking remains the main source of income in this game. If not always from using the kitchen, then definitely from the special processors; and the most profitable among all is the Juice Processor.
You unlock the special processors either by befriending Korin in Spoonie Island, along with a few other NPCs elsewhere (see Socialising below), or by shipping 10,000 crops and/or fruits.
You can make juice in the kitchen at the ratio of 2 fruit to 1 juice. But the ratio is inverted for the juice processor: 1 fruit makes 2 juice. All recipes in the juice processor are profitable, but the most profitable by far is the Pa*sion Fruit Juice. It breaks the threshold of 1,000% profit percentage, but it’s not a fruit from a tree. Instead of producing every 6 days, it is a re-growing crop in winter which produces every 2 days. Just like the zucchini, but you only need to chuck the crop into the processor and that’s that… well, you’ll need 10+ juice processors (each costs 10,000g) to keep up with the production. But it’s worth it. You can also sell the product at the Café so you don’t need to run from one shipping bin to the next because you run out of shipping inventory.
Take your time and study the spreadsheet a bit; it might give you some ideas of how you plan for your crops.
Crafting & Tailoring
Crafting can be another source of income… with some caveats.
Crafting involves stations like Crafting Bench (450g; available from the start) and Sewing Machine (1,500g; unlocked after shipping 20 cotton or wool).
You cannot experiment and discover new recipes for these stations. You have to wait to either learn them from watching TV or after completing certain quests (from the blacksmith or the tailor).
Let’s say you were lucky and got the most profitable recipes. The problem is that you can only craft/tailor one at a time. And to do that there is a series of clicks and selections before you get to the crafting mini-game. It gets old pretty quickly. Still, in the early stages of the game, it’s rather fun to turn some extra cheap materials (wood boards or cheap un/polished gems into fox or cat plushies).
Beware though, and this is another caveat, one that made me it impossible for me to work out a profit percentage in my spreadsheet: different input materials may affect the sell price of the output. But that doesn’t apply to all recipes.
Ex.: Cat Plushie made from cloth (20g) sells for 190g.
Cat Plushie made from Polished Sardonyx (45g) or Zinc Bar (60g) or Brown Wood Planks (3g) sells for 150g.
The difference in net profit can be huge: 147g for the planks and only 90g for zinc bars.
Another example: Basic Cupboard made from Polished Sardonyx (45g) or Brown Wood Planks (3g) sells for 200g.
So, if you still want to craft for profit then you have to experiment on your own what works relative to the materials you have at your disposal. I suggest choosing the least expensive materials to start with.
Nothing changes much when it comes to tailoring; except it gets more complicated. The raw materials here are cotton or wool. But you can also make coloured/patterned cloth in the Loom (5,000g; unlocked after shipping 20 cotton or wool) by processing together the fabric material with either flowers or wallpaper/carpet. All these extra ingredients are extra production costs that you have to factor in.
Besides fabric, you might also need buttons, and buttons only accept Gems, Ores or Blocks as raw materials. (Collared Shirt with Vest and Suit with Turtle Neck are the only garments requiring buttons.) All other garments only accept Cloth (whether simple or patterned) or Leather.
As I mentioned above, depending on the materials used (and, further, on the raw materials to make the patterned cloth), the profitability of the garment can vary significantly.
Ex.: White Cloth is most profitable when made from cotton (33% profit percentage) and least profitable when made from white wool (-60% loss profit percentage).
The most profitable patterned cloth is the Yellow Cloth made with Sunflowers (500% profit percentage) and the least profitable is the Green Cloth made with Venus Flytrap (-9% loss profit percentage). The loss in profitability gets even higher when using bought Wallpaper.
If you tailor for profit, then use White Cloth made of cotton. One of the most profitable recipes is the Cheongsam Dress. There may be many others, but it gets almost impossible to calculate which, since the selling price of the garments varies quite wildly according to the types of materials used.
Ex.: Peasant Dress made from 3 white cloth sells for 180g.
Peasant Dress made from 2 white cloth and 1 pride cloth sells for 440g.
Peasant Dress made from 1 white cloth and 2 pride cloth sells for 700g.
Peasant Dress made from 3 pride cloth sells for 960g.
So, better stick to cooking?!
One of the most successful features of Pumpkin Days is the socialising mechanic. There are a lot of NPCs, about 120, spread along four different locations. This may seem daunting at first, but you’ll soon learn of the group-mechanic.
