Old MacDonald had a farm; E-I-E-I-O. And on that farm, he had some friends; E-I-E-I-O. With a tap tap here, and a tap tap there; here a tap, there a tap, Farm Together and tap tap! Old MacDonald had a farm; E-I-E-I-O!
Farming sims on consoles are usually ultra-realistic, such as Farming Simulator and Pure Farming, but every now and again we get a more casual game which doesn’t focus on the realism to bring in the crowds. However, these types of games are usually a side-mechanic to the other part of the game, which is usually an RPG like in Stardew Valley, or an adventure like Yonder. However, Farm Together keeps it nice and simple, it’s a very casual game all about farming with your friends and strangers – that’s it.
Although the game looks and plays like a mobile phone or Facebook game, don’t let that put you off; Farm Together is one of the most addictive games I’ve played in a very long time. It’s so addictive, I’m actually playing it as I write this; I’ve just got a few hundred crops to sow, I’ll BRB…
The story within Farm Together is yours to create, will you be a young kid who’s inherited land off one of your dead relatives and you’re up for the challenge of making something out of nothing (a popular story for these games)? Have you just received a small business loan and you’re out to make some moolah? Or, you could even be a co-owner of said farm with your friends as you all jump into the same game and create your multi-million dollar agriculture adventure! What I’m trying to get at is that Farm Together has no story, it’s a sandbox game in which you can do whatever you want with whoever you want (within reason).
Do you remember Farmville? Of course you do, everyone remembers that game, If you weren’t receiving hundreds of requests each week to ‘go help out a friend on their farm’ then you were the one sending out those requests – it was that addictive yet frustrating at the same time. Well, Farm Together is basically the modernisation of Farmville but presented on all modern platforms with no Microtransactions. Well, there are a few small DLC packs for clothing but all the premium currency is earned in-game and not sold to you for real cash.
So, why have I spent around 40 hours so far within my make-shift farm? Why do I load it up almost every two-three hours to see how my crops are getting on? And why can’t I stop recommending it to everyone I speak too? Let’s find out…
Farm Together, as I previously mentioned, is perfect for those out there who crave for something addictive which they can get into without having to spend hundreds of dollars/pounds on gems as you would see in various mobile games. However, this comes with a catch. Just like mobile phone games, which allow you to do a certain number of actions before you have to take a mandatory break from the game in order to receive more energy or wait for your crops to grow, Farm Together utilises a very similar mechanic. You don’t have an energy meter as we see in Stardew Valley, which is great as it means you can go forever, but you do have to literally wait a set amount of time for your crops to grow.
Before you grab your pitchforks and complain about this being a time-based waiting game, there are various things you can do to speed up the growth of your crops – without watching ads or paying. Just like in real life, if you water your crops then they will grow faster. This simple process can sometimes shave off multiple hours at a time to the growing process (depending on how long the item has left to grow). So, the game actually rewards you for actively playing the game and remaining active within your world, yet if you do decide to shut the game off and leave, the game will continue to play itself in the background and the timers will continue to tick away.
This is why I would class this game as one of the ultimate casual games, you can simply jump in and out of it throughout the day, as you would with Animal Crossing, whilst checking on your crops and farming the various fruits which are ripe and ready to be pulled out of the ground or off of the trees! Hopefully you’ve picked up on how addictive and relaxing this game is by now – I imagine you’ve all been addicted to a mobile phone game at some point in your life, one of the ones with an energy meter within it, well this is basically that but about a hundred times more fun and rewarding.
I’ve got a brand new combine harvester, and I’ll give you the key…
As you never run out of energy in Farm Together, you can literally run around and sow all the seeds you want, plant loads of trees, dig ponds, breed animals, and even construct buildings – but this all takes a long time. So, once you reach a certain level, you’ll gain access to your very own tractor! Now, this tractor is special as you have multiple designs to pick from (as you level up) and you can colour it in whatever colours you wish in order to make it your own. This isn’t just a device to look cool either, it allows you to sow, plant, feed, and even harvest nine squares at a time! The downside – you need to fuel it up in order to use it. However, you can get a quarter of gas every 60 seconds from any gas stations you build – it really is like a premium mobile game!
