The farming game genre, like many others, seems to share a certain feel among the titles. Complete, friendly and often styled in 2D pixel style, it follows the proven successful formula of a smash hit genre title. This isn’t anything unnatural, every genre does, and it doesn’t necessarily make games uncreative either.

In the case of the farming genre, the games seem to be taking inspiration from Stardew Valley, an incredibly successful farming game that captivated audiences and seems to have single-handedly catalyzed the genre’s popularity. Roots of Pacha is no different, with Stardew Valley’s inspirations clearly presented for players to see. Roots of Pacha also takes its time to innovate and expand on Stardew Valley, paying homage to its inspiration while expanding on the formula to stand out as its own title.

Roots of Pacha is a farming simulation game set in the Stone Age. You work as part of a clan of less than 30 members to forge a life together in a new land. Rather than a compelling survival tale, Roots of Pacha is a relaxing story about tilling the land and shaping a brighter future for your people, making friends and falling in love along the way.

Pasha’s roots open up as your tribe traverses the mountains, and you discuss excitement about the upcoming rite of passage. You can catch some of the names of the characters as they discuss the importance of the event. As you prepare for the big moment, your tribe takes the opportunity to reflect on the circumstances that led them to this new land.

Photo: Soda Den

After the warnings of the spirits, the chief of your tribe takes your people away from their homelands and into the unknown, escaping a foreboding calamity that will surely spell the tribe’s doom. With their way back home blocked by a major earthquake, the tribe begins to wonder if leaving the house was a mistake, lost in a large savanna forest without sign of the precious pasha tree they were told to find. That is until you and your clan leader stumble upon the great tree, and set up camp among its roots, creating a new home for your clan.

The roots of the pasha tree image
Photo: Soda Den

After this scene, the game opens up to the new tribe, and you are given some tasks in preparation for your next ritual. In addition to starting the new Clan Farm, you are tasked with meeting all 27 members of the Clan and learning about their personalities and jobs in the Clan.

The gameplay in Roots of Pacha is pretty straightforward. Everything happens on a 2D grid, and you are given a toolbar to interact with the world around you. Select a tool, click on something in front of you, and you will interact with that object. Most of what you’ll be doing in the game is cleaning areas to plow through dirt and plant seeds.

One of the ways Roots of Pacha innovates Stardew Valley is by giving tools and seeds their own unique inventory slots. This appears on the left side of the user interface, where you can switch between existing seeds and tools using hotkeys. This makes inventory management a lot to forgive, since you don’t have 4-5 slots occupied by your tools.

Al-Basha Village Roots's photo
Photo: Soda Den

Rather than farming for profit, Basha Roots sees you doing what you can to contribute to the tribe. This is reflected in “contributions”, which is currency earned by giving items to the tribe. Calling it currency may not be correct, because you are not spending it in any way. Contributions are a collective number that simply grows, and the bigger it gets, the more innovation your clan can get. We’ll go over the innovations in a second.

When you are not farming, you will be helping your tribe members. The needs of many are tracked through your journal filled with “smoke signals” (tasks) that appear when someone in the tribe needs something. Helping them out increases your relationship and rewards you with things you might not find on your own.

Roots Al Basha Magazine's photo
Photo: Soda Den

Increasing your relationship with the members of the tribe goes further than you think, because the game has a romance system. I appreciate that the game has a wealth of characters to romance (11 total,) and that you can select a group date at once. However, you can only choose one to eventually have kids with, so you won’t be playing the field forever.

As a Stone Age tribe, you start out with only the simplest tools to tame the environment. You start with a sharp piece of flint as a tool for everything, and although you can craft better tools, you first need finds to unlock recipes to create them.

Innovation is the coolest part of the game in my opinion. Discovering axes, backpacks, better ways to make fire and live together really makes the game feel like a stone age adventure. The feeling of discovery helps the game feel different from others in the genre, making the world around you feel untamed and exciting. I think this is a feeling that would be hard to achieve without the game’s unique setting.

Finally, what can be said about the game’s graphics besides being beautiful? The game looks great, with a bright stylized art style that reflects the kind of feel-good nature of the game. I will say that the goblins characters look very much like Stardew Valley, though the unique Neolithic hairstyles help separate the looks a bit.

The last word

Roots of Pacha is a game that innovates in farming sim design, offering familiar gameplay with fresh new mechanics and unique setting. Fans of the genre or those looking to get into it should definitely try Roots of Pacha.


Roots of Pacha review on PC. Find more detailed looks at popular and upcoming titles in the game reviews section of our website! Basha Roots is available at steam.

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