Family Farm for the pc is published by Iceberg Interactive and developed by Hammerware. Family Farm is a mixture of a life simulation and a tycoon style game played on the pc. The game is based around a couple called Agnes and Alfred to begin with, but the further into the game you get they have a son called Arthur. As the player, you have to run a farm based in a 19th century farmstead setting. You control the characters with RPG like attributes, skills and needs. You are also responsible for not only running the farm, but also keeping your family at the same time. The game is based on various levels, these are as follows: Lowlands which gives you four stories to work your way through and set at a basic starting point. The Highlands is based on more on a tough country farm where people have to work hard to make ends meet and The Manor, the hardest level, where you actually have to manage a manor. The lands offer various crops, livestock and conditions. The first stage of the game is for the player to become aware of the controls and how to use various characters in the game. The game play is based around a ranking system which requires you to replay a story if the required rank is not met, when the required rank is met more stories will unlock as you progress.
Starting out in the game you will be playing as a young couple in their first farmhouse, it’s small with just a kitchen and a chicken coop to keep you going. The kitchen is divided into two parts; with one area for preparing food that can be done by a number of cooks, but you do have to keep in mind how many you can fit into your kitchen. Your game is determined on your total income, expenses, net result and farm value. You will also be assessed on your harvest, growth and happiness.
During the game play your characters will come out of the farm house at the beginning of every season. You will then have to click on each character to send them towards their objective, such as chopping down trees, gathering apples, tending to the harvest or just feeding the chickens. Each character will carry out their assigned task until you tell them otherwise. During the process of the game your characters will start to show signs of hunger and will need to be fed. In order to feed your characters you will need to click on the kitchen and select the meal which you would like to cook for your characters, once you have done this you will then need to allocate the task to a character of your choice. The choice of food ranges from simple sandwiches to gourmet foods.
Once the food is cooked a plate will appear, you will need to move the plate into the allocated area and then order the characters to go and eat some lunch. The game play progresses through all the seasons, so in spring you can send your characters off to pick berries, gather eggs and prune trees. You will also have to tend to the livestock which will include feeding and sheering. During the first season you will be required to keep the family happy, upgrading your farm kitchen and planting new vegetables. Once you have upgraded your kitchen you will then be able to fit more members of staff in at one time to complete the task of preparing and cooking food. You will be required to work your way through the game in order to have more workers come to your farm; you will be required to pay them and keep them content.
The further into the game play the more decorations you can unlock; this feature in the game is very amusing and enjoyable. It gives you the opportunity to decorate to suit your desired style using flowers and also ornaments. Your son Arthur will gradually grow and offer his services and muck in with the day to day routine of tending to a farmstead. As you upgrade your kitchen you unlock more meals to prepare for your family and workforce, this will be great prospect to see them working more efficiently; some of the meals may take longer than others to cook but are always enjoyed by all the characters.
Family Farm features 10 life stories and it’s not always easy to fulfil all the requirements of some stories first time round. You can choose to carry on through the seasons or move on. The seasons are forever changing, which means that you need to keep a close eye on the soil conditions and what people really want from the farm. Players are also given an anticipated outcome to fill while playing the game.
During the game there is an on screen tutorial that helps you throughout the game and never leaves you feeling as though you have been thrown into the deep end. I found that this was very helpful and gave me a great sense of relaxation throughout the changing of seasons. Taking care of the family and tending to the farm animals felt dynamic and during the game you unlock more livestock to tend to ranging from chickens to horses.
The graphics during the game are relatively cartoony, but still visually pleasing. The graphics are idyllic for this game stereotype; they blend in well with the overall game play and features of the game.
The game’s audio consists of farm like music in the background, which fits in with the overall theme of the game. The background music is satisfyingly enjoyable and is not so overpowering that it could be seen as a distraction.
Family farm is an ideal game for the casual gamer and provides an enormous selection of life stories that will absorb would-be farmers for a long time to come. It offers solid game play, whilst also giving you a laid back insight into the modern life of farming.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.