Even with your trusty tractor, things can take a while, especially if you’ve unlocked the whole map (which is massive btw). So, you’ll get the option to hire ‘Farmhands’ once you’ve progressed about ten hours into the game. These are NPCs who will cover a set distance and do anything within that vicinity – they will fish, feed, harvest, and water anything as long as you have the cash for it. However, these extra hands don’t work for free… If this was a mobile game, this is where you would be paying for premium currency in order to pay them, as this is Farm Together you can earn the currency in-game once you have a house. Simply play nursery rhymes on a piano, paint a beautiful picture, or cook a splendid meal and you’ll earn tokens to pay these guys.
Also, if you do happen to get friends or strangers to visit your farm (which can be adjusted in the settings so people can’t just come in and spend all your money then scarper), they can help you with all manner of things from harvesting to completing mini-quests. This benefits you both as not only do you get the items they harvest (as it is your farm after all), but they also get one of the items to take back with them to their farm. You’ll both also get a boost on your productivity for a set time once you’ve been visited by someone. However, don’t think this game must be played with multiple players, it’s just as fun and engaging with only one of you.
Okay, so you’ve started your farm and you’re aiming to be the next Old MacDonald – the most famous farmer in the world – what can you actually ‘farm’. In a word; everything. There are hundreds of Fish, Flowers, Crops, and Animals, as well as Buildings, Decorations, and Pathways to create. Farm Together gives you enough tools and objects to simply create whatever you imagine!
The game also has a levelling system for you, your farm, and the thing you are trying to harvest. It also has all four seasons which alternate as you play which restricts what you can and can’t create. Let’s take a look at these…
The levelling up system
As above, there are three levels of levelling, you, farm, item. Almost every item you plant or harvest will give you a certain amount of experience. This is used in all three elements. As your personal level increases, you’ll unlock new items in the customisation menu on the start menu – this includes new outfits, a pet to follow you around, new tractors, clothes for your Farmhands, and other customisations options to make your farmer truly unique. As the farm increases in level, new crops, fish, trees, buildings, livestock, etc… will become available to purchase.
The final levelling up comes in the form of levelling up an item as you farm it. Let’s say you have a field made up purely of apple trees. Every time you harvest those trees you’ll receive XP. This goes into your progression, the farm progression and the apple tree’s progression. As the apple tree levels up, the rewards you get from future harvests increase. It won’t be a lot but you may get a little extra money per harvest or more XP, or even a few gems. Gems are another currency which can be used to buy various items in your house, buildings and some crops/flowers.
So, for those who like games which have a lot of progression to them and like to see their actions do something like increasing income or experience, then they’ll love this game. It’s one of the things which makes it so addictive – you want to carry on and see how much you can unlock and achieve every time you boot up the game.
As I mentioned above, the game changes season every 17 minutes. Not only do the visuals change (snow in Winter, rain in Autumn and sunny in Summer), but the types of crops you can grow also rotates. For example, you won’t be planting Sunflowers in Winter! However, the game isn’t very strict. No plants will wither and die if you’re in the wrong season, nor will timers stop – the game carries on as normal and you can still harvest just fine, you just can’t plant certain things.
Is that it?
Nope. Farm Together has a rotational quest system which can be accessed via the pause menu. In here you’ll find around four to five quests for you to complete, which are automatically changed upon completion. As such, they are never-ending and tend to push you to further develop your farm in ways you’ve possibly not thought of. For example, I have a quest in my list to harvest 90 Muraena fish – I haven’t even got any of these on my farm. So, my next action will be to purchase at least 90 of these so that I can harvest them and obtain the massive amount of XP is it offering me upon completion. You’ll also obtain Quest Ribbons based on the complexity/size of the quest you are trying to do. These can be used to purchase buildings.
I can’t believe I’ve not talked about the buildings yet! It’s all good and well having your Mary Poppins pockets stuffed to the brim with wet fish, apples, wool, bamboo, and poppy flowers, but what next? Simple, buy a fishmonger, fruit stall, weaver, or flower stand and sell them all! Just like everything else, there is a time between selling items but you can have multiple stalls and sell to each of them to overcome the 60-second delay in selling another batch. As you progress, you’ll also unlock bigger stalls which dramatically increases the number of items you can hold at a time (if you reach your limit then excess gets thrown away) and new Quality of Life buildings such as fast travel spots, bigger fuel depots, and money-generating wells.