Most NPCs are grouped together in a circle of friends, or coterie. Whichever denomination you use, the benefits are immediate: befriending one in the group extends some friendship points to the rest of the group. My Time at Portia employed a similar mechanic which made it so much easier to befriend the Hulu brothers rather than, say, Aadit.
But there are some NPCs that don’t make part of a group, and befriending them takes longer: like Black Mask, or Blake, or most of the special characters.
You get friendship points in several ways:
- gifting (liked gifts will give fewer points, loved gifts will give more points). If gifted a hated gift, the NPC will refuse it, and that’s that, no penalties (another feature I really like). Gifting on birthdays and on festival days doubles the points.
- parcel deliveries;
- board quests;
- special quests initiated once you reach a certain number of hearts/stars with an NPC.
Other than the immediate rewards you get when fulfilling quests, you’ll also enjoy some bonuses as you get on friendlier terms with everybody.
At 2♥, NPCs will start gifting you your favourite food (that you’ve chosen in the character-creation setup). From what I’ve noticed, the gifts are given every other conversation with them. If you talk/gift every day, then expect a gift every other day. Soon, you’ll be swimming in free food.
At 3♥, you gain access to their homes. This makes it easier to find people who were otherwise inaccessible behind their doors. But it also makes it more difficult because there is no longer an in-game prompt to tell you whose house it is you want to enter.
Another nice feature is that you don’t have to choose gifts blindly. The game will give you a list of suggestions. You still need to experiment a bit to find the loved gifts among all the liked gifts. A liked gift awards between 5 to 10 friendship points on a normal day, whereas a loved gift awards 20 or 20+ friendship points. Finn in Wahoo Beach is the only NPC that awards 40 friendship points for a loved gift, and Pumpkin Jack only accepts liked gifts and awards you only 5 points.
In the ‘Gifts to NPCs’ section of my spreadsheet, I’ve worked out a list of loved gifts (or just liked for Pumpkin Jack) for all the NPCs. I’ll give you again the link below:
docs.google.com – https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1s39Im-L4MJ97vdYWMPHfkFiL-Kegkt_p2vPI0PV3UNY/edit?usp=sharing
It is not an exhaustive list; my interest was to identify as many of the loved gifts that can be shared between them. I didn’t look at how expensive the gift was, but rather how many items do I need to carry around if I am to befriend everybody (from all towns) at the same time.
Trying to keep the gifts at minimum will also make it easier on your storage at home, when stocking on the materials required for the gifts.
When it comes to Marriage, the Library contains most of the information you need. I personally haven’t married anyone yet, nor have I invited a friend to live with me on the farm.
Marriage becomes available starting with year 2. The same applies for the platonic relationships. You’ll need to purchase a Star Crafting Kit and 100 Red Paper for romantic relationships or 100 Yellow Paper for platonic relationships respectively from the local priest/priestess.
If you crafted the jar of red/yellow stars and have it in your inventory, go talk to the intended NPC (and only that NPC). You need to have reached the maximum hearts with your loved one. You’ll get a cutscene, which will then be followed by 2 romantic invitations as you continue to gift them and start building the next set of 10 purple hearts. At 12♥, you’ll trigger a marriage proposal and after a few more quests you’ll have the marriage ceremony.
Spouses or friends living with you on the farm will get to help with some of the chores. This is a mechanic I never appreciated in any of the games where marriage is involved, like Stardew Valley or My Time at Portia etc. You can never count on what chores they do, when they do it, or how thorough they are in doing it. So I end up doing it all by myself and get to listen to them self-praising for the work I do.
As I mentioned above, I have not directly experienced marriage or parenting in this game. Maybe you’ll find it to be very helpful, on top of having more cute exchanges. But I was warned that sometimes they may get overzealous in helping you: they may harvest all the flowers you carefully set up around your bee boxes and totally ruin the honey production. The things you put up with in the name of love and friendship.
