I’ve been avoiding farm simulators like the plague ever since Farmville came out. This isn’t to say that I don’t like farm simulators; on the contrary I have found many weeks of my life gone while planting and harvesting crops in the Harvest Moon series, but something about the design of farm simulators in the last few years has caused me to avoid them though, and now I know what it is. The casualness of these games is, well, a little too casual for me, or at least for the subject of the games anyway.
See, the story of the game is that the city girl Lisa (you) has been duped into an acting job on a reality show where she must learn how to manage a farm, all while in high heels. Not only does Lisa do a wonderful job at farming. She does so well that she ends up not only getting the Show of the Year Award, but also the Farmer of the Year Award (Note: This is the goal of the game, so it doesn’t count as a spoiler). I think at this point even Barbie would be calling bullpucky on the story of this game. In case you’re wondering why I have such distaste for the story of this game or how easy it makes farming seem, here is a history lesson…I grew up on a farm, it isn’t this easy.
So what else could be waiting underneath this shallow story? Well surprisingly enough it’s a really addicting farming game.
Gameplay consists of, well…farming. You’ll start out by placing down soil into rows or squares or whatever kind of pattern you want. From here you’ll proceed to plant items in the ground and then wait until your crops are ripe to harvest them. Along with managing the crops you’ll also have to manage some live stock as well. These consist of cows, geese (Why geese? Don’t ask, I don’t know) and sheep. From these animals you’ll collect milk, eggs and wool.
The game also takes it a step further by giving you the machines to make products from your various resources. Corn goes into the Popcorn Popper to make popcorn (yes I know it’s obvious) while other machines take more resources to get the final product. Like the Chocolate Furnace that takes four coco plants and a bucket of milk to make a bar of chocolate. These little additions will leave you running around frantically to try to keep up with the orders for the day.
The overall franticness of the gameplay is what ultimately makes this game fun. Everything happens so fast, and you run on such a tight schedule that you really don’t have time to stop and think. Which will leave you clicking away to get orders filled for hours on end before you even realize it. Two hours after I started playing I finally resurfaced after getting to level 35. Now I want you to think about the fact that there are 100 levels in the game along with casual and expert modes. Go ahead and calculate up how many hours of your life you’ll be losing.
The game has a nice art style to it. Characters look lovable enough and the farm radiates sunshine and rainbows. The only strange thing is that Lisa has a giant head, giant as in put some wrinkles on her forehead and she could be Worf’s sister.
The sound is pretty simplistic, various unidentifiable sounds of harvesting crops and taking care of animals. I’d like to say that the music was nice to listen to, but honestly I couldn’t think of it right now no matter how hard I try. In fact the music was so unpronounced that I couldn’t even tell you if there was music in the game (ok I checked and there is music, but you get the point).
Despite the shallow story, unnoticeable audio and lack of satisfaction that comes with actually having to work to produce crops this is a really solid game, especially since it’s only $10. My advice would be to pick it up if you’re into these kinds of games, and heck if you just enjoy a good casual game every once in awhile then maybe give it a try. In fact you can try the game for an hour for free, so why not check it out and see for yourself?