Game: Farm Tycoon
Genre: Strategy Simulation
System: Nintendo Switch
Developer|Publisher: Cleversan Software | SONKA
Age Rating: EU 3+ | US E
Price: US $19.99 | UK £16.99 | EU € 19,99
Release Date: May 27th, 2022
Review code provided with many thanks to SONKA
In my gaming life, I’ve played several farming games. Being a farmer meant having a ton of chores, petting your livestock, watering your crops with a watering can, and foraging for extra cash. And once you had enough money, more production facilities and even more chores. There was never enough time in the day, but I was in cute surroundings and only had my little farmers’ energy levels to worry about.
Of course, I knew this was nothing like real farming life…Running a real farm also means there is never enough time in a day, and it’s harsh work earning your living. Early mornings, harsh sunlight or incessant rain. Low prices for crops that took ages and lots of care to grow. In this strategic simulation game Farm Tycoon real farm life is more closely mirrored. While of course still being nothing like the hard work of a real farmer. After all, steering the plough with a click of the button is easy to do!
(Already bought the game and looking for some tips and guidance? Check out our guide here)
Several Modes to Choose From
Starting Farm Tycoon there were several modes to choose from. There’s the Campaign mode, intending to teach you the ropes. I could also choose Scenarios, where you are presented with an established farm and a specific goal to reach. Lastly, it had Free Play.
I tried my hand first at the Campaign mode. You can choose from an easy or a normal mode, Easy gives you 15% more earnings. In this mode you get assignments, starting off easy but getting more complicated as the chapters progress. At first, you get busy with repairing the Farm owner’s small house, building a warehouse and manure storage. You need that, as the farm you are presented with already has some structures up, like a cow barn with cows roaming around happily producing manure.
The Campaign assignments give only a minimum of information, and I found it hard to get the bigger picture. I really feel a better tutorial should be included. For example, to show you the ropes with the buttons. It took me quite some time before I found out that I could zoom in and out by using the ZR and ZL buttons. And call me silly, but at first, I overlooked the fast forward button, thinking I was going to have to wait a long time for those crops to grow. I felt like I had to find it all out for myself, losing money in the progress.
Getting my Bearings in the Game
Why lose money doing nothing? Everything in Farm Tycoon costs the in-game currency of florin. Cows produce milk and manure, but they also cost money in food and when they need a vet. Plus, they have to be cared for by an employee. Using fields to sow crops cost money in that you need employees to do the work. Or you can have machines do the work for you. Either way, it costs money in wages, in housing for the employees. In parking space for the machinery or the cost when they have to be prepared. So trying to get to grips with it all means money is wasted.
I made a new start in Campaign mode and it went much more smoothly this time. I did get stuck farther along the route, trying to earn enough money to invest in a wind turbine. Still, I started to really like Farm Tycoon and I decided to go for Free mode, wanting to be less restricted. That worked like a charm for me.
Combines, Choppers and Headers
In Free Mode, I chose the highest starter capital there was and got a blank canvas with trees on it. Everything had to be built, including the farmers’ house. Choices had to be made, and I decided that I was going with machine labour from the start. As I started out with 2 Mio I had the cash to buy everything I needed.
Even when you have the money, the farm machines are really a challenge though, as these aren’t made up machines that look fancy like in other farming sims. No, various crops had various seeders and various types of harvesters. And most machines had to be pulled by a tractor, while the harvested crops had to be moved by a loader as well. Trying to find out which one to use was a real challenge, I felt every bit the farmer.
Managing on my Little Screen
Managing the farm financially was a big draw for me in Farm Tycoon. Watching the market prices for several products, trying to sell at exactly the right time. Making use of seasonal workers in peak season and cut the cost when I didn’t need them anymore. Making sure I had greenhouses to be able to produce something in winter too.
The menu includes an Economy tab with an overview of income and expenses. A staff list with their salary, energy levels and skills. And should I go really big, I can also take out a loan and buy more land.
The game offers the choice of using Celsius or Fahrenheit and you can choose to play in six languages. There’s a great variety of crops and animals. Nature is being mirrored, as the weather will have an effect on your crops as well as various pesticides. You can add processing plants like a juice factory, a mill or a frozen food factory. Train your workers. Beautify your farm by laying roads, and adding fences, flowerpots and hedges. All of these are designed to give your workers a more pleasant environment.
Niggles on the Farm
Not all is smooth sailing though. Farm Tycoon could use more attention to the quality of life features. Being able to check the market price while in your warehouse to sell products would be welcome. Choosing multiple actions in the menus would be better, without being knocked out after one transaction. For example, you can only demolish one tree at a time. More info on how to use the machines and an in-depth tutorial would is much needed. I mean, it was only by accident that I found out the fields needed to be more than 30 m for them to be worked by a machine. At first, I just couldn’t figure out why my machines wouldn’t do the work.
Meanwhile, the graphics are good and detailed, it’s somehow very soothing to see my workers busy on the field. The music isn’t very intrusive, more of a soothing tune in the background.
What can I say? I love Farm Tycoon because I love the management part, trying to make it into a thriving farm and keeping my eye on the finances. I would like to see some improvements however in the game like a tutorial that is sorely missed to make Farm Tycoon more accessible. It got me making my own lists and schematics, but I can see how this would deter other players.
It’s been some time since I couldn’t stop thinking about a game during the day, wanting nothing better than to play on. A sure sign of a hit for me. Based on the PC game Farm Manager SONKA did a good job helping the game make the jump to consoles. It’s great fun to have this fully-fledged farm in handheld mode on my Switch. I can manage the farm while travelling to my own work by train!
Final Verdict: I Like it a Lot