If you don’t plan on indiscriminately befriending all NPCs to max, but rather put your efforts into those who’ll give you valuable rewards, here is a selective list that you might be interested in. But some of you might like to discover things on their own; hence, the spoiler alert:
|Clem||DF||8♥||200 Wheat||Automatic Fodder Dispenser|
|Hank||DF||8♥||5 Bark Scorpion||Ice Cream Processor|
|Tanya||DF||8♥||1 Bloody Mary||Bread Processor|
|Alex||PV||4♥||10 Pepper, 10 Cumin, 10 Bay Leaves||Automatic Feed Dispenser|
|Alex||PV||6♥||200 Fodder||Automatic Fodder Dispenser|
|Dee||PV||8♥||1 Owl Cake||Meteor Watering Can|
|Jelmo||PV||8♥||10 Marble Blocks||Meteor Shovel|
|Kumoko||PV||10♥||none||Special Bug Net|
|Tanis||PV||8♥||20 Sneezeweed||Meteor Axe|
|Korin||SI||1♥||20 Iron Bars||Automatic Feed Dispenser|
|Korin||SI||2♥||20 Iron Bars||Automatic Fodder Dispenser|
|Korin||SI||3♥-10♥||20 Iron Bars |
2. Iron Bars
2. Iron Bars
2. Iron Bars
2. Iron Bars
|Juice Processor |
Ice Cream Processor
|Kaine||WB||8♥||50 Polished Gla*s||Automatic Fodder Dispenser|
|Lisa||WB||10♥||none||Special Bug Net|
The museum collection is the only main quest in the entire game, the only true milestone. It forces you to experiment most of the game mechanics: foraging, mining, bug catching, fossil digging, and fishing. It is a lengthy process that gives a purpose to your stay in Pumkin Days. My biggest complaint is that there are no other projects of this kind. Once I completed the museum, I found I was quickly losing interest. Just as I was losing interest in Stardew Valley after I completed the Community Centre, the Museum, and I pa*sed Grandpa’s evaluation at the end of the second year (3 different goals!).
The problem I had here is that I completed the museum collection in winter, year 1. In effect, I had already completed more than 50% of the museum and got rid of Jounce Corp by the middle of spring year 1. But more on this in the Final Remarks below.
The museum will require donations in 6 categories:
→ One of the easiest categories and most probably the first to complete 100%. The Library does a pretty good job of pointing you to the right location for each flower. Besides, flowers are easily identifiable because they grow in big colourful patches. And there are already maps with flower locations that you can easily find online.
Just pick them up whenever you find them (and pay attention to the spiders or hornets that may guard them).
Here is how the complete collection looks like; I’ve inserted the name for each of them to make it easier for you to identify what you’re missing.
→ Another easy to complete category, though it requires a lot of stamina investment and repeated mine-diving sessions.
With the exception of Bismuth, all donations require processing in either the Smelter or Gem Polishing Station.
There are three designated underground mines: the Clementine Mines close to the Museum, the Lapidot Caves in Diamond Falls, and the Hidden Cavern. Access to the latter is by swimming, either from the North side of Spoonie Island or along the South coast of Zin Zin Fields. Though it can be done without speed buff, more inexperienced players will find it easier to consume pies, cakes or cookies before attempting the long swim.
Certain gems/minerals can only be found in specific mines. You’ll need to visit the mines repeatedly to gather all possible gems. You’ll also need a big inventory and stamina food to bring home the big haul. Nodes respawn after 3 days.
There are a few other locations where gems and ores can be mined, all in the mining town of Diamond Falls: around Lake Dia; on the plateau before the Pride Flower grove, as well as inside the grove (don’t forget to say Hello to Stalagknight); around Meteor Lake.
Polished gla*s is the only donation which is not obtained through mining. Shovel the sand mounds along the beaches of Wahoo Beach and Spoonie Island, process the sand in the smelter, and then polish it in the gem polishing station.
Here is the complete ore collection:
→ One of the most time-consuming categories. To complete the collection, you’ll have to make it to winter. You’ll also need a meteor fishing rod, as some fish are, literally, impossible to catch otherwise.
There are four different types of fishing locations: river, lake, ocean (or beach) and deep ocean. You can only fish at designated locations, on a fishing pier. Most piers are also equipped with a Grill station where you can grill some of the cheaper fish to replenish stamina. Once you acquire a meteor fishing rod, fishing is instant catch and there is no stamina consumption.
Otherwise, you’ll have to play a mini-game. I’ve already described it in the “Tutorial” section above. Consuming food with fishing buff will make you catch the fish significantly faster.
River fish can be caught at several piers around Pumpkin Vale. Lake fish can be caught on the lakes up in Diamond Falls, though there is also a hidden small lake South East of Mintystone Woods. Ocean fish make you travel to the beaches of Wahoo Beach and Spoonie Island. Deep ocean fish can only be caught on Piscari Isle. You can either take a boat to Piscari for 100g and 1 in-game hour (no matter the day length); the return trip is free but it takes another hour. Or you can swim to Piscari from the beach behind the Library with maximum speed buff.
