First Look: My Vineyard is a Facebook farming sim for a more sophisticated crowd.
In theory, My Vineyard is a Facebook sim about owning your own winery. In practice, it’s far more comparable to FarmVille than any sort of business-running game. You plant grapes, you stomp on them, the juice ages in barrels, and finally you sell of the barrels for cash that you use to… buy more grapes. The main things that set My Vineyard apart from other games are its pre-rendered 3D visuals and its slightly more adult approach to its subject matter.
My Vineyard’s gameplay is pretty much what is outlined above. If you age your barrels of wine properly and convince your friends to taste them as they age, you’ll be able to sell them for a greater profit when the wine is fully mature. Friends can give you gifts that improve the quality or value of your wines. If you visit a friend’s farm, you can improve quality of their future wines by fertilizing grapes as they grow. In short, the more friends you have the better your wine will be, and the more fun you’ll have with the game.
A major shortcoming of My Vineyard as it stands is that there’s not really much to do with your money once you’ve earned it. How much area you’re allowed to farm is restricted pretty strictly by level. You can have a house eventually, but getting one involves building it with your friends rather than just buying it outright. Mostly you can only buy landscaping items to decorate your vineyard, many of which are just piles of rocks of varying sizes. The others are not substantially more interesting and there are only a couple dozen of them.
My Vineyard’s gameplay can still keep the proceedings satisfying enough, although you may notice very long periods of downtime early on in the game. When you’re waiting on crops to mature and your wine barrels to age, there’s not a lot else to do. You can visit other people’s vineyards to taste their wines and fertilize their grapes, but not much else. Most wines seem to take 24 hours to mature, while crops tend to require at least six hours of growth before you can harvest them. As your level up this sense of slowness eases, but it can couple with the lack of things to spend money on to make the game feel too sparse at first.
In many ways My Vineyard plays a bit like a wine-themed spinoff of farming sims like FarmVille, but without the sometimes cloying sense of whimsy that’s typical for those games. You will not encounter cute pink alien cows in My Vineyard, or any sort of whimsical items at all. Everything from the grape species you grow to the decorate plants will be plausible and realistic. That feeling alone is rare in Facebook games and makes My Vineyard feel special, despite its current shortcomings.
- Realistic graphics make the game feel a bit more grown-up than most social games. The theme allows for clever social mechanics. The farming sim aspects of the gameplay feel plausible and satisfying.
- Gameplay can be extremely slow-paced. There’s not a lot in the way of interesting items to buy yet. No avatar customization.