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4

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5

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By Marc Saltzman | Jul 16, 2008 |

As a city slicker who grew up thinking milk comes from a store, I wasn’t sure if I’d “get” playing Alawar’s Farm Frenzy 2, a game all about farm management and profit. Much to my surprise, however, the game’s challenging levels and cute graphics were eggs-actly what I needed on lengthy plane rides this past weekend.

Even if you haven’t played the original, which isn’t too different than this sequel, Farm Frenzy 2 is fairly easy to pick up, but a word of warning – it gets pretty darn tough a few levels in. You’re in control of a farm and your goal is to meet each day’s goals, which might be to make a specific amount of money or raise a certain number of animals.

An example of a typical scenario is as follows: you’ll drop grass down on the ground for your two or three chickens to feed (do chickens eat grass?). If you run out of water you have to pay to use the well and if you don’t replenish the food your chickens will die. Chickens lay eggs, which you click on and goes in your storage area. Depending on your goal, you might spend some money on building, say, a powdered egg shed, which turns your eggs into something you can sell at the market or used to make other items.

In order to keep the cash coming in you’ll send a truck or plane (which both curiously travel at the same speed) to the city to see your goods and you’ll have to wait for them to return before spending the money. As with most economic simulations you can select which items you want to sell at the supermarket and how many items to sell.

Annoying predators like bears that arrive on the farm and whack your chickens away need to be trapped (and if you like, sold for cash); you can trap them by quickly clicking on them before they can do any serious harm.

Oh, did we mention there’s also a clock for each level? Yes, in order to earn bonus points you’ll have to complete all of your tasks by a certain time, such as 2:00 minutes or less. Also adding to the difficulty is your limited storage space, therefore you’ll need to sell items to make room (problem is, vehicles can only carry a few things at once).

Eventually you’ll unlock access to more items to sell (such as meat and deserts), better buildings (each of which have three upgrades to make them faster or process more food at the same time) and friends on the farm, such as dogs, who keep the bears away.

The game offers more items than its predecessor, now totalling five products to buy in the city, four animals, four types of bears, 12 buildings and 16 products to produce. If it’s not incentive enough to access all of this material, players can also earn nearly 20 awards, for completing levels in a certain amount of time or playing 10 consecutive levels without losing an animal or other accomplishments (all of which are accessible from the main screen).

Finish half of the main game to unlock a second Unlimited mode, which challenges you to see how well you can work the farm without the daily objectives.

While the one song is enough to drive you batty after a short while, the graphics are a delight. From the 3-D animals to the animation of the buildings churning out produce to the vehicles that drive to the big city. Farm Frenzy 2 does a bang up job in the visual department.

However, gamers might not like the relatively high difficulty level of this game, when things get quite chaotic on your farm and you’re expected to madly click to pick up eggs, protect chickens and send vehicles to the city – all at the same time. What compounds this problem is the lack of a Hint button, which could’ve in handy when you don’t know what to do next (there is a general Help screen, though).

But when it comes to game-play and presentation, Farm Frenzy 2 is a blast and will certainly give you a newfound appreciation for Old MacDonald.

Pros:

  • Challenging business simulation. Can buy many upgrades for farm. Impressive graphics and animation. Two game modes. Can win awards.

Cons:

  • No hint system for a difficult game. Some building and vehicle inconsistencies. Not too different than first game. Song gets very repetitive.

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