The farm simulation game Big Farm Story has been available as an early access version on Steam and exclusively for the PC since August 20, 2020. The developers, Goodgame Studios, are mainly known for browser and mobile games and are releasing Big Farm Story, their first game, which is supposed to break out of this scheme.
But is there still something new and exciting to be found in a genre that has been ripped off like this? We played Big Farm Story and give you a little insight into farm life.
Old MacDonald had a farm …
Source: PC Games
The prehistory of the game is quickly summarized: Our grandpa disappears under unexplained circumstances after a storm and we take over his farm, which was unfortunately devastated by the storm. So we have to try to rebuild the farm in his absence, to take care of it and at the same time to find clues to our grandfather's whereabouts in quests.
Source: PC Games
On the farm we have the same tasks as in most other farm simulations: With our cute avatar we cultivate fields, take care of animals such as chickens and cows and earn coins by selling our products. A similarity to mobile games is already apparent here, which is quite impractical on the PC: We cannot mark several fields to sow or water, but have to click on each one individually and select an action. That is quite lengthy, especially if you have already activated several beds.
We don't have to set up a farm for sowing and harvesting: all buildings are already in place, only the damage caused by the storm must be repaired with the appropriate materials in order to use them. This is clear, but also restricts us somewhat: We cannot determine how our farm is set up ourselves, we can only modify what is already there.
Source: PC Games
We can also adapt the design of objects in our small farmhouse at predetermined points, but we are not allowed to design or position them freely, as on our farm. At the beginning we get some small furniture and accessories for our house by means of buyable DLC, which look really nice, but they have no actual function. The fun costs 15 euros – the small accessories are definitely not worth the money.
If we carry out actions on our farm, we can collect experience points and rise in level. At each new level we can choose between different skills, so-called stickers, as a reward.
Source: PC Games
In the current early access version, we can already visit two neighboring farms, a small wood and the neighboring village including the village square. There are some NPCs that we get to know in main and side quests. In the search for our missing grandpa, we are repeatedly assigned by our neighborhood to help or collaborate.
There are not many quests yet, we only get little clues about our grandfather's whereabouts and otherwise we have to help people and bring them the fruits of our field work. We get to know two farming families, a country doctor, the mayor of the nearby town and a somewhat quirky market woman with her alpaca Mo.
Source: PC Games
The latter is one of the cutest characters in Big Farm Story. But not quite as cute as our own little pet that is always with us. This has little relevance to the game mechanics – it rarely finds objects on the floor – but it is cute to look at. We can still only go around the houses with one piglet, further pet companions are to follow according to the developer studio.
The dialogues with the neighbors are nice, but rather good and unsurprisingly designed. The characters also present themselves rather superficially and not very profoundly, but what is not can still become: New quests should be added regularly and could reveal even more neighbors and even more character traits. In addition, new areas are to be added that can already be seen on the map. So far only the very beginnings of the main plot can be alluded to.
The little story is packed with a simple but cute graphic in comic style. This is not too detailed and is very reminiscent of mobile games, but with its cute style it goes well with the happy farm world.
Unfortunately, the options in the game are exhausted as quickly as our well: most of the time we only watch crops grow and chickens breed. We even have to wait for our water source to fill up again. This unexcited gameplay could be described as relaxing or contemplative, but we found it rather tiring. The resources that we find on other farms or in the forest are usually quickly consumed and then we have to wait a long time until they are renewed. In contrast to other farm games, we cannot use our bed to lie down and let the waiting time pass.
Source: PC Games
Despite the lack of rest, there are times of day: the lighting mood changes depending on the time. But that's the only big difference – when night falls over our farm, it just gets dark. During this time we do not meet any other NPCs, there are no special plants growing and we have no other exciting possibilities for activity, except that a certain fish can only be caught after sunset. In addition, at the beginning we cannot fish in the dark because we need a special skill. It remains to be seen whether the night mode will receive a few more innovations in the future.
The same goes for the seasons in Big Farm Story. So far, there has only been spring, but the system is to be expanded and arouses curiosity about new resources and cultivation options.
Big Farm Story is still more of a raw version and the premium DLC that has already been released does not offer any relevant game content, but almost only decorative elements. For example, we can transform our pet companion from a pig into a unicorn pig. We also receive sunflower seeds, which give us experience points when harvesting, which helps us to level up. This seems rather strange in a game that is not designed as a browser or mobile phone game with microtransactions.
Goodgame Studios, however, promise new updates with improvements every two weeks, the farming game can change significantly with new content in the next six months, until the actual release is planned. An exact end date for the early access phase has not yet been set.
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It's still more of a small farm story …
This game has a long way to go. For an early access version and the current price, it still looks pretty half-baked. I really like farming sims and their relaxing effect, but I got bored very quickly, probably because of the missing content. It is extremely long when you watch the crops grow while waiting, few resources, characters and quests. An extra DLC for a unicorn pig, to bring out some decorative furniture and level up, screams a little for Pay2win. I think that you can tell from the gameplay that the studio otherwise deals with mobile phone and browser games. It remains to be seen which game content will be added in the near future. Too intensive farm work is currently not worthwhile, because after the first few hours you can't do much, there are no more quests and you have actually seen everything. Nevertheless, the cute design of our farm, the soothing music and the prospect of some new maps have potential for a nice farming game. It depends a lot on what Goodgame Studios keep doing with it. At the moment, Big Farm Story still seems like quite a construction site to me.
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