Hobby Farm is a highly polished farming simulation with some nagging issues.
What would you do during vacation on a tropical island? Relax at the beach, swimming, drinking delicious cocktails? Probably, but that would not be an exciting premise for a game. In Hobby Farm, Jill and her husband accidentally stumble upon an abandoned farm, which fortunately turns out as Jill’s lifelong dream, a farm at an exotic location. While the storyline is definitely slightly cheesy, the game itself is actually a very solid entry into the casual market.
Hobby Farm features 50 levels and offers two different playing modes, namely relaxed and timed mode. In contrast to other titles relaxed mode is already unlocked after the fifth level of timed mode, a fact that players who prefer a slower pace surely appreciate. On average most levels take five to six minutes to finish, so you will probably be busy for around four to five hours with the game. Moreover there are a lot of trophies to obtain which definitely adds to replay value.
Essentially Hobby Farm plays extremely similar to the just recently released My Farm Life. Each day you will be able to produce and sell an increasing number of products for money, which can then be invested into new upgrades, machines, seeds, and animals for your farm. Later on you can sow exotic seeds such as java apples, tangerines, pineapples or carambolas, get eggs from chicken and wool from sheeps, or collect shells and coconuts directly from the beach to name a few of the game’s features.
That’s certainly not where the fun ends: carambolas can be made into juice by an interesting machine including a donkey who eats about anything, water can be made into ice, and combining goat milk and java apples provides a delicious drink, too. Moreover you have to fix broken machines, water seeds, provide food to your animals, and assure that there are enough beds and seeds to satisfy the demand. In this respect Hobby Farm does not bring anything new to the table except for an exotic location and products, but we kind of already had that with Ranch Rush 2.
Most new twists are already known from My Farm Life, but are even more enhanced here. Again there is the change between day and night, and the night attracts thieves and animals stop producing then. Both those aspects are not as annoying as in My Farm Life though, because thieves move slower and animals can be fed from a special tray so that they continue to provide products. Furthermore there are also bonuses that can be activated by collecting stars (from scaring away thieves) and other actions, which mainly speed up Jill or force her husband to help with the farm, who otherwise only relaxes in the hammock while observing Jill.
Interestingly enough the biggest improvement of Hobby Farm compared to similar titles are the controls, while its strongest flaw are without a doubt the graphics. Actions can be cancelled by right-clicking one by one, different products can be picked up together, animals can be sped up by feeding them carrots, and each section like the store or the “move” mode can be reached very quickly. The map itself can be dragged, and you are also able to easily zoom in and out, so with regards to controls the game really shines and provides an as intuitive and smooth experience as possible.
Unfortunately this very strong feature is somewhat weakened by the increasingly confusing graphics. Later on it becomes important to zoom out regularly, and at that distance it is very hard to differentiate the varying fruits, bags, animals, and to click correctly. Furthermore I found it quite irritating that beds for seeds and all other structures are organized diagonally instead of top-down, which makes it way harder than required to organize the farm quickly and efficiently.
In the end Hobby Farm can be judged from two different angles. For people who are a bit tired of the well-known farming mechanics the game will probably a disappointment, others will surely be delighted by those same mechanics brought to perfection and the high production values. If you can overlook the issues with graphics and do not mind the similarity to recent titles this game is definitely a nice gem that will entertain you for a couple of hours.