So, even if you’re on your own and you don’t know what to do next, Farm Together is there to push you in the right direction with its quests
How many currencies?!?
Okay, so there are a few payment methods in Farm Together – It’s so obvious which would be generated from watching ads and which would be paid-for if this was a mobile game. So here’s a brief overview:
Gold – This is your standard money. Almost anything you do within Farm Together will cost you Gold and most things you harvest will reward you with it upon completion.
Gems – These are like Gold, only I imagine these would be premium or ad-generated in a mobile game. They are used to purchase special flowers and things within your home as well as buildings and certain animals. They are about as common as Gold and you’ll have thousands within a few hours, so don’t think they’ll be hard to get.
Tokens – These are rarer and would definitely be premium currency in a mobile game. They are earned by performing various tasks within your house, like cooking and playing the piano. They’re used to pay your Farmhands for an hours service.
Quest Ribbon – These are rewarded for completing various quests from the quest menu. The quests are continuous and will update with new ones as soon as you finish another. As such, these aren’t hard to get but they are time-consuming sometimes due to the quest requirements.
Again though – other than a few cosmetic DLCs, Farm Together doesn’t ask for any real money in order to obtain any of the above – it just wants your time and attention and you’ll be rewarded accordingly.
In regards to the trophies, they all seem doable, just very long and involve a bit of grinding. One involves loading up your farm a month after making it – so no fast platinum here. Also, there is one for having your farm boosted by visitors, so you will most likely need a friend or stranger to visit your farm at some point.
For a game which is basically a modernised Farmville, Farm Together looks really good. Everything has a cartoony look to it along with rather delightful animations and well-done textures. The game also has three camera levels, so you can get right into the action and see everything up close; The game is so colourful and charming and an absolute joy to play with its smooth 60fps gameplay (at least it feels like 60fps). The game even has a photo mode! It’s rather simple, just zoom in and out and adjust the height level of the camera (a bit like what we saw in Devil May Cry 5), but it allows you to get some pretty good shots (as you can see in this review).
One thing which struck me as odd when playing was the pop-in, or should I say pop-up! In order to maintain the performance (I imagine), the game doesn’t render everything in the distance, you have a view of around 30-40ft for the small details like the crops. As you approach them though, trees and plants will literally bounce up out of the ground as if they’ve just grown before your eyes. It’s basically pop-in but done in a comedic and visually attractive way so that it isn’t too jarring or offputting.
Soundwise, Farm Together is what you’d expect. It has a lot of farming music – you know what I mean, country-style tracks which make you feel like a farmer. The animals all make their correct sounds – no oinking from a cow or neighing from a chicken, and the tractor noise is rather relaxing. I’ve written this review with my guy just sat in his tractor so it’s making some white noise in the background for me!
Farm Together is like an addictive mobile phone game but with modern graphics and none of those annoying ads or Microtransactions. Either with friends or solo, this game is the definition of fun, a time-waster, and relaxing. When you’re not sowing seeds or planting trees, you’ll be harvesting fruit, fishing, picking up eggs, or even playing ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ on the piano. There’s a lot to do and see down on the farm, the farm which you can fully customise and create into your own paradise or a simple allotment.
Out now on literally all consoles, I can’t recommend Farm Together enough for those who are looking for a casual experience or something to play between their major releases. Personally, I would have loved to play it on the Switch as that’s the perfect console for short-burst gaming, but on the PS4 Pro, the game looks absolutely stunning with its high framerates, high resolution and vivid colours.
- - Very adictive gameplay which rewards you for playing in long sessions yet still progresses without you playing the game
- - Very easy to join friends and strangers in their farms as you help complete their quests or tend to their crops
- - Looks amazing for a casual farming sim with its own photo mode and literally oozing with charm
- - The music is very 'farmy' and gets you in the mood for riding a tractor
- - Although kind of a grind-fest with it's timers and levelling up systems, you can't stop playing it once you start
- - One trophy requires you to be social and another to own the game for at least a month before it'll unlock (not a negative but it's hard to find any!)
- - The early part of the game is pretty slow but once you start making money, things get much faster and bigger