Fish vary by location and season, but not by weather or time of day. Each location has a given fish pool for the season: hence, the bigger the fishing pool, the smaller the odds of catching a specific fish. Ex.: There are 16 possible Spring fish to catch in Piscari, but 10 Spring river fish.
Playing at 167 minutes, you get to catch 30-40 fish per in-game hour, though it may push your patience to the limit.
Here is a table of the fish you need to catch by season and location. Though certain fish can be caught in more than one season, I only listed them once, under the season they first become available. If you catch all the fish in their respective season, by early winter you’ll be able to complete the entire fish collection.
|Season||River||Lake||Ocean||Ocean/Deep Ocean||Deep Ocean|
|Spring||Big Head Carp, Bitterling, Bream, Dace, Mountain Trout, Piranha, Rainbow Trout, Salmon, Tench, Tigerfish||Black Ba*s, Blue Gill, Catfish, Lake Smelt, Largemouth Ba*s, Mullet, Northern Pike, Rock Ba*s, Snakehead, Tetra, White Ba*s||Saltwater Eel||Clam, Flounder, Lamprey, Mackerel, Milkfish, Monkfish, Octopus, Oyster, Sable Fish, Sardine, Scallops, Sea Urchin||Blue Marlin, Bonito, Sea Cucumber|
|Summer||Arapaima, Cherry Salmon, Mitten Crab||Goldfish, Pride Fish, Walleye||Rock Lobster, Tilapia||Filefish, Fluke, Herring, Jellyfish, Kelp Ba*s, Lobster, Pufferfish, Saltwater Catfish, Scad, Shrimp, Snapper, Squid||Angelfish, Arowana, Butterfly Fish, Clownfish, Coelacanth, Common Crab, Dungeness Crab, Giant Trevally, Haddock, Humphead Wra*se, Lionfish, Mahi Mahi, Ocean Sunfish, Seahorse, Spiny Lobster, Stingray, Tuna, Wahoo|
|Fall||Sturgeon||Aligator Gar, Betta Fish, Golden Carp, Koi, Lake Eel, Silver Carp||Anchovies, Conch, Greenling, Grouper, Saury Pike||Black Sea Nettle, Cod, Crawdad, Oarfish, Red King Crab, Sea Ba*s, Spider Crab, Zebra Mussel|
|Winter||Arctic Char, Barbel Steed, Chub, Loach, River Ba*s, Guppy||Crucian Carp, Whitefish||Halibut, Killi Fish, Needlefish, Starfish||Abalone, Angler Fish, Chambered Nautilus, Festive Sea Slug, Giant Isopod, Horsehair Crab, Horseshoe Crab, John Dory, Mantis Shrimp, Rock Trout, Saddled Bichir, Sea Butterfly, Shark, Snow Crab, Sweet Shrimp, Swordfish, Tiger Prawn, Turban Shell, Yellow Tail|
If you’re missing certain fish, check the sortable table in the online Wiki.
And here is the complete collection:
→ Fossils are somewhat time-consuming and quite heavy on your inventory. Other than this, they’re pretty easy to find. Dogs will also bring you random fossils every other day. Dogs at 5♥ will bring 2 fossils and 3 fossils at 10♥.
Fossils can be dug up in the Lapidot Caves, scattered everywhere in the Topical Tundra (beware of the scorpions, spiders, and ants ready to get to you!), and on the plateau before descending into the Pride Flowers grove.
Here is the complete fossil collection:
→ One of the more labour-intensive categories.
To complete the collection you’ll have to solve a series of 12 riddles in order to obtain the Ancient Stone Tablets. You may start collecting them at any point (especially if you’ve played the game before, or you’ve checked out the tablet map in goukagin’s spreadsheet) or wait for Harsha to initiate the quest and give you hints. Either way, before donating the tablets to the Museum, don’t forget to show them to Harsha first to easily build up friendship with her.
Besides the tablets, a series of artefacts can only be obtained by digging up the sand mounds around the Pyramid. Don’t forget, that whole area is scorpion infested.
You’ll also need to frequently visit the Secret Cavern, by water, North of Spoonie Island, and dig up the sand mounds in search of old coins. Some coins may also be found on the NW islands, just below the mustard patch: check out especially the dragon statue island.
