We all enjoy strolling through a farmers’ market/supermarket shopping for our favorite vegetables and groceries, but have probably never spared a thought for the farmers who have worked hard to provide us with those gorgeous and healthy fruits and veggies. Kairosoft’s latest farming SIM offers you the chance to walk a mile in their shoes and discover for yourself the trials and challenges that every farmer faces not just in producing crops but also finding the best price for their produce. Welcome to the world of Pocket Harvest!
Introduction to Farming
In Pocket Harvest, your aim is to make your farm the best one in the world. And since you’ve got no experience whatsoever, a clever little advisor pops up on the screen showing you the ropes. Initially you start off with plenty of money (500,000G currency) and 50 Research points. You are allowed to plant 4 fields of strawberries, carrots, tomatoes and you have a couple of farmhands to take care of the cultivation. A farmer’s newsletter pops up now and then keeping you abreast of the latest developments in the field as well as offering tips on the best farming practices.
Seasons of Fun
The game is set to run for 16 years and a time sheet at the top of the screen indicates the month and day of the year. As time ticks by and seasons change you notice how the lush green farm slowly turns dry and barren and snowy white eventually in winter. Sudden storms or typhoons also blow in occasionally and wipe out all of your crops. Certain crops don’t grow during certain seasons and you must take care to grow the right type of crops for every season. Your harvested crops can be sold in the market and depending on the market conditions you earn profits; some days are good and some are great and it all depends on how well you grasp the concept of seasonal farming.
Decisions Decisions Decisions!
As a digital farmer, you have plenty of decisions to make, work hands to hire, training to impart, bugs to get rid of, moisture and sunlight to maintain and so on. But unlike the usual farming SIMs you may have played before, in Pocket Harvest you need to do a lot more than just plant and harvest. Modern technology is a must have so you must build facilities such as bio labs, greenhouses and other ancillaries to aid in better crop production. You also have to consider building tourist attractions to draw in people who will spend on your farm, say at a photo booth or a juice stall so that your yearly earnings are constantly increasing.
As you go through the daily grind of a farmer’s life, you receive fresh new challenges, unlock new items and receive stats on the year’s production and shipment, plus your farm’s world rankings. Depending on how well your farm has performed you will win fabulous prizes (currency, research points and better farming equipment). You can also try to pick up extra prizes by entering contests at the local fair. All the extra moolah will come in handy when you want to expand your farm and make it the best in the world.
All Work and Not Much Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy
Unlike most SIMs you don’t have to wait for minutes or hours for completing tasks. With no IAPs in the picture, there are no shortcuts to upgrading your farm. You are constantly hiring workers, setting up facilities, caring for your crops, securing items needed for production, moving things around for better efficiency and such. If you are a fan of Kairosoft games, Pocket Harvest should take you to that happy place where all other Kairosoft games have taken you before. If on the other hand, this is the first time you’re tackling a Kairosoft game, it does take a bit of effort to enjoy the studio’s offering. The retro graphics may not necessarily be to your liking. And the rather old fashioned menu and frequent use of the back button may feel like you’re playing a game back in the days when mobile games were a rarity.
While is it fun watching the workers scurry around the interface planting crops, watering and harvesting them, after a while it starts to get rather stale. There’s the distinct feeling that Pocket Harvest plays in auto mode without too much effort on your part. That said, there’s certainly nothing glaringly wrong with the game. It’s got its gameplay just about right, but it isn’t the most exciting or innovative farming game yet, and I certainly did not find it addictive or exciting enough to want to play it for more than a few hours.
If you’re a die-hard fan of Kairosoft, you might want to add this to your collection. If you’ve never tried a retro-styled farming SIM and are happy to part with a fiver, you could give this game a try (but I know a whole lot of other fun things you could do with that money!)