A game that simulates doing real work doesn't sound like it would be any fun, but the success of this series proves that there is a devoted fan base for it. Of course, there's always those of us that simply want to play with the big machines, so I guess it was inevitable.
At the start of the game, you'll be dumped on a small farm with a small selection of equipment and a loan you'll eventually need to pay off. Beyond this, you're free to do almost anything. There are several types of crops you can grow, many of which feature their own line of equipment. You can also produce hay, raise livestock, or even just mow the grass. Watching the farm grow bigger and better is a large part of the fun, so some patience will go a long way.
I will admit though that this isn't going to be a game for everyone. There isn't much action, so if you don't like quiet games, this is going to bore you quickly. Personally, I find this one to be great for those times when I just want to sit back and recharge after a busy week. According to my Steam account, I've spent 270 hours on this one game, making it the third most played game on my account.
Relaxing and rewarding
This is a game where you pretend to do work on farms. That's really all there is to it, and while it may not sound like something interesting, quietly tending to your crops and animals is actually really calming. It becomes rewarding when you have the money to expand your farm by purchasing new fields and equipment. There's no end to the game, so you can continue to grow and expand however you see fit.
Maps are generally huge
The base game contains two maps: Hagenstedt and Westbridge Hills. The former is located in Germany, while the latter is located in rural Kansas. Both maps are huge, and it'll take a long time to wander around and see everything. Exploring away from your fields is encouraged on the Hagenstedt map, as there are 100 horseshoes hidden around for you to find and collect.
User-controlled simulation speed
Farming tends to take a long time, as you need to plow, cultivate, plant and spray your crops. Then you need to wait for the crops to grow and mature before you can harvest them. Of course, if you're not fast enough, the crops will also eventually rot in the field.
Lots of real equipment
To make things easier for the player, you can control how quickly time passes. Slow it down to give yourself time to plant and harvest crops, then speed it up to make them grow in moments. Simple!
All of the farm equipment that you can use is licensed from real companies, allowing you to play with virtual copies of real world vehicles and hardware. If you really like this idea, try checking YouTube for your favorite tools; there's a good chance that you'll find commercials for their real life counterparts!
Even more mods and maps
You don't need to farm alone
This game has a robust modding*
community, largely found on the game's homepage. You can freely add these mods*
to your game to give you new vehicles, new types of crops and even the ability to place furniture and buildings where you'd like. New maps are also available for you to farm and explore.
Personally, I'd recommend the ATV mod*
, as it's a fast and easy way to explore your map while you search for those horseshoes. Some maps also come with ramps and other stuff meant to be used as a playground for the ATV.
You don't need to do everything yourself. Most of the time, you can hire computer controlled workers to drive your tractors and harvesters, freeing you up to do something else while they do the work. But if you want, you can also have your friends join you on your farm in a multiplayer game.
Steam community features
Long play sessions
Yes, a game about farming has achievements*
and Steam trading cards*
. The trading cards mostly feature the various tractors you can use in the game, but the achievements*
are more about making your farm a successful business.
Don't expect this game to be a short one. It can easily take an hour to plant a field, and harvesting them can take longer.
Not all of the equipment is worth it
One of the downsides of having a lot of choices is that many aren't really that great. Unless you're trying to impose a theme on your farm, you'll have a better time if you just save up and buy the big toys instead of working your way up. This is especially true for growing potatoes and sugar beets.
The AI can be rather stupid
Hidden configuration feature (window mode)
You can hire computer controlled workers to do various tasks for you. This tends to be really useful for managing larger farms, but the AI*
can run into trouble sometimes. In particular, it has a tendency to get the tractors stuck on trees and leave large gaps when planting crops with certain sowing machines.
It's also important to note that the AI*
will nearly always drive slower than they need to, so doing things yourself can be much quicker.
One of the most useful features is the ability to play this game in a window. That way you can mute the game and watch something like YouTube or Netflix in a window off to the side. Unfortunately, this option is not in the game's menus; you'll need to edit an XML file in the game's directory to enable it.