Farm Frenzy Review

Part arcade game part management simulation, Farm Frenzy combines elements from games like Alice Greenfingers and Cake Mania to create a fast-paced and entertaining foray into farm administration. It lets you slip into a pair of coveralls and play "Old MacDonald" with a bit of a business twist. The result is some egg-ceptional down-on-the-farm goodness.

In its singular mode of play, Farm Frenzy serves up over 45 levels of action-heavy management as you learn how to run a farm. From tending cows in the fields to gathering eggs for sale at the market to upgrading your structures and equipment to protecting your livestock from obtrusive predators, Farm Frenzy simulates "real farming" without the attendant aromas. And, while you have just five animals to look after, nine products to sell and six buildings to purchase, it’s more involved than it sounds.

Basics of gameplay are simple. Clicking on the ground makes grass grow. Animals then eat the grass and produce goods such as eggs, wool and milk. These goods are gathered in your storehouse and sent to town for sale or processed to create other goods. Simple, right? Well, not entirely.

It wouldn’t be a game without obstacles to success. As in the real world, everything has a price. To grow grass you need water and to produce goods you need animals, and each come at a cost. You also need to build and upgrade structures to grow, process and transport your goods. These include wells, cars, storehouses, egg solids plants, bakeries and spinneries. Goods sold increase your funds, allowing you to purchase more animals, as well as build and upgrade structures. Yes, it’s capitalism, but it’s fun, too.

Oh, yes. Bears make regular appearances, too. Their goal is to thin out your collection of ducks, sheep and cows. Cage them quickly to protect your investment or you’ll "bearly" be able to make ends meet.

Initial levels are easy to play and complete, but as you advance the challenges increase. Each level requires specific upgrades, purchased from the Shop, so be sure you know what you need before making your selection. Funds are limited and you may need to replay a level or two to earn sufficient monies to buy the upgrades necessary.

To complete a level in Farm Frenzy, specific tasks must be accomplished. A set number of eggs must be collected or a certain number of bakery goods produced. As you advance, the challenge increases and the number of goals along with it. For example, you might need to purchase five ducks, collect 20 eggs and spin four spools of wool. Or, you may simply need to produce three baked goods. While this singular goal sounds easy, to end up with the bakery items you need, it’s necessary to grow grass, buy ducks, collect eggs, sell them to raise cash to buy more ducks to collect more eggs and repeat the above. Then, you have to build an egg solids plant and a bakery to create the solids needed to bake into finish products.

Of course, you’ll need to upgrade your facilities, too, so you can warehouse more goods and improve the performance of your production facilities, as well as buy a truck that can haul more goods to market. Oh, and it pays to acquire cats to collect goods for you and dogs to keep those bears at bay.

If it sounds too complex or daunting a task, don’t worry. The game eases you into the more difficult aspects of farming. And, it rewards you, too. Awards are given for accomplishments such as collecting 500 goods, filling all shelves in the storehouse, catching 100 bears and banking $1,000,000.

Farm Frenzy is very family-friendly, although, it’s a bit too complex for younger children. Graphics, generally, are cute and well illustrated, and audio adds nicely to the environment. It’s also easy to learn and enjoyable to play for those who appreciate fast-paced action. However, it does lack somewhat with regard to play instructions. More effort should have been spent on providing greater detail on the intricacies of play. Action, as well, becomes a touch too frantic on occasion.

Nonetheless, Farm Frenzy is a ducky game filled with sheep thrills. It eggs you on to greater challenges, yet doesn’t pull the wool over your eyes. If you can bear with its failings, you’ll be playing it ’til the cows come home.

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