Genre: Action, Puzzle, Simulation, Strategy
System: Nintendo Switch (Also on Xbox One/X/S and PS4/5)
Developer | Publisher: Nerd Games | eastasiasoft
Age Rating: US Everyone | EU 3+
Price: US $4.99 | UK £4.49 | EU € 4,99
Release Date: July 19th, 2023
Review code used, with many thanks to eastasiasoft.
Agriculture is all about farming against the clock. As I like farming games, the thought of speed farming intrigued me, so I was keen to find out more. Sow, will Agriculture plant a seed of enjoyment and grow on me, or will my crops fail and I’ll have a poor harvesting time?
On Your Marks, Get Set, Go!
Agriculture launches you straight into the farming frenzy. The real-time clock is ticking straight away. Although some of the controls are on screen, there is no guidance or tutorial to explain how to play. I’ve got a few years of farming experience (the gaming kind), so I know I need seeds to start.
Surprisingly, time does not stop when you shop! So it helps to sacrifice an attempt at a level just to spend time studying what is on the shop menu. There are three tabs containing ten different crops in total. Each crop has a yellow-coloured cost and a green-coloured sell value. You only have a limited pot of money to start with, so it’s important to buy wisely. There is a number near the name of the crop, which indicates how long it takes between sowing to watering and then harvesting. Initially, this isn’t crucial, but as you progress, you have to plant strategically.
Once you’ve brought your seeds, you can grow them. Using the D-pad to select the action, you first hoe and then plant. Once the water droplets appear, you can water, and when the plant matures, you can harvest. There is also the option of using insecticide, but this isn’t necessary to begin with.
Once harvested, you can collect and then sell your crops. Again, time does not stop when you sell and each crop is sold individually.
Once all the required crops have been sold, the level ends, and you progress to the next level.
Improving Your Agriculture Skills
Agriculture consists of 50 levels, each with its own challenge. Initially, starting with just three carrots, by level 10, you require 20 carrots, 17 tomatoes, 7 eggplants, 6 beets and 5 lettuces. It doesn’t sound overly challenging, but you only have 4 minutes, the same time as for level 1.
Spending over an hour on each of the levels 9 and 10, I was very close to giving up. However, I eventually worked out that if I grew something I didn’t need, I could earn more money and save time running between the selling bin and shop.
Some of the levels are more about strategy and how to maximise profits. You only need to grow one of each crop, but you need to work out the best order in the couple of minutes available. Other levels are about scaring away the crows and mass crop production.
You can also purchase action bonuses from the shop. Each of the bonuses has the same effect, which increases the active space from one to nine. The bonuses are expensive, but as the levels progress in the game, you will need this additional help. However, the bonus is only for the current level. Disappointingly, the watering bonus doesn’t increase the amount of water in the can, so you still need to run to the well to refill.
Even with the help of growing nine squares at a time, level 30 beat me. I spent a couple of hours trying to complete the level, and although I got close several times, having to spend over 3 minutes pressing the A button to buy and then sell 325 crops was not my idea of enjoyment.
If only the crops didn’t fly all over the fields when they were harvested. If only you could sell stacks of crops rather than single items. If only the clock stopped whilst shopping. If only the watering can hold more water when it’s levelled up. If only…
Although the options menu has a ‘controls’ section, it only highlights two of the controls (at least you learn that the farmer can run!). It would be great if it showed all the D-pad controls as well.
There is no touchscreen functionality, but the text size works well in handheld mode. The game saves each completed level.
Although the run function worked well going from side to side, going up and down seemed to judder a bit. I’m unsure if this is a performance issue or whether the farmer is stumbling over invisible rocks. Either way, it’s distracting in such a fast-paced game.
The music is in keeping with the game and adds to the pressure. There is a 10-second countdown as you approach the time limit. You can alter the music and sound volume via the options menu.
If you like the pressure of timed levels and find fun in mashing buttons, then Agriculture might be the farming game for you. The concept and graphics are great, and the strategy in some of the levels is appealing. However, for me, there needs to be a few quality-of-life updates for it to be a truly enjoyable game.
Final Verdict: I’m Not Sure