Publisher: GIANTS Software
Developer: GIANTS Software
I’ve played Farming Simulator for more than a couple of hours now. I’ve tilled my fields, sowed my seeds, and harvested my crops. I’ve bought a fertilizer sprayer and harvester, and sold my corn and canola. Based on all that, I can make three statements about the game with varying degrees of confidence.
First and foremost: I still don’t really know what I’m what I’m doing.
I mean, I have a vague idea. Through trial and error, I’ve figured out what each machine does, and what steps I need to take for planting crops. I’ve generally figured out how to navigate around the game’s map. But it took me quite awhile just to the very basic level that I’m at now.
This is because Farming Simulator is not exactly friendly to newcomers. In fact, it’s almost hostile to them. It gives the vaguest instructions possible, and then doesn’t give you much of an idea how to carry them out. It expects you to wait around for crops to grow, and aside from a few side missions (all of which are “The villagers have lost X. Will you help them find it?”), it doesn’t give any goals beyond building and sustaining a farm. Eventually (if you’re anything like me) parts of the game fall into place, but it takes awhile.
Once they do, though, the game is actually pretty fun. I know it’s easy to be skeptical of/amused by a game like Farming Simulator, since the whole concept seems almost antithetical to the very idea of video gaming, but once you actually play it (and, of course, get beyond the aforementioned learning curve), it’s shockingly addictive. It’s not hard to get drawn into the simple rhythms of till-plant-harvest-sell-repeat, and before you know it you’ll probably find that you’ve sunk a couple of hours into the game without even realizing it.
All of which leads to the last definitive statement I can make about Farming Simulator: it’s perfect for the Vita. Even if the game has its roots on PCs, its structure — the lack of a story or difficult controls to remember, the ability to save your game at any point in time — lends itself extremely well to handheld, on-the-go gaming. Other games obviously make better use of the system’s features, but I can’t think of many that seem like they were so tailor-made to be played on the Vita.