Strategy Meets Time Management
Farm Tribe is a strategy game that will task players with managing their own farm located in South America. Players will oversee a team of workers and give them a variety of survival-related assignments to perform, such as constructing buildings and gathering food. Villagers will also be need to be told to do things of a more mundane nature, such as socializing, eating or relaxing. The player will also need to decide how to dedicate resources and personnel towards research, which can unlock new technologies that allow the farm to operate more efficiently.
Players will primarily interact with their workers through the use of buildings. Each building on the farm will serve a very specific function and are necessary to the player's success.
Some examples of these buildings are: huts, which increase the maximum number of workers on the farm; a fishery, which speeds up the rate at which workers catch fish; and a beehive, which allows workers to produce honey. Players will be able to unlock even more buildings as they accrue research points, giving the player access to even more impressive bonuses.
The ultimate goal in Farm Tribe is to make as much money as possible, which is done through growing and selling food. Players will start out with just enough money to hire a few workers and buy some seeds; they must then turn this initial investment into a profit by growing a basic food type and selling it at the market. While there are a lot of basic food types to choose from such as lettuce, carrots, milk, apples and fish, the real fun comes from meals.
Meals are combinations of basic food types that the player can personally customize, accessorize and sell. Some examples of meals would be a salad, yogurt or candy bars. For example, when a player designs their own signature salad, they can specify what type of lettuce goes into it, what vegetables are used to garnish it and which dressing to package with it. Producing these meals can be much more profitable than just selling the raw ingredients, although they are time consuming for workers to assemble.
Once in a while, players might get special orders from their customers asking them to make something specific. These special orders are usually the best paying jobs available to the player, although they do require a lot of extra work as well.
If all of this a bit too peaceful and not very challenging, don't fear, as the game will quickly introduce an adversary for the player. This adversary comes in the form of malicious pests that frequently attack the player's food storage warehouse. Players will need to react quickly and assign workers to handle these bugs before any serious damage is inflicted. In addition to posing a challenge for the player, this game mechanic exists to keep players from letting the game run unattended for several hours and coming back to a farm that has made thousands of dollars.
Fairly Original Theme
The theme of the game is fairly original. While there have been several farming games available in the past, they have been very few and far between. Farm Tribe is a refreshing change of pace from the usual strategy game settings, and the theme just feels like a natural fit for this type of game.
Another interesting aspect to the game is that it's set in South America, which allows it to feature a variety of things it normally wouldn't be able to. These include rare and exotic animals like Alligators and exotic backdrops like Mayan ruins.
A Slight Story
There really isn't much story to speak of in Farm Tribe. The game focuses around a South American farmstead that is facing foreclosure. The player's character is a friend of the family that owns the farm, and is tasked with turning the failing business's fortunes around.
The story really doesn't intrude into the game play at all, meaning that the player is able to run the farm as he or she sees fit. Even though the player's ultimate goal is to pay off the farm's mortgage, once this is accomplished it's still possible to continue playing. This is a nice feature as it allows the player to test themselves by seeing just how profitable they can make their farm.
Using The Game
One of the primary concerns with management-type games is the quality of the A.I. in the game. Although it's up to the player to give orders to his or her workers, it's ultimately up to the computer A.I. to interpret the commands and complete the orders. Since poor A.I. has been the downfall of many strategy games, it's refreshing to see that the A.I. in Farm Tribe is implemented incredibly well.
Issuing orders is as simple as dragging and dropping a team member next to a job-related building. Most workers will immediately comprehend what the player wants them to do after they're dropped next to the building and immediately start working. It's also nice to see that the A.I. will start working on their own if they haven't received any orders for awhile. This really makes the game very easy to play and removes a lot of the frustration that usually comes from having individually manage every team member.
The graphics in Farm Tribe are superb; the colors are bright and vibrant, and the animation is smooth and lifelike. Although most people probably thing of drab corn silos when they hear the word 'farming', Farm Tribe manages to make every building in the game look exciting. Each workshop or growing area is filled with activity and animation, which really goes a long way towards making the game world come alive.
Additionally, the workers are interesting to watch due to the wide range of activities they can be seen performing. There is one small negative aspect to the game's graphics, which is the fact that everything appears very small and zoomed out. Because of this, it can sometimes be hard to see exactly what is going on.
One of the most notable things about Farm Tribe is that it allows players to progress at their own pace. This is a great feature for casual players, since many strategy games can quickly overwhelm less-experienced players by making them feel rushed to complete their assignments.
However, more advanced players will probably be able to beat this game in one or two sittings. While the game does feature lots of extras for players to unlock, they definitely aren't necessary for completing the game, and seasoned gamers will probably just bypass them entirely.
Review by Robert J
Robert J is an IT professional employed in the Milwaukee area. He has been an avid gamer for all his life and lives with his dog Buddy.
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