See the complete collection below:
→The most frustrating of the categories; by the same token, the most satisfying category when you finally catch the last beetle or hornet etc. Cats will also bring you random bugs every other day: 2 bugs at 5♥ and 3 bugs at 10♥. Cats are a blessing; you’ll find that you’ll require their a*sistance more than you’d like to admit it. So buy a few cats early on and pet/brush them every day.
The Library has little to no useful information about them. Online resources are scarce, and the attempts to make maps of their spawning locations were not very successful. There are several factors that explain why.
Here is what I’ve managed to put together about bugs in general:
- Very few bugs are season dependent. As far as I can tell, cicadas appear in summer. Yet, those that were not caught in summer, may survive into the following seasons. All other bugs seem not to vary with the seasons, apart from winter. Winter is supposed to have fewer bugs, but I am not totally convinced which don’t put up a show. Hopefully, you’ll catch most bugs by winter.
- But some bugs vary with the time of day. Daytime is 6 AM to 6 PM. Night time is 6 PM to 6 AM. Butterflies are usually to be found during the day and are replaced by moths at night. Gra*shopper is both a daytime and night time cricket; all other crickets appear after 6 PM. Some beetles are to be found only during the day, others during the night.
- Bugs prefer certain spawn sites. Butterflies fly around patches of flowers, but they may also appear isolated in barren spots. Ants stay on the ground. Beetles spawn on the trunks of the coconut trees along beaches (check WB and the NW islands below the mustard patch). Cicadas prefer the trunks of the trees in the Lovely Point Groves. Dragonflies prefer the swamp or the lake coasts. Hornets and bees fly along flowers but can also be found on gra*sy patches or barren land. Crickets and Scorpions stay on the ground; crickets prefer the gra*s, scorpions like more the rocky terrain, though they may also take you unaware in the jungle. Spiders may hide in the gra*s, but they also like to congregate on top of flower patches, and for some unknown reason, they have a thing for sunflowers (especially the black widow). Last but not least, worms usually appear in pair on big mossy logs, but they can also be found solo on the ground.
- For some bugs, the site preference is already an indication (by exclusion) of where on the map to look for them. If beetles like coconuts, no need to look for them in the middle of the jungle or in the deep forests of the mountains.
Butterflies and other bugs, on the other hand, are a different story. They do seem to vary from one area of the map to another. Butterflies that spawn in the jungle are unlikely to be found on hills and plateaus. But you cannot get more specific than that. There is no way you can tell that a specific butterfly will spawn at a specific location, only that it may spawn there. You’ll need to visit again and again the same spawning site, until you get lucky and find what you’re missing.
Ex.: The same applies for crickets. Say, you’ve just discovered the plum orchard off Hiatus Trail and you’ve noticed there are 4 or 5 crickets to be found there. You’re only missing the Katydid. So you visit the site after 6 PM and not a single one is a katydid. You go again the next night, and the next. The frustration gets real when you watch a video with another player casually catching 2 katydids in the same spot. At some point you give up; then out of nowhere, you revisit the place looking for plums, decide to catch a bug and there it is, a katydid.
The example above was meant to explain that there is a pool of bugs that can spawn at a certain location, but what gets to spawn is chosen randomly. What I found in my experiments is that, if you are at some distance away from a spawning site and save the game, then different bugs will spawn at that location with each load game. Bugs do not seem to be a*signed at the beginning of the day/night, but rather as you approach a spawn site.
- To my knowledge, there are two bugs that nobody was able to find anywhere on the map. Two butterflies to be precise: Agrias Butterfly and Alpine Black Swallowtail. (Do let me know if you have information about them.) So how was I able to complete the bug collection? That’s were cats come in. You may strike lucky and have them gift these butterflies to you, before you even become aware of their rarity. Or they may just be the very last items to reach 100% completion. In total frustration, after you’ve inquired the in-game Library, Steam discussions, Discord chat… to no avail, you may resort to the Save & Load trick. Save before ‘harvesting’ the cat and load until the cat takes pity on you and finally catches the culprits.
These are some of the reasons why it is so difficult to compile a table or a map for the bugs. (goukagin’s spreadsheet, to be fair, comes very close; check there for hints!) What you’ll end up doing is that you try to catch everything that you find whenever you find it. When you’ll have just a few remaining, you may start looking for online sources to point you in the right direction. Don’t forget that you may need to revisit previous sites a few times to exhaust the bug pool there.
