Review: Farming World – A Detail-Oriented, Isometric Farming Sim

Farming World, spraying pesticide
Review: Farming World – A Detail-Oriented, Isometric Farming Sim

Platforms: Windows PC, Mac, Steam

Game Name: Farming World

Publisher: Merge Games, Excalibur

Developer: Excalibur

Genre: Simulation

Release Date: May 2nd, 2014

Farming World – What We Think

With its ’90s-era graphics and simple, isometric view of pastoral landscapes tended by tiny, brightly colored plows and migrant workers, Farming World seems at first like a pleasant diversion, an old school take on the popular social and mobile games like FarmVille. An almost bewildering array of choices, options and variables, however, makes this simulation an accurate reproduction of the real-life headaches and liabilities of trying to run a struggling agricultural concern.

Farming World, spraying pesticide

Seed Money

Starting with predetermined sum of money and a few standard buildings (a two-vehicle garage, refrigerated warehouse and grain storage silo), you’re pretty much given free reign to determine the direction of your farm. You’ll need land, of course, and you’ll need to figure out exactly what you want to raise, whether it be crops or livestock, each of which has its own additional requirements; for crops, for example, you’ll need to plow, plant and decide whether you want to fertilize and use insecticide. You’ll also need to choose your crops carefully; plant fruit or nut trees, and you’ll be waiting forever to harvest, but faster-growing crops are more vulnerable to the vagaries of weather.

Farming World, buying crops

Adding to the complications, a lot of these choices offer a further decision between renting and owning. Will it be better to rent a huge tract of land or buy something smaller? Are you better off in the long run buying a pesticide sprayer, or is it safe to just rent one occasionally on an as-needed basis and save your money for seeds?

How to Lose a Farm in 10 Days

Once you’ve begun to navigate the mental minefield of setting up your farm, there are, of course, numerous things that can go wrong. A sudden change in weather can ruin your crop quality, reducing your payment after harvest, while pests and plant diseases can drastically reduce your overall yield. On top of that, you’ll need to periodically supplement with fertilizer, because the more crops you grow on a particular plot of land, the more your soil quality degrades.

Farming World, looking at charts

By the time your crops make it to market, you’ll have additional choices to make; you can sell your goods at the market price, check for purchase orders from restauranteurs and other potential customers, or set your own price on the private market and hope for a taker. Eventually, you can even set up your own cannery, juicing plant, etc. to process your goods before bringing them to market. But that’s only if you’ve made all the right choices; it’s entirely possible to “successfully” farm crops (by overspending on fertilizer and pesticide, for example) while consistently losing money until you’re forced to take out a usurious bank loan. Keep at it long enough, and you’ll run out of money (or be unable to pay back your loans) and lose the game.

Bitter Harvest

It’s a truism that more than half of new restaurants fail within a year, and judging by this game, farms are an even riskier proposition. Despite its pleasant, dated graphics, Farming World is an accurate simulation of all the things that can possibly go wrong while trying to run a farm. The game’s numerous variables and choices are great if you’re into detailed, spreadsheet-oriented business simulations; it takes into account everything from weather to soil quality. If you’re just looking for a relaxing diversion where you get to click on cows and chickens, look elsewhere.

Farming World – Official Site

Get Farming World on Steam

[xrr rating=”3/5″]

Watch the trailer for Farming World below: