I chose something a little different for my game review: Farm Heroes Saga. It was released a little over a year ago and is accessible on phones and computers for free. In contrast to the other games that I play, I play this one on my iPhone. One of the advantages of this it that I can play it in the waiting room of a doctor or dentist’s office or in a train, or anywhere else for that matter.
The object of the game is to get rid of all the crops in the farm before you run out of lives. The crops can be beets, green apples, etc and other symbols are included in the game as well: sun and water for example. As you win each level, different elements appear: flowers, eggs that break and hatch chicks. All these have to go through a process to reach their goal.
As in Candy Crush, this game that was also developed by KING, has some levels that are real hurdles before you can proceed. The creators seem to be able to invent more and more levels so that the game never ends, which means that you keep on playing.
There are also different elements that can help you with the game, extra points, extra moves, elimination of a crop, bulldozing of a whole line of crops. You just need to know when and where to use these boosters. So, the game is basically like a puzzle and also calls for logic and strategy. Strategy because on some levels you really have to know what crops to get rid of by placing 3 or more together. At some point in the game, a crop can be veiled and cannot be eliminated which makes things more complicated.
At some point in the game, you need to obtain water from wells for the crops and the drops of water will only emerge after you have done a series of other matches.
The music in the background is pleasant, even if it is very repetitive. Every time you match your crops to get rid of them, there is a noise like a beep coming from an animal. The colors of this game are extremely varied which makes it easy and fun to look at, and easy to match. Every level needs you to obtain a certain number of points for each crop to obtain that level. If it is the water well, that can be pretty challenging.
As in other KING games, you are given an opportunity to buy lives if you run out of them- but I have never done this. Also, as in other KING games, friends can send you lives and extra moves, and you can do the same for them. This is where the social aspect of the game comes in, as we have read about in Nardi and McGonigal. The game can also be connected to Facebook and will put you in contact with Facebook friends who play this game or a list of people on Facebook who you could invite to play this game. You can also go public as in many video games online and compete with complete strangers, but I do not do this. I choose not to link this to Facebook or to people I don’t know.
The game opens up on a very Disney-esque landscape. It is extremely colorful and cute, with a long winding road that has the different levels equally spaced. In this landscape, we have ducks, chickens, wheelbarrows, farm houses, windmills, trees, different animals in their pens, and as you proceed to higher levels, you need 3 friends to help you continue the game.
Another element in the game is “Defeating Rancid the Raccoon”. There is a special technique to do this as well. And as you proceed up the winding road in different levels, the animals start to get more serious. They are not farm animals anymore, but Zebras, Elephants, Lions, and Giraffes, and even Dinosaurs. Things get a little wilder and different. The farm is on an Island or in the midst of snow, or even within a circus.
The game takes you then to more exotic countries with Chinese Dragons, Indian Temples, and Castles with moats. The pyramids and the sphinx appear, and where the game now ends, is a top of a mountain with a sky full of clouds.
This is a very innocent game, but lots of fun and very relaxing if you want to take a break from something. It has a lot to offer because of the goals and strategy that you need in order succeed. Lets not forget that each level limits you to a certain amount of moves, so timing is essential and while you are working on the game, you have to keep your eye on the left corner to see how many moves you have left.
I would think that every day there is someone out there who is designing a game like Farm Heroes Saga- Candy Crush is probably is probably the most popular of them all- and that these games probably bring in a lot of money because of the opportunity to but more lives. It is not because I don’t them that there aren’t people out there who are so eager to continue level after level that they probably spend the money. I would be curious to know the percentage of people who actually pay.
I would recommend this game to anybody who wants a fun, relaxing break from a more strenuous activity. It’s fun, it’s light, its not terribly demanding, but beware- it can get complicated and it can certainly be “addictive” if you really are ambitious and want to beat levels as in any other game. The whole atmosphere is non- threatening and totally different to any of the violent or threatening or more serious games out there. It is like in a way like seeing a funny cartoon instead of a serious movie. This all confirms that video games are a media like any other.
I would grade this game an 8.5/10.