Platform: Switch
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Developer: Giants Software
Genre: Simulation, Other
Series: Farming Simulator
Players: 1
Release Date: November 07, 2017

You know, there’s a lot about farming I didn’t know until playing Farming Simulator. I’m somewhat of a farmer myself, though I doubt a backyard fruit and veggie garden really compares to harvesting fields of wheat and corn. After my time with it, I feel like I know a lot more about actual farming. Things like underground grain bunkers, auger wagons, and slurry tanks are all things real life farmers deal with on a day to day basis. I’ve gotta say, it’s interesting to find out that there’s a lot more to the profession than Ol’ Farmer Geoff picking corn. Unfortunately, the accuracy and amount of vehicles don’t really help make the game feel fun to play.

A Farmer’s Purpose

The point of Farming Simulator is simple. You grow crops and raise animals on your farm. Then you sell their products to market and use the profits to improve your farm to sell more next time. It’s the same idea as regular farming, except you don’t have to go outside and smell cow poop. In order to achieve this goal, you’ll need to use a surprisingly copious amount of different farm machines and vehicles. Each of these has a different use to help prepare, plant, and gather your crops. The insides of these machines are where you’ll spend most of your time playing.

It might even be more apt to call this game “drive farming vehicles in a straight line simulator.” For the most part, that’s what you’ll end up doing in FarmSim. Driving your thresher down a line of grain is entertaining the first time but after that? Not so much. Inevitably you’ll end up hiring someone to automate the process for you so you can go prepare something else for the day.

I wager most people don’t know exactly what is involved with farming – I sure didn’t. Thankfully, Farming Simulator has a wealth of different tutorials and guides for each different task you can take on. In a way, it can become a learning experience as much as it is a game. Most of your play time with it, however, will be repeating routines – harvesting ready crops, planting in emptied plots, and checking in on your animals. If regular routines and repetition are your thing, that might not be so bad, but I imagine many will tire of it rather quickly. I definitely did.

A Vehicle For Every Job

Generally, you’ll always be driving everywhere. You could walk if you want, but it’s painfully slow, and there’s no run button. Basically, if you end up outside of your vehicle, it’s so you can get into the next one. Normally, this would be fine, but the vehicle controls also happen to be very sensitive. Driving my grain to the market to drop it off resulted in what absolutely would’ve been fatal crashes with two cars, a stop sign, and a very sturdy fence. This is all because turning has a very misleading delay to it.

When you turn, there’s about a half second where your vehicle does nothing. Suddenly, your tractor screeches to the left because you’ve been holding the stick down wondering why it’s not working. Then you’re inside someone else’s windshield. There’s no actual crashes or damage done to anything if you do careen off, so it’s not too punishing. It can definitely ruin your day though if you ended up wedging your tractor somewhere. Collision on items in the world is also rather strange. Stop signs and fences will stop you cold, but a large number of trees are completely intangible. This means you can drive a tractor through deep woods unimpeded, but running it into a little wooden fence is an immovable object meeting a very stoppable force.

Diverse Farming Equipment and Vehicles

The different vehicles you can drive all have their own specific uses in and out of the fields. If you want to keep branching out into different types of farmwork, you’ll need new vehicles pretty regularly. There’s an absurd amount of vehicles available, but they all have their uses. For the most part, each does their own unique thing, which adds a nice diversity to the gameplay. If you want to max out your farm, chances are you’ll eventually want to buy em all. Too many cooks in the kitchen, or rather, too many tractors on the farm, does mean that often you’ll end up looking for where you left that log cutter again. The minimap helps keep track of that somewhat, but its limited range means it’ll happen to you at least once.

The menu of the game also lets you track where vehicles are located. In that same menu’s numerous, numerous pages, you can also buy new vehicles and animals, and check on the state of the farm. Unfortunately, you can’t customize any of the purchasable vehicles; it would’ve been nice to have color-coded tractors for each field, but alas customization is pretty sparse in this game. At the beginning of your play, you can change your farmer’s shirt color, but that’s about it. There’s not even a female player character option, which is disappointing considering that Farming Simulator 17 had a female farmer available for use.

Simple Geoff Doesn’t Need None of Your Fancy “Graphics”

Graphically, it doesn’t reinvent the wheel but still looks pretty nice especially in handheld mode. In my play session I never once experienced any lag or slowdown either. This means your farming experience, for the most part, should be as smooth as the butter you’re selling. Considering what the game is trying to do though, it doesn’t really need to be a AAA graphics title.

The world is surprisingly large and full, with other farms, people, and towns available to explore if you don’t mind shirking your farm duties for the day. There’s nothing to do there really, but if you want to look around it’s definitely an option. As for sound, most vehicles come with radios that let you listen to music. The sound effects in the game are actually quite impressive. It would’ve been simple to just record one sound effect for driving a vehicle and use it for everything, but each vehicle sounds unique. Given Farming Simulator‘s premise, I’d wager each sound effect is accurate to its real-world counterpart.

Final Overview

Farming Simulator isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination. It’s incredibly accurate, has a massive amount of content in it, and has numerous play styles to choose from. The biggest problem that befalls Farming Simulator is simply that it’s only going to resonate with a certain small part of the Switch’s player base.

People who are farming enthusiasts or who love to keep their gameplay routine regimented will probably love Farming Simulator Nintendo Switch Edition and everything it has to offer. But to the rest of the world, it may feel more like an exercise in tedium than it does a proper game. It’s definitely the most accurate depiction of farming available in gaming right now.  To me though, when it comes to actually having fun, there’s much more appeal in more fantastical games like Stardew Valley than Farming Simulator‘s sterile-feeling farm.

Review Copy Provided by Focus Home Interactive

Cool!

Good

  • Accurate to a fault representation of farming
  • An astounding amount of different farming vehicles to collect
  • Crop and animal variety means playstyle variety
  • Incredibly detailed menus help you keep on top of everything.
  • Extensive guides for different farming tasks.

Bad

  • Dodgy driving controls and collision
  • Minimal customization of characters and vehicles
  • The menus can be quite difficult and intimidating to read through due to size.

About Jared O'Neill
Contributor

Jared is a lifelong Nintendo fan who's been playing games since he could hold a controller. He loves all Nintendo franchises, especially Metroid, Donkey Kong, and Smash Bros., and probably cares more about Metroid villain Ridley than a human being rightly should. If he's not playing Nintendo games, chances are he's talking,

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