A Furrow Review
Developers: Ice Flames
Reviewed by: DatsunDes
You inherit your Grandfather’s farm, along with its debt. Your objective is to pay off the debt and expand your farm. The campaign acts as a tutorial and introduces the various Farming equipment and how to use it, each time you acquire a new piece of equipment or building you receive an email on your in game tablet with instructions on using it or how to make money from it. The game teaches you how to sell your produce to various markets and eventually has you Farming and trading in different locations around the world. The locations are all very different and introduce different types of Farming relevant to the area.
The choice of equipment is large so you can get the right size tractor, plough or cultivator to suit your farm size and budget – although the only truck available is the Mitsubishi L200 in various colours. Once you have done each type of activity you can assign workers to it and get on with the business of running your farm rather than ploughing fields over and again. As well as arable farming you can have greenhouses for vegetables, raise livestock and make money from renewable energy. The game also includes a ‘Free Farm’ sandbox mode to allow you to run wild without the constraints of a mission or budget.
The game looks good, although animation on foot is pretty wooden, user interface is simple enough and the controls are pretty intuitive. There is a fast travel feature which allows you to switch between any of your vehicles instantly which saves a lot of running back and forward. There is a map on your in game tablet but annoyingly when you place a marker it just shows it in game as a direction and doesn’t offer sat nav style help so you can end up going round in circles a bit to get where you need to be.
The game includes objectives which help you level up to unlock more vehicles and locations, and teach you to play the game. In addition to these objectives there are numerous side missions that often involve buying a new piece of equipment and teach you other elements of the game. Obviously this isn’t the most exciting game in the world but if like me you enjoyed building huge cities in Sim City or Tropico, you should enjoy expanding your farming empire across the continents.
The game has 51 trophies including a platinum, most can be farmed in the sandbox mode but a couple require you to complete the campaign and associated side missions. Several will pop by accident though, like the first time you run out of fuel, or sink a vehicle.
The problems for me were the game crashes and glitches. At one point I had a game crash and lost over two hours of game play, this was when I realised the absence of an auto save feature so it is very important to save regularly. Most of the glitches seem to be linked to the fast travel feature, especially if you have been hiring workers on your fields. Some are funny, like fast travelling to a tractor and seeder to find it barrelling through the air, or when an on-coming vehicle changes from a truck to a van for no particular reason. Some of the glitches are frustrating though. I fast traveled while doing an objective and it wouldn’t move beyond the next step even though I had completed it, a few minutes later, the game crashed completely. Another glitch I experienced was when fast travelling to a tractor with a plough attached, and I couldn’t raise or disconnect the plough.
If you crash a vehicle into a river (like I did while using the useless satnav) you can recover it and pay for repairs, but if you get a truck stuck against a fence and the game doesn’t think it needs recovering, I couldn’t find a way to get it back. I ended up selling it as I couldn’t do anything else.
A fun game with a simple UI that teaches you as you play, addictive and rewarding but let down by game stability issues.
Gamers Score: 5/10
To finish the review off, here is some of the glitches that came up during review.