Virtual farmers, rejoice! Farm Together on Xbox One is the newest entry into the genre of farming sims. Wanna-be farmers, young and old, who want a pressure-free game that can be done at your own leisure, may just have been given a gift with the release of Farm Together.Be prepared to lose hours to this game. It is addictive to say the least!
The game starts players off with a rather in-depth tutorial. Players learn not only the controls, but also that certain crops can only be planted during certain seasons, which take 17 real world minutes to change. This leads to a lot of waiting around, making the tutorial go longer than necessary in my view, simply because the controls don’t change with the seasons, just what crops you can and cannot plant.
The controls are quite simple, and the game is definitely accessible enough for even the newest gamers to pick up and play. However, it is easy to accidentally buy things or plow up land that you didn’t want. Sometimes even placing items such as fencing can prove tricky. Thankfully, these errors can be easily remedied.
Players select what type of terrain they want to start on, and are given the options of flat, watery, steep, default (which mixes in elements of the previous three terrain options). The flat terrain option is considered the game’s “hard mode” and starts players off with less money and experience.
Customization options extend to character creation, giving players a handful of options for hairstyles, outfits, and accessories. Customization is also available for the tractor and your pet. With the tractor, players can choose paint jobs and colors, while with the pets, customization appears to be limited to the collar your pet wears. Fortunately none of these cosmetic type of items use up your in game currency and are instead tied to your XP levels.
Money is something that players could find themselves without in the early stages of the game. It is easy for an inexperienced player to be broke quickly.This leads to a lot of standing around and waiting if you used all of your money to buy crops straight out of the gate. This is especially true if the player didn’t pay attention to the information that tells how long each crop takes to grow in real time.
While not having anything to do in the interim may have been okay in the game’s hard mode, I felt like having to wait in the “easier” maps was quite a punishment. I felt that a mini-game or letting me fish whenever I wanted, rather than when the fish were ready, would have been better, and more fun than waiting for crops to grow in real time. Later in the game though, once quests get completed and crops are finally harvested, money isn’t so much of an issue. In that early going though, it can be rough.It is imperative that players take note of how long each crop takes to grow before harvest. While crops and animals don’t die off, if you plant a field of pumpkins that takes 2 days and you’re otherwise out of money, there really isn’t much else to do than wait.
The game offers players a selection of quests that involve growing crops and/or raising animals to harvest their products in order to provide a reason for growing things or raising animals. Cows for example, produce milk, which is harvested as bottles on the ground. Catching fish can also be a requirement for a quest. To some extent, these get repetitive, but never became boring. Rewards for finishing quests include XP for your character, diamonds which are used to purchase expansions for your farm, and medals which allow you to purchase decorations for your farm as well as other items such as fuel pumps, shops, stands, etc.
Jobs are also a way to get access to helping hands on the farm or furnishings for your home. They are open once your house is complete, which took 4 real time days.. However, like crops, the jobs take time to complete. The jobs that I did mainly involved cooking and usually had 3 or 4 stages of times ranging from 12 to 30 minutes per stage. The completion of jobs gives players tickets, which can be used to purchase furniture or decorations for your home, or farmhands to help you with your crops and animals.Jobs include cooking activities, painting, and music.
Fortunately, less experienced virtual farmers can get help from their more experienced friends. Additionally, players can set permissions for friends and guests, giving the player the power to decide who can plant crops, harvest, or buy/destroy things on your farm.
Prior to the game’s launch, the servers were working correctly, allowing players to smoothly enter their friends’ farms through the game’s search function. However, after launch, the search function has not worked properly, leaving players having to invite their friends to their farms via Xbox Live.
The issue still seems to remain at the time this review was written. The “Find Farms” function on the main menu also frequently froze the game, requiring a restart. However, once you are playing with friends, the game opens itself up to being so much more fun as you can work together to figure out how to most efficiently spend not only your time, but money, diamonds, and medals as well.
The graphics and sound design for this game compliment each other beautifully. Both are lighthearted and fun. The farmer characters are simply adorable, while the animals definitely have some of the best hair in video games. The music is calming. Rain falling sounds just as you would expect it to, as does running through the dirt. When the dirt is wet, you can really hear the squish of the mud beneath your feet.
Overall, Farm Together is a fun, entertaining new entry into the genre. It is easy to lose hours in this game, as it is just so addictive. Farming with friends, or if you prefer, strangers, has never been more fun.
Should you buy Farm Together now, wait for a sale or skip it?
GunpowdernBoom Recommends: BUY NOW
A review code for Farm Together on Xbox One was provided by Milkstone Studios.