And now a few remarks about bug catching per se. A lot of players find it quite difficult and choose to stay away.
Here are a few tips that might help you:
- You need the best tools. The best bug net you can craft yourself is the Ultimate Bug Net. It consumes stamina, it has durability, but it has a longer handle than other nets. Even better than this is the Special Bug Net you get at maximum hearts with either Kumoko or Lisa. It doesn’t consume stamina, has no durability and has an even longer handle. So, the important difference between bug nets translates into the distance from which you can successfully catch the bug.
- Different bugs react differently as you approach them. But no matter the bug that caught your attention, you should always position the camera from above rather than behind. Try to stay almost vertically in relation to your character. This will allow you to gauge the distance to the bug with more precision. If you were too far, you can make slight adjustments next time. Also, zoom in closer to your character to avoid having branches and leaves interfere with your line of sight. But always approach from above.
And avoid catching a bug next to some forage on the ground. Your character will always prioritise picking up the forage to catching the bug. You can pick up the forage at some distance, so do it before attempting to catch the bug.
- And now about bug behaviour.
Most of the bugs go about their business ignoring you. You either catch them at just the right distance away or you scare them. If you’re too close they get scared and fly/jump away before you even try to catch them. If you’re too far, you miss them with your net and they fly away because missing made them aware of your presence. Butterflies, worms, spiders, ants, scorpions, crickets behave like this. You just need to reach the right distance for the type of net you’re using.
Some bugs like hornets and mosquitoes may notice your presence and attack you before you estimate you’re close enough to catch them. Try to catch them as they fly towards you. You’ll get better at it with practice; thankfully, their bite is not too dangerous.
Beetles and Cicadas are a group apart. First of all, they spawn on the trunk of trees, so visibility is an issue. Once you spot a beetle/cicada on one side of a tree, expect that all other beetles will preferentially spawn on the same side of the trees. You should always keep the beetles in sight (do not approach the tree from behind, because the beetles will still notice you). Follow the same procedure: carefully watch them as you approach from above (zooming in also helps). The moment you see them jiggle and hear a warning sound, come to a full stop. Don’t even change the camera angle. When they stop jiggling, you may continue your approach. Stop when they jiggle again and proceed when they stop jiggling, until you reach the right distance and you can catch them. It may take you longer and require more patience, but if you follow these steps, they become some of the easiest bugs to catch.
- Especially when you spot a bug you think might be one of the missing few, don’t be afraid to save the game. If you miss it, load the game and try again.
(Note: I’ve mentioned that mosquitoes and hornets will try to attack you from some distance. There are many other aggressive bugs, some capable to pack a big punch: spiders and scorpions. If you’re too close to them, they will all try and jump at you, and they never miss.
While riding your horse on full speed, you may fearlessly step over any aggressive bug without being knocked down. But if you stop often, as you would most probably do when you go searching for fossils in the Topical Tundra, and you’re close or even on top of a scorpion/spider, you will be knocked down. So don’t take your horse to be the equivalent of bug repellent, unless you’re riding and keep riding.)
Finally, the last collection:
There are so many things to love about this game… You get to immerse in a rich and vibrant world. You can ride cross country or swim to far off locations. You can choose to live in different towns, each with their own architectural flavour. You get to interact with so many villagers, with a surprisingly varied dialogue. You get to experience so many different activities. All the building blocks for a successful game seem to be in place… But I think it can get even better.
I think the game still needs some optimisation. A lot of players are forced to play on the lowest graphical settings to avoid stutters, lagging or more rarely crashes. As you advance in the game and add more things into the world (from crops to decor) you’ll start experiencing some problems.
Some players, I amongst them, may find it too casual or too open-ended. The museum is the only long-term goal offered in the game. What you do until then and beyond it is up to your imagination. The list of Steam Achievements won’t provide much inspiration either. I got to chop down 1,000 trees and fill to the brink an entire storage shed with logs and planks for no particular reason. There are only that many barns I can build in the world. In the end, I felt the sole contributor to climate change and global warming.
What else do you get to do to complete the achievements? Well, you get to spend endless hours gobbling down hundreds of dishes (why do they all have to come in hundreds?) Again, once you have meteor tools that don’t require stamina, how many crops do you need to plant over how many years to get to more naturally replenish stamina with so many stacks of food? The game needs more story, or long-term projects. And that takes me to the next remark.
There is a layer of complexity that keeps some potential players away: the “shallow” complexity due to the sheer amount of ‘items’ in the game. Let me give you some examples:
→ Of the 14 metal bars in the game you can craft tools with only 7. In Stardew Valley (SV) you had 5 types of ore, all used for tools and many other useful crafting recipes. In PD, there are 60+ gems and minerals that you only get to donate to the museum (maybe use a handful for gifting or in quests), as opposed to 40 in SV that only end up in the museum with no other use.
→ The ratio of useful fish (in recipes) and the rest (used only for the museum donations) in PD is 21:126. Of the 68 fish you can catch in SV (including crab pots) you get to use 22 in recipes.
→ There are about 600 cooking recipes in PD and only 80 in SV. Etc., etc.
This type of complexity in a game has one guaranteed effect on the players: it faces them with a very steep learning curve from very early on. What is useful and what isn’t? What should you keep in storage and what should you sell without the game punishing you? Even in late game it becomes rather irritating to see the amount of storage you dedicate to items that you almost never use. Almost is the operative word: because once in a blue moon, one random quest will send you mining for malachite or slate. When you were almost sure there is no need to keep any bugs around and sold them all, you’ll find out that Hank wants 5 bark scorpions, yep!, the deadly kind from the labyrinths.
I think the game has too many features that only function as decorum; it needs to more organically integrate them into the game through storyline, quests, long-term projects like the Museum Collection. There are a few special NPCs (like Yuki, Gelfie, Pumpkin Jack etc.) that need more lore and have the potential for such long-term stories/projects.
In conclusion, for most of the game, you get to put so much effort into hoarding hundreds of resources just for the sake of hoarding. And that takes me to my final remark.
Because there is little guiding in this game as to what to do, in what order and to what purpose, many players—especially the completionist type—choose to do everything there is to do. So you expand to other farm plots because you want to become self-sufficient and never have to use the Save & Load trick when you go shopping. And you get into breeding because you want to tick off that you’ve got all the special animals and especially the flying pigs that will allow you to cook every recipe in the game. And you want to befriend all NPC’s etc.
And this is when time-management becomes a real ha*sle and the Tuk Tuk transportation system quite the joke. If by some wizardry you managed not to play around adjusting the day length until this point, you’ll be forced to do it now. Or face the hard choice to let your crops die or let your animals get sick or some such.
From my very first game, I’ve decided to play on maximum day length with no remorse. I’ve told myself that, when I reach a certain financial stability, I’ll return to the default 30 minutes day length. I’ve tried several times to do it and the time kept rolling too fast: even in winter with fewer crops and fruit trees, even after I had fewer NPCs left to befriend. At best, I was continuously adjusting the time length. Let me first do my chores on 167 minutes, then hurry time to gift Gelfie, then lower time to do a full round of the Clementine Mines, back to rushing time to gift Yuki and on to the next day. Very few players will find the determination to do all this.
Even when you decide to play only at full day length there are some caveats. You get to do so much more in a day, but the days roll so slowly. The reason I only made it to Winter Year 1 and not beyond that is not that I spent very little time in the game (and jumped at the opportunity to write a guide about it). It actually took me 330+ in-game hours to reach the middle of winter.
In short: despite all my efforts, I just wasn’t able to find the right balance when it comes to time management. And to a large extent that is due to the fact that the game doesn’t organically integrate the many features it has at its disposal. In Stardew Valley you get to expand your crops because you can upgrade your tools (same way here) and because you have sprinklers (don’t exist here). But then you gradually reach a limit, not least because you run out of space. Even with the latest update and the second farm plot you get in SV, you get to instantly warp between farm plots. Here you have to effectively travel between 3 or 4 locations. If you have farm plots in all towns and use the Tuk Tuk to visit them all in a day, it takes 8 hours to travel from one location to all 3 others and back. What do you get to do in the remaining time? Almost nothing. Even on a speedier horse you don’t get to accomplish everything you need to. With lots of breeding animals you might get to spend an entire day just cleaning the poop for the barns.
I personally find that the more a game aims to keep things too open or too relaxing and casual, it accomplishes the opposite. Too many choices most often than not translate as fewer or no choices. I like to be organised and make a strategy based on predictions. I don’t shy away from complexity, but I like to have reasons, an encompa*sing rationale for doing things.
I think Pumpkin Days has the right ingredients to become a successful game and the small team of developers are working very hard with the community to make it so. It just needs a bit more… of something… to get there.
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