If you’re looking for a frantic farming game, you can look no further than the Farm Frenzy series. These games have a good reputation for their fast-paced time management game play, and Farm Frenzy 3: American Pie is no exception.

While Farm Frenzy 3 starts off in Africa and takes you around the globe to more exotic farming locations, Farm Frenzy 3: American Pie stays right in the USA and has you farming with robots. With the interest rate on the mortgage constantly increasing, the farm back home is in trouble. The story is  sketchy and light on details, and serves mostly as a framework for the new elements introduced into the game.

If you already have Farm Frenzy 3, you might be disappointed with the overlaps in Farm Frenzy 3: American Pie. I guess this is why Alawar didn’t call the game Farm Frenzy 4. Most of the upgrades are exactly same, including the helicopter that drops goods onto the playing field, and the various farm machines like the incubator and sewing factory and cake maker. In fact, the only real difference is the American vs. International theme, and the addition of robots instead of exotic animals. That said, Farm Frenzy 3: American Pie is addictive from the start, so fans shouldn’t be afraid to try it out.

To play, you buy animals, trap predators, and gather products like eggs and wool and milk. You can use the animal products you gather to put into machines, and these machines make new goods. For example, you can put eggs through a machine to make powdered eggs. You can then use powdered eggs in another machine to make cookies, and then combine those cookies together with flour in order to make cake.

Unlike Farm Frenzy – Pizza Party, which had huge combinations to remember, Farm Frenzy 3: American Pie (like Farm Frenzy 3) involves simple two- or three-ingredient combinations. You can see what’s needed by hovering your mouse cursor over any machine.

Predators mean trouble, just like in all the other Farm Frenzy games. Bears drop onto the playing field and toss away animals. If you have a dog, he can help get rid of these pesky pests for you, but he makes the ultimate sacrifice.  Unlike earlier games, the dogs do not explode. That’s kind of good, since it was a little disturbing. This time they just roll off in a cloud of dust. Just like in earlier games, you can dress-up captured bears for a huge profit.

It’s worth mentioning that there are a lot less animals than there were in Farm Frenzy 3. In American Pie, all you get are turkeys, sheep, and cows. Sure, there are the dogs and cats and bears, but you don’t get to raise those. There are none of the cool animals from Farm Frenzy 3, like jaguars or buffaloes or ostriches, which is kind of a disappointment.

However, the biggest new twist in this version is the addition of robots. They’re really, really expensive, costing a whopping $50,000 (vs. $10,000 for a cow). They only show up halfway through the game, so expect to play for a dozen hours before encountering one. Robots consume fuel and mine ore. After moving around the screen for a short while, the robot will stop working. You can buy more fuel for them by using your helicopter. Unlike many items, you can’t gather these yourself, and need to wait for the robot to gather them. The ore appears on your screen like any other resource when the robot is working, and can earn you major cash. Otherwise, robots behave much like other farm animals.

For those of you who don’t like pressure, you can still complete a level even if you go over the time limit. What’s neat is that the difficulty level is completely flexible. If you’re a slower player, you can replay older levels to earn additional upgrades, which will make beating the levels a bit easier. However, advanced players will undoubtedly be challenged if they try to aim for an expert score. It’s tough to earn a gold trophy, even from the very beginning, which gives the game good replay value.

Aside from being addictive, another factor in the game’s favor is the length. Even if you don’t replay levels, you can expect nearly two dozen hours of gameplay. When you combine that with the new endless play mode, plus replaying rounds to earn a better score…well, it’s virtually endless.

A fair warning here…this game will make your hand hurt. There’s some serious clicking involved, and it’s completely addictive once you get started, so be prepared to take hand-stretching breaks.

If you already have Farm Frenzy 3, the minimal differences between the two might not be worth buying the second title. However, if you can’t get enough of the Farm Frenzy games, or if you haven’t already purchased Farm Frenzy 3, then Farm Frenzy 3: American Pie is a wonderfully addictive time management game that’s sure to please fans of the genre.