Backwoods enthusiasts are in luck! Thanks to We Farm, anyone with an iDevice and a little time can now live the life of a virtual redneck. That’s right, that ramshackle house with the uneven roof and tires on the front lawn can now be yours. Piles of buckets are extra, though.
We Farm is a free game with optional monetized content from Ngmoco that lets you create and manage your own farm. You start out with a small redneck and his hillbilly estate, where you plant crops and raise livestock. Once mature, these crops and livestock can be harvested and even sent to the fair for judging.
Green Acres is the place to be.
All the crops and animals you produce earn you gold, which you re-invest in your farm by buying seeds, animals, or landscape items like outhouses, piles of buckets, and streams. You also earn XP, which lets you level up and unlock more things to buy and grow. As you invest more time and gold into your farm, it becomes tidier, and your house gets upgraded from a moonshine manor to different kinds of country cottages.
We Farm is a lot like Farmville, the popular Zynga game. Both let you plant crops, raise animals, and place buildings on your farm. But in We Farm, gold is especially easy to come by.
We Farm also lets you manipulate your landscape more by putting in roads, as well as streams your farm dwellers can’t cross. We Farm doesn’t have as much content as Farmville, but their chubby pigs and unhappy ducks are more fun to look at than Farmville’s perpetually happy, generic livestock.
We’re calling bull.
We Farm’s best feature is also its most difficult. Unlike Farmville, We Farm is loaded with animals and crops that harvest quickly. Most take minutes or hours to reach maturity, rather than days. This means the game can, and must, be played throughout the day. If crops and animals are not harvested promptly, they will wither and die. Animals also need to be petted regularly to keep them happy, which can be tedious.
For those who can’t wait, the game lets you speed things up by using bottles of Gro, a green liquid that expedites tasks and keeps animals happy. Gro is earned slowly in the game, but can be bought with real money through an in-game menu. Since you don’t even have to log into your App Store account to buy more Gro, this game can become alarmingly expensive for folks who give their device to their kids to play with.
Can we expect a Great Pumpkin to appear on Halloween?
The game also has some very underdeveloped aspects to it. The tiny caricatures of country folk that walk around your farm sometimes help you with tasks, but are not very interactive overall. Visiting your friends’ farms is also a bore. You click on one of their items and, hours later, a pop-up appears saying the activity you participated in is over. You get XP and gold for it, but no entertainment. What good is ostrich racing at your Plus+ pal’s farm if you can’t actually watch it?
Despite its shortcomings, We Farm is an excellent introduction to the world of virtual community-building games. A quick harvesting time for most crops and animals keeps the gold and XP flowing, which keeps the gameplay moving forward. It’s got a few flaws, but anyone who wants to be a virtual hick should check it out.