Another day, and another farming game to review for the Vita. I’m pretty sure that at this point we have more Farming games available for the Vita than we do first person shooters, and what were the Vita’s twin sticks meant for again?
Anyway I’m not complaining because Rocking Pocket Games have brought us a casual farming game, available to download on the PSN store through the Mobile section, that is slightly different to what you might expect!
The game itself is a hybrid of Farming simulation and puzzle game. You start off choosing from a male or female avatar to play as and you are given a plot of land that you can use as you please. Of course the first thing you will need to do is to grow your produce. This is easy enough and a quick tutorial takes you through the process of how to do so. Of course you will need to grow the produce that is indicated at the top of your screen, however the amount you grow is completely up to you! The process is very similar to a certain Facebook farming game, in that you purchase a square of your plot to be used for growing produce, you then plow the square and you plant whatever you need from a choice of 8 different vegetables, which each have a different price and different grow time. Once your produce is ready, you can harvest it and it is tallied up at the top of your screen. Unfortunately the process of farming can become quite tedious if you have a large amount of plots, as you need to highlight each plot, tap it to plow it, tap it again to plant and repeat for every plot you have. This can be mitigated somewhat by using the repeat option, which allows you to tap on your plot and then repeat your last action. Now unlike Farmville on Facebook you won’t need to hang around for hours waiting for your mushrooms to grow. Veg is produced in different lengths of time ranging from around 30 to 50 seconds. Price also varies from $2 to a whopping $100 for the seeds to plant.
The game will start you off only needing 3 different types of produce for you to grow. As I said above though, you are not told exactly how much of each are needed and must guess, as this will determine your fate in the Market puzzle game that you can initiate at any time while farming. Later on in the game you will be able to purchase aesthetic items for your farm aswell as useful items that can help your farm in different ways, such as the tractor which when used will plough all your plots in one go. Once you feel you have enough produce, you can start the Market puzzle game and your harvested produce is then transferred to a series of conveyor belts that move your produce to be bagged. Your job here is to take your produce and put it into the correct bags that are displayed at the bottom of the screen before it falls off the bottom of the conveyor, you also have to separate the bad produce and put it in the bin. Once you have filled a bag you can then sell it off to market and the bag will be replaced with a new empty bag that will require filling again. The market puzzle game requires you to receive a set amount of money from selling your produce, this can be achieved easily by filling bags that are adjacent to each other and selling them at the same time, rather than one at a time. It is possible to completely fill all 8 bags and sell them at once and this gives a big bonus to your acquired funds. Achieving the target will allow you to level up and once you are levelled up you will then be required to grow more produce and different types to take on the next puzzle. The Market puzzle game offers the same experience every time but at a gradually faster pace. Variety comes in the form of the different types of produce that come down the conveyors ready to be picked. However, there can be a problem with the Market puzzle sometimes sending down the completely wrong produce for the bags that you have available to fill and suddenly the screen can fill with the wrong produce, and through no fault of your own you end up losing produce that you will inevitably need later on in the game and that can cost you valuable $’s towards your target.
Controls are all touch based utilizing on-screen icons for most of your farming and touch based gestures solely for the Market puzzle game. This title actually needs you to hold your Vita vertically, this is not unique in itself but it is extremely rare for any game to ask this of you at the time of writing.
Graphics are 2D and cartoon like in nature, even your produce has eyes! Neither your character or any animals you have acquired actually move, and your character just slides to each square you send him to. Grown produce just pops on-screen when it is ready to be harvested and there are no animations to show anything being done, even the tractor stays still as your plots are magically plowed for you!
Sound is more than a little repetitive, with one music track played throughout your farming and puzzling experience. To start with this is not much of a problem as you are busy farming and puzzling, but after a while, once you settle into the routine of the game, it can grate on you. Sound effects are also pretty sparse with the odd animal noise here and there, when they have been purchased.
For me Pocket Farm feels like a very basic version of Farmville but with an interesting puzzle element which initially comes over very well, but can frustrate you the further you progress. Also due to my experience of Farmville I keep seeing similarities with Pocket Farm even though it tries to go down a different track with its puzzle element.
Overall then Pocket Farm is enjoyable while it lasts, unfortunately with no real variety to the puzzles or no real depth to the farm you create it almost seems like two separate games bolted together, which is a shame as the groundwork for a more varied and deeper experience has been laid here. If you know nothing of Farmville then you may appreciate this game far more than I did, I just couldn’t stop making comparisons, and that unfortunately does this game no favours.
At A Glance
- Title: Pocket Farm
- Publisher: Rocking Pocket Games
- System: PlayStation Mobile
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross Buy: N/A
- Cross Play: N/A
- Online Multiplayer: N/A
- Memory Card Space Needed: 27MB