A while back we took a look at a Facebook sim game called myFarm by PlaySocial. As rudimentary as the graphics were, the game was still pretty fun for the genre.
Now, a similar game has become very popular on Facebook: Farm Town, from SlashKey.com. At first glance, it is a direct clone of myFarm. However, when given a closer look, it is not only prettier to look at but contains a great deal more depth too. In fact, it feels like myFarm has been married with Zynga’s YoVille.
Farm Town game has players building up and designing their own farm. You plow away ground, plant crops, care for animals, and place objects in order to make your farm better than all the rest. Each action you take gives you experience, which in turn unlocks new items for purchase, and you earn money by selling your crops or visiting and helping out neighboring farms (people added as friends). This is the myFarm side of the design.
As for the YoVille half, players create their own custom avatar (though it isn’t possible to change your clothes currently) and walk around a world. When players choose to leave the farm, they can visit the local inn, bank, marketplace, or realtor’s office. Upon arrival, you are immediately surrounded with other players also currently online and can talk and socialize with any of them.
Of course, this socialization does all come with a purpose (beyond the aspect of being…well… social). One of the more interesting features of this game is the ability to hire people to work for you (or visa versa). By doing so, actions around the farm can earn you a percentage (25% to be exact) more income.
Overall, Farm Town feels good, but not great. There is a lot more going on in Farm Town than myFarm, which means you end up checking on a lot of different things when you play. Who’s at the inn? Selling things at the market. Checking the store. Etc. However, the number of things you can do are outpaced by the speed of the game – meaning you can log on, check everything and still get nothing from it.
The biggest complaint about the game has been the balancing of crop harvesting, crop value, and item cost. It would seem that crops can go bad very quickly, so you have to be fairly astute with your log in habits. However, even if you do harvest your crops, a number of users feel items are too expensive (compared to earnings) to do anything significant with their virtual land. 90% of the fun in a game like this is designing your personal space, and it takes days before you can have more than a few plods of dirt on your acre (a single, tiny section of basic fence is $250, equating to half of what you start with in funding). Players, especially social/casual players, want some form of gratification right away, and it just doesn’t feel like you can do much of anything early on in this game.
Regardless of complaints, Farm Town has captivated a rather hefty number of users with a current total of over 7 million monthly active users, according to AppData. If you like YoVille and you like myFarm, then you will most likely enjoy Farm Town. It’s just a game that requires some steady play and patience to get somewhere. In time, and with a few updates, it is possible that this title will go from “good to great.”