One of the best things about writing for a videogames website is that you get free codes for games. Each week we get sent an array of codes for indie games. When they come in there are various discussions at Enthusiast Towers about who will review each one. Sometimes it’s the good kind of discussion because we have a few people that want to review a game. Occasionally, it’s the opposite. Who are we going to subject with this review?
When the codes came in on Friday, I took one for the team by offering to review TRAX – Build it, Race it. Then I also chose a game that I had no idea about. The game was Farm Together. I figured that at the very least, I could play it with my little boy who loves that kind of thing. I have to confess, I really wasn’t expecting much. Well, after a few days of playing, my little boy can’t get anywhere near it because I’m absolutely hooked on it!
I’m sure it won’t surprise you to learn that Farm Together is a farm simulator. You grow crops, plant trees, care for animals, farm fish, and other farm-based things. Starting off with a modest size property and a small budget, you begin your farming career. Grow a patch of lettuces and when you sell them you’ll have the money to plant some carrots. Once you have harvested those you can move on to something like tomatoes, and so on. As you grow your funds, you can grow more and more crops and eventually start to buy some livestock.
I started with pigs and chickens but pretty soon had ducks, cattle, and goats as well. There’s a whole menagerie of animals available, though, they take a while to unlock. There’s also a vast array of fish that you can buy. Again, you start off with fairly standard tropical fish but as you go along you can unlock nearly everything from trout and salmon to hammerhead sharks and piranhas. The range of choice is great and you’ll play for hours trying to unlock your favourites.
Manage your resources
At its heart, Farm Together is all about space and money management. There are natural features, like rocks, raised areas, brooks, streams, and ponds that restrict you from just creating huge patches of crops. Instead, you’re better served to create lots of medium sized patches. After a while, you’ll unlock the ability to use a tractor which makes ploughing, planting, and harvesting a lot easier. A tractor can deal with a 9 tile area (3 x 3 square) and makes your life a lot simpler. You do need to be aware of your fuel level. The tractor uses fuel every time you use it to perform an action. Just driving around is fine, though.
There are several different currencies for you to manage (don’t worry, there are no loot boxes here). The main one is coins. These are what you use to buy crops, trees, animals, and fish. The basic gameplay cycle is to spend coins on ploughing an area and buying crops to plant in that area. Once you harvest the crops you make your money back along with a small profit. You then repeat this over and over. Trees and fish are a little different in that they cost more to buy but once you have them, they stay with you throughout the course of the game and you can keep harvesting them. With animals, you not only have to pay to buy them but to feed them as well. Obviously, there’s more money to be made here but you really have to watch your finances.
One of the other currencies is gems. These are earned by selling items like vegetables, fruits, nuts, flowers etc at stalls that you can buy. The gems are used to buy things like more stalls and farm expansions (though these require a certain XP level as well). The other main currency is medals. These are earned by completing quests and can be used to purchase really useful but rare items like gas stations, automatic animal feeders, sprinklers, and alike.
Looking good and playing together
You may have noticed from the images above that the game has great stylised graphics. While games like the Farming Simulator series goes for realism in both visuals and gameplay, Farm Together is all about fun. The characters have a really cool cartoon style. The same is true of everything else in the game. The animals look particularly great. The buildings and stalls all look fun. Even the crops and trees pull off a great cartoonish look while still being easily recognisable. Your character is also massively customisable. There are so many options that you can spend hours just picking out the look that suits you.
Obviously, with this being a game called Farm Together, you can farm with other gamers. First of all, let’s get the negative out of the way. There is no split-screen option. I was really looking forward to being able to play alongside my son on the sofa next to me. Alas, that was not to be. You can, however, play with other gamers from all over the world. There are numerous options for how this works. You can decide to just work on someone else’s farm. This is easy. Just go to ‘Find Farms’ in the main menu and then click on the farm you want to join.
Alternatively, you can allow people to come and work on your farm. There are a few options here. The first is about who can join your farm. You can choose to limit it to friends or allow anyone to join. The second thing to decide is what they can do. You may not want the people joining your farm to have access to your finances. If this is the case (and do you really trust random gamers) then you can limit them to just being able to harvest items and walking around your property.
Growing on me
I have spent more hours than I would care to admit on Farm Together over the last few days. I would say that I’m almost addicted to it. Whether it’s because it appeals to my slight OCD tendencies or something else I don’t know. What I do know though, is that I have loved every second of it. Milkstone Studios has created a gem of a little game that provides a lot of the satisfaction of the hardcore farming games while still making it approachable and, ultimately, fun. The music is divine. The animations are great. The art style is gorgeous. The gameplay is engrossing. There’s very little to criticise about this game. Unless you are adamantly against titles that get you to undertake a real-world job, I dare you not to be charmed by this gorgeous game.
Founding Xbox Enthusiast member and serious guitar player. Basically, Steve rocks. Need we say more?