“I can’t read and I can’t write but I can drive my tractor” Goes a popular song by The Mangled Wurzels, um… well.. popular if you are a country bumpkin at least! However the lyrics to this song could easily describe Tractor Trails, which is an action puzzle title from Origin 8 that is compatible with PlayStation Certified Mobile devices and of course that shiny PS Vita you no doubt own! Driving “Red” the tractor is far easier than learning to read or write even for a 3 year old, as I can attest to!
Tractor Trails, tasks you with a simple premise. To drive your tractor across a field and fill that field with trees. This task is made easy by the way you control Red around the field or map by use of the PS Vita’s touchscreen, the field or map is split up using trails which run all over it. Red can only use these trails to traverse the field and unfortunately his brakes don’t seem to work (something to do with cutbacks I imagine!) which means that Red will only stop once he hits the edge of the field or an obstacle. Another problem you have is that you are only able to use a trail once and then it is blocked off by a tree that you plant behind you wherever you go (Yes this is arable farming at it’s finest). This means that you must pick your route carefully or you risk cutting yourself off from portions of the field you have not been to. There are also other obstacles to factor into your route that need to be avoided and conditions within the environment that can help you get around the field easier: roads can be used more than once and mud can stop you in your tracks and allow you to move off in another direction mid trail, bridges can also be moved to help you across water.
You have 3 goals that, when fulfilled, offer you stars that are used to unlock more fields for you to tackle, with there being a total of 130 fields for you to farm. Stars are not the only thing that you will be collecting on your journey, Corn can be picked up as you tractor around and this corn is stored and can then be used in the shop. The shop has items and upgrades for Red that will help you, particularly in the later levels and range from hints to Undo’s and Pausing time. These items can be bought as many times as you need as long as you have the corn for them. Upgrades to Red though include the ability to queue moves, move faster and the ability to hold more help items per level.
Controls are simple and responsive, with you swiping the front touchscreen in the direction you want Red to go. All functionality can be performed with the touchscreen and that is what makes this title so easy to pick up and play. To start with it does seem that Red is a tad slow and unresponsive but this is because he is by design to start with. However once you have purchased a couple of upgrades, Red becomes more responsive and coupled with the ability to queue moves (once purchased) suddenly the game seems to catch up with what you want to do.
Graphics are very pleasant on the eye and while they are on the cartoony side they are nice and crisp and lend themselves to the overall slick presentation throughout the title. The Soundtrack is consistent throughout but does not hold much in variety, but then does it really need to?
The only gripe I had with the game was with the reward system, only 1 star is allotted to the time it takes to get around the field, and this for me means that because of the tight goal time given, if you make even a single mistake, then you fail, and that means retrying the level from the start until you get every single move correct, considering the complexity of some levels it can seem disheartening that you get nothing for your effort. Unfortunately there is no multiplayer to speak of and that seems a shame, as a split screen mode could have added to the already substantial singleplayer mode.
Having played the game myself, I initially thought that the game was slow and cumbersome. However once you have upgraded Red, the game becomes faster and more intuitive and this helps the game shine. Environmental hazards and conditions also contribute a great deal to the overall game whether they hinder or help you and keep things from getting stale fast. The bite size fields are enough to fill a few minutes between commutes and this is enhanced by the low price point.
Overall, Tractor Trails is a thoroughly enjoyable game that is easy to pick up and play any time you have a spare few minutes. It fills those spare moments brilliantly and is so easy to play, due to the touch interface, that I am unable to do anything other than recommend this title to anyone! Now then how can I fit “I’ve got a brand new combine harvester” into the next review!
At A Glance
- Title: Tractor Trails
- Publisher: Origin 8 Technologies Ltd
- System: PlayStation Mobile
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross Buy: No
- Online Multiplayer: No
- Local Multiplayer: No
- Memory Card Space needed: 45MB minimum