Farming simulators are aplenty these days for both the casual and hardcore crowd. With origins in games like SimFarm, we have seen games like Farmville and Farming Simulator take the same concept in vastly different directions. Farming World is an unusual blend of both worlds, being both a click-fest and seriously complex experience. The strange mashup proves fairly addicting if you dig intense amounts of micromanagement.
The concept in Farming World is simple. You begin the game with a fairly large, open map and simply are supposed to build your own farm. By smartly utilizing your starting balance, it is possible to slowly grow into a veritable empire with crops and animals aplenty. However, the start is very slow, and actually makes it quite difficult to survive past your first crop yield. This is thanks to the incredibly rigid gameplay systems in place.
To start with, your initial farm is basically lacking in every conceivable “luxury”. Need a garage to store your new tractor? Buy one! Do you want to store your freshly harvested wheat? Well, you’d better hurry and purchase a warehouse because you can’t just sell wheat straight from the field. All of this makes sense but means that your initial stock of cash dwindles fast. Of course, you can choose to rent all vehicles and even fields, but eventually it just makes more sense to buy them outright.
When running low on cash, there’s the ability to pick up a bank loan. As in real life these loans need to be repaid with interest by a certain date. The problem with this is simply that there’s little restriction on the size of loans. As such, it’s entirely possible to get into deep debt early on. Growing crops or raising animals takes a lot of time so even full investment back into the farm doesn’t grant revenues anytime soon.
Farming World offers a great deal of freedom in regards to how players want to handle their farm. Tons of seeds are available as well as animals ripe for farming. If you want to make an apple orchard with pigs, then go for it. If you intend to make purely organic fruits and veggies then you’re certainly free to try (and reap the benefits of a higher price tag). It’s possible to have a farm with only animals, or basically any other combination of things. The only restriction is in funding and stars.
Now, stars are where the game diverges into strangely free to play game territory. Sometimes, when you do something good (harvest a crop, etc) a green star will appear. Clicking on these stars adds them to your star account. Stars are used to unlock pretty much everything in the game from increasingly proficient vehicles to animal types. They kind of serve as experience but it’s not as if the growing of specific animals or crops are much harder than others. Of course, you can’t buy stars with real money either, so it is just an unusual design decision.
The other aspect that makes Farming World seem very simplistic is the amount of clicking required to maintain your farm. For example, say you have a pen full of cows. It’s possible to turn on 3x speed to let the cows mature so they can be sold but there’s more to it than that. Every few days you must also click the feed button to fill their pen with food. Of course, ignoring to feed them for long enough leads to dead cows. As such, you must continuously pay attention to this specific animal and click the button regularly. Having to babysit each specific section of your farm is easy when starting out, but becomes far more difficult once expanded. Crops allow auto-watering to be triggered at 50%, but for some reason animals do not get this benefit.
One thing that seems to bother people about the game is its pixelated graphics. The isometric perspective provides a good view of the retro-looking farm and all its buildings. The art style is actually pretty charming in its attention to detail. For one, each crop has a different visual design rather than all looking the same as they grow out. You can also watch animations of animals, farm workers, and trucks as they move through the farm.
Without a wonderfully automated farm, you’re basically stuck clicking, clicking, and clicking some more with little reason to. It’s tiring and becomes annoying after a while. The fun to be had creating a farm is more about management and layout than actually performing every single step yourself. Some people do enjoy that, but then they gravitate more toward farming simulations than managers, which Farming World is supposed to be. It offers players immense freedom to create their ideal farm, but only if they’re willing to do a ton of work to prepare and maintain it for future years.