Bizarre farming concepts hit Facebook via Astro Garden
Facebook has seen its fair share of farming games over the past few years, but 6waves’ latest title, Astro Garden, adds one more to the list. That said, it’s actually one of the more impressive variations of the genre. Though it contains many of the standards players have come to relate to this simulation style, its premise and polish are far more interesting than its cohorts, with a good bit of creativity as well. Nevertheless, the core play is still fairly basic leaving the appeal of the game dependent on one’s opinion of such sims in the first place.
Players start out with a fairly technological-looking farm with a quasi-3D design that, visually, makes a decent first impression. The worry of the same-old, same-old starts to rear its head when the player is instructed to chop down trees and harvest eggplants. Luckily, no sooner does this happen then a massive thunderstorm rolls in and wipes out everything, turning the space into rubble.
When things restart, the game play is still a bit familiar, though part of the game premise is about trying to reignite lost memories by completing various achievements. What it also does is transform those noted eggplants into something a bit more mutated and curious. Astro Garden is sort of a combination of Ravenwood Fair and FarmVille mixed in with a little mad science.
As far as the familiar goes, players expand their land by chopping down trees and smashing rocks at the cost of energy. Doing so makes room to till land for new crops to sell (which, expectantly, grow over extended periods of time), and grants resources and rare materials with which to craft things with. On the more basic level, stuff like wood is used to build various farm structures for storing crops, animals, and laboratories. It is the last, however, that is interesting.
Tesla coil-topped towers don’t exactly fit on a normal farm, but of course, this is a future farm. Once in these labs, players will be able to view a technology tree of all kinds of insane items, plants, and animals to create as they level up. In order to research new stuff, players have to garner rare crafting materials often found while clearing land. Once requirements are met, the item can be made over a period of time.
In some cases, these concoctions create crafting materials that are usable on higher level structures and other items. In other instances, they create bizarre creatures and plants of a more mutated variety. It’s nothing monstrous, but typically oversized and colorful such as a “Tiger Calf” (a tiger crossed with a cow) or a “Baby Disco-Turkey” (don’t ask). These genetically altered creations create more profit than their boring, standard, counterparts and are far more interesting to look at.
Astro Garden hides a few other perks here and there. From time to time, players will come across monsters in the woods (yetis, wolves, etc.) and have to scare them off with weapons they equip, so they can get back to work. There are also items that can increase movement speed, including a jet pack. And of course, there’s also the standard gamete of social mechanics, like sending gifts to friends, scoring on leaderboards, and visiting the virtual spaces of friends daily for some extra cash. What also should be pointed out is that Astro Garden is one of the few farming games that encourages players to decorate their space nicely. Most of the time decorum is purchased in such games at the players own digression, but here there is a “comfort level” that is augmented by placing new décor and plays into being able to do research in the various labs one builds.
The core of Astro Garden is nothing terribly new, but the overall premise and presentation have been polished up rather nicely. With its saturated art style and odd, hybrid creations, this mad science rendition of one of Facebook’s most common game genres at least stands out a bit. Nevertheless, the enjoyment factor for Astro Garden is heavily dependent on whether or not players enjoy this type of game in the first place. Should that be the case, then this is a new app that’s worth a closer look.