Sunday, November 8, 2009

More egg solids! - a review of Farm Frenzy

Today, I review the oldie-but-goodie, Farm Frenzy! This was the first in a series of 4 Farm Frenzy games.

What I liked

  • Streamlined gameplay
  • Cute, colorful design
  • Lots of things to work for
  • Fun economics and strategy

What I didn't like

  • I wished there were even more upgrades
  • No ending to speak of


Quick Plot

Get good at managing farms by feeding animals, producing goods, and making money!


Features

  • 5 types of animals to buy (geese, sheep, cows, dogs, cats)
  • 3 types of goods to develop (eggs, wool, milk)
  • 10 things to build and upgrade
  • 16 awards to earn
  • 48 levels
  • You control everything from a first-person perspective, rather than controlling one character from a third-person perspective (as is common in many time management games)

The map. The blue dots are levels.


Highlights

The great thing here is the mechanics. This is an economic time management game, and the developers came up with something wonderfully original.

Gameplay

Here are the basics of how the game works.
  • Collect the products that animals drop (geese drop eggs, for instance)
  • Build buildings that can process these products, making them into more valuable products (turn eggs into egg solids, then into muffins)
  • Ship products into town by truck to earn money
  • Use money to buy more animals and upgrade your buildings
  • Lock bears in cages when they come to attack your farm animals
  • Achieve the level's goals within a certain amount of time to earn stars
  • Spend stars to buy better buildings and resources at the shop between levels
Music

The music is simple and cute. It matches the bright mood of the game. The only issue is that the music is the same for every level. If you don't like the music, this might drive you nuts. You might want to turn it off. I didn't mind it.

Degrees of Challenge

One feature that made the game so fun for me is the medals you can earn. You are given Gold and Silver goals at the beginning of each level. If you finish the level quick enough to meet the Gold goal, you earn the gold medal and a bunch of extra stars, which allow you to purchase upgrades more quickly in the shop. Silver goals are the same, but easier to accomplish. This challenge was what kept me playing. I played each level as many times as it took to master it and earn the gold medal. It seems there's one best method for each level, and if you can figure it out, the gold medal shouldn't be too much of a problem.

I have one gripe though. Eventually, all those gold medals earned me enough stars to purchase every available upgrade in the store. This gave me nothing to use my hard-earned stars on for a big chunk of levels toward the end of the game. I thought they should have allowed more upgrades, like a single-click bear cage (a 3-click bear cage is the best available).


A level in progress.


Suitable for the family?

If there's one thing kids love, it's animals. My kids liked watching the animals roaming around the screen munching grass and dropping goods. They liked watching the cats collecting the goods and the dogs barking to keep the bears at bay. This one is cute and bright - great for kids! Maybe not for my wife so much - she didn't like hearing the same music playing constantly from across the room...


The family man's final ruling

Despite my minor
gripes, this is easily among my favorite casual games of all time. It is just so fun to play! There is something elegant about these mechanics. The design is superb. It combines time management with economics and strategic planning in a fun and engaging way. There are always upgrades to work for, and it is so satisfying to send a batch of cheese to town and watch huge money roll in. While there isn't really any ending to the game, the last level makes all the previous work worth it. You'll see.

If, like me, you aren't as interested in restaurant-based time management games, give Farm Frenzy a try. You might find that this is a welcome new take on the genre. And if you like it, there are 3 more games in the series!

You'll like the game if...

  • You like strategic time management games
  • You like cute games
  • You like farm-themed games
  • You like economic games

You won't like the game if...

  • You prefer less strategy in your time management games
  • You prefer to control a character who runs around serving food


My rating:

If you want to play Farm Frenzy, click below:

No comments:

Post a Comment