Successful farming markets do not depend on loud barkers, but on smart organizers
It is kind of surprising that no time management game has really tried to capture the theme of farming markets, considering all the farming games that have been released over the last couple of years. Farmers Market by Fugazo aspires to do just that, requiring the player to organize various markets with stands of different vendors and farmers. With its charming graphics, a rather unique gaming experience, and a decent length, Farmers Market is without a doubt one of the best releases of this year in its genre.
Farmers Market does not include any real storyline to speak of, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. Instead of forcing a far-fetched plot upon the player, the game focuses on its strengths entirely. The game features 60 levels, which can be played either relaxed or timed. Basically you have to construct various stands for farmers, vendors, or specials on empty plots to keep customers satisfied and the market running.
The heart of your market are your workers, of which you can train as many as you need for a certain amount of money. These workers perform any task, from building and upgrading all sorts of stands, delivering drinks, collecting the trash, or fetching ingredients from one stand to another. Stands are divided into three groups: farmers, vendors, and special. Farmer stands include vegetables, dry goods, sweets, or dairy, which can also be upgraded to produce two products at the same time; for example, butter and milk. Vendors sell baked goods, burgers, roasted corn, or BBQ chicken. These stands can certainly be upgraded, too, to produce even more expensive goods, such as kettle corn or cheeseburgers.
Special stands serve different purposes, and spice up gameplay and strategies even more. Bandstands attract more customers but are quite expensive to construct; lemonade stands produce drinks for the stands to keep them running, while the judging booth awards specific stands with ribbons to double the price of goods sold there. You can also add more trash bins to your market, which should be emptied on a regular basis. If a bin becomes too full the smell drives customers away, which will cost you valuable time.
The goals of each level are nothing exceptional, consiting of the usual requirements to earn money, sell specific goods, or build certain stands. What makes matters complicated, though, are goals that appear throughout some levels, a challenging feature that has been neglected by most games lately. What is really demanding and unique about Farmers Market are the numerous stands and upgrades, as well as how those stands depend on each other and have to be managed by your workers.
For example, the baked goods vendor can sell bread, or be upgraded to sell cookies. While bread only requires flour and milk, which are the basic products from the dairy and dry goods farmer stands, cookies need spice, sugar, and butter. For the latter you need to construct a sweets farmer stand, and have to upgrade the dairy and dry goods farmer stands. This becomes even more complicated when your goals require selling various processed goods, which in turn all need very different ingredients to be produced. Fortunately the delivery of ingredients is as easy as possible. If the baker runs out of required goods, you can quickly assign a worker to fetch ingredients at the related and in this case marked stands.
Apart from the challenging and innovative gameplay, Farmers Market also benefits from a superb presentation. The music is pleasing, graphics and animations belong to best that can be currently found in the time management genre, and the whole flair of a farmers market is conveyed totally convincingly, which enables the player to enjoy the game even more. It is a pleasure and somewhat calming, in spite of the game’s fast pace, to watch the crowd waiting at the stands, leaving the market content with full bags, and your workers running to fulfill the various tasks. The game also requires a lot of strategic thinking, since the number of empty lots is limited in each level, and you have to consider to keep the distance between related stands as short as possible.
The only real downside of Farmers Market concerns its controls. It can be annoying when customers purchase raw products that you actually need for vendors to fulfill your goals. Sometimes you may even find yourself moaning: “No, please don’t purchase the bread, I need that for the hot dog stand.” A small button to restrict customers from purchasing at certain stands would have been an awesome addition,while improving the gameplay even more. Also, it can be hard at times to keep an overview of which stands produces or requires which products. However, this latter issue is very minor, since you will get the hang of this really quickly.
On the whole Farmers Market is an absolutely pleasant surprise, distinguishing itself notably from similar titles by offering new ideas and an interesting presentation. By combining the most appealing aspects of building simulations, farming games and dash games, it is a delight for all time management addicts for sure. Enjoy the vibrant and somewhat nostalgic atmosphere of markets and delve into a game that will reward you with an entertainment gaming experience.