Farm For Your Life (Preview)
Have you dropped hundreds of hours into the “Harvest Moon” series like I have? I’m not sure why, but running a simulated farm has always been appealing…perhaps it’s because I know that my poor crops wouldn’t stand a chance with me at the helm in the real world. Then there is “Plants vs Zombies”, a tower defense game that tasks you with stopping zombies that are making their way across your lawn…with plants. Finally, we have “Diner Dash”, a game that challenges you to serve plates of food to customers while under the pressure of time. Now, what would happen if you put all three games into separate cars and sent them careening toward each other at high speeds? Before we answer that question in detail, I’d like to thank Andreas Bendt for sending me a free copy of the Beta. It’s important to note that like with all preview and Beta copies, this article may not cover everything that you’d see in the final product.
“Farm For Your Life”, as you may have deduced, is a mix of tower defense and farm management with time management mini-games thrown in for good measure. It all starts with a great storm that ravages a peaceful community and ends up unleashing the undead. It goes without saying that your job will be to both survive the zombie apocolypse and help rebuild what was lost. The game starts you out at the main menu, where you’ll be able to start a new game or continue an existing one. There are two game modes: Story and Endless, the former of which will guide you through the game’s many features while the latter of which just lets you have at it for as long as you like. The Beta only took me so far in story mode, so I can’t comment on it past the tutorial. I will say however that it taught me the basics of chopping wood, slicing up weeds, smashing rocks, planting crops, and etc.
One of the first things you’ll learn how to do is grow crops, which is essential to the other parts of the game that you’ll be tasked in dealing with. You’ll be able plant a variety of different crops around your house, but you’ll only have access to a few from the start. My first crops were corn and potatoes, which I used to buy myself new recipes and seeds. Eventually, you’ll have a whole field of different crops to manage by watering, fertilizing, and harvesting them. A nearby apple tree will provide you with a steady stream of apples and after you’ve made enough progress, you can obtain a chicken coop. If you need help, you can build a tent to attract a survivor to assist you in the fields or in the kitchen.
I’ve stated earlier in this article that the game has some “Harvest Moon” qualities about it. While true, “Farm For Your Life” takes it one step further and allows you to run your very own restaurant. It’s like taking the best parts of “Harvest Moon” and adding a “Diner Dash” mechanic to it. You’ll be utilizing the crops you’ve grown and putting those ingredients together to serve meals to the rest of the survivors. Recipes must be either purchased from the trader or obtained as part of a deal from customers, and equipment from your kitchen must be built / purchased using supplies that you’ve scrounged up around the area and traded for.
Now that we’ve discussed the subject of planting crops and providing food to the survivors, let’s talk zombies. Zombies only come out at night, but will be hellbent in getting to the food that you’ve worked hard to grow. You won’t have any of your typical anti-zombie weapons like shotguns, handguns, baseball bats, and chainsaws, but you will have slingshots and the ability to throw food at them. Slingshots must be built / purchased and at first, you won’t have access to them. Throw enough food at them however, and they’ll head back into the hole from which they came.
I did come across some issues that I believe could be improved. For one, customers often requested meals that I had no recipes for, leaving me stuck at times as I couldn’t get the materials they were offering any other way. At one point, I had to accept their offers (they pay up front) and let them sit for a day at the table until I had enough “on loan” to buy what I needed. The trading system can take some thought and at times, can be frustrating. Rather than just tell you how much you’d get for selling your crops, you have to go through the trader’s inventory and experiment until you can get the two scales to even out. This can take up precious time, especially if you have a lot to do. A way to automate these deals or a “suggest deal” button that cycles through available deals would work wonders. I also didn’t see an options menu. Just as a reminder, this is a Beta and it’s possible that these features / issues may be addressed at a later date.
Overall, I had a blast trying out the Beta of “Farm For Your Life.” This game does an excellent job in combining three different game genres into one, meaty package. Not only does having so many game genres help to ensure that things don’t get repetitive, it keeps the player invested in what they are doing. If you’re a fan of any of the other games I mentioned in this article, you’d do well to take a closer look at “Farm For Your Life.” I’m told that the game is expected to be released around the end of November, 2012.
You can learn more about “Farm For Your Life” by visiting the following website:
You can help its journey onto Steam by voting for it on its Greenlight page, located here: