by Sergio Brinkhuis
reviewed on PC
I would be a lousy farmer in real life. I wield a keyboard better than a shovel and I most enjoy the open country from the window of my car. I’m not lazy, far from it, but I’m simply not built to work on the land. Thus it is all the more confusing that I love the idea of producing honest food, tending to livestock and using the sun and the earth to raise crops and feed animals. I hear a farmer talk about his trade while walking around on his farm, I envy his ability to create all these wonderful products while being thankful that my part in the food chain involves little more than chewing and swallowing. And then, of course, there is the business aspect of farming.
Farming World was put together to give desk jockeys such as myself a chance to experience all that digitally, without having to get our hands dirty. It’s a simple game, with some redeeming elements, but one that isn’t quite sure whether it wants to simulate a farm or a business and falls short of being either.
The game’s creators knew they were catering to the masses rather than real farmers. Getting started is incredibly easy and there are numerous helplines available to those who are looking. You simply buy or rent a plot of land, plow it, fertilize it, sow or plant a crop and then you wait. While waiting, you spray some pesticides and keep track of water levels. Once the crop is ready to be harvested, you hire some hands or a harvester depending on what the crop requires, reap what you have sowed and then sell it on the market.
Throughout it all, your biggest question is “what crop should I sow?”. Elroy, farmer extraordinaire, works at the Farmers Centre where you buy all your farming supplies and will tell you exactly what to grow at what time of year and under what conditions. There is a wealth of information available on all seeds and plants so you can figure it out yourself, but Elroy makes it easy.
There is a little more to the game than the above, but not much more. There are some simple production paths that allow you to turn your produce into shelf products like canned foods and juices, there are greenhouses where you can grow crop all year round and garage buildings of various sizes where you can park the machines that you buy to save on rent money.
All the paths are rather shallow, though, and the Farming World’s idea of diversification is offering buildings and equipment in multiple sizes or qualities. The cost differences between the smallest and the biggest options are usually so tiny that it’s worth saving up for the bigger option and as none of the buildings require any funds for maintenance or other materials than your own produce, you would be mad not to go big. So a one-time investment in a large juice factory will have you squeezing apples to fluids without any extra cost, ever, and the additional revenue is so high that you will be buying new land at the speed of light.
Educational? Yes. Challenging?
You would have to set the difficulty level to the maximum if you want any kind of challenge, and even then just paying attention should keep you out of the dog house. I was hoping to find some challenge in beating the game’s AI player but he turned out to be the Illusive Man. A tantalizing button at the top of the screen will send you to his HQ but he’s never home. In fact, he does not exist, it’s just an empty plot of land which in a decade or two will be at the border of your own terrain, consumed a short few years after.
There is nothing inherently wrong with Farming World, but there’s not a whole lot to recommend it either. The bland graphics equal the bland gameplay that feels more like an unfinished framework for a farming simulation than a complete game. The economic simulation falls short due to the lack of building and fleet upkeep and the farming simulation is too simple to make it worth your while for more than a few hours. It’s not a complete bust, though. Farming World has some value as an educational tool for young teenagers interested in farming, but as a game it lacks the personality and depth required to actually make it fun.
It's rather unique, there are not many farm simulation games that focus on management.
Bland graphics, bland gameplay and little depth.