Monday, April 5, 2010

Review - Youda Farmer

Youda Games, an uncommon casual game developer, never fails to put something unique and original on the market. Today, I review a Youda game from early 2009 - the aptly named pick-up-and-deliver game, Youda Farmer!

What I liked

  • Gorgeous graphics and animations
  • Original time-management concept

What I didn't like

  • Limited clicking speed
  • Lack of variety



Quick Plot

Develop your farm by picking up goods from various production buildings on your farm, then delivering the goods to town, and doing it quickly.



Mechanics

Time Management: This is a time management game. You're not working against a clock, but against orders that are pouring in from all over your farmland. After an order comes in, it slowly falls off the screen. Once it disappears, you've failed to complete that order. This happens both in the pick up stage, and in the deliver stage.

Your happy little delivery truck, which looks even cooler when upgraded.

Pick-Up and Deliver: The first part of each level has you driving your truck madly around the farm, picking up available goods as they are produced, fulfilling a quota of orders.
Here's how this plays out:
  1. An order appears at the bottom of the screen (eggs, for example).
  2. You click on the order, which takes the screen the appropriate building (chicken coop, in our example).
  3. You grab the goods (a batch of eggs, in our example) and drag it to an empty shipping box.
  4. The truck picks up the goods the next time it swings by.
  5. A checkmark appears on the order, signifying that it has been picked up.
  6. You click the order before it disappears from the screen.
You'll end up with an entire row of mixed orders along the bottom of the screen, which is what provides a challenge. It becomes more complicated as the game goes on.

The second part of each level has you delivering the goods to various shops in town. Shopkeepers will request the goods required for their business. When you deliver the goods, the shopkeepers make their products - typically, tasty-looking food dishes. These have no in-game effect. They just look cool.


This cute, mustached man is ready to serve
up some hot meals using the goods you deliver!




Highlights

Graphics and Animations: The strange thing about Youda is that their games are never awesome. They seem to come up with unique concepts, and execute them with beautiful eye candy, but then they come up a short in terms of gameplay. This was true, for me, of both Youda Marina and Youda Sushi Chef.

Youda Farmer doesn't seem to suffer from this oversight quite as much as the other games, which is why it's my favorite Youda game to date. As with the other games, the graphics and animations are excellent. The truck rumbles around the farm while the windmill spins and crops grow. Every order shows an amusing animation when you finish it. The characters are cute and cartoony, and the buildings in town are shiny and very pleasing to the eye with their colorful tile roofs.

These high-quality graphics are what drew me into the game and kept me playing.

Original Concept: I don't think I've ever seen a pick-up-and-deliver casual game quite like this. This game offered the challenge that time management fans enjoy, but with a fresh mechanic. And I really liked the farm theme. After you deliver enough goods, the townsfolk award you with trophies. Part of the fun is watching these trophies slowly piece together, so I won't spoil for you what they are. I also don't want to reveal what goods you'll be picking up in the game, but there ends up being a good variety by the end.


New and upgraded portions of the farm show up in color on your map in between levels.



Issues

Limited Clicking Speed: This bothered me a few times. Here I was, trying to rapidly click these orders off with my mousing finger, and the game wasn't even equipped to respond to my click rate. It's always weird when games cap the acceptable clicking rate. In a time management game, you don't want restraints like this. You don't want to click rapidly through 9 orders only to discover that 1 or 2 of them didn't register, and you have to re-click them.

Lack of Variety: Some time management games really build in the features. You'll get mini games, or have interesting goals or trophies to work for. But in Youda Farmer, you do the same thing through the whole game. Pick up, deliver. Pick up, deliver. After a bunch of levels, the game is done.

To be fair, I'll mention that you can buy upgrades in between levels. This makes your buildings produce goods faster, and offers other cool new elements to your farm. You can also change the color and capacity of your truck. You also get a bonus round every time you complete a trophy. This bonus round just sends you on a mad dash around the farm to pick up as many loose goods as you can manage.

Fortunately for me, I liked the basic mechanic of the game, so I had fun until the end. But if you're looking for numerous features, you've come to the wrong place.


I love how the village buildings look. Incredibly detailed.



Suitable for the family?

Sure. The innocent farm theme is pleasant and can be enjoyed by anyone. My son liked watching the animations with me when orders were completed. In particular, we liked watching liquid goods slosh out of the glass. He also helped me to spot items on the bonus speed rounds.

Still, unless your kids really like watching a truck drive around, they might not get into the game very much.

My wife tried the game and wasn't all that eager to keep playing. It's just not her preferred flavor of time management (her favorite is Wedding Dash: Ready, Aim, Love).



The family man's final ruling

I have very little to say other than, this game is simple and fun. It's my favorite of the Youda Games that I've tried. The music fits, but doesn't offer anything special. I think most people will find the eye candy to be pleasing, if not stunning, for the casual games market. The game isn't all that long, but the length felt just right.

But I have to wonder, when will the developer create Youda Man?


The windmill at the flour field. The blades are animated in the actual game.


You'll like the game if...

  • You like fast-clicking time management games
  • You like farm-themed games

You won't like the game if...

  • You want lots of variety
  • You don't like picking up and delivering goods
  • You get stressed out by time pressure


My rating:

If you want to play Youda Farmer